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I like building things.

Wood is fun to work with. This is hardly a revelation for many of you. But before I moved here, the most experience I had with carpentry was a summer job when I was 15 as an assistant to a cabinet-maker. I was useless. The work was tough, I had no clue what I was doing, and it was utterly lost on me that I had a great opportunity to learn a lot.

I still have little clue what I’m doing (an improvement over ‘no’ clue) but I manage to learn a lesson or two from my building experiences these days. My father-in-law has captained a number of building projects on my property – an interior wall and an outbuilding, among others – and this summer I captained a shed extension.

A drill and a hammer, a mitre saw and a chainsaw. A sparse toolbox for fine work, but it’s good to know how to wield them.

A couple of projects have caught my eye.

This is what triggered the first interest:

Now, getting a kit shipped from Australia may not be the way to go about building a sailing dinghy. It can probably be done much more cheaply just by purchasing a set of plans and doing it yourself from scratch.

The sailboat idea isn’t new for me. My dad was a sailor. I hated sailing. It seemed slow and the poetry of it eluded me. But, like woodworking, an interest in sailing grew with age – enough that getting a Laser or small Hobie Cat some day has been percolating in the back of my mind.

Either one would be (much) faster than the little dinghy I would build. Doesn’t matter. Now that I’ve latched onto this idea, it has supplanted the other two. Building your own boat, however small, and taking to the water with it is cool.

Project two is bigger and less likely to interest my wife.

I like campers. Didn’t like them when I was young – seeing a trend? – but like them now. I especially like small campers. I like VW campervans and modern campervans. I like teardrop trailers. Hell, I like bivouac sacks (

My wife has never been a fan of campers, but lately has expressed tepid interest in getting a tear-drop trailer, maybe, possibly, some day.

Instead of resting on that idea – which I still like, in case you’re reading, T! – I’ve started pondering building one of these:

I know, I know, my contradictions abound. You’d think I was some big hippie, what with my interest in VW vans, legalizing drugs and, now, gypsy caravans. But look at that thing! It’s awesome!

Why buy a trailer when I can build one? It’s even got a little chimney for a stove (maybe one of these:

I need to be realistic, though. My skills are currently far short of what I’d need to tackle that project. Even the sailboat would be a stretch (I think I could do the kit, but doing it just from instructions, while possible, might result in the ugliest thing that ever limped the seas).

Clearly, what I need to do is get the father-in-law onboard. I sowed the seeds yesterday. Just a casual mention: “Hey, you know what’s kind of interesting…?”

I think the sailboat is a possibility. The gypsy caravan, though, would take a lot of time and a not-insignificant amount of money. And selling my wife on it might be difficult: “Honey, it costs more than a tear-drop and has none of the convenience – what’s not to love?”

It would be a shame if I had to pick between the caravan and the blockhouse.

Have I told you about the blockhouse I want to build? Now there's a chance for chainsaw carpentry if I've ever seen one...

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