Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Moving toward building gypsy caravans.

Hi, I'm Michael Porter.

A couple of weeks ago, the company where I worked as a licesnsed substance abuse counselor, was closed by the corporation that owned it, along with six other companies. As I considered options for the future which included working for an oil company, (not an attractive nor desirable option) it came to me to build gypsy caravans for people who like to travel in style, and like the feeling of being self sufficient wherever they go. Kind of like the feeling I get when I go backpacking and know that everything I need to live and thrive, is on my back.
Though I've been a professional counselor for quite a few years, I started my working life as a custom cabinet maker, and have kept wood working for all these years, (and at 51 thats been a lot of years.) My daughter Hanna put the idea of gypsy caravans in my brain, along with the idea of contributing to this blog. Thanks Hanna.

To build up some capital my son Seth and I are making designer picnic tables from some galvanized steel table frames that I was given years ago when I worked for a trail crew at a state park. We took off the old wood, (and it was really old,) and milled our own boards from some standing dead quaking aspen that was killed in a forest fire several years ago on the mountain above were we live. Aspen is very light and strong when it's completely dry. We left the natural edge on the outside of the top and bench boards, then planed and sanded the wood. We bolted them to the frames before putting on the varnish. I checked out a lot of kinds of varnish for exterior use, and settled on marine spar polyurethane. It is supposed to last a long time on boats, and has UV protection. We've made four of them, and two have already sold right here in our small town, so I'm pretty encouraged.
We'll be starting on the gypsy caravans this week. In this area people are familiar with a similar type wagon called a sheep camp cabin. The sheep camps sell for about thirty six thousand, and are very heavy. I am aiming toward a single axle, ten foot long caravan that is light enough to be pulled with a regular passenger car, and costs between seven and eight thousand to the customer. It will be a "reading type" caravan, with the straight sides, and instead of brightly painted colors I plan to use the natural wood color with contrasting woods to make it interesting. There will be a bed, (full size), a basin sink, and a three dog wood stove. Also lots of shelves, storage and benches. A table will pull out from under the bed frame.
It is my hope that a lot of people who would love to own one of these cool looking and functional caravans will soon be able to afford to. We will be limited in the number we produce per year. We're aiming at finishing one caravan per month.
I welcome any advice you have for this project.

Michael Porter

Editor's Note: The stove Michael mentions is the Three Dog model from Four Dog Stove. Check it out, it's pretty cool!


Frances said...

bathroom?? that is what I missed the most on the trail while back packing;-)

mamita said...

We are thinking of including a porta potty along with the caravan

Post a Comment