Design, consulting, and fabrication

Author Archive

Metal Fabrication!

A coworker asked me to make some metal brackets for a porch awning they were building. It was my first time fabricating metal from a set of plans which meant that I had zero input into the design but…it meant the plan was very clear, very exact, which was nice too. Nothing fancy although drilling a 1″ hole in 1/4″ steel requires a bit of planning. #metalfab #handmade #locallymade #welding #structuralsteel

Ponds, rainwater, and fruit tree guilds!

I needed to move the location of our existing pond so I hand dug a smaller pond in a different spot and used a pump I borrowed from my dad to pump most of the old pond water into the new pond. The rest of the water went to ours and the neighbors trees and landscaping, so very little was wasted. The old pond was fed from our gutters and so will the new one.

I ordered a new liner and used the rocks from the old pond to hide the liner and give it a more natural feel. I planted native ground cover and plants some of which came from our neighbors’ yards and some from our yard. To the right of the pond is a Fig tree and surrounding guild including Elderberry, Mint, and Daffodil. We were also able to move all the fish from the old pond, 10 little goldfish. #waterwise #reuse #pond #goldfish #permaculture #nativeplants

Growing Golden Raspberries!

We found a location for the golden raspberries a coworker gave us. We’ll try them here for a year and then decide whether we want to put them in the ground. The metal rods are from the trusses of an old church on MLK Blvd that we dismantled last winter. #reuse #permaculture #raspberries #handmade

Building a greenhouse.

Last week I helped a neighbor build a greenhouse from reclaimed materials. The metal clad windows and old rough sawn 2×4’s were salvaged from remodeling projects in Portland. We spent a couple days framing up the structure and installing the windows, now he’ll finish it off by adding a corrugated roof and siding…and starts. #reuse #salvaged #permaculture #handmade #locallymade

Basement window wells with character.

When we set out to remodel the basement we had to get creative with the design and execution of the window wells. There are very few options these days. Building something with natural stone or rock has endless opportunities to add unique beauty but the price tag doesn’t really fit our budget. For our largest window, 6 feet wide, we found some stack-able concrete block down the street that a neighbor was selling, but for the other two windows out front we wanted to minimize the amount of soil we had to remove, make as little impact of the landscaping as possible, and add an interesting look. I thought of these steel boxes and then came up with the idea of adding little areas to insert native plants. The steel comes from a scrap yard in SE Portland, and the plants were mostly transplanted from places in our yard. I can get this steel in all sorts of shapes and sizes and can add pretty much anything to them, stairs, hand rails, a top ledge, more places to add plants, etc. It’s a durable product, one that ages nicely over time, and comes from 100% reused materials. #reuse #handmade #metal #permaculture #locallymade

Staying Home.

During the past two years since our return to Portland, I have worked as a project manager and estimator for Lovett Deconstruction while working on the side to develop my own consulting, design, and fabrication business. With the current pandemic making a huge impact on our region I have been laid off from my work with Lovett. I am taking this time to hang out with my family, work on our own home improvement projects (like the bedroom cabinet I built pictured below) and reflect on the struggles our society faces when confronted with scenarios that put a real challenge on the distribution of goods and services. I’ve always considered myself and my family to be self sufficient and resilient, but the biggest challenge my family and the community of families around us face is the way in which we interface with our current infrastructure for goods and services. I’m very interested in helping to design and build self-sufficient systems in a home and yard that better enables you to weather episodes of total or partial infrastructure collapse, but also provides you and your family, during normal times,

the opportunity to be more self reliant, use less energy, and connect to nature. If you are interested in discussing ways you can increase your capacity to endure challenges such as the one we are currently facing I am offering a free 1 hour consult. There are many ways we can take the time to look at your potential projects and talk about ideas for making your place a more efficient and resilient home, while maintaining social distancing. Feel free to email or call 406-880-8240, be well. #locallymade #permaculture #makefood #growfood #handmade


Backyard Permaculture

After taking an urban permaculture design course during the winter we decided to put some of that knowledge to use planting plumb and cherry tree guilds and adding a water feature to attract birds and insects. The pond was already there luckily.IMG_7119

And since we knew we wanted to add larger windows to the basement we went ahead and dug out the openings, using the dirt to fill multiple raised bed boxes. #reuse #permaculture #handmade #locallymade #growfood

Back in Portland

We moved back to Portland after nearly 25 years away and found a sweet little house just down the street from where we both grew up. We started in on the front yard, creating some pathways, mostly native gardens, fruit tree guilds, and I built a bench for resting. The two chairs and the rock are a great place to have a cool beverage on a hot day. #reuse #locallymade #handmade #permaculture

Back in Jackson!

I lived in Jackson, WY in the 90’s, loved it, and we went through there and hung out with some old friends. IMG_5219It’s an amazing place, so beautiful, with incredible mountains and trails, tons of tourists, and lots of locals who live there and frolic in the wilderness.

Let’s ride!

Aah, words cannot describe the joy of sharing one’s passions with the ones you love. Pictures will have to suffice. Location: 18 mile road trails just outside Fruita, CO.IMG_4561IMG_4564IMG_4556IMG_4576IMG_5163

A few days in the sanctuary of the Rockies.

IMG_4504We stayed at a friends beautiful home in Crestone, and spent a couple days watching hippies dance and hiking the Rockies. IMG_5912Crestone is a sweet little town with an eclectic population and mountain access just outside the city.

Then the girls joined us and we will all travel together until Portland, OR.IMG_5941IMG_5954IMG_4430IMG_4450Today we watch France v Belgium, then on to our next stop, Fruita, CO for some mountain biking.

Colorado! The next frontier!


