Forum > General Woodworking

Vardo Gypsy Wagon Build-modern

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DMcCoy:
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.


Dan_Shade:
I'm excited to follow along with your progress. 

sprucebunny:
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.

ljohnsaw:
 :P

breederman:
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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