You're Going To Build A What?

The saga of J building his tiny off-grid house

Archive for the ‘framing’ tag

4 Walls.

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Lovely day to be outside today, sunny, warm and my office is quite a special place to work, I’m very lucky.

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Framed up the fourth wall today, which was very satisfying. Managed to put all of them up and temporarily screw them together. Like yesterday I spent some time just walking around in the space, getting a feel for it, imagine the things that will fill it and looking around to see if there’s anything that needs changing.

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I marked out the bathroom wall roughly, penciled in where the shower and toilet will go and realised that the bathroom window would be better positioned if I moved it 3 inches towards the back wall. That’s the nice thing about this sort of framing, it makes for easy changes. Took about 10 minutes once the walls were back down to actually shift the framing. The window in question is the left frame space in the photo below.

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You can see the floor layout below, the wall between the bathroom and kitchen is marked by the 2×4 on the floor, the shower tray will go in the corner. To the right the 2×4 on the floor marks where the kitchen counter with the sink will be.

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At the other end is the living room with the two big windows. I was surprised just how big they looked like this, but then remembered that the frame and dividers will take up a chunk of that space but, even so, that corner is going to let a lot of light in given that one window will face south and the other west. I keep imagining the evening light streaming through them and giving the place a real sunset warmth.

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I’m thinking of making a stable type door with a window in the top. I think it would be lovely to be able to just have the top part open to let in the breeze. I’ve been keeping an eye out for doors on ebay and have seen some nice ones but I’d have to cut them down to fit. The height between the top and bottom pieces of the frame is 6 feet and there’ll be a frame to go in too, so the door will only be about 5’11″ high, although there’s room for a 30-32″ wide door so perhaps I’ll buy one and cut it down. You’ll have to duck slightly going in but once inside the headroom should be about 6’2″. Given that I’m 5’11″, that’s fine for me, plus the living room will have a cathedral roof about 11′ high.

Had to take the walls down once I’d finished walking around and dreaming and until the trailer’s finished that’s the end of the woodworking. I stacked the frames on the trailer and tucked them up as there’s rain forecast. It’s been a very satisfying day and I have a real feel for how my tiny house is going to end up.

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Before leaving, I took advantage of one of the nice things about my office and picked a box full of fresh blackberries from the field next door to add to my breakfast muesli.

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Peace, out.

Written by justin

August 25th, 2009 at 6:02 pm

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Another wall is finished.

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I’m really enjoying the framing, it’s best done alone where I can take my time and think it through, there’s a real sense of accomplishment seeing a wall going together and, if you do make a mistake, it’s generally not difficult to undo it and fix it.

Today was the turn of the North wall, this will only have one small window in, for the bathroom, so its a fairly simple and straightforward build. Once it was all put together, I couldn’t resist standing it up to have a look at it. Fortunately the wind was light and it just stood there, being all wall-like.

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Of course, once that one was up, I couldn’t resist putting the other two in place as well, and then walking around within the space it enclosed. Tomorrow if the weather stays good, the final wall will be done and I’ll really be able to feel the space properly.

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It looks like I’ve found someone to fix the welder for me, they’re going to look at it tomorrow and give me the verdict, so hopefully the trailer won’t be holding me back much longer. I’m picking up the last pieces of steel on Wednesday so fingers crossed the welding will be complete shortly.

Peace, out.

Written by justin

August 24th, 2009 at 5:17 pm

Floors and walls, oh my!

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Another productive afternoon at the tiny house. I started out by building the two end walls, taking pains to make sure they’re as square as I can make them, the diagonals are within 1/4 of an inch, which I think should be ok. I expect it to be tougher to get the longer walls as accurate, but we’ll see.

This will be the west wall, showing the door and where one of the large windows will be. My desk/workbench will be at that window.

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On the right is what will be the east wall, no windows in this one.

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Once I had them done I starting thinking about how I was going to build the longer walls and realised that a solid flat surface would be pretty much essential, so I screwed the 3 floor frames together and then cut the osb sheet to fit around the wheel wells. I discovered it was actually faster to trim them by hand with a decent hand saw than to go down to where I store my tools and bring the circular saw up, plus it added a bit more exercise to the afternoon. I then screwed the floor panels down with a few screws to hold them in place.

