Every month, we feature a project created by a different Vancouver Tool Library member. This month, we’re talking to Scott and Kim, who worked on two projects this summer: cedar planter boxes for their backyard and the restoration of their boat. They have been kind enough to share with us how the VTL’s tool inventory helped them with these endeavours.
Tell us about how your project helped you start growing your own food in your backyard.
We’ve been wanting to grow our own veggies for some time and were finally motivated after moving into a place with a lovely, sizable, south-facing deck. After researching many different planter designs (we also find the book library quite useful), we drew up plans for some substantial planters for our garden. The father of a friend of ours runs a cedar processing plant and he graciously donated some beautiful cedar planks to the cause. With that, we were away. We were building six of the 2’x4′ planters, and rather than build them slowly one at a time, we decided to just get on with it and build them assembly-line style using VTL tools! Tools were everywhere: planks were first cut using the library’s sliding mitre-saw, drilled using the drill-press, and finished off with a skill saw for the base. To boot, all the work was supported on saw horses from the VTL. In one long day, we got through most of the work and ended with a stack of empty planter boxes waiting to be filled with soil. The next weekend we piled them high with dirt and planted our crops. We had a bountiful harvest of fresh veggies – notably a HUGE haul of tomatoes! A project definitely worth doing and highly rewarding!
You’re working on a boat too! How did you get started on that?
Now, we’ve been focusing on the restoration of our 33′ sailboat. This project came about when we decided to take a few months off work next summer and go explore the BC coast. We’re going to head for Alaska, but it’s likely we’ll get side-tracked on the way up exploring the Great Bear Rainforest and maybe Haida G’waii. Since we weren’t in a position to purchase a “ready-to-go” boat, we found one that had everything we were looking for (solid full keel, pilothouse, cutter rig, good engine) but needed a bit of work.
What did that work involve, exactly?
Throughout the summer, we worked away on restoring the hull, scraping and sanding the old failing paint job off the boat, and re-applying a new paint system that should keep the hull protected for another 15 years. The job was totally gross and really dirty but the resulting paint job is fantastic. The VTL was awesome for us. We were regularly in to pick up random tools that we didn’t have on hand: large wrenches for loosening and re-installing thru-hulls, grinders for sharpening scrappers and tidying up teak with stubborn varnish, hole-saws for cleaning up holes that needed filling with fiberglass, various sanders for hard-to-reach places, and additional clamps which were super handy when we were epoxying together the pilothouse roof. As our boat project takes us into winter, it has been great to borrow the work lights to allow us to work into the evenings. Many of the jobs required unique tools that we would probably only use once; the VTL has been a huge help by giving us the opportunity to borrow the tools rather than buy them!
What is still remaining before you go?
The list of ‘to do’ items left for us is mostly made up of cosmetic stuff, including sanding, painting, and varnishing. We’re also in the process of replacing the boat’s pilothouse roof as the previous owner had dropped the boom on it, cracking the fiberglass and leaving a big soggy mess. Besides that, we have some smaller projects inside the boat but nothing that needs immediate attention; we’ll likely pick away at them during the trip. We call it a “project” boat…but we should really be calling it a “projects” boat!
Since there seems to be no end to a project of this nature, we are truly grateful for the VTL shop. Having tools and resources readily available is helping this project go by quicker than expected and making it much easier on our pocketbooks. Your staff and volunteers are always offering encouragement and interest in our work too! Thanks VTL!
Great job Scott and Kim! Have fun on your coastal adventure next summer.