Opening New Doors: A Tale of Glue, Clamps, and Upcycled Hinges

Hello, Project Ventura readers! We are still building the model of our greenhouse It may seem like we’ve been working on the model for quite a while(probably because we have been), but it’s important that we learn how to build things and make mistakes on a small structure that humans won’t enter. We don’t want to make our earliest mistakes on measuring, gluing, and clamping on the actual greenhouse! It’s been a long time, but we’re almost done. All of the different parts are starting to come together. We haven’t put everything together yet, but you can see the greenhouse starting to take shape.

Shilah Chhadua attaches the roof supports to the ridgepole. PC: Asha Mani

Shilah Chhadua attaches the roof supports to the ridgepole. PC: Asha Mani

Shilah and I have been working on putting the roof together. We had already cut and measured and glued together the supports for the ridgepole, but the hard part had yet to come. Attaching each of the ‘arms’ to the ridgepole didn’t seem like it would be too hard. Even though there were only two of us, we thought that we would be able to finish the frame for the roof without a problem. Oh how naive we used to be. It turns out that clamping a rather long wooden beam so that it is pointing diagonally in the air is rather difficult.

Our first idea was to to just put glue on the beam, line it up on the ridgepole, and hold it in place until the wood glue. Then we realized that it would take at least half an hour for the glue to dry. So we sat there, each propping up the beam at a different angle, trying to keep it from moving. We came up with a rather creative idea for a three-way clamp that would make the whole situation much easier, but our method was completely impractical and never going to work. Through some creative placements of blocks of wood, wedges underneath the angles, and at least three clamps (along with help from Ms. Jo), we finally managed to get the wood in place, and position it so that all that we had to do was wait for it to dry overnight. Too bad that was only one of the four that we have to do.


Lucia Hruby measures the door frame to find exactly where the hinges should be placed. PC: Asha Mani

We’re also starting to add the more detailed elements, that are smaller and more refined than the basic structure. One of these is the door. We planned to split the door into two parts: one lower, for the chickens to go out, and one above that, which can be lifted and used to collect the eggs. Our goal is always to be as innovative and creative as possible, and to use what we have available before going out and buying new things. For the hinges of the chicken coop door, we actually took apart some of the old, unused, vintage cabinets from the original Project Ventura at Ann Richards. Not only do they have intricate designs and a darker color metal that seems to add character, we’re also reusing materials!

None of us have ever made a door, so we’ve ran into a few difficulties (like that when we pull the top door up, it gets stuck on the bottom door), but that’s what the model is for, and we’ll end up with a beautiful chicken coop either way.

We should be done with the model fairly soon. The separate pieces are all coming together– all we’ll have to do in the end is put in a few screw, and our mini greenhouse/playhouse/dog house/chicken coop will be done, and we can start building the real thing!

Until next time,

Asha Mani


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