Today, we were joined by some well traveled helpers. We were delighted when our friend, Dave, stopped by for a couple of hours this morning to help us out. He was here all the way here from Vermont. However, the prize for the furthest anybody has traveled to help us now goes to Joy’s wife, Priti, who traveled here all the way from India after just having spent five weeks there. Okay, technically she didn’t travel all the way from India just to help us. She came from India to be with her husband, Joy. But I think that’s just a technicality. In my book, she still gets the furthest traveled award.
It was wonderful to have both Joy and Priti helping us with the tiny house today. Both of them are such nice people and they make such a great couple. I have felt really blessed to get to know and work with Joy. Having them here together today was a real treat. I hope I do not embarrass them. However, I have to say that I really love their names. In English, their names sound like Joy and Pretty. However, they told me that the actual Indian meanings of their names are Victory and Love.
I am continually amazed by the opportunities this tiny house project has created for me to deepen existing friendships and make new ones. I never expected that when I started this. I’m starting to suspect that in the end, the friendships I develop building this house will be much more valuable and long-lasting than the actual house.
But I digress. So, what did we get done today? Here’s the list:
- I was measuring and laying out the cuts for the first rafter just as Joy and Priti arrived. We cut the first one together. Then, Joy and Priti used use that as a template to make all the rest. We got a few done before lunch. However, after lunch the pace really picked up and they were able to finish all the rafters in just a couple of hours. Now have 18 rafters sitting in my garage! Awesome!
- In the middle of cutting up rafters, Paul from Steel Werx called to tell me that he had finished a welding the all threaded rods to my trailer. So, we all took a break to go check if out (see Favorite Parts of the Day below for more detail).
- While Joy and Priti were working on rafters, Dave and I started cutting up all the pieces of wood for the front gable. Dave had to leave shortly after lunch, but we got enough done that I was able to finish cutting the rest of the pieces and laying them out after lunch.
- In order to lay out the gable pieces to make sure everything fit together properly, I used to rafters and a couple of blocks of wood to create a perimeter triangle on top of the rear wall. Then, I just started placing pieces inside. The pieces still need to be screwed or nailed together. However, everything seems to fit perfectly.
- In the afternoon, I borrowed my neighbor’s truck to back over to Steel Werx to pick up my trailer (see this post for more detail).
Assembling the perimeter triangle for the gable finally gave me some sense of how big the loft would be in our tiny house. I think it’s going to be smaller than I expected. Here’s a picture of Joy pretending to fit inside the loft!
Today’s tiny epiphanies:
- I love my power tools. My Dewalt 20V Max cordless drill, impact driver, circular saw and jig saw are amazing. The batteries last forever, they are very well designed and have more power than even my corded tools. Equally useful and amazing is my 12 inch Hitachi dual bevel compound miter saw. I can’t believe that I almost took it back after I bought it, thinking it was too expensive and that I might not use it that much. Now that I have it, I use it for almost everything and can’t imagine how I would get along without it. It was especially helpful today when we had to make all of the angled cuts required for the gable and the rafters. Dialing the miter saw to 45° and making a cut is ridiculously simple, accurate, easy and fun!
Problems we ran into:
- It took me a long time to figure out the geometry for the rafters. Unfortunately, the rafter dimensions that came with the plans were completely wrong. I’m a little bit disappointed by this especially given how much I paid for the plans. However, that error did force me to really understand how rafters are designed, which is probably a good thing. It took me several hours to figure out the correct dimensions and convince myself that they were absolutely correct. However, The time I put into it just made me feel all that much better when we laid out all the gable and rafter pieces and everything fit together just right.
- We discovered after completing the sixth rafter that I had cut the birds mouth in the template rafter about ¼” too big (my calculations were correct, I just had a little bit of trouble making the diagonal measurement accurately). We corrected the mistake for the remaining 12 rafters and I believe the six that we cut incorrectly can be fixed by using a small piece of quarter inch plywood as a shim when those rafters are put in place.
Favorite parts of the day:
- Seeing my friend, Dave
- Meeting Priti and seeing her together with Joy
- Taking the whole group of over to Steel Werx and watching everybody meet Paul and the other welders and browse around the shop. While we were there, Joy noticed a hang glider up in the rafters of the shop. Joy and Priti just started hang gliding themselves, so they exchanged contact information with Paul so they could get together and hang glide some time: one more awesome connection created through this tiny house project.