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Author Topic: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern  (Read 3050 times)

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Offline DMcCoy

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Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« on: January 24, 2020, 08:57:49 AM »
I'm going to build a vardo, modern, trailer-able.  For those who don't know a vardo is a Gypsy wagon.  Used in Europe in the late 1800's early 1900's as a traveling tiny house, pulled by a horse.  Usually very ornate, I do not plan anything with that much decorative paint.  Circus wagons would also be considered a vardo and the old Pullman train cars have similarities point being the mollicroft.

I actually intend to use this on the road.  There are many styles.  I'm building what is called a Ledge.  Wood stove, propane HW and cooking,  shower, 12v and 120v power. Queen or king(?) bed.  Road legal.  Stained glass, artsy....

I took a 3 day class at Port Townsend School of Woodworking on Vardo design and construction last fall.  Part of the class we toured and inspected a few vardos in the local Port Townsend area.  Port Townsend is a noteworthy area for wooden boat design and construction.  Vardo construction shares more details with boats than houses, if you ignore weight, which you can't(!)  

Google 'Trillium Vardo' to see an elaborate 'Bow Top' build by Jim Tolpin.  An amazing creation that needs to be in a private collection somewhere, certainly not towed on a road, for fear of chipped paint(!)  There were a few we saw that were far more practical and still had the cool factor.  Googling Modern Vardo will get you another beautiful build by Greg Ryan on the east coast.

Our instructor Steve Habersetzer has built a few vardo's but linking might get me into copyright issues and he keeps a very low profile, unfortunately, because he has one build that I want to mimic and pictures are few and far between.  I get it, after learning and doing everything needed to build one in this age of the internet the onslaught of information seekers might certainly take a lot of fun away, and I will never sell plans.  This was actually a course topic.

This will be a multi year project.  I have been learning the skills I did not have before; bentwood lamination's, fine mortise and tenon joinery, and an overall increase in accuracy needed.   I started to mill lumber in a big way this week for all the non standard dimensions it will require.  

I will try and do regular updates with a few pictures.



Offline Dan_Shade

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2020, 09:16:51 AM »
I'm excited to follow along with your progress. 

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Offline sprucebunny

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2020, 04:44:14 PM »
I'll be looking forward to updates, also.

There is a man in this area that collects antique horse-drawn wagons and displays them at the Fair so I have seen the type of wagon you're talking about.
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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #3 on: January 26, 2020, 12:45:17 AM »
 :P
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Offline breederman

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2020, 05:46:53 AM »
Very interesting, it will be a fun project for you I'm sure. Also interesting was this thread was the # 3 hit on the duck duck go search you suggested. 
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Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2020, 10:33:31 AM »
Here as one sketch I have of the rear profile.  Arches are needed for the roof, mollicroft, door and windows. Traditionally the knee braces are made of wood, mine will be steel because I like the look better.


 
I decided to tackle the door and window arches first and for needed practice.  My first form was segmented and left dents and slight straight areas between, so I built a solid form out of some scrap plywood.  I'm using clear Western red cedar, 1/4" pieces, 6 layers.  These are non load bearing but part of the framing.

I researched springback and was disappointed with what I found, including a "formula" which wasn't good.  I read about "creep" of wood glues on bentwood lamination's.  One comment I read in hindsight was the best.  Take your best shot, plan for some springback and then modify your design to fit.  Yeah, well....In all seriousness it all depends.  Type of wood, thickness, radius.  You just have to built a form and try it.

I wanted a 24" radius so I built my jig at 23 1/2".  It did spring back a little and I think I'm close.  Spring back was uniform between pieces which was a relief.  I used a layer of packing tape to keep my form reusable.  This is NOT too many clamps.  Getting the lamination's to stay in place is like herding stray cats.  I think I will want help with the roof rafters(9' long 14 layers)


 


 

Making 1 artsy metal knee brace was easy, making the other 9 match was a lot of fussy work.  The curve must be spot on.  This bracket will tie together the base(floor) knee wall, ledge, and the upper wall.



 


 

It might be a awhile before I get much more to post.  I have to wait for lumber to dry...





