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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Day 8

Well, it's been 8 weekends, an odd assortment of afternoons, and I've come to conclude a few things...

My muscles have well and truly atrophied from a lifestyle almost completely bereft of strenuous physical activity. I had a conversation with them after my afternoon shower on Saturday, I promised them protein, but only if they allowed me to move long enough to go to the store. 

With great protestation, they allowed for this one last action, and with every pothole from here to Fircrest, they provided great pains to remind me how ridiculous it was that I'd decided to build an entire house...tiny though it may be. I told them to shut up, and expect more of the same.

Saturday had started with me immediately realizing that I'd miscalculated the number of 4x4's I needed. Bother and damn! By my fresh calculations, I needed one more 10' and two more 8' lengths to complete the extensions. Seems my brain has atrophied some too, because I was short soon to be 4 sets of connection hardware. 

The day had ended reasonably well, with the longest left side extension completed. It looked pretty damn good, and I only ruined one carriage bolt in the process.

Sunday began with me trying to make more out of the $150.00 I had in my checking account. I was out of some staples...cream for coffee, and the cat food was getting dangerously low. How could I get the missing hardware for the extensions, the cream, the cat food and still make it to Friday with some money in the bank? After some hasty calculations, I was off to Friedmans, and back having spent not quite $50.

That done, I began to assemble the right front side of the extensions. I had originally planned to simply cut the 4x4's in sections to accommodate the trailers welded rail inserts, but then I wondered how hard could it be to make plunge cuts into the material? If I could do that, I would still maintain a good deal of the 4x4's integral strength. Turns out it was not easy with the tools in my possession, so earlier in the week, when I still had money...I bought yet another man toy.

Let me introduce you to my new best friend...the DeWalt 20 volt oscillating multi-tool! Oh yeah, much easier to make those plunge cuts now. :)

NOTE: Not all universal blades are...universal.

Long story short, I'm more than half way done with the trailer extensions, they look great, any any doubt I had about their strength, has vanished entirely.

Take a look at the left side...

...and the right side.

Back end's get done this weekend, along with some badly needed weed eating. :)

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Day 7

Holy cow!

Bit of a reality check for me.... Today I remembered a few things about construction, wood is heavy, and it's very expensive.

4x6's are really heavy, especially 4x6x10's...sort of like carrying a tree or something. ;)

I spent a good deal of my night Friday trying to come up with an accurate list of everything I would need for the trailer extension, and then that spilled over to the sub floor. One final look at the trailer this morning, a few last measurements with Sterling, and we set off for Friedman's.

I love Friedman's, always have. They're a local company that truly cares about maintaining a happy workforce. They do that by paying them better than the average big box store, and by sustaining a family like work environment. It shows too, in the attitude their staff project, and the knowledge that they have for what they're selling. It makes it easier to give them the kind of money I spent today.

Here's nearly everything I'll need, sans the tar paper (still in the car), and the galvanized aluminum flashing I've yet to buy (forgot that on my list).

Thanks goes to Ursula for letting me store it in her garage. I promised her it would all be on the trailer in the next couple of weeks.

So much for building the extension this weekend, by the time we picked, purchased, paid, and brought home all the wood and matching hardware, I was exhausted. With grocery shopping still in need of being done, and some preparations for Easter Sunday needed. I called it a weekend.

Next week, we build and install the trailer extensions.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Day 6

OK, nothing physically has been done this weekend to the trailer, but...

I've been trying to determine how to extend the bed of the trailer, and for that extension to provide real sub floor and wall mounting strength. Saw some good ideas, thought of some real impractical ones, hemmed and hawed... I think I have a plan.

I'm going to frame two sets of extensions, one for each side. They'll be comprised of treated two by fours and four by fours, mounted with large threaded bolts that will not react with the treated lumber (no-rust), and look something like this...

I spent Saturday learning how to use SketchUp, again..., to any of you who haven't tried using this to help design your tiny house, I highly recommend it. It helps to be able to use real dimensions, and 3D imaging to get a sense of just how things need to fit together. For free software, you can't beat it.

I even went so far as to explore how the subfloor would be installed, and realized that the Tacks tiny trailer, has a lower wheel well. It's inches lower than mine, and subsequently the subfloor completely covers it. I.E. - no inside intrusion.

Mine are higher, and because I'm purposely extending the deck to gain as much indoor square footage (to allow for a narrow staircase), I will likely have some of the wheel well showing through the interior wall. I suspect that it will be very little, and that I should be able to cover much of it up.

Here's the trailer with the sub floor...

Next up...actually buying the material, building and installing the trailer extensions. :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Day 5

Yeah, I know what many of you are thinking, "Sheesh! How many shots of the trailer do we have to endure?"

Sorry, it seems without having paid a fortune for the custom trailer I'd originally wanted, there's a bit of prep work before you can even start with the subfloor. While it doesn't seem like much has happened, I think it's coming along just fine.

So where are we at? Take a close look at this picture...

As you can see, we've removed half of the trailers deck boards. This is a procedure that seems to be universally recommended. Not sure exactly why, might have to do with moisture and ventilation, it certainly removes excess weight. This process also allowed me to get a better look at its overall construction. I found things I liked, and sadly one thing I found to be very disappointing.

On the plus side, lots of steel framing. If you pay careful attention to the picture, you'll see it's spaced every foot, down the length of the trailer. Love it!

