Monthly Archives: October 2011

The arrival of windows, more plywood and a broken air compressor…


I bailed last weekend to go on an impromptu road trip so not too terribly much has transpired in time I haven’t written, but we have got some windows and they’re a lookin’ mighty nice. I wasn’t in when they arrived but my mom was good enough to hang around and wait for their arrival a few days ago. For what it’s worth I am told this driver was very pleasant, take note grumpy sheep wool delivery man.

For one reason or other (thank you finicky tools and unrelated errand running) the weekend’s work didn’t take off so well. It made a few noble attempts yesterday but took a crash landing this afternoon following an endless supply of dead screw gun batteries and a broken air compressor.

This little dude is the one that runs the big scary nail gun and as that is primarily what we use to put the plywood sheathing on before the glue dries, it is pretty important. My dad and I put most of the top layer ply on but he got fed up with said compressor and stomped off to water his plants shortly after its demise. He does keep some lovely tomatoes…

On brighter notes, my house had its first sleepover last night! A little chilly, but I’m thinking this is where the roof will be helpful. Bit of a shame though, it’s so nice as a convertible 🙂 


Little things, some plywood and a ridge pole…


A lot of good things got done today, all of which necessary and most of which visually unimpressive. Some tongue and groove planks to route,  support beams to screw in between the two lofts and a few more 2×4’s to complete the triangle framing all had to go in before the top layer plywood and ultimately, the roof. We succeeded in getting only one sheet of the ply on and boy is it harder than the the bottom was.

Not only do you have to stand on rickety ladders and hoist the bugger up there, but you then have to remain on the rickety ladders to clamp it and nail it on. I don’t think this was helped by the general act of hoisting being inconveniently hindered without the full use of one hand…

We did stick the ridge pole up there for some instant gratification at the end of the day but it will need to be properly set before it goes in for keeps. My dad also routed off the top of the plywood and the window hole but I forgot to get a picture at the very end. As an unrelated note, I lit my splint on fire while I was making dinner this evening. Good thing the orthopedic doctor doesn’t know what I’ve been up to as I ‘rest’ the ole’ finger 🙂

Another loft and the full start of a roof…


Well this is more like it! With the second triangle stationed at the door end and the storage loft in place, things are looking decidedly more symmetrical and rather exciting. My step dad took a well deserved break yesterday so tiny house progress took a hike until this afternoon when we got our act together enough to put a move on. I suppose it’s unsurprising that we miscalculated on something yet again (this time on the pricey 3/4″ tongue and groove pine) so we picked some up in the old truck before starting.

In my lack of faith regarding our local hardware store’s lumber selection, I had almost mentally prepared myself for another unpleasant trip to Lowes when I discovered that they not only had such a thing, but that it was far less wobbly and in much better shape than what we used before. This regrettably means that my storage loft is shining with the joys of perfect wood while my sleeping loft looks a might shifty, but hopefully with a bed covering it this wont be quite so very evident.

Ah yes, I also broke and twisted up a finger jumping my horse over a tree in the woods last Wednesday. I’m stuck in a splint for the next 3 weeks after a delightful drive to the ER where the nice doctor broke the crap out of my finger all over again to get it straight and am feeling the general annoyance of temporary life with impaired dexterity.

Our delay in starting (and my compromised hand) left us just enough time to finish putting in the nice pine, make the other triangle and screw it on up there before dark, but it looks like my dad might have another day off this Tuesday so the possibility for further development hovers.

A loft and half the start of a roof…


It would be nicer if this title accounted for two lofts and the full start of a roof, but not every day can be a carpentry dream boat and you gotta take what you can get. I’m pretty pleased with today’s accomplishments anyway, and we also picked up the 3/8″ plywood this evening so we can power through the top layer wall sheathing when we next get the chance.

In my bumbling, fumbling but semi perfectionistic way, I managed to get the sleeping loft all set up with the beautiful (expensive) tongue and groove pine just as the sun was going down. I’ve been considering making a list of all the cuss words I mutter to myself and at various tools and pieces of wood.  I have a feeling it would be quite substantial by the end of my house building.