Offline Don P

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2020, 09:44:03 PM »
Polyurethane glue should be better for creep/structural. The thinner the plies the less springback.


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Offline scsmith42

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #7 on: January 26, 2020, 09:53:21 PM »
Polyurethane glue should be better for creep/structural. The thinner the plies the less springback.
Don, what about resourcinal?
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Offline Don P

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #8 on: January 27, 2020, 05:35:35 AM »
That's better yet. It is the standby structural adhesive, waterproof, no creep. Polyurethanes are being used in CLT construction but "approved" stuff is still not available to us. The over the counter stuff is still waterproof and creep free compared to the PVA's (titebond, etc).

I really like the style of these, our old portable chicken coop was inspired by a gypsy wagon.
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Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #9 on: January 27, 2020, 07:20:46 AM »
Glues and lamination numbers were a tough one for me to decide upon.  Your absolutely correct the thinner lamination's have less springback.  I went with 1/4" for easier bending, easy math and a balance between how much cutting and gluing.  I used Titebond 3 which is far thinner than 2 and has more open work time.  I was careful to coat both sides of each ply uniformly to get a fully wet joint. I still had glue harden on my fingers by the time I was tightening the last clamps, I must be slow, or need a bigger brush...  I doubled the drying time they said before releasing to 48hrs.  They are at least consistent between each other.

I did look into Polyurethane and resorcinol.  I have used both in the past.  The decisions are not always easy for all kinds of reasons. I had a cross over point of 'good enough' and 'workability'.  

I will have some scarf (scarph?) joints and from what I have read the polyurethane is the only way to go, because of end grain absorption and non shrinking.  I can make those quick enough to get them aligned and clamped before the glue sets.

I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around the issue of creep. The idea that dried glue can both loose it's bond yet maintain it doesn't make sense to me.  I looked at a few 10-12 yr. old bentwood laminations in Port Townsend and they looked fine.  I specifically inspected for delamination, cracks that would indicate creep.  I couldn't find anything and these were built using titebond 2.  This creep issue is a major fear of mine because of the work involved with the entire project.  I wonder if creep is from under-cured glue.  I doubled my release time in hopes of avoiding anything like creep.



Offline Don P

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2020, 07:56:28 PM »
Creep is not shear but plasticity, the ability to move or slip over time without delaminating or shearing. PVA's have not been able to get structural use approval because of this plastic creep. Resorcinol has been the main glue for things like glulam beams for decades. Specific polyurethane glues have gotten approval in more recent years. Henkel (loc-tite's parent co) makes one, Franklin (titebond's parent co) makes another.  Melamines also have approval but I've never used any. None of those glues creep.

Another form of creep we see pretty much every day is in a sagging old building, that permanent sag does not recover if you pull the sagged member out of the building. When we design say a joist it is designed within the elastic range of the material, apply load, it deflects, remove load, it recovers its original shape. This applies to wood or steel for that matter. if the beam is steel I should design within the elastic range but if it is overloaded it enters the plastic range where it does not fail but it does not recover its original shape when the load is removed. That range is wide in steel, very narrow in wood. But, in wood a moderately overloaded beam will take on that deflection set, creep, sag.

Zooming way in, hydrogen bonds hold a lot of stuff in this world together, us for example. Bending is hydrogen bonds jumping from molecule to molecule, when too many jump to a new home they hold the group in a new position and don't jump back, it has crept. TMI :D
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Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2020, 09:04:33 PM »
Do you have a Cobb (Gypsy) to pull it with?
Anything someone can design, I can sure figure out how to fix!
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Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #12 on: January 28, 2020, 07:44:10 AM »
Thanks Don for the explanation, that makes sense to me now.   I might rethink this, I have time while lumber is drying.  A segmented vertically laminated curved arch would lend itself to shorter glue open time better than horizontal lamination's. Even with help I don't think I could get a 14 layer lamination together in 30 min. or maybe a huge group of people could get that done, or do a few layers at a time.  Lots to think over. Thanks again.

No horses, I can feed the truck only when I need it.  I'm using a 16' tandem axle trailer, electric brakes, commercially built, road legal.

