I Made a Little Library

My friends John and Lee live in the historic 1937 Ortiz Taylor House and commissioned me to build a little library to go out front. They wanted one that looked like the architect’s drawing for a never built garage, so I did the best I could do to make the little library look like a southwestern adobe.

A neighbor gifted me a nice new piece of 3/4 plywood and most of the rest of the components came from scrap wood I had laying around. The universe kinda came together to make this project happen. I used simple rabbet joints done on the tablesaw to create the plywood box. For the doors I used mortise and tenon joints. I picked up some piece of metal flashing material to cobble together a roof.

I sketched out the plans at a cafe while Kelly was at an appointment and did the final plan in Sketchup to make sure that I didn’t make a stupid mistake cutting the plywood. As a woodshop teacher once said to a class I was taking, “Always have a plan.”

If you’re going to put up one of these things I’d suggest a solid base set in concrete as books can get heavy.

Little libraries are one of the best things to come out of the city repair movement. I really enjoy the ones in our neighborhood and I do a kind of circuit of them on my dog walks. Even if I don’t leave or take something it’s always fun to see what shows up.

Weekend Linkages: Historic Rain

The truth about California’s annual termite swarms

Can’t confirm this but some people might be eating monkey chow

Man Obsessed With ’90s Lives In Time Capsule And Uses Outdated Technology

Way beyond my abilities but this lip syncing project made me laugh

How to Build a Low-tech Solar Panel

Friend of the blog Jenn Berger has an art show up

I saw a good cat this weekend

Stay safe California friends

Master Tinkerer Ray Narkevicius

While I’m sitting on my ass writing this brief blog post, my neighbor Ramutis “Ray” Narkevicius is building something, tending his poultry, making compost, growing hops on the rooftop of a brewery, scavenging materials, grafting a fruit tree or wiring the inside of a Fed Ex cargo jet.

Over the years Ray has turned his yard into a elaborate nutrient loop. Spent grains that he gets from the brewery feed the poultry. Poultry manure nourish fruit trees and the duck water waste hosts crayfish. All the water gets pumped around to a series of raised beds that grow herbs, dragon fruit and strawberries. His small yard overflows with the most delicious citrus you’ve ever had. And he’s a generous and kind neighbor who is always willing to lend a helping hand.

Thankfully, the folks at Fair Companies, including friend of the blog Johnny, of Granola Shotgun, made a video about Ray. One of the cool things about this video is that the footage spans seven years so you get to see how much Ray has done in just that short amount of time. One little takeaway you see in this video is how well citrus does with the liberal application of compost. The other takeaway? It’s time to put this laptop down, head outside, and get to work.


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A post shared by Lloyd Kahn (@lloyd.kahn)

Lloyd Kahn’s Instagram alerted me to a delightful set of models built by University of Illinois at Chicago architecture students that pay tribute to something we don’t think about enough, the wood framing that forms the skeleton of most houses in the U.S.

The models are in the U.S. Pavillion at the Venice Biennale. Odds are you’re sitting in a wood frame structure right now. While the debate between masonry and wood framing is above my pay grade, it’s fun to see a representation what’s under our walls. The nerd in me wants to make one of these framing models, maybe a version our own house.