Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Wake to the sound of crashing trees.

Crazy how fast things can change here in Colorado.... Good thing I had the mini-house covered. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

1 step forward and 2 steps back

Another major score: I got 20 sheets of 5/16 plywood for $4 per sheet. I also hit Repurposed Materials on the way home in hopes of grabbing some free tapered insulation. By the time I got there however, they were out of the free stuff. Still got a good deal.  4x8 sheets of 2-1/2 insulation for $10 per sheet. Not bad.

After a sleepless week of worrying that the original foundation design wasn't strong enough, I took the whole thing apart and started over from scratch. This time I doubled up each stud and made the space between them closer together. Also, screwed the studs together where the back-up to each other. Instead of just metal on the bottom, I used sheets of plywood coated with water-proofing stain ($7 per gal. oops paint from HD). EVERYTHING is glued with construction adhesive. 

Here's a shot of the front section. You can see the doubled studs. The insulation sheets can be cut with a box knife and snapped, or with a hand saw. I prefer the hand saw as the edges are cleaner. Once the insulation has been placed, spray foam into the empty spaces, glue the top of each stud and install top sheet/subfloor. 

Here's the finished back section. Very strong now! Seems like this would be a piece of cake looking at it, but there are a million sheet metal screws, glue and cuts.

Then I flipped the whole thing over to install the metal moisture gaurd I saved from the camper. Not a fun job and easy to get cut. Once I had the metal in place, I covered the whole bottom with some roofing cement I had laying around. This should keep it dry and, keep any creepy crawlers from getting inside. 

Here's where I ended the weekend. Way behind schedule, but at least I know it's very strong now... and I learned a lot along the way. Next weekend I'll finish the foundation and if I'm lucky, start on the walls. In the meantime I need to track down a good deal on some recycled metal roofing.

The weather was too nice to spend working all weekend. Another beautiful day in Boulder. So spoiled!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Bed Rails?

I switched out the wood blade in the chop box to a metal blade. Makes a pretty good cut-off saw. 

My welds aren't the prettiest but their strong! I welded a 2 foot extension to the back of the trailer and 6 "outriggers" to the sides. I also plan on drilling and adding a couple bolts on each side of the rear extensions.

Side view. Built the first of three platform/foundation sections. My first time working with metal studs and I can tell you that they're great! I cut them in groups on the cut-off saw, screwing them in place is fast work, and, if you make a mistake and need to adjust, its as simple as re-screwing. 

I used old bed rails for the side angle iron. It's "spring iron" so, to my surprise, it welds great. Just really difficult to drill threw. There's about a 1/2" gap on each side so that when the siding is in place, it will sit down onto the angle iron. When the siding goes up, I'll screw the foundation to the trailer at the bed rails, and under the trailer.

And from the back.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Ah Oh!

I found a guy selling steel at a great price from an empty lot down by the railroad tracks.  Also, it's been a long time sense I've been in a smokey office with the guy behind the counter openly chain smoking cigs like they're going out of style (which they have). Sounds a little sketchy right? Despite the smokey atmosphere, Dean was a good guy with fare prices. I scored about 45' heavy gauge 3.5" "mini channel" for $60. Not bad, not bad at all. 

Now comes the Ah Oh! 
With the camper (finally) off the trailer I could go back to my plans and make sure that my original measurements we're correct. (The original plan was based on rough measurements.) Even though the camper was 20' the platform that the camper sat on was just over 18'. Bad news as I was originally hoping to build a 24' mini-house. Adding a strong extension to the back of the trailer doesn't scare me as much as the position of the axles, which should be about 10% back from center. Adding 1' to the front and 5' to the back puts the axles too far forward and just doesn't look safe... and 2000 miles is a long way to drive with an unsafe trailer swaying behind. Sadly, I needed to tweak my design (updated, but not completed,  design below).

Funny how things work out. 
I actually like this new shorter design better. I was beginning to think that 24' was too big and starting to move too far away from the original concept of what a tiny house is all about. Small and cozy, just enough room for the bare essentials, easy on the environment and most importantly, efficient and inexpensive. With the the axles slightly back of center, I can safely add 1' to the front and 3' to the rear for a total of 22' I'm losing most of the 2' in the bedroom which likely means a full bed instead of a queen, or maybe a Murphy bed. How much time do you spend in the bedroom anyway? I would rather have a larger kitchen and living area. I also tweaked the design to accommodate the new 4'x4' windows.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I squeezed in a couple hours of work tonight and managed to get the platform completely off the trailer. HUGE day!!! I saved a boat load (err, trailer load?) of money on the trailer but I'm not sure if I would demo a camper again. It was a tremendous amount of work, and it will take me weeks to get rid 
of all the trash. 

I'll pick up some angle iron this week and start welding. I need to add a couple feet to the overall length and add a few more "outriggers" to the sides. I also need to swing by Repurposed Materials ( in denver to pick-up some pallet tops for my floor. If I get good weather this weekend, I just might have the foundation/platform completed. Fingers crossed.

Nothing easy about it!

I started demoing the deck. What a PITA! I'm saving a ton of money by recycling the old camper but, wow, I didn't anticipate this much work. It took just about every tool I own. Sawzall. Circular saw. Die grinder. Sludge hammer. Etc. 

I just had a few hours to work on Sunday. There is where I ended up.

The good news is that I scored 4, 4'x4' double-paned windows on CL for $10 per window. They're in great shape complete with screens. Nice!

Also found a lead on metal for .25 per pound. Hopefully I can get what I need to start welding on the trailer this weekend.