Offline Don P

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2020, 07:08:13 PM »
I've done arches sort of like that for trim over circle top doors. I laid the pieces side by side and applied glue to them all at the same time using a scrap of formica as a spreader to quickly get them all wetted out quickly. Then stacked them and began with the center clamp and 2 people working our way out in both directions clamping it up.

Darn, checking my gallery I don't have a pic of the trim on the other side of this door. It was ~1/4"x1" oak strips glued into an arch 3-1/2" wide. This side is the factory brickmold, looks like just sawn out of a panel.



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Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #14 on: January 29, 2020, 07:10:39 AM »
Nice door!  I was wondering if maybe my radius is too small but yours is smaller.  Do you recall what glue you used?  You applied glue to just 1 side? Laminate thickness?  Sorry lots of questions, bentwood lamination's is something I have no experience with.  I have all 3 of the small arches done and I have been watching them. :(  Slowly they are expanding, they are days apart in age but it shows 1-2-3.  Cedar maybe a poor choice for wood type for this application.  I can't recall the wood used in the ones I toured, dumb, should have paid attention to that as well.

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2020, 09:33:39 AM »
Would it help to steam bend first and after set/cooled/dried, go back and glue?
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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2020, 09:57:57 AM »
I went through a bent-lamination phase a few years ago.  Furniture type things.  I used pretty much the method DonP describes for applying the glue.  Resorcinal or DAP Urea Resin Glue.  I wouldn't trust a PVA glue in that application, plus the working time is just not long enough.  You might be able to get away with the creep since those members are captive after they're installed in the wagon, but I'd certainly switch glue if I were you.

The application method DonP describes works good with a small roller, brush, or formica chip.  Be fast, be messy.  I used packing tape on the forms and wrapped the assembly in saran wrap as well.  Best to cut strips 1/2 inch or so wider than finished width and then trim.  Trim on edge on a bandsaw, then run through the jointer.  Rig up a little cradle and rip to finished width on the table saw.

Neat project you got there.  Nice job on the metal work.  Good luck and keep those pictures coming.
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Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2020, 11:33:34 AM »
I considered steam bending,  I would like to keep my steps to a minimum if possible.
The roof arches are more gentle and thicker (deeper) which should help.
I will pick up some of the DAP(weldwood) glue and cut another set.
Thanks!

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #18 on: October 15, 2020, 03:39:49 PM »
Okay, Back to the shop finally.  I did get some Weldwood Urea-formaldehyde glue for the scarfing I did.  Man that is some glue!  Literally hard as a rock.
I started a blog for this project at the request of my kids.  mccoyvardo.blogspot.com   It is anything but consistent with peoples ability to find it, some can others cannot.

Changes to the plan-  I reduced the length to 12' from 16'.  Split the bed area in a way that is hard to describe.  Still continuing with everything else.

The base-  Let in floor joists into the rim joist w/Kreg screws and TB 3.  Corner blocking for rigidity and fastening to the trailer.  Jig made from oak pallet boards, used a small PC laminate trimmer with a square base to make the mortise.


 


 


 

Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #19 on: October 15, 2020, 03:48:38 PM »
 


Corner bracket is bolted in + glue.


 
Rounded the shoulders on the floor joist.


 

Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #20 on: October 15, 2020, 03:57:20 PM »
 Scarf cutting jig for the table saw.  Fast, accurate but dangerous.  With that much blade exposed the bottom of the blade exits the cut long before the top - and we all watch the top. :(





 
 

 

Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #21 on: October 15, 2020, 04:08:25 PM »
 Mock up of the floor joist/rim joist junction.  The dowel is black walnut - more about it later.


 
I used a machinist 90 block to hold the corner blocks for counter boring with a forstner bit on the 45.  This IS NOT overkill.


 


 

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #22 on: October 15, 2020, 07:42:04 PM »
Very nice work. I was wondering how this wagon was progressing. Really interesting project. Thanks for the update. 
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Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #23 on: October 15, 2020, 08:21:17 PM »
Thanks btulloh.
I plan on covering the floor with T&G douglas fir and treating all the under side floor framing with pure tung oil cut 50% with mineral spirits. I have days of applying finish to various parts coming up.
From the base up the structures are; floor. knee wall. ledge, main wall, roof, mollycroft.

