Build Days 14 and 15 (5/17/12 – 5/18/12)

Another combo based on the smaller amount of work accomplished both days.  There was still some framing left to do on the dormers, so we put up both long angled boards on each side.  This is what the plywood roof will eventually sit on at the bottom.  Getting the angle cut right on these was a little tricky, since we were sans table saw and they’re both long boards (13 feet ish?  I can’t remember the exact length.)  I also screwed on some brackets that help secure the roof to the walls in case of high winds…it’s a bit of overkill, but good for peace of mind.

On the 18th we put up the last roof framing bits so we’d be ready for plywood tomorrow.  They’re the trusses on the very ends of the long angled pieces we installed yesterday.

Build Day 13 (5/16/12)

2.5 hours worked today, so this will be pretty short.  We found a small mistake made yesterday around the triangles so we cut out the trusses, trimmed them, and put them back in place.  It looked fine yesterday because sometimes it’s difficult to visualize how the next piece of the puzzle fits with the current one.  Luckily it was a quick fix!  Next we put plywood up on the dormers and cut out space for the windows.  You can really see now where I opted to not put in one of the windows…looks a little like a cyclops but I am still confident in my decision.

I’m also still going on my pallet pile.  Soon I’ll need to figure out where I am going to use pallets on the walls, combine the calculation with my floor dimensions, and then see how many more pieces I need.  I suspect almost double the pile I currently have. 😦

Build Days 11 and 12 (5/13/12 – 5/15/12)

I’m combining these since we only worked 2 hours each day and there’s not a ton of visual progress I can show you.  I’m working my real job during the day so the tiny house work doesn’t start until 4 or later, leaving just a few hours each evening.  But hey, it’s better than no construction during the week and having to migrate down here and drive back up north every weekend!

The small triangles at the corners of the dormers needed some additional attention, so we added the remaining trusses and some non-structural pieces in preparation for nailing on the plywood in a few days.  We also put up the roof extensions that will allow the front door and the storage compartment on the back to be covered a little from the rain.

And on a little bit of a weird note, those last two pictures are of the sawdust I keep saving.  Yes, I am saving sawdust in a bag…ready for the composting toilet!  And better to minimize waste by using everything I can for another application. 🙂

Build Day 10 (5/12/12)

YES!  We finally started to frame the roof today.  I am particularly excited about this because I can finally see the real height and design of the house in front of me instead of just in my head and on paper.

First we put up the ridge beam that we built about a week ago.  It’s attached to each end of the house with metal brackets and desperately needed some support in the middle until the rest of the roof can keep it from sagging.  The braces we keep making for the walls, dormers, and ridge beam have helped keep everything square as well until the framing is completely done.  Next we started to frame out the “A” portion back over the loft area.  The physical construction of the roof framing wasn’t too hard, but the math and angles were an absolute pain to figure out.  The other issues with angles is how the pieces eat up 2x4s and create a ton of leftover bits…because each board needed to be just over 4 feet long, I couldn’t get 2 out of each 2×4 I had so there’s a sizable pile of scraps now.  Don’t you worry!  I’ll use them for something (interior items, firewood, turning them into sawdust for the composting toilet, donating to Habitat, etc.)

We also managed to frame out most of the above-dormer section that’s in the middle of the roof.  There are some triangular parts that need more pieces and then some extensions out the front and back of the structure, but I’d say we’re 80% done with framing the roof!

Build Day 9 (5/6/12)

Today we built the two dormers that sit on both sides in the middle of the house.  I’m glad we went with this design to break up the roof line a bit and add more head room and storage on the inside.  These were actually pretty easy to make…they’re essentially mini walls.  The plans call for two windows in each dormer, but I removed one in order to gain some wall space inside.  This will make more sense once we get the roof on and I can have pictures of this section all plywooded in.

