Category Archives: framing

April Build Update

Lot’s of pictures coming up! (With lambs, of course!)

We backed the house into the barn and stored all the materials underneath it or in unused horse stalls in the back. wpid-20140219_161041.jpg

Joseph using the barn beams to plumb the walls of the house.

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A view from where the lofts are about to be put in.
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4X4 Redwood beams sanded with 240 grit paper, then put into place.  It’s hard to NOT pet them as we walk under

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With the help of my friend Edward, the loft gets put into place! Oh how sweet it is.wpid-20140322_143735.jpg wpid-20140322_143724.jpg wpid-20140317_155100.jpg

A better view of the redwood beam under the tongue-and-groove cedar loft.wpid-20140317_151856.jpg

Edward and I enjoying the view from what will be the bedroom!
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Building up the side wall by about 6”.  We didn’t extend the sheathing up past our framing (like we were supposed to do), so we’re putting these nifty Simpson plates on, to attach the sheathing and to add to the structural integrity.

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Simpson plates? $.49 each.  Hammer and nails? $21.86.  The feeling that our house can whiz down the highway without racking?  Priceless.
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Sometimes you just get your head stuck in a fence…wpid-20140414_103543.jpg…when going for the wisteria!  #ranchlifewpid-20140414_103526.jpg

Stuffing insulation loosely into the wall headers.  It’s the air that makes insulation do what it does, and if you pack it too tightly, it transfers cold and heat too easily.wpid-20140317_155035.jpgwpid-20140317_151835.jpg

Here’s Meg helping us out!  Things go SO much faster with her around.  Good luck in Indiana, Meg…See you soon! 
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Sarah and Meg knocking it OUT!wpid-20140326_162831.jpgwpid-20140326_140812.jpg

Puttin’ on the Rit…uh…. house wrap!
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Cutting out the windows and flashing them.

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Our window nook taking shape!wpid-20140404_130728.jpg

Color test for our cedar siding.  We have a winner!
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Porch being built.
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Our new/old table saw… They don’t make them like this anymore. wpid-20140415_100743.jpg

How we did without it before, I’ll never know.

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We want this image as a stained glass window in our work loft.  4 or 6-sided.  Anyone know someone who does stained glass?
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All the windows are IN!  Shimmed and ready for trim, which will also double as window-holder-inners.
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Breaking the shims off is the fun part.

wpid-20140414_171914.jpgI left a LOT of space to make mistakes for the windows, thinking I’d need the extra leeway to get it right.  All I can say is, it’s just not needed.  1/2” on all sides is all you need, and it’s both easier and better insulated if your rough opening is smaller.  Live + learn.
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To put the windows in by myself, I made these jigs for the outside of the window.  I used them to clamp onto and as spacers to allow for the 1” overhang on the outside.wpid-20140414_172519.jpgwpid-20140412_121735.jpgwpid-20140414_172513.jpg

The last window that went in had nailing fins… = cake!wpid-20140415_135228.jpg

Coop-n-Annie…

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That’s all for now.  I hope to put up some videos next week about all these things.  Also to look forward to: bed vetting, window trimming, painting and figuring out utilities (this one makes me nervous).  Oh and lambs and sheep.  Plenty more lambs and sheep.

Lifting Heavy Things

by Sarah

I’ve noticed, both with building and with sheep ranch work, that many of the materials and tools we use are designed for people larger and stronger than me.  We bought the ultralight weed-whacker with the easy-pull string, and it’s hard for me to get it started.   The tubs of nutritional molasses that we give to the sheep weigh more than me.  And the impact driver twists my wrist, rather than twisting the five-eighths bit into the two-by-four.  I have felt small and weak in my environment before, but never more so than now, when I am spending much of my time on building and ranch care, and am working side-by-side with Joseph.

These tools were designed, and standard material sizes were determined, with a man’s dimensions in mind.  Like many things in our physical reality.  Those are very different than my dimensions.  Of course, many women are also strong enough to use the tools with ease, but I am not, and may never be.

Instead, I am figuring out how I need to use tools and move materials.  Sometimes it’s a little different, and sometimes very different, than how Joseph would.  I’ve gotten more playful about this.  It feels more like a creative challenge than a roadblock.  How can I “hack” these tools that were designed for people with larger hands, stronger arms,  etc., and make them work for me?

In the following video, I convince a sheet of plywood and a six-by-six piece of lumber to cooperate with me.

Occasionally, it’s been useful to be small, as in the photo at the top of this post.  Screwing the nut onto the anchor bolt inside the Simpson Strong Tie is work for tiny, tiny hands!

I wonder, have any of you felt that you are taking action in a physical space that was not designed with you in mind?

Building a Window Header

A light rain was falling early this morning as Joseph and I drove to the airport.  He will be in New York until the end of the year, and I’ll be joining him there soon.  We left our tiny house behind, parked snug in the barn on the sheep ranch.  We had a lot of sheep-related work in the past few weeks, which probably slowed down our housebuilding.  But it all feels like part of the same life-building.

Yesterday while we were fixing and clearing the electrical wire that runs all around the sheep pastures and protects the sheepies from coyotes, I made up a new phrase, which will be quite useful in ranch life and building life.  We were looking at a little plastic piece which snaps onto a fence post and holds a groove for the electrical wire.  This little piece is perfectly designed to attach to the fence and to hold the wire the right distance, the right height.  It’s “Just Right Tech.”  It’s not high tech; it’s a simple plastic piece.  It’s not low tech; it’s been manufactured to snap onto a fence post in just the right way.  We’re calling it Just Right Tech, and looking forward to opportunities for adding more Just Right Tech to our tiny house.

While we are away, we’ll be updating a little less frequently but we do have some build videos all set for you and ready to send out.  Today’s video shows the process of building a header.  The header is the structural piece which distributes the weight of the roof down the studs, rather than that weight resting on your window.  We’ve built a number of headers (for just about each of our windows), and we’ve gotten pretty good at it.  Check out the video for the step-by-step process and Joseph’s explanation of headers.

And if you’re wondering about the photo at the top of the post… yes, we did bring our Lambie over to visit.  Lambs are pretty dirty, so she won’t be able to visit once we’re further along.  But we wanted her lovely lambie-ness to have been inside our home!