Knee wall framing-  Basically a truss, Warren style as near as I can figure out.  The top and bottom plate are douglas fir(DF).  Some of the studs are DF and others are Western Red Cedar(WRC).  All the diagonals are WRC.  I used WRC to save on weight. 



The studs are all through mortise and tenon, the diagonals are just glued in place.


 


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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #24 on: October 15, 2020, 08:54:15 PM »
Totally awesome. 

Lots of inside corners. Applying finish with HVLP or rag&brush?  Sounds like work either way. How many coats to get it like you want it?  Or just going with the thin stuff to get good penetration and seal it up a bit?

Id be glad to come help you with finish but Im busy that day.  :D
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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #25 on: October 15, 2020, 09:10:27 PM »
Very nice 
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Offline samandothers

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #26 on: October 15, 2020, 10:10:32 PM »
Missed this the first time round in January.  Great project and thanks for doing the thread on it.  Lot of different skills being used for sure.  Great job.

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #27 on: October 16, 2020, 07:59:43 AM »
Thanks for the kind words guys, and your welcome samandothers.  There is a lack of information out there imho.
btulloh - I'm going to cut the tung oil 50% with mineral spirits and apply with a brush, several coats, but only to the floor framing.  I'm not looking forward to that step.

The black walnut dowel-
I'm going to 'stack' the vertical framing members.  This caused a bit of an issue with fastening the ledge bracket to the floor.   I added a cross dowel for the lag screw to go through, the wood working equivalent of a barrel nut.  Otherwise it's just end grain holding it.


 

I watched an interesting UTube on making your own dowel.  A block with 2 holes- one is the finished size and the other the size of the square stock diagonal dimension.  Using a drill, a bunch of extensions and a 8 point socket I spun the square stock through the block.  It's a little fussy to get the saw at the correct height.


 


 



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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #28 on: October 16, 2020, 08:19:08 AM »
I like that dowel jig.  Hadn't seen that particular approach before.  Looks like it does a good job too.

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #29 on: October 16, 2020, 12:41:29 PM »
I havent seen that before either and also like it.

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #30 on: October 17, 2020, 03:49:19 PM »
Very nice work Sir
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Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #31 on: October 18, 2020, 08:39:14 AM »
Cargo Doors-
I need 2 cargo doors, one on each side, to access the forward area under the beds.  The structure will provide rain protection but there is always road spray and the occasional wash down.  I decided to make a door assembly that could be removed for repair.  I'm going to use 3/16" x 3/8" adhesive backed foam gasket.  When the door is closed it should be compressed about 1/2.  I also cut a slope to allow the door frame to drain.


 


 


 
The inset panel in the door is 1/4" DF - T&G.  It is a very tight fit but not glued in place.

Offline Dan_Shade

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #32 on: October 18, 2020, 04:53:01 PM »
What keeps the frame from rotting out where the groove is on the bottom?
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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #33 on: October 18, 2020, 08:18:25 PM »
Frankly, I'm not sure.  We really only go places when the weather is pleasant which should help, after that it will be under cover.
I plan on finishing the door/frame with a UV rated finish,  likely a marine spar varnish.  I plan to caulk the door's door frame to the vardo siding and the door inset panel to the rails and styles.  It's about all I can do.  The varnish would likely seal the joint but I suspect it may crack over time.

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #34 on: October 19, 2021, 06:49:46 AM »
Wow it's been a year since I've posted any updates.  I have been very busy with our wholesale nursery as everyone decided to stay home and fix up their yard. 
I will try and get as many pictures posted this morning as I can.
I built a long base router table and added a power feeder for making T&G flooring and V groove T&G siding.  The flooring is Douglas Fir, which in hindsight I should have spent the money for some hardwood.  It's a little soft but will hold up fine.


 


 

 Quick dip in the glue bathtub.  Shop built tweezers made from an old power hacksaw blade.
 

