Kev Smith raises the modern/progressive bar in the Pemberton valley with his shipping container box/home conversion. With his home base in Vancouver these days – the box makes the perfect self contained weekend play-pad.
A work-in-progress, Kev is on the home stretch to his fully operational container.
The Lotus Chair (seen above) was designed by Paul Boulva in 1976. Originally called the Chair 2000, it was supposed to be introduced at the 1976 Montreal Olympics. The chair missed the production deadline, but made it’s way into Kev’s container.
Minimalism as defined by Kevin Smith. Views included.
I usually keep my posts short and to the point. I deviate in the interest of discussing the topic of how design and craftsmanship are related, and ‘misunderestimated’ in society today.
Thoughtfully crafted. This is what is missing in most products today. In recent years the mastery of crafts has been overlooked, homogenized, downsized, and exported. The knowledge of how to make beautiful and useful things today has been almost completely lost in North America. The crafts have been deemed unworthy pursuits in favor of service industry professions, that ultimately produce nothing. How can an entire country cease to continue to produce things of value? Have Americans forgot what the foundation of the country was built on? Does the allure of disposable price points trump the value of something thoughtfully crafted? I think not.
I just came across this video of Steve Opperman from Temple Bags. What a breath of fresh air, which is ironic as it’s only showing dated tools of the trade from the crafted era…
Fancy tools and technology don’t replace a craft, they should only serve to extend it. The ‘state of the ART’ still implies that art should be at the forefront of technological progression. To design at a level that creates functional art, requires a mastery of craft. Mastery of a craft requires the skilled manipulation of materials. Skilled manipulation of materials only comes from many many hours of passionately working hands-on. It’s so simple.. so why is it so complicated?
Culturally, why would we not want to work with our hands to create things of value? Is it more fun to drive a desk, push paper, or work feverishly on a computer all day? I think not. Is it worth losing the ability to create and produce just to procure the lowest possible labor cost? I think not.
Anything worth doing, is worth doing well.
You get what you pay for, and we all collectively pay the consequences of our choices with the net result to our respective national economies. If you are willing to support thoughtful craftsmanship, more companies will be -able- to provide it. You ‘vote’ for your values every time you throw down the platinum card.
These ‘terminator moon boots’, have a steel toe-cap for kickin’ tires and great traction for mucking around. They are waterproof, chemical resistant, and rated for -40 below. They fit great (a proper foot bed is molded in), allowing the dexterity for running heavy equipment.
Amazing industrial design that takes workboots to a whole ‘nuther level!
They make over 150 different models for every application you can imagine.
Now, fast forward to the 2006 Ford GT. A modern rendition of the original GT40, in both spirit and performance. The GT has a 550hp supercharged V8. It’s bigger and heavier than the vintage racer – yet manages to maintain both proportion and capability. An impressive accomplishment considering what the original GT40 represented. 1968 vs. 2006… This is a mid-engine 200+ mph racecar, that you can buy and drive on public roads. One of the [few] great examples of what an American car company can accomplish when they ‘get it right’.An instant modern classic.
The Yamaha Phazer Mountain has a lot going for it. The ergonomics nearly match a modern motocross race bike for starters. The 500cc four-stroke motor is actually a very high-tech mill that’s essentially two YZ250F motors grafted into a 500cc twin. It’s fuel injected, and has a peak of 80 hp. at about 12,000rpm. It’s also the lightest four-stroke in the Yamaha range, at about 40lbs. less than the Nitro.
The downsides are 80 hp., just isn’t enough here in the Coast Range of B.C., where we have long, steep and deep ascents in thick snow. Up in the alpine, power to weight ratio becomes essential to get to where you want to go. What to do?
Well, add a turbo for starters. I used a Swedish system by MCXpress. It’s a rear mounted turbo that’s tucked under the seat, and is driven off of the exhaust. This doubles the hp. from 80 to 160 hp., when running a race gas mix of 50% 110 octane VP race gas, and 50% 94 octane pump gas, and 16 lbs of boost. BIG step in the right direction!
The MCX system consists of Turbo, intercooler, ECU, air intake, exhaust, blow-off valve, and all the requisite plumbing. Note: you need to add a head shim to lower the compression for the added boost.
Another problem with the Phazer is that the stock suspension sucks! With double the power the handling is bordering on outta control. Time to call Sweden again, this time to Ohlins to get a custom valved set of fully adjustable coil-over premium suspenders! Another huge improvement, actually, at this point it’s an entirely different machine altogether..
Other adjustments and updates included swapping out to a set of Apex Mtn. handlebars with heated hooks – which also raised the bar height about 1″. Moving the Yamaha powder skis in to the narrowest stance really improves handling in deep snow. Can side-hill and carve turns effortlessly all day long.
After destroying a guage cluster, I moved the unit down and mounted flush on the headlight shroud. Not only is it less prone to damage, I can actually see it while standing – which is about 90% of the time. The Boost guage is mounted at the base of the handlebars so you can keep an eye on it when pushing max boost, to make sure you don’t cross the line from max to grenade.
The Phazer is fast! It’s still accelerating hard and can lift the skis at 140kph. But that’s not really the point. I don’t know (or care) what the actual top speed is… we’re all about getting up in the alpine to play in the powder. You need that power and track speed to climb in deep snow at high altitude.
The last problem with the Phazer is that the stock 144″ x 14″ track is too soft. The lugs are not stiff enough and just fold when putting the power down. I upgraded to a 151″ x 14″ camoplast challenger extreme with stiff 2.5″ lugs. Huge improvement in traction and better float in deep snow.
Now let’s go back to bench-racing 101, and review power-to-weight ratio’s.
To put things in perspective let’s compare the Phazer turbo to say,
A 2008 911 turbo..
The 911 Turbo makes 480 hp and weighs 3500 lbs,
which = 7.2 lbs to move per hp.
The Phazer Turbo makes 160 hp and weighs 500 lbs,
which = 3.1 lbs to move per hp. hmmmm.
Let’s geek out even further..
The 911 Turbo makes 480 hp out of 3.6 L motor or 133hp per liter. Not bad.
The Phazer Turbo makes 160 hp out of 0.5 L motor or 320hp per liter!!! Hello.
For the 911 to have the same power to weight as the Phazer it would need to have about 1100 hp! Starting to get the picture?
With skills, you can go almost everywhere you could go with a helicopter in the Coast Range. Not to mention that riding snow with hp., is soo much fun! Gravity is no longer in effect. Going UP can be more fun than you ever had going down..