On the bad side, the long square headed screws that they used to secure the pressure treated wood to the steel frame, were not a good choice. They were very rusty, with quite a bit of rust build up between where the wood, the frame and the screw came into contact.

I was worried about that, I'd expected a little rust from having suffered outside this winter with the small amount of rain we did get, but was not prepared for what I saw initially. Fortunately the rust was minor, and what couldn't be brushed away with my hand was easily ground away with the 4.5 inch grinder. I followed up with Rust-Oleum spray, specifically designed to attach well to rust and create a protective barrier. Needless to say, I feel much better now.

I toyed with replacing all the screws on the remaining deck boards, and still might, I'll have to check on Sterlings expert opinion.

Next great prep of the trailer prior to the actual subfloor installation, will be extending the width of the trailer, to nearly the edge of the wheel wells.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Day 4

Alright, I know it doesn't look like much but if you pay closer attention to the front of this picture of the trailer, you will see something...or rather not see it...

That's right..look harder...damn it! The freight stop has been removed. Cut off with my trusty 4" small grinder and only two cutting pads! Course I'm still sporting the remains of the cold I had week before, cough is not exactly going away as we arrive at spring and every thing that can is spewing pollen into the air!

I'm exhausted again, so that is it for today. Next up, gotta figure out how to remove half of the decking. Damn boards are held down with the oddest screws I've seen. They have a square shape to then, not a hex, not a star...but a darn square. Anybody recognize this and know where I can go to get the tools to remove them?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Day 3

Sorry folks,

I'm way behind, I've not been remiss, I've just not had anything to report. Since my last post we received a few well intentioned storms (were still in a major drought), and I've had a back condition flare up, followed by a bug that had me out for nearly two weeks.

So figure a good 6 weeks lost. I was starting to go a little loopy with all that down time, even the cats were beginning to tire of my company. Anyhow, today I was determined that I would in fact spend what ever amount of time it took to get the blasted trailer level.

A level trailer is of course the very building block of a very straight, or rather, perfectly square building. So with my newly purchased 20 ton jack, 4 very heavy concrete pilings, a collection of bricks, assorted left over scraps of lumber and my trusty level, I spent the better part of four hours getting it done.


Next on the agenda, removal of front freight safety stop, and then half of the deck boards. This is critical and must be done prior to the subfloor framing.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Day 2


Yes this was expected, and with one of the worst droughts in recorded history underway, no complaints from me. That's OK, I need a little time anyway for the bank account to heal. And this gives me a chance to start planning what comes next, trailer prep. 

Since the trailer is the foundation of the home, it's critical that I take the time to get everything squared away...literally. Want a straight house, got to have a balanced trailer. So...I'm making a list of what I need to buy next, tools...materials etc....


OH! for those of you who don't already know, I've gone completely nuts, and fallen in love with a different house design. Yes..., I did pay nearly a grand for the house I'd originally intended to build. I've always been a fan of the Tack House design, and when I found out they were selling the plans, and for an affordable price that put the cost of what I'd already bought to shame...well, I had to have it.

I'd post a picture of it, but haven't asked permission yet...follow the link provided below, this young couple have really made a beautiful home, and now they've decided to share! :)

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Day 1

Emerson once said,....something, but in this particular case I should probably be quoting Thoreau...

Henry David Thoreau once said , ".........?"

OK, while I'm sure he said a whole heck of a lot too, I'm not ashamed to say, I have very little working knowledge of what either of these men said.

So...why would I callously refer to names of accomplished American literary icons? Easy, like any adventure, everything is better with PIRATES! Or in this case...iconic quotes at the beginning of any narrated journey, can really draw an audience.

My dad just rolled in his grave a bit, he was a big fan of Thoreau.

So...why are we here? Oh! Sorry, see...I'm about to turn 47, and while I've lived a full life, I have yet to do anything...real...challenging. 

I have for the last 5 years, lived in a singularly spectacular location, in the hills of Sebastopol. I rent a very modest little studio, with a beautiful view of the Santa Rosa flood plain and the mountains beyond. At the height of our last economic recession, I found myself wondering if I shouldn't start to think of a new career field. So, I started to look into solar energy.

I'd purchased and began to tinker with an inexpensive starter kit from Harbor Freight. My online research into the subject led to alternative energy, which naturally led to alternative ways of building homes and living. And that's when I found out about the tiny house movement and Jay Shafer.

This was a bug that bit fast and hard. Suddenly all I could do was search for more information on tiny houses. I can't tell you how many times I watched Jay and his crew build a Fencl on YouTube.

At some point the obsession over tiny house designs gave way to an overriding imperative. I had to build one of these houses! I 1...well not really day 1 if you count how much obsessing and saving I've done over the last year. But for the sake of having a good base to start with, let's call trailer purchase and delivery day, as DAY 1.

This morning I will be heading on out to Forestville where I will borrow the wisdom of the single most impressive man my mother ever had the good sense to marry...after my dad of course!

From Forestville, Sterling and I are going to drive down to Trailers Plus in Santa Rosa, where I will attempt to haggle them down to an even $3650.00, for this beauty!

All for now...Day 1 8:58AM

Day one, Part 2: I am very tired, I have a severely brutalized bank account, but...I have a beautiful 20' trailer sitting on the property now.

Thanks to the efforts of Seth and his compatriots at Trailers Plus, and of course the immeasurably helpful and patient Sterling, I have completed my first objective.

So much work left to do, but the journey has now truly begun.

Stay tuned!