 

Offline DMcCoy

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #35 on: October 19, 2021, 07:04:28 AM »
Floor framing was given multiple coats of pure tung oil mixed with mineral spirits 50/50.  I put it on until it wouldn't take anymore over several days.  I took a block of wood that the frame was sitting on and cut it to see the penetration.  I was shocked and disbelieving so I did it again - same results. 


 
Having an oily frame I decided to use cedar strips to hold the Styrofoam insulation in place with an air gap(air gaps add .88r).


 



 

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #36 on: October 19, 2021, 07:09:43 AM »
 

 


 

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #37 on: October 19, 2021, 07:28:33 AM »
Knee wall, ledge brackets, ledge board.
Together these 3 made an inverted L shape and reinforced each other. The knee wall framing I built as a truss, I believe it is called a Howe Truss.  Mortise and tenon studs to plates with glued in webbing.



Knee wall truss also insulated.  Rough floor plan. Bathroom on right(composting toilet). Galley kitchen along wall. Table at end.  2 beds not shown- 1 crosswise (elevated), the other on right becoming a couch


 
Ledge bracket.  I used bondo to fill in the rough spots from my welding and painted with rustoleum paint.  Siding is Western red cedar coated with Flood brand stain.  The idea of sanding to refinish made the choice to use the flood product - no sanding required.


 

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #38 on: October 19, 2021, 07:46:46 AM »
I choose to make the ledge board of glued up pieces of 3/4" x 2" T&G douglas fir.  The pieces are end joined with a taper scarf joint. The bottom side was treated with the flood product before installation.


 
The ledge bracket and it's associated hardware.



On the siding butt joints I treated the ends with roofing tar.  Vertical batten strips cover the joint.


 

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #39 on: October 19, 2021, 08:03:41 AM »
The upper wall tilts outwards at 3 degrees.  I cut the taper on the bottom plate so the wall could be built flat simplifying construction.  The ledge board needed a 3 degree taper so the siding could lay flat over it.  I cut this in with a hand plane.  Batten strips on knee wall.


 
Lag screw goes up through the ledge bracket.  Note cross dowel for gross grain purchase of lag screw threads.  Wall studs are mortise and tenon joined.



Windows are all mortise and tenon also.  Clear water and grey water tanks in back round.  I used douglas fir studs where I needed strength and stiffness, western red cedar where I could to save weight.


 

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #40 on: October 19, 2021, 08:29:38 AM »
The roof structure-
The roof includes a mollycroft - the raised section in the middle.  I must admit to overthinking this- repeatedly(!).  I changed my plan from building curved glue-lams to building full length trusses.  I saw a picture on the internet of a sway back vardo - it needed rebuilding.
I cut all the rafters from single pieces of wood.  The transition curve between the molly croft roof to the main vardo roof really hung me up.  There are no pictures of the frame that I could find with this design.  It's all mortise and tenon joinery with Urea Formaldehyde glue.  The upper junction at the ends of the mollycroft has 4 members coming together in one place, mortise and tenon joinery.


 
This sweeping curve has a 3 degree bevel cut onto the top.  The same 96" radius flows down from the mollycroft roof to the main vardo roof.



I had considered building the mollycroft as a unit and hoisting it into place.  Instead I test fit and then assembled it is place.


 

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #41 on: October 19, 2021, 08:40:26 AM »
I added a truss to the front of the upper wall to help with the wind pressure of towing.





 
Finding a simple way to make the mollycroft ends was anything but simple.


 


 

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #42 on: October 19, 2021, 08:52:42 AM »
I sanded and 1/8" round over routed all the pieces.  I noticed while I was wiping up glue with a wet sponge that water really made the grain 'pop'.  I dug out stains and finishes and ended up using Tung oil 50/50 with mineral spirits.  The matt finish is pleasant and minor imperfections are given an antique sort of look.  I like the idea that the tung oil finish can be rejuvenated at any time with out stripping and sanding.



The front wall got some trussing added to it as well.  I used 2"x2"x1/8" angle iron and 5/16" bolts to build my own brackets to hold the ends of the rafters to the side walls.



