Nearly three years ago, when Gordon and I decided to spend our winters volunteering in Cambodia, we thought it would be fun to share some of our skills. Gordon's hobby and passion is woodworking, especially making furniture. Mine is sewing and needlework.
Our first volunteer experience in Cambodia was at a primary school. I taught hand sewing and embroidery, while Gordon designed and built ten wooden computer desks plus a shelving unit to house laptop computers that were being charged. Everything was custom built, mostly using battery operated power tools, since electricity was often unavailable at the school. They loved the desks so much, shortly after we left they hired carpenters to build several more. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. No kidding.
Last year there was plenty of work to keep us both occupied at Honour Village, which was a newly opened orphanage. Click on this link to read about Gordon's many woodworking projects during our stay. As the orphanage expanded, they realized they needed more furniture and storage, so even before we left, they had several more projects lined up for Gordon on his return.
I've already blogged this year about my efforts to teach sewing and embroidery classes, and about teaching one student to sew on a treadle machine. And before you begin to wonder whether or not Gordon actually came along on this trip, it's about time I shared what he's been doing. Here's how it's been going so far..
|This is the lumber department of the hardware store|
with some plumbing supplies thrown in.
Plywood costs about the same as in Canada but is poorer quality
|We discovered they had a secret stash of thin plywood in back.|
|You can transport just about anything in or on a tuk-tuk.|
Here, the driver is using thin strapping to secure a sheet of plywood to the roof.
I didn't think it would hold....
|I was also worried we might take off & be airborne,|
but we actually made the 15 km ride without any problems
and then did it again a few days later. Wheeee, what a ride!!
|Gordon also bought a load of rough lumber at a lumber yard.|
This year he had the luxury of having all the wood planed to the same thickness
because workers were already onsite planing wood for the new house (House 4)
|The first thing Gordon needed to do was make saw horses.|
The ones he made last year had found another home.
He uses a set of battery operated Rockwell power tools
since there is no electricity on site
|His next project was to make wooden lockers (cupboards) for each dormitory|
He's had lots of expert supervision
|He had a volunteer helper for a few days, but mostly he works alone|
|The cupboard construction is much more sturdy and stable|
using a Kreg jig system, generaously donated by the Kreg company
|This clamp, part of the Kreg system, keeps the wood in place while it is being fastened.|
Gordon uses his power tools sparingly, and often works with hand tools
since there is no electricity onsite to recharge the batteries once they are exhausted
|The carcass for one of the lockers. He's built four in all - one for each dormitory.|
Each locker has 15 compartments. Each compartment has a hinged door with a latch
That's 60 doors, 120 hinges, 360 screws (not counting the latches).
|Using simple, but primitive handmade clamps to secure strips of wood,|
Gordon bends the strips of wood for the seat backs
along the outer edge of the lotus pond which acts as a natural form.
You can see the entrance to the pond here.
|Here is a piece of wood that has been bent to shape|
|Gordon hand chisels out the ends to fit and overlap them for gluing.|
With no electricity, a lot of the work has been done by hand.
|At the end of the day, |
some of the guys like to hang around with Gordon
|And occasionally Gordon sits around with the girls....|
|But mostly, he's too beat to even notice if anyone's around.|