We ended up building each dormer inside the wee house since the floor is clear and it’s a decent amount of space to work.  Once one was built and installed up top, we built the other one in about 1/2 the time!  Although the framing was pretty sturdy, we get strong winds up here on the mountain.  The 2×4 you see going from one side to the other is just a temporary brace to keep the dormers from blowing off.  Next up: roof framing 🙂

Build Day 8 (5/5/12)

Last week I went back up to northern VA to be in the office for a few days, so the house sat untouched for a bit.  Minor progress today due mostly to the weather and it’s supposed to rain off and on for the next few days.  We managed to make the ridge beam that spans the length of the house and holds up the roof.  Since we needed it to be longer than any 2x4s we could get, we put two together.  To make it extra strong, each board was cut shiplap style, glued and screwed together.

….so that took all of 20 minutes.  Over the weekend I cleaned up an old barn elsewhere on the property and salvaged some nice boards.  They had nails sticking out and some of the ends were either torn up or rotten.  To clean them up and get them ready for their new lives as shelving, I beat out the nails first.  Next came clamping them onto the “work bench” (really the back of the Mule) and sawing off the bad parts.  I haven’t sanded them yet, but will get around to it soon and seal them once I find an eco-friendly sealer or light stain.  I hope to keep most of the weathered look though.

Build Day 7 (4/30/12)

A super short update this time.  Based on weather and the fact that I had some homework due, I only worked on covering the storage compartment with plywood. I am happy to report that I was able to use the scraps of plywood lying around from cuts we had made for the walls.  We still have some scraps left, but they’re so small that I am not sure I’ll be able to use them for much.

On a non-building topic, all the windows are now in!  We’re waiting to pick them up so they stay safe in storage for a bit.  I’ve also finally figured out which siding I’ll use for this little thing.  More on that in a separate post!

Build Day 6 (4/28/12)

Can you believe we’ve only had 6 actual days of construction??  I’d like to note that when I say “build day” I mean just that.  There are TONS of days spent on planning and material-gathering.  But on to the important stuff…

We started the day by sheathing the other long wall, cutting out openings for the windows, and then completing the wall with the front door.  Again, the triangles were weird but easier this time since we had already worked out the kinks from the other short wall.

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Since there was time left in the day, we went ahead and framed the storage compartment on the bathroom end of the house.  This space will house the water heater, solar batteries, and maybe the electrical panel.  It’s lacking plywood and doors, but it’s a really good start.  I am considering using the scrap plywood pieces from the walls on this section…fingers crossed!

Build Day 5 (4/21/12)

Another super productive day on the wee house.  Dad and I put plywood up on 2 walls, starting with one of the long ones. The full sheets went up quickly with only a smigden to saw off in length.  Obviously the hardest sections were where the living room and kitchen window are, but honestly we just nailed up the full sheets and then cut out space for the windows afterwards.  That saved a lot of time over measuring and pre-cutting for the window openings I think.

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On the exterior bathroom wall, the triangle at the top was the hardest…mostly because it’s a bit high and triangles are just more of a pain to measure and cut accurately.  I love that nail gun, but up on a ladder seemed a bit scary for me at first so I let the expert do it 🙂

Now we have all these odd sized scraps of plywood lying around so the gears are turning for how I can use them.  A big part of this project is using what I already have and minimizing waste.  Of course whatever I end up doing with them will be in a structurally safe manner, but it’s fun to brainstorm the possibilities.  The weather has been rainy off and on, but hopefully we can put up more plywood on my next trip down here.

Build Day 4 (4/20/12)

Today was the most productive day I’ve had on this project.  Somehow we managed to frame the remaining walls!  It took us about 6.5 hours, which isn’t too bad at all considering I (again) insisted on doing a ton of the work.  I have to learn somehow!  And while I’m thinking about it – the lumber for the frame is from Newport Hardware and Supply.  I priced out bamboo and FSC studs, but could not afford it.  Luckily I was able to stick with a local business, so I feel pretty good about avoiding the two chain stores in our area.  Much of the lumber wasn’t selling quickly anyway, so it helped them clear a pile from inventory.  You’ll notice my dad cutting some studs we already put up in one of these photos. Once we framed that wall, we realized that the living room window needed to come down a few inches. Measure twice, cut once! It’s all part of the learning process for me.  Luckily, the construction guru is on top of these issues so everything is done correctly.

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And here’s a short video tour of the planned layout.