Gypsy Wagon Workshop

Gypsy Wagons with Jim Tolpin

Learn the Art and Craft of Building Gypsy Wagons

I want to thank EJ for this great find. I know there are many people here in the states interested in this type of building and I haven’t found anything like this anywhere else. You need to get your name in now as the class is filling up fast. Here are the details:
gypsy-wagon
In this week-long class we will explore how the late 19th century, English-made “Living Wagons” (called “Vardos” by the Gypsies)—were designed, built and used. Then you will discover how modern design and construction techniques can be used to create a wagon that will be enchanting and cozy, yet roadworthy for travel at today’s highway speeds. In the balance of the course you will learn the techniques and practice the hands-on skills that you’ll need to return home and build a Gypsy Caravan for yourself.

Here’s what we’ll be doing:

  • Drawing full size patterns for various components such as the end walls and the superstructure supports.
  • Designing a suitable chassis frame and running gear.
  • Building an endwall for a bow top.
  • Making a sample door and window.
  • Carving a knee bracket and a length of molding with “butterfly” chamfers.)
  • Designing the interior built-in cabinetwork
  • Bending hoops with a steam box and setting them to a form.
  • Designing electrical and plumbing systems
  • Designing the chimney for a wood-burning stove
  • Painting and varnishing some sample parts.
  • Talking about how to outfit a wagon for the road.

Included in the cost of the course are practice materials, detailed handouts and access to a free online forum where you can ask further questions and solicit advice.

To learn more and get the dates of this coveted class go here.

Photo Credit: Tim Lawson

gypsy-wagon bed

gypsy-wagon couch

gypsy-wagon sink

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31 Comments Gypsy Wagon Workshop

  1. Lellewynn

    Thanks for the link! I am so in love with the gypsy wagon idea. My favorite is either the reader wagon or the burton. I think instead of a traditional interior, I’m going to update it to look more like Jay Schafer’s tiny houses. Thanks a heap!

    Reply
  2. Kent

    Lellewynn when you build it please take pictures and document your work, I would love to show it off here on the Tiny House Blog.

    Reply
  3. Ben Brown

    I love the design work and style of these tiny gypsy homes. This has a lot of potential to be an owner builder version of the micro compact home. Unlike the micro compact home, this feels organic, warm and and rooted in natural forms versus the technologically clean, minimalist and contemporary of the micro compact home.

    Reply
  4. Michael Jones

    I’ve been following your blog for a while now and I must say you’ve provided some great information. I’m thinking of building my own home on wheels now. There is one area I’ve noticed you have not provided much info on and that is where is a good place to buy the type of trailer needed for this and what type would be best suited to building a house on. Just thought you might dedicate a column or two to this need.

    Thanks,
    Michael

    Reply
  5. carrey allen

    your whoopie wagons are nice but they are lacking the best half which is a good vanner to pull it. cushti divus

    Reply
  6. Cath

    Yes, I love the designs but they’re all for car pull. Where do I find modern info on how to build one of these for my mare to pull??

    Reply
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  8. Les Wattam

    Lellewynn

    That’s Reading waggon built by Duntons of Reading just out side of London England and pronounced Red-ing, and the Burton Waggon built in Burton upon Trent England. both in the turn of the last century.
    Please take a look at my webshot photos to see both types of horse drawn living waggon
    Les

    Reply
  9. Dutchman

    Hello,

    ‘Been reading the great articles and viewing the pics as well.Thanks for sharing !!

    As I happen to live in the netherlands it’s not an option for me to attend one of your classes in building a vardo. So I was wondering if you might be thinking of making an dvd perhaps on vardo- building ??or a book??

    good luck to all the builders and enthusiasts here!

    Sincere greetings from the netherlands.

    Reply
  10. Annemette Kristensen

    I was just wondering if there is a vardo community that I can join? My dream is to one day have my own vardo and to travel the world in it, but it would be more fun if there are others who would like to join me on my journey.

    Reply
    1. Wren

      I agree. I too feel the wanderlust and desire to take my home with me instead of feeling rooted in one place. Living smaller is just cozier. Someone please post communities that one can join if they want to pursue this lifestyle (both in the U.S. and Europe) thanks.

      Reply
  11. e. thompson

    Looking at the pictures, the roof is either translucent (unpainted) fabric or some sort of plastic or fibre-glass, in any case, a wonderful choice, as I’ve never seen an interior so well-lit.

    Reply
  12. thomas fitzpatrick

    Where is your class located? Very intrigued in your class. Looking for blue prints on these gypsy wagons.

    Reply
  13. Greg

    Where can I find a set of plans for the wagon pictured in the article. It’s absolutely beautiful and I would love to build one but I’m having some difficulty finding plans.

    Reply
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