Tiny House Construction – Week 3

Tiny House Construction – Week 3
After a bit of a break it was time to crack on with framing the walls. In normal house construction, with a well oiled team, this is usually a very fast stage. I am doing this for the first time, and am having to cut every piece of wood to a custom length, so we will see how ‘fast’ this goes. Watch a time lapse to see what I got up to this week:

Build Day 10

Today I got to use my new framing nailer to build the first wall. It actually was a little harder than I expected! Being the first time I had framed, I was learning as I go (no change there then), I was also learning how to use a framing nailer. Throw in an uneven barn floor and the end result was a square wall, the correct dimensions, but not very pretty. A trick to checking if the wall is square I had learned is to measure corner to corner diagonally each way. Once the measurements were equal, the wall is square. I’m really glad I used this method, because the wall would have been anything but square without it! My nail placement also wasn’t the best, and on occasion I had metal sticking out where it shouldn’t. The rim shanked nails (which are designed grip the wood) are much harder to take out than put in!
My first wall!

My first wall!

In the end I was happy with the wall, but things could have gone a little more smoothly. Luckily I had opted to start with a small wall for this exact reason.

Build Day 11

Today I framed the other small wall. I still haven’t quite mastered the art of framing, but things went a little smoother this time around. I managed to cut all of the lumber to size and decided to lay it out on the trailer itself, as it is the most level surface in the barn. Nailing the wall together went well, except for a few more ill-placed nails which again had to be removed (with great difficulty).
Framing the second wall on the trailer made life a little easier

Framing the second wall on the trailer made life a little easier

Next will be framing one of the ‘big’ walls, which will have to be done on the barn floor due to their size. Once it is made up it will take 6-8 people to move, so my plan is to build both of the larger walls and then have some kind of wall raising party where I enlist some friends to lend a hand and then bribe them with meat and beer.

Build Day 12

Today was the day to tackle the first big wall. This was going to be a different beast, so I had put quite a lot of thought into how I was going to do this. The process is complicated by an uneven barn floor, and the fact that it will quickly become too big to move by myself. As the barn leaks, this last fact was bugging me, as I don’t like the thought of leaving the wall out to get wet. Plenty to keep my brain ticking over.
Loading the van up with the lumber for the first of two big walls

Loading the van up with the lumber for the first of two big walls

I felt that building the larger wall on the barn floor was asking for trouble, so I figured out a way of building the wall in two sections. This meant I could build the first half on the trailer, where it is nice and even. Framing went well, I think I am starting to get the hang of  it.
Getting the hang of it slightly

Getting the hang of things a little

I will come back tomorrow and figure out the best way of building the second half of the wall. If only I had the strength of eight people. That would make things a lot easier.

Build Day 13

Using SketchUp to help me I realised that I could also build the second half of the wall on top of the trailer itself. Just. As I cut the wood and started laying it out the whole process turned into one big puzzle. Room was tight, so the order in which I nail things became very important, if I did something out of order then I might not have enough room to get the nailer in for the next piece.
If SketchUp says it will fit, then it must be so

If SketchUp says it will fit, then it must be so

SketchUp has been an invaluable tool during the build so far. Having modified the plans I purchased pretty extensively, I am solely relying on my 3D model at this stage. I take my cut lengths straight from my model using the digital tape measure and to help me visualise what I am building. This also helps me spot issues before they become issues. It’s funny how much of this type of work is dictated by physical constraints. I know that seems obvious, but compared to computer programming it is a very different way of thinking and working. On paper or in a 3D model something may seem easy, but in reality you might not be able to do it because your hand, or tool is slightly too big to fit into an awkward space.
Hopefully getting this up and into place won't be too difficult. But that is for another day

It fits! Hopefully getting this up and into place won’t be too difficult.
But that is for another day

I had to dash off, so left the wall ‘nearly done’. I plan to come back early tomorrow and finish this wall and then try to figure out where I am going to build the last one, as the only truly flat surface in the barn now has a huge wall lying down flat on it. Like I said, physical constraints.

Day 14

Today I spent a couple of hours finishing off the first big wall. Building it on the trailer was certainly a level surface, but it did make life harder in other aspects, as the fenders meant I wasn’t able to access some areas with the framing nailer. The wall turned out pretty well, just a few things here and there that I will do differently on the next one. I must admit I found it a little frustrating not being able to move the wall anymore, as it means there is no chance of undoing a mistake. There is no ‘undo’ button in real life, another way this project differs from my computer work.
All in all it has been a hard, but good week. We have some friends visiting next week so I am aiming to finish the last wall and raise them while they are around. One more to go.

6 thoughts on "Tiny House Construction – Week 3"

  1. Deeply impressed by your ambition and execution here, Joe. I am currently converting a 5mx 2.5m railway goods carriage to office type accommodation. Have got the electricity and water to it. I feel that I have got it easy as it starts with a building with a metal frame, new galvanised corrugated iron roof and 20mm ply walls. Having said that it is at least 30-40 years old so needed a lot of repairs before I got started. Have laid rafters on the old floor for anew ply one and will be putting in an internal ply wall with 25mm insulation between this and the old one (and a damp proof membrane). I know that’s not a lot of insulation but I don’t want to lost more internal room.

    1. Joe says:

      Thanks Charles, yes I am having lots of fun with the house. That sounds like a very interesting project. Do you have any photos I could see? I’m glad I’m not the only one trying to hold on to as much internal room as possible!


  2. mum says:

    You are doing a great job Joe,really proud of you Love mum xxx.

  3. Grandma' says:

    I hope this message gets through Joe. I do admire your courage in taking on such a huge task on your own. Hope it stops raining soon. love, Grandma

  4. MOG says:

    I must say this log is fascinating reading for your dear old Pop.
    You are having to learn the tools of the 3D design trade – and, as you have discovered, there is no better way than knowing that you are the mug who will actually be doing the building!
    You’re doing brilliantly.

    1. Joe says:

      Thanks Dad, yes it is coming along quite well. I am definitely learning!