Sunday, August 5, 2007


Recently, I've been spending a lot of my free time on do-it-yourself projects, big and small.

Shortly after moving in to my apartment, I did a load of laundry and hung it to dry on the clotheslines behind my apartment. In the late afternoon, I came down to collect my clothes. My socks were missing. Someone had stolen them. Luckily I brought plenty of socks with me, so it wasn't a huge loss. But I realized that I couldn't dry my clothes out there unless I wanted to eventually lose my entire wardrobe. What to do?

Brent suggested an obvious solution: run a clothesline on my roof. Almost all Honduran buildings are built in a piecemeal fashion: one room or one floor at a time, whenever there is money for materials. (Interest rates on home loans are often 30% or higher, so people don't usually get financing for buying/building homes). Because of this, there's always rebar and extra pillars sticking out of the roof, ready for the time when the owner might eventually add on to the building. It was simple enough to string a rope along from rebar to rebar, and there was my new clothesline. I've had no problem with disappearing clothes since then.

On a trip to Tela a few weeks ago, I bought a hammock. I had never mounted a hammock before, and didn't really know what I needed. First I looked up the spanish words for hooks, screws, mounts, drill bit, etc, and wandered over to the hardware store. I walked out of there with everything I needed, and with the help of a power drill borrowed from Brent, I now have a hammock in my living room!

The biggest project so far has been furniture building. This past week I built my first piece of furniture: a table. I looked online for different table plans, and ended up adapting the plans from a workbench (it was the simplest and most sturdy-looking). I bought about 300 lemps of wood from the lumber yard, and cut them up with a handsaw (also borrowed from Brent). This took a looooong time. But after a couple days, I screwed all the pieces together, and whallah! A sturdy living room table.

Here are my plans, for those interested:

Raw supplies
(1) 2"x2" 14' long
(2) 1"x6" 10' long
(1) 1"x4" 14' long

Cut four legs from the 2"x2". I made my legs 33" long, which is about the height of a tall dining table. Cut the 1"x4" into three 2' long pieces and two 4' long pieces. Cut the two 1"x6" boards into eight pieces 2.5' long.

Start making the frame by screwing together two legs with one 2' piece of 1"x4".

Complete the frame by joining the legs with the 4' lengths of 1"x4". Screw in the remaining 2' piece of 1"x4" as the center support.

Line up the 1"x6" pieces on top, and screw them in to make the tabletop.

All done!


A Well Trained Horse said...

Good job! You're very inspiring. It looks like that hammock would swing right into the wall... and what a bright yellow is painted on that wall (on all the walls it seems). Sunny.

Raphael said...

yeah the hammock isn't as close to the wall as it looks. I can reach out and push off of it, but I don't slam into it on the return swing.

Honduras Sprout said...

Very impressive! Watch out. If word gets out that you've got saw and hammer skills...