As Summer Begins

The past few weeks have presented us with a few problems and a wonderful surprise. The weather has been cold and rainy most of the time and we have been faced with one big problem which I will explain later. We’ve started to make progress, there have been occasional beautiful sunlit days, and we have been given an invaluable gift. The first hint of this gift was the appearance of Vanille, a lovely Comtois mare who came to live in the green grass just next door. Her owner, a friend, has invited us several times for trips through the forest in his “caleche” pulled by Vanille. As we move through a forest filled with splashes of sunlight, on a path bordered with a garden of wildflowers, he is teaching me to drive. He explains everything in detail about the harness, the horse and the shoes. He is a gifted teacher and an excellent horse person. This is all invaluable experience and information needed for our future travelling with Tòti. Vanille is amazingly strong with a gentle and willing disposition. I am aware that life has presented me with a marvelous gift.


Work on the gussets is progressing. They will be a decorative support for the front of the roof where it attaches to the front wall. We purchased rough Ash boards. Mark chose the best ones, planed them and cut them straight, then joined them together with a spline joint. I traced the pattern on each side of both pieces. After that I carefully cut them out with a jig saw.

There are excellent tutorials on youtube for carving wood so I spent a few rainy days in woodcarving school with my iPad. We ordered a set of carving tools that were inexpensive but very disappointing so we ordered 2 expensive Swiss made tools which are excellent and a pleasure to use. I suggest always buying quality tools. I didn’t have a mallet until Mark looked in our firewood box and found a bit of branch that works perfectly. It fits my hand and is just the perfect weight.


The front and back pieces for the roof are cut out and waiting. It took time to find the curve that the engineer and the artist could agree on but now they are ready.


Our main concern these last few weeks has been the epoxy coating we put on Tòti’s exterior walls. It didn’t cure properly. It clogged the sanding disks. Every day we carried the walls out into the sun, hoping the heat would help. We washed them and scraped them. Nothing helped. Mark searched the internet for information while I helped by Stressing out, losing sleep, feeling completely helpless and grumbling about epoxy. We have used Entropy Resins for all the bonding of framework and plywood, and lamination of the roofbeams with no problem at all. Finally, Mark wrote an email to the company, Entropy Resins EU.

So often when contacting a company one receives an automated response. If by some miracle a real person responds, they are seldom helpful. Jaime Ferrer-Dalmau at Entropy Resins EU responded immediately. He replied that it was he who should be apologizing. We started to relax.

When we coated the walls in early May, the weather was quite warm. However, the temperature dropped quickly. The walls were not warm enough and the humidity was too high during the days required for curing.

Since we do not have a climate controlled workshop, the epoxy could not cure properly. Mr. Ferrer-Dalmau told us that there had been one or two other instances of curing problems in these conditions. He apologised that this information had not been added to the technical data sheets at the time we purchased this epoxy. We all agreed that grinding it all off was the only solution. This is finished now, but it has taken days, a belt sander, a new sander and a lot of work. We are a month behind with the project but the summer months are ahead.

The end of the story is that Entropy Resins EU has reimbursed us for the total of our last order. We are thrilled! We are not only happy to be reimbursed, but happy to find a conscientous company. There is hope for the future.

If you are thinking of building using Epoxy resins, please check out their products. They are environmentally friendly which was our reason for choosing them over petroleum based epoxy resins. It is an excellent product. Ours was a communication problem, not a defective product.

SuperSap Eco Performance Resin Online Store

We recommend Russell Brown’s book, Epoxy Basics if you are planning on building with epoxy resins.

You might also enjoy browsing the beautiful photos on







About Suzanne

American living in France. Artist and lover of nature, gardening, all living beings. Married to the love of my life, mother of two wonderful daughters and grandmother.
This entry was posted in Community, Gypsy wagon/Roulotte construction technique, Horse drawn vehicles, Lifestyle, Small living spaces, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s