Saturday, May 12, 2012

Shop projects - shelves and coffins!

Between guests, Julio and I have been busy with some community projects. One project that Julio came up with was a result of last year's Hurricane Richard (October 2010). A very large cedar tree fell down in the storm in the back of Ka'ax Tun and was laying over top of some of the gorges in the jungle. Cedar is a beautiful wood, easy to work with and kind of light (so easy to move furniture you build).

We have had some occasions in the past when people have died near here and the family has needed a coffin. Usually a trip is made to Melchor, Guatemala to buy an inexpensive coffin. Then the coffin has to be transported back to Belize and then everything else can procede with the funeral etc. So, since Julio is the town chairman and many people look to him for help on these occasions, Julio thought it would be good to have some coffins here ready to be used when needed.

The first step was to cut up the tree. In August 2011 we hired a local guy to help with that. It was a challenge but we managed to cut up the tree into mostly 1"x12"x12 foot long boards.
Cutting over the gorge
Supporting so everything doesn't fall!
Jungle engineering
Cross your fingers and hope all goes to plan!
Whew, bad luck if we dropped the whole works in the hole.
Some of the smaller boards
Jungle milling - very accurate with the proper operator.
Yup, I was there (on the right)!
Boards to haul out.
More boards to haul out.

We then had to carry the boards about one mile through the jungle to our truck. Julio's kids helped with this.
About 1 mile to go.
How many trips?

Then, as we need more boards to work with, we transport them to a lumber yard, about 6 at a time due to the weight and the bad roads, to get them planed. This is the first coffin we have made.
Finished coffin.
Coffin in the shade.
Belize custom is a window for viewing.
Testing the fit on Marge at 5 foot 10 inches (taller than most people here).
Yup, the window works!  Hi Marge!!!
Julio and Tom, buen carpentaros.

During this project we also had a request from the public school principal in 7-Mile for bookshelves. A couple from Vermont, Neidi and Kevin, that visited us in February made a donation to the school so we purchased screws, 2x4s, fuel for the generator, and Julio his kids and I spent 3 work days making 6 sets of shelves for the school.   Thanks so much Neidi and Kevin for helping the school with your donation!

1 comment:

JRinSC said...

Nice post Tom!
You do good woodwork and it sure looks like you have no problem coming up with projects. This was a fine thing to do for your community and I am proud of you showing people some of the sides of the "good Americans". We don't see that very often. Good work!

With the dam in place is the little village near you going to get electricity finally??