Introduction: Gypsy Wagon Built From Salvaged Materials

Picture of Gypsy Wagon Built From Salvaged Materials

This is my Farm Stand for Gypsy Wagon Farm.

I built it entirely from salvaged materials, save the marine vinyl on the roof(as the weatherproof canvas I first put on had lost it's weatherproofness).

I also built the entire thing all by myself.

From torn down treehouses to ripped apart barns, from torn down cedar shingles to ripped up floors, from door dismantlings to fence takedowns, I had a seemingly unending supply of raw materials to use.

The image above showing the refuse is 1/4 the original size before I began this project. The concept of creating something so wonderful and useful from a pile of junk is pretty exciting and really rewarding!

I took pictures along the way of the gypsy wagon in its various stages of build. This isn't an instructable on how to build what I did, but rather to show and inspire what can be done.

Step 1: Initial Deck and Framework

Picture of Initial Deck and Framework

I first built the deck. I used the longest boards I could find to create a 10' x 14' platform. It is resting on 8 concrete blocks. I tried to use boards that were similar in thickness to create as flush a floor as I could. Some boards were much longer than the ten feet, so those were cut and used for the wall studs.

The wall studs are approximately 2" x 2" x 6'. Many long board cutoffs from the deck, some of which were 8" in width were resawed on the table saw. This was difficult and I had to set up all kinds of makeshift jigs to make it as safe an operation as I could. I managed okay with no kickbacks or nicked fingers.

The horizontal bars are grooved(on the table saw) with glass fitted inside. The glass was from those 60's louver doors. It is very good glass and was a great solution for allowing light in while providing structural strength.

Step 2: Putting Up the Walls

Picture of Putting Up the Walls

The side walls are built at a 9 degree angle, the front and back walls
are straight up and down, naturally. This is the only time I required another set of hands, was when I need to brace the walls to each other and the floor, as I had only one of each completed.

Using sill plates, bolts, diagonal braces and heavy duty zipties was enough to keep the structure stable enough for even the gusty March winds. At this point the structure was lightweight, save for the glass inserts, which were the heaviest part.

Some of the wood was pine, but much was oak or other hardwood which was fully dried. Most of the holes for construction(including the deck) were pre-drilled. Using self-tapping deck screws eliminates this necessity, but some of the oak was just too hard and needed pilot holes. For me, this made screwing everything in a lot less stresful.

Step 3: Doors, Windows, & Shingles

Picture of Doors, Windows, & Shingles

It was exciting to see the skeleton of the Wagon coming together!

I framed out the window slats on the vertical to create larger, more tradition-looking windows for the front. There are no glass windows in the back of the wagon as the sun does not shine through from there.(Though there is the large, open one at top for cross ventilation.)

At this point it needed some stability to reduce twist, so I added a serious crossbeam from the front to the back.

The old shingles are from the house as it has been resided. They are good-quality cedar, with a dreadful paint color on them, so I just flipped them over(easier to paint, too, as the wrong side has a flat surface). I "trimmed" them out with recycled strapping from a hydroponics experiment, and topped the whole thing off with a heavy piece of oak.

The front planks are from a variety of sources, the house, a lightweight shed, and a floor.

Step 4: The Roof

Picture of The Roof

This was difficult for me as I was challenging myself to only use salvaged materials, and finding large enough pieces of sheetwood to accommodate the rounded roof took some resourcefulness, but also to find long pieces of decent condition boards long enough to reach from the front to the back, as joists, or runners for the roof structure.

I fastened the ribs to the runners, then attached the deer fencing to that. Finally I spread the green canvas(it has fiberglass on the inside) over the entire thing.

Because my boards were not long enough to create overhang, I had to create that separately. This created more challenges, especially after a big rain, which I discovered that this stuff wasn't water-resistant anymore. So I bit the bullet and decided to purchase the first and only item to complete the Wagon: marine vinyl.

Step 5: The Finished Wagon!

Picture of The Finished Wagon!

It all worked out well, especially as the green color clashed badly with the paint and the muted tan looked much nicer(and definitely waterproof!)

I used closet brackets for the overhang and old wagon wheels from a horse carriage.

The entrance way is an arbor and door I built with oak limbs. I wanted something rustic and whimsical as an entrance into the garden.

I have put up some shelves on the inside and have hung herbs to dry all along the runners, so it smells like stingle nettle and swiss mint inside, really nice! As my garden goes into full production I will sell produce inside, plus various crafts that I make throughout the summer that fit the theme of a permaculture garden.

Thanks for looking and hope this inspires you to build your own outdoor structure with reclaimed wood!



MagentaS (author)2016-06-18

Utterly wonderful

Ever since school, when i was in year 8, Woodwork was just becoming acceptable to do for a "girl" at my school. I was very lucky, at my school as we could pick 3 subjects that was "arty".

They naturally thought all girls would do Sewing, design costumes, Art and cooking which is great but the boys got, woodwork, metalwork and Landscaping. So I picked Woodwork, Metalwork which were the subjects i loved. Although I was the only girl tht picked Woodwork and Metalwork and must say my teachers really did not give me much help. One said to me you prob wont be that good at these subjects so just watch. I did learn a lot and did not sit back and WATCH got %100 on all exams and projects.

So I'm quite excited to perhaps do This Word work course.

Plus this Wagon is just amazing, something to get started on. Sorry I went on and on but you have inspired me indeed. Come On Girls get into this.


cdstudioNH (author)MagentaS2016-06-18

Awww, that's great. And I love your long comment! I was fortunate enough to be offered drafting and woodworking from 6-8th grade, as it was a pretty good school(I also got to learn the "girly" stuff). We had lots of girls in the classes and we got to build whatever we wanted, from basic shelves to complicated birdhouses, even cedar hope chests! (This was mid-late 80's)

AlanS14 (author)2016-06-16


gmoon (author)2016-06-14

Too cool! The little wagon wheels are a nice touch (funny, too).

pattitrisha (author)2016-06-14

I come from a family with 3 girls. My Mother always told us we could do anything. And, you just proved it. !!! Good for you. I admire your huspaw.

Lovetra (author)2016-06-13

EXTREMELY creative! Bet you are good at jig-saw puzzles too.

Just laying it out is amazing!

violetsmuse (author)2016-06-13

Fabulous job and I love the garden door! Will you show how you made it (in steps)? That's exactly what I need....TY!

cdstudioNH made it! (author)violetsmuse2016-06-13

Thank you! I didn't take pics along the way but I can certainly include some up-close pics. Materials beside the cut-off limbs are are drill and variety of screw sizes(pre-drilling holes also definitely a must.) Reproducing the hinge would be difficult as I dealt with a very specific set-up; you'd have to build a support pole.

violetsmuse (author)cdstudioNH2016-06-13

This does help me a lot. Thank you!

ClenseYourPallet (author)2016-06-12

This is great!! Beautiful job

Thanks everyone for the very nice compliments!

VioletaO (author)2016-06-13

Love it! :)

brendadawg1 (author)2016-06-13

Great this

paul the maker (author)2016-06-12

I think the old wood makes it look great

Lorddrake (author)2016-06-12

great job .. very creative

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