Camp Kitchen

Inspired by the desire to bring less with me when I have fewer camp-mates, that is, to have a “light” camp setup, I wanted a camp kitchen counter that I could use as a work surface and storage area that would also be easy to set up and take down.

I just had one problem.

I don’t have the tools or the skills to build things out of wood.

Luckily, I have friends who do!

My friend Renzo enjoys working with wood — especially with a friend and was happy to help me build this camp kitchen! We used plans for an A-frame Kitchen Work Counter developed by Gregor and Genoveva of and made a few modifications as we went along.

Renzo likes to use hand tools and he taught me to do the work too! I learned to make a mortise using a chisel.

We needed to make eight of these mortices (two in each leg of the structure) for the three cross-pieces to slide through and hold the sides together.

Then I used a plane to smooth down the edges and the surface of the three cross-pieces. Then we set it up to see how it looked.

It was coming together but it was wobbly. A work surface will hold the structure together when it’s built, but this structure will be used for camping in fields. Uneven ground can make a structure lean to one side or the other and that’s the last thing you want if you’re doing food preparation or cooking on that structure.

So we decided to make some wooden pegs to hold all the pieces together for extra stability.

That’s when I learned to use a hand drill!

One day I came to work in Renzo’s garage and he had advanced the work to the point where he had been ready to paint. We’d talked about possible colors and the preferred use of milk paint beforehand, and then I turn up at Renzo’s house for a work day and BAM! It was painted this brilliant shade of blue that I probably would have been too afraid to use but which looks BRILLIANT!

Renzo did the tabletop surface all on his own using a biscuit joiner. After seeing the gorgeous blue, I picked a stain that made the hemlock look orange to complement the blue.

What do you think of this project?

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