That pretty much catches up with where I'm at today.  Rear wall framing needs finishing and then it's siding...:)

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #43 on: October 19, 2021, 09:25:22 AM »
Quite the undertaking and you're doing an amazing job 8)
HM126

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #44 on: October 19, 2021, 09:31:35 AM »
Wow, what a project and devotion to such a BIG woodworking project!   I thank you for taking time to post your pictures to capture the progress and detail.

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #45 on: October 27, 2021, 07:32:49 AM »
I've been working on siding.  5/8" western red cedar V groove T&G I made.  The side walls and the front are done, batten strips and corner molding yet to build.  The front will get a bay window.


 

I used tar to treat the butt ends, the battens will cover the joints.


 

The rear wall is a work in progress.  Lots going on back here and curved headers.  I stuck the windows in their frames to check for placement - the framing hasn't been done yet.  I found it funny that the windows were the first thing I built. They have been sitting around for a couple of years and are a little dirty.


 

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #46 on: October 27, 2021, 05:18:25 PM »
Interesting thread. Looks amazing to me. You're making art with a function. One of them long haul projects where you do a little each day, but not hurry at it, but work away steady and never give up. Thanks for bringing us along on your journey. :)

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #47 on: October 28, 2021, 07:10:46 AM »
Thanks for the kind words guys, I really appreciate it!  You are welcome.
I'm trying to get information out there that I wished were available for me.  This by no means the right way or only way to do this.  It is a big project and it might be more than 2 years to complete.  I asked my wife to take a look and asked for her input.  Her comment was to finish the inside to a point where we can take it out and use it a little and then see.  We built our own house and after we were done we immediately picked out 3 things we would do differently.
I have bought most everything with the exceptions of the sinks and a hot water radiator.  I did buy a cubic mini wood stove but I plan on building a hot water radiator system with fans and a  thermostat.   They make 12 vdc circulation pumps and this way I can use the water heater as a furnace - saving the cost of a furnace.  4 computer fans should move enough air but I will just have to try it.  This covid economy makes me leery of shortages so I am stocking up. 

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #48 on: October 28, 2021, 09:31:16 AM »
  They make 12 vdc circulation pumps and this way I can use the water heater as a furnace - saving the cost of a furnace.  4 computer fans should move enough air but I will just have to try it. 
This is a great idea for space saving too!

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #49 on: October 30, 2021, 03:32:15 PM »
I'm done with putting up the siding.  I did have some preconceived ideas about how I would frame the window and door arches,  going so far as to make glue-lams and built up curved headers.



In practice I found cutting the pieces I needed from solid blocks of wood easier.


 


 
I had just enough siding to finish it with the material I had ready,  I will need to make more V groove for covering the roof. 

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #50 on: October 31, 2021, 09:42:28 AM »
This is a great post! I just found it and read through. 
Great project.
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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #51 on: November 04, 2021, 06:33:57 AM »
Beautiful work Sir
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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #52 on: November 04, 2021, 06:54:50 AM »
Now that is a beautiful piece of art!!!
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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #53 on: November 05, 2021, 07:12:19 AM »
Thanks!
Started on the roof sheathing.  I had a cluster of small diameter western red cedar trees that I cut into lumber.  I forgot how different that makes the lumber.  It's a shame to have to cover the outside of the roof.


 


 
Small diameter trees make some more interesting lumber.


 
Next up is to cover the slopes.  I'm going crosswise down the slope until I meet up with the lower roof.  The bend (96" radius) isn't horrible but enough that I think I will have to steam bend it.  Every place I looked says you cannot steam bend conifer lumber, so I will just have to find out.  As a fall back I know I can bend thinner pieces and glue them together.  I'm going with clear knot free lumber for the down slope.
I'm quite unsure of how to do the edge joints.  Are these pieces going to look like barrel staves, wider in the middle? Then reverse? The edge bevel -I'm assuming- must be the same on each piece so the joint lays flat.   Mentally I'm having a hard time wrapping my head around this one. 