I’m slow of course, but the larger setback on our progress were the triangular window framings at either end of the house. Or should I say triangular window frame (1) because the first one used up our available brain power for the day. I’m not sure if we interpreted wrong or perhaps missed something in the plan’s layout but whatever the reason, there ended up being 3 1/2″ of empty space between the window and the bottom plate where said window would supposedly land. The ridge beam is also meant to sit on top of this frame and we had to alter its positioning to keep things the correct dimensions after moving the window around. Nevermind, it looks fine now 🙂 

Collar joists up for the lofts…


After conquering the wheel well sheathing yesterday, working with square walls has been almost relaxing in comparison. Also since the plywood was longer on the side sections and the remaining areas were considerably shorter, we practically skipped our way through the bottom layer of sheathing today with the good humour of folk who don’t have to break their heads measuring and cutting patterns of unequally curving wheel wells.

The collar joists and loft floors get tied into the whole thing by the upper layer of sheathing so they need to go in before we can progress plywood wise. This has turned out well because we’ve somehow ended up with 5 of our 13, 3/8″  plywood for the walls being not 3/8″ but 1/2″ so we couldn’t continue with it even if we wanted to without a trip to the hardware store.

The last time we went to Lowes there was some confusion around their stacks of wood and I guess someone put a few sheets back in the wrong place. Of course we probably should have noticed the size difference in the store but I hate large places like that so much that my only objective is to find what is imminently needed and run for the hills. Apparently it is worth finding what is imminently needed, looking at it first and then running for the hills.

My dad wanted to test out his router to cut the window holes in the plywood and it worked so well he made it around the house in a matter of minutes. Ah, the miraculous wonder of power tools 🙂 Our neighbors are becoming increasingly interested in our project since it has sprouted walls and looks more like a house and less like a mutant trailer so we had a record number of visitors to show off to this afternoon.

We normally decide to finish around 5:30 or so but today we plowed onwards and got the collar joists for the lofts in at both ends. I’m excited to be working on something that will be inside of the house and actually visible, and now the door end storage loft joists are in, the structure is really starting to take shape. My dad has tomorrow off as well this week so hopefully we’ll move on to the roof. Holy cows! Because sometimes, one cow just isn’t enough…

Plywood sheathing started…


Now that the walls are attached, it’s on to putting up the outside plywood. We decided to tackle the hardest part of this process first which would of course bring us back to the wheel wells OF DOOM, but we made it out alive and both sides were covered by the end of the day.

Because of the way our framing is, we ended up with two pieces of plywood over each wheel well so that they would land on an appropriate 2×4 and tie in the walls we’ve bolted together. We also had to put the plywood on horizontally instead of vertically because the 4′ sheets weren’t quite wide enough to reach a solid piece of framing to nail into.

As the project progresses, I continually become aware of just how many nifty tools my dad has stashed away. They serve all kinds of uses and he pulls them out of who knows where. They’re practically coming out of the wallpaper in the garage… Anyway today it was the jigsaw, and what a wonderful little thing it is, too. I got to use it for all of the cutting involved in the wheel well curves and after emerging largely successful and with all 10 fingers, felt very pleased and carpenter-y indeed 🙂

The system is to put glue all along the framing where the plywood lands, wrangle it up then nail the bugger down for all it’s worth. The plans state that screws are a better hold but we’ve got ring shank nails in the nail gun that are supposedly ‘amazing’, here’s hoping that’s true.

We got walls…


I am pleased to say that we did indeed get drier weather (if not warmer) and we did indeed get the walls on. In fact, I dare say today was a dream day in the world of carpentry.  The walls fit together like a perfect jigsaw puzzle. The sun shone brightly and for a while it even warmed things up enough so we could feel our fingers. We thought ahead for what we’d need and didn’t have to go to the hardware store. Through various tweaking and smacking boards with hammers I think we’ve made the thing remarkably square. The birds sang and the screwdriver never ran out of battery….too far, but this was undeniably our most successful and visually rewarding day of work. 

Because we built the walls in sections, I’ll need to bolt the joints together tomorrow but there are a ton of screws in so it feels pretty sturdy. Hopefully we’ll get a good portion of the plywood sheathing on as well and start the collar joists for the loft. My dad wrangled some 20 x 45, 6mil clear plastic sheeting and while cumbersome to work with, it is now doing a much better job at keeping the water out than our previous tarp-age. 

I feel an unmatched sense of accomplishment walking through the open door framing onto my floor where I can finally see the space I’ve had stuck in my head for so long laid out in front of me. It’s not very waterproof, being roofless, and I suppose the walls will need to get covered at some point but it’s still there; standing real and tangible.  You might say my house looks a bit like a house now 🙂