Posts Tagged: urban agriculture

Feature Member Project: Sailboat Restoration

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.

October 14 – Winter Garden Construction Workshop

The beautiful garden you nurtured this year produced a multitude of fresh vegetables all summer. Keep it alive over the frostier months with a cloche greenhouse that you can learn to make in our Winter Garden Construction Workshop.

Photo courtesy of

Become familiar with the Vancouver Tool Library’s inventory while observing the step-by-step instructions on how to recreate this project in your own backyard. Participants should be familiar with the use of power tools but, as always, safety procedures will be described in detail. After this workshop, you’ll be able to benefit from your hard work earlier this year for months longer than you previously thought. Instructor Kimi Hendess will also go over what types of vegetables grow best in the colder months and how to prepare them for the lower temperatures.

When: Sunday, October 14th, 2012, from 11am-2pm

Where: The Tool Library, 3448 Commercial Street

Cost: $15 for VTL Members | $20 for Non-Members

What to Bring: Please wear comfortable, tighter-fitting clothing and shoes that are weather appropriate. Avoid dangly accessories for safety reasons.

Questions? Email lauren [at] vancouvertoollibrary [dot] com

Advance registration is required! Please pre-pay and sign up through the PayPal button below or come into the shop to register. Refunds are available up to 48 hours before the workshop begins.

Workshop Registrants: Please include your email address in the paypal form! This is how we’ll contact you with any workshop updates and to confirm your registration. Note that VTL Members will be required to present their member cards at the workshop.

Member or Non-Member?