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #54 on: November 05, 2021, 08:22:31 AM »
Interesting project! 
As a contrast for sure in overall construction to create the same sort of gypsy wagon-
I've seen many sheepherder wagons out west in the Rockies with South American or Latino guys tending large flocks for long stays in the boonies. Their wagon "homes" had the same rounded roofs done with much less concern for aesthetics like stained glass, etc.. Seems like I recall from years back that they used painted canvas roofs or tarpaper selvage roofing. One trip we were with my parents and my Mom was intrigued with the whole thing such that she got a look/see inside one where we were hiking N of Steamboat Springs, CO on WY border. That guy was from Peru as it were. 
How is this fancy sort of wagon used on the road-inside a PU bed?   
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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #55 on: November 05, 2021, 09:19:36 AM »
I visited the High Desert Museum near Bend OR many years ago.  They had on display a shepherds wagon.  I remember at the time thinking this was an early RV - for work but the essentials were all there, including a small wood cookstove.
The history of Vardo's or Gypsy wagon's has a parallel to building public roads.  They were used in the early 1900's for vacations by the wealthy until gasoline powered trucks and cars led to the RV with it's modern construction methods.  
I'm planning on covering this with canvas -> PMF (poor mans fiberglass) glued down with Titebond 3 and painted with white exterior paint. I plan to carry it on a 16' flat bed trailer that I already own.
It has gotten fancy(er) as the original goal as my wife will still state is "something better than a tent".
I believe any hand made RV will attract people's attention, much like your mother.  I know I rubber neck anything home made. 
About a month ago I asked myself why exactly I was building this, to double check on my motivation.  I love the look of wood and have built all kinds of things since I was a small boy.  I want something that I personally would like to look at and use.  I'm tall 6'6" 250 lbs, and there is very few RV's that I can stand up in let alone short narrow beds between bulk heads where my nighttime leg cramp issues would likely flare up.  RV's have a lot of things going for them but I simply don't fit.  My wife and I have said for years we need to build our own trailer so here we are.
Part of the class I took included a warning about the attention these draw and the need to be prepared for all kinds of people wanting to see inside, and a billion questions.  Between printed hand outs and a blog or two plus Covid-19 I'm hoping to mostly keep my privacy while satisfying people's curiosity.  We also tend to remote camp in very low population areas which should help.  Too much attention is a real concern I have and we will see how this works out. Family has already expressed an interest to spend the night here on our property in it so if that becomes it's destiny then I'm okay with that but a small cabin would have been tons easier to build.  Several of the students at the class I took wanted to build vardo's to rent out as a supplemental income.  There is now a place on the Oregon coast where there is a Vardo village all available to rent.  These can get you around building codes and land use laws to different degrees.
Searching for detailed information on building one of these doesn't get you very far.  I bought one expensive and out of print book about Vardo's and even it was scant on details.  I hope to help the next guy and to inspire him/her to what is possible with solid pieces of wood.

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #56 on: November 27, 2021, 07:44:29 AM »
Covering the mollycroft slopes.  Close to done.  Covering it with 3 layers of laminated cedar strips.  Upper slope needed convex shapes to "lay flat", lower slope needed concave.  Lay flat is the only term I can come up with to describe what needs to happen.


 
Photo above - convex slope ->convex strip.  Photo below - concave slope ->concave strip.


 
Top view.  Edges will get trimmed later.


 
Inside view.  Rough yet and will need some sanding.


 

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #57 on: November 27, 2021, 07:52:47 AM »
If anyone chooses to follow my slope design I have a recommendation. Add 2 more rafters to make a total of 5.  The 3 points of contact I used worked fine on the convex portion.  At the transition to concave the roof started to develop a ridge.  I changed the clamp position and added some wooden cantilever pry bars with weight to get the sections between the rafters to flow.  It worked but having more rafters would make it fool proof.
This is very time consuming - about an inch per day.  I have used my 'spare' time to start of plumbing and cabinetry.

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Re: Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern
« Reply #58 on: November 27, 2021, 12:05:48 PM »
Bookmarked, and following.  Really a neat build.  I've got several working models at least in my head, and am planning on building at least 1 of these in some sort; will be towing it around my property for different niche views. 


Anyone interested, there are several variations of this idea on Youtube; saw some neat ones on the road down in NZ.

Thanks for Sharing.
Life is short, tragedy is instant, it's what we do with our time in between that matters.  Always strive to do better, to be better.


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