Category Archives: travel

Community for Waves – A Woodworking Workshop in Coastal Peru


Almost a year ago to the day, Dave Aabos, executive director of Waves for Development, showed up at my doorstep to pick up a couple of my handplanes (for bodysurfing) to take down to Lobitos, Peru, where he’s devoted his efforts to develop sustainable surf travel. As I passed them off, he joked that next year I’ll be down there teaching the community how to build their own. I chuckled passively and wished him luck down there, thinking little of it.


Now my girlfriend, Staj, and I are preparing to leave for Peru at the end of the month where we’ll spend two weeks working with the locals and teaching workshops; just as Dave had predicted. But, we can’t do it alone, so we’re calling upon our tribe to help us out with this project. We’ve created a Kickstarter to raise $4,000 and we’re over halfway there, but this final push is what matters most. In return we have some awesome rewards for your contribution, including your very own handplane for $165. Anything helps, so please consider helping us share our passion for woodworking and creating a social entrepreneurial opportunity for Lobitos.

Find all the details and a video on our Kickstarter here.

Screen shot 2011-09-19 at 6.06.49 PM

PA - Waves Pic Group

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Woodworkers Tale – The Hemloft

[photo via: flickr // runthesundown]

My buddy, John, turned me onto to this great website and 10-part story about Joel Allen, once a software designer and failed 26-year old retiree who devoted himself to carpentry, for the hell of it, essentially. The dude’s story is pretty phenomenal. He landed some big home construction jobs with a portfolio consisting of a storage shed he built in a week on his parents property. After work every night, he pursued a vision of building a damn spectacular hidden tree house in the woods outside of Whistler. No permits, no land acquisition, no shop. Just dedication, skill and some eccentric characters along the way. I’ll let Joel tell the story.

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Dirtbag Deluxe #3 – Trunk Junkie

A while back I was asked about the possibility of outfitting a Toyota Corolla. Yes, the small Toyota sedan that gets much better gas mileage than it’s more popular dirtbag counterpart, the Tacoma. A solid opportunity.  Every vehicle has the potential to be an #adventuremobile, it just has to be given the opportunity. Turning my back on no deserving vehicle, I responded to ski/climb guide, Sheldon Kerr, that I’d doodle on some graph paper for a while. 



Have you seen those awesome dining tables that expand by pulling the spare leaf out from underneath the tabletop? They’re awesome, right? Now imagine one of those dining tables in your trunk, only you sleep on it. That’s the design basis for the Trunk Junkie. 

Sheldon wasn’t worried about irreversible damage being done when removing the back seat. I’m proud to say, however, that the seat could be replaced, should you want to do a dumb thing like that. She asked if I’d install a flat platform to make stowing rubbermaid bins easier. Since space isn’t exactly prolific in a Corolla, I couldn’t bare leaving eating up the concaved spaced below the platform, so I threw a piano hinge on it so Sheldon can stash some maps and socks in there. 

The final design aspect was a lockbox in the back. Installation was a bit tricky, but turned out to be pretty bomber once it was in. Grampa asked if that’s where she’ll be stowing her marijuana, but I’m pretty sure it’s for a computer, ect. 

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Dirtbag Deluxe #two

Got the opportunity to outfit another Toyota Tacoma with a Dirtbag Deluxe. Teresa Bruffey, a dirtbaggin’ climber from Seattle and fellow friend of semi-rad mastermind, Brendan Leonard, came to me with dreams of camping in relative luxury and we got to work.

First things first, I had Teresa fill out some dimensions for me. Measuring pickup beds is tedious and tricky, but she nailed it, preventing me from miscuts during the prep stage.

With the measurements comes design time. Teresa is the kind of client you hope for, because she had a good idea of what she wanted in her head, voiced it concisely and then let me take it and run. Even better, is the design she had in mind was a great setup. A guide friend of hers had shown her a setup with an adjustable sleeping platform that allows a solo camper more headroom for comfort, but should the event occur that sleeping space is needed for two, the platform adjusts to sit flush with the higher platform. A great use of space.

Bouncing ideas off one another, I strongly suggested she opt for a flip-up access door above the main drawer. This allows access to items in the drawer from within the canopy, without having to get out, open the gate and pull out the drawer. Very convenient in inclement weather. I incorporated the same idea in the first DBD-lux, but this time I upgraded the accessibility with a piano hinge, so it’s more of a door than a pull out panel.

With only a one minor bump in the road and two wild dogs on the loose, I was able to get the Dirtbag Deluxe installed in one day, which was important since Teresa traveled down from Seattle and had work the following day. Perhaps down the road, I’ll be able to outfit customers on the road…

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Dirtbag Deluxe Update from the Road

It’s been about little over a month since Charlie and Sheri hit the road with the Dirtbag Deluxe. I’m sure they’ve located most of the flaws right now, but it looks like they’re managing. There’s a new member of their family too. The two picked up a husky/lab super dog named Riley. From the looks of it’s paws, it’ll be the biggest member of the family in no time. Hope that plywood we used is canine urine resilient.

Dirtbag Deluxe Camperbed

Outfitting a pickup bed for life on the road has been on my radar for a while, the problem being is I don’t have a pickup. So when my friends Charlie and Sheri’s plans to travel around central and south America fell through, the resorted to a 4-month climbing road trip. I’ve become their go-to carpenter over the past year, so when they decided they needed an outfit for their gorgeous purple Tacoma, Brusier, I seized the opportunity.

 Unfortunately, the 3 months they allotted their mechanic to repair a failing engine while they were off in Thailand wasn’t enough time, and when we began the project, the truck was still in the shop. Going off Charlie’s measurements, we began cutting all the pieces, but I’ve been building long enough to know that assembling the entire thing without fitting in in the truck first would be a brutal mistake. And, of course, when the truck finally arrived, there were some mismeasurements, which were quick fixes since. Patience pays off, friends.

The outfit has two drawers… GIANT drawers. I’ve never made one even close to the size of these two. We joked that if Charlie’s in the dog house, he’ll have to sleep in one of the drawers; probably the narrow one, depending.

Sheri was having a tough time comprehending the fact that home for the next four months is a pickup bed. Once she took a look out of her bedroom window though, she felt better.

Charlie busted out an old fashioned bottle opener as a kitchen add on. Unfortunately, the space between the outfit and tailgate was too tight. That was until I countersunk it. Was it worth the extra effort? Absolutely because after long days of climbing, beers must be opened easily by exhausted hands. Plus it added a dimension of character that tied the whole damn thing together.

Climb on, guys.

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