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For the first time I could really get a feel for the size of my tiny house and spent a while just slowly walking around the space, seeing in my mind’s eye where the different rooms would be, turning from one surface to the next and seeing how it fitted around my body. I may take a big magic marker over one day and sketch in the outlines of the walls and fixed units. Then I just sat looking out of where my windows will be and imagined the views.

At this rate all the walls will be done in another couple of days work. However, I can’t do anything about putting them in place because the trailer’s not fixed. Having the floor in place made me realise just how fast this will come together once I get the welding finally done. I’ll be picking up the aluminium sheet for the underside of the floor early next week, I have the insulation stored on site, I have the walls and sheathing sitting there. If I could only get the trailer sorted I could be putting the roof on by the end of next week. I need to either find someone local to look at the welder or just rent one for a day, or perhaps pay a welder to bring one and get the damn thing finished. Mind you, I also need to get the brakes sorted before I bolt the floor on.

This is really starting to move now, and it’s exciting. I know there’s a long way to go, but just having the walls and roof up will be such a big step. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of myself standing in my tiny house.

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Peace, out.

Written by justin

August 20th, 2009 at 5:55 pm

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At last the framing starts.

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Had a busy day today and finally got started on the framing. Went over to the tiny house and started off by building a couple of sawhorses so I could put the chop saw at a comfortable height. For now I’m using a piece of old plywood that came off the trailer when I first bought it, but when there’s a suitable offcut of osb and 2×4 I’ll probably switch to that as it’ll be more solid and flat. In the meantime, I have a bench to work at that doesn’t make me bend down and knacker my back.

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I’ve built the floor frame in 3 pieces so that it’s easier to manhandle, and ¬†because I have to keep taking it off as the trailer isn’t finished yet, there’s still some welding to do. When I’m working on my own I simply can’t lift the entire floor up and over the suspension posts so this is the best way for now. I’ve finally found somewhere selling 4×8 sheets of 1mm aluminium which I’ll put on the underside of the floor. I can’t find anywhere locally that sells the wide aluminium flashing that seems to be popular in the US, so this is the best option to prevent road grime and rodents from getting into the framing. I’ll probably shoot some underseal over the aluminium to add an extra layer of protection.

Once the welding’s finished I’ll be able to bolt the frame to the trailer and start insulating and putting down flooring, then screw the walls in place. Those will be the project over the next week or two, starting with the easy wall that has no windows and working my way up in level of framing difficulty. I do have a new best friend in the framing business though…

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This is a battery powered impact driver and a box of square drive, self-drilling screws. I am more enamoured of these things than any man should probably be of something inanimate. If you’re ever going to do framing, buy these. No, seriously, trust me on this. The screws self drill due to a cutting tip which means you don’t have to pre-drill any of the timber. The impact driver is so much better than a regular cordless screwdriver that you have to experience it to believe it. Instead of having to use lots of force and eventually the driver gives up, this thing is almost effortless and just keeps driving away repeatedly. You don’t even have to hold it tight, just place in position and hit the go button. I’ve never used one of these before but it was recommended to me and I can only say ‘why the hell didn’t I get one years ago?’

Right, so without further ado, the floor framing, in all it’s glory.

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Peace, out.

Written by justin

August 18th, 2009 at 5:25 pm

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Got Wood?

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I have!

24 sheets 4′x8′ osb2

80 3m CLS 2×4

57m (total) of tanalised 2×4

plus screws and glue.

Took the afternoon to carry it all from where the truck delivered it to where it’ll live for the next few weeks, but it’s tucked up out of the weather until I need it. Should be starting later this week. *bounce bounce* excited.

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Written by justin

August 11th, 2009 at 4:01 pm

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Biggest spend so far.

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I’ve just been down to the builder’s merchants and spent more money than in any one go so far ¬£700. Tomorrow the lumber arrives: 24 sheets of OSB, a whole raft of 2×4′s along with boxes of nails, glue etc. Later this week I’ll start on the framing. I’m going to stop thinking about the welder and trailer for a few days and concentrate on something more constructive. I think this is going to start getting fun.

Oh, and I also had a piece published in the latest issue of the Small Living Journal. I enjoyed writing it and I’m hoping to continue submitting articles when I can think of something to say that matches their themes.

Peace, out.

Written by justin

August 10th, 2009 at 5:05 pm

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