It’s windy, the roads disappear on the horizon and the first town we came to in Colorado had a recreational marijuana super store. We’re at the base of the SAN Juan de Crysto mountains in Crestone, Co, home of more spiritual centers per capita than anywhere else in the country.

I’m taking a Sami immersion course of course. But seriously folks I’m rubbing crystals together as I watch Russia v Croatia at the Elephant Cloud Tea Shop, Namaste.IMG_5853

Los Suenos de Santa Fe

Darlin’, is this a trailer park? IMG_5138We rolled into Santa Fe early this afternoon and went straight to our trailer, I mean camp site. It’s right in the middle of Santa Fe so super convenient. We had lunch at The Shed, really good tamales, and then we did a little car repair; Kanye needed a new house battery.

Tomorrow we explore the terrain around SF and then on to Colorado!

Who knew the desert was so cool?

As soon as we crossed into New Mexico it started raining and the temp dropped 20 degrees.

From the triple digits in OK and TX we are now sitting in 80 degrees with a good breeze, so much nicer. The dog, Solomon, has certainly enjoyed the change.IMG_5800IMG_5124 Now we enjoy the fourth on a fireworks free lake in what was once native land, and then part of Mexico, and now…IMG_5126IMG_5127

Oklahoma, hotter yet!

Somehow, it managed to get hotter, somehow. Yet once again, we find ourselves by a body of water. Kind of a hot tub filled with boats but a body of water none the less. I went on a little ride and found a cemetery. So many had died young, many of them obviously Native Americans. I’m determining this based on names and tombstone symbols… But then there was Chief Littleface, 99 years, who lived during what I can only imagine were incredibly tough times in a desolate place.

Oklahoma! Damn it’s hot!

In middle school I was in a play called Oklahoma, now I know what all that singing was about, it’s hot as hades here. Wisely, we mapped out lots of water on the trip.


Leaving Nashville

After five years in music city, with one PhD and two high school diplomas earned, and my honorary degree in holding on by the slimmest of margins, we have hit the road! First stop, somewhere outside Lil Rock, AR, in a place called Lake Catherine State Park. There are screaming babies and gun shots in the back ground which is how I know I’m really in Arkansas. Tonight, beers with mosquitoes, tomorrow…Oklahoma!


Gosh Darn Gravel Grinder, April Fools Ride.

I spent this auspicious holiday in Hickman County riding 40 some miles of awesome gravel roads with a bunch of weirdo’s. It was fabulous. #ridegravel #TN #surley

Live Edge Spalted Maple Table

We started with a maple tree a few years back, it had developed some rot and was at risk of following towards one of our buildings. Gist Tree Service here in Nashville dropped the tree and stacked the logs for us, we painted the ends and let them dry for a bit. This August we loaded a couple up and took them to Andersen Tree Service on the north-side who have a saw mill.

Monroe Harding maintenance coordinator, Brent Steffek, and I then hand planed the book-matched slabs so that they were relatively flat, then we jointed them together. There were a couple of checks in the ends of one of the slabs so we used a bow tie, or butterfly joint, to keep those cracks from expanding.

The table sold at auction, as a fundraiser for Monroe Harding, and made $4k with the agreement that we make another for that same price for the other bidder. We didn’t want one of the two competing bidders to go home unhappy. Recently, Brent and I cut up into 8′ lengths a Black Walnut tree that fell on property, we’d be happy to turn it into a beautiful and unique piece of furniture for your home or office, just shoot me an email if you are interested. #resaw #liveedge #salvage #reuse #handmade

A New Closet Too

Since we had to create a ton of dust for the bathroom we figured, why not just do the closet too. Originally it had a small single door into the closet, a 24″ wide door, and then the space was about 5′ wide so you had to kind of crawl in there to get anything tucked away in the back. So we decided to open it up and put some drawers in as well. Room for two wardrobes.Closet closed

The drawer faces and shelf trim are made out of the oak pallet that the shower walls came in.

Closet open

Master Bathroom Remodel

Time to remodel the master bath. For such a small space there sure was a ton of concrete. There was probably 3 inches on the floor and 2 inches of it on the walls, then tile on top of that. It took two bagsters for this little 5’x8′ room.

2017-01-08 14.20.00

Once we had it down to studs I framed out the new walk in shower for a new shower wall product from Kohler. I had to brace it for 24 hours so the adhesives could cure.


I ordered the fixed glass on line, used our original sink and toilet, and had a lovely Irish fellow do some great tile work. All Done.

Bathroom leftBathroom center showerBthroom right


Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance 2017

This year’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance was another doozy, made even more overwhelming by the event coordinators’ decision to move the event from Sunday to Saturday due to expected storms on Sunday. Here are a few of my favorite cars from the three days I was there.

I also got to see four time Indianapolis 500 winner and one of my child hood heroes, Al Unser Sr. , and I helped him out of his Indy winning race car after he’d driven it on to the fairway.IMG_4283

The Rusty Rider rides again

rusty-horizontal-fullI finally put the finishing touches on the Rusty Rider and planted him in the garden. I built a “drop” or “stunt” for him to ride on, it’s based on a stunt we built back in the day in Montana, it was a 2×6 laid flat on  vertical supports and it ran for about 30 feet, and then it ended and the drop was about 6-8 feet. We called it “Heaven” and it was used at a few of the Safety Team events and then ended up out at the “property”. I miss it, and those days.

The Rusty Rider

It all started with a garage sale find.IMG_3751

Then I had to find some rusty tools, chains, and other exciting old things.IMG_3770


Head no hair no tassles no arms

Head tassles no arms


Now it’s time to get this guy outside for some riding.