Hi I'm Lily!

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Hi everyone!

I’m Lily, based in West Norwood, and I hope to become a proper member soon!

I’m particularly interested in woodworking, and I’d like to learn and practice on joinery/carpentry stuff, to be able to make (nice looking and strong) furniture. I have worked on wood before with the usual hand held tools to build a garden shed and a few shelves, but I’d like to go further and dive into the tenon, mortise and dovetails world! It will also help with building the furniture for the van I will start converting once the paperwork is sorted: I imported the van from Russia and it has not had its DVLA approval yet…

Otherwise I just simply love making stuff and talking about making stuff!

Besides insatiable curiosity about any design/craft/build/fix, I can offer a few skills if anyone is interested: wet and dry felting, crochet knitting, polymer clay jewelry. I also trained as an engineer and grew up in a “make stuff” family, so I’d be happy to be a sounding board for any sort of project. Finally I have some experience in house renovation (and some tools that go with it) so I can contribute to the Arch2 project, especially on the finishing touches - I’m told I’m really good at plastering and skimming!!!

Really looking forward to the open evening on Wednesday 19th and joining the community!


Welcome to the SLMS!

Well, that’s a statement you don’t hear every day! what model is it?

It’s an UAZ 452, aka a “buhanka” (=loaf in Russian). A 1960’s look but still manufactured new (check out uaz.be and the “commercial” model if interested!). They are ubiquitous in Russia and former soviet countries, and fell in love with its looks whilst travelling! I also like the simplicity of the design (no electronics at all) and the fact it is basically repairable with a hammer and a piece of string. Nearly…
I bought it 2nd hand (but nearly new) directly in Russia via a friend and it arrived by boat in the UK in November. Now it needs to be deemed UK road worthy through an IVA process and (hopefully minor) modifications on lights, speedometer etc… But a hell of an admin process…
Happy to chat endlessly about it on weds evening!!

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Sounds great! I have converted 2 vans before and can talk for hours as well! I am very interested in 3d scanning the empty van and designing the furniture and CNCing the cabinets…

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That’s a very cool setup!

Can I ask how expensive was it?

I’m not in on Weds but if you need some electronics advice I’m happy to exhange it for Van talks on Thursdays !

That pic was a random van - not mine…!

But converting is ends up not being super cheap - depends on how many amenities you want… by the time you do the basics

  • Leisure battery setup
  • Fridge
  • Sink
  • Cooker
  • Insulation
  • Cabinets
  • Bed
  • Any kind of top (poptop, highroof)

Additional options:

  • Stereo upgrades
  • Solar
  • Awning
  • Bike rack

You are likely in it for 5-10k on top of the van price, plus months of work - but its a lot of fun and you end up with something unique. If you just want a standard campervan - buy a good used one…

A brand new UAZ 452 out of the Ulyanovsk factory starts at about USD 9’500 in Russia, with a few options and accessories, you may get to about USD 12’000 I guess?
We got our 2018 one (6k km only…) in very good shape for about GBP 6’000. But you gotta add shipping (~ 1k as Roll-on roll-off with Finnlines) and import customs/VAT in UK. And endless time and patience for paperwork in Russia!!! and now… endless time and patience for paperwork in the UK!!!
Still worth doing if you don’t want to pay more than £20k for a brand new one out of the BE/NL dealer and a 6-9 months wait after ordering (and papers that are unlikely to save you from going through the IVA process in the UK anyway!).
I expect the conversion to take a while too but it’s gonna be so much fun!!!


For sure! It is great fun and thats a super cool retro van to do it on! Just don’t expect it to take a few weeks and 1k!

I once had a car with a Russian carburettor on it.

It didn’t end well…

Not a very interesting story but it’s all I’ve got