August 15, 2015
I had a really fabulous day working on the tiny house today. It may have been the most enjoyable and most productive day I have ever had working on the tiny house. I don’t know why, but for some reason everything I touched seemed to just work today. I didn’t have any major problems that needed to be solved. I didn’t encounter anything I wasn’t expecting. I had a plan, I executed that plan, it worked out better and faster than I expected and then I moved on to the next plan. I kept doing that until I had worked for 13 hours straight and had gotten twice as much done as I thought I might get done today.
My productivity was increased by being able to spend about 4 hours on the house last night after work. Yesterday evening, I started to build the closet and shelving between the bathroom and the great room. Not unexpectedly, the Tumbleweed plans provide no details for how to build that section of the house. However, at work yesterday, I suddenly had an epiphany about how I could get it all to come together. So last night, I started the process by building and installing the two closet walls. In the process, I also discovered that my trailer was no longer level for some reason (or perhaps never was). To deal with that, I spent 30 or 40 minutes jacking up the right side of the trailer and moving the jack stands around until I could lower that side of the trailer by about an inch. I then discovered that my bathroom walls were not as plumb as I thought they were, so I unscrewed those, moved them about a quarter of an inch at the top and screwed them back in. I did all of that before installing the two closet walls that I had created, just to make sure everything was plumb.
I know it doesn’t look like much right now, but eventually, there will be a small closet on the right hand side and several shelves on the left hand side. The closet will have a door that will match the bathroom door I built today and the whole thing will be trimmed with ¾” pine.
With the closet framed, I was finally able to add interior siding to the hallway. I got started at 6:00 AM today and since that was too early to run power tools, I spent the next couple of hours sorting my siding, measuring what was left to be installed and transferring those measurements to the pieces of wood. That enabled me to quickly make all of my cuts at 9:00 AM, when I finally decided it was late enough to disturb the neighborhood. After that, it was a pretty simple process of processing the wood and then gluing and nailing it to the walls. After 135 hours of installing interior siding, I have gotten pretty good at it. In fact, I think I have pretty much mastered it. Of course, now that I have finally mastered it, I don’t have anymore to do. But that’s okay. It was nice to have at least one day where I felt like I really knew what I was doing.
After I finished working on the siding, I added a toilet seat to the composting toilet box that I built last weekend. I think I freaked a few people out when I made a Facebook post last weekend saying that I had added a toilet and a shower to my bathroom and showed pictures of my toilet with just an open hole in no toilet seat. Here’s a picture of my final toilet, just in case anyone was afraid we were all going to have the squat over an open hole to do our business.
By 1:00 PM, I moved onto my next and most complicated project of the day: building an interior bathroom door. I have been planning this one for weeks and I was not sure exactly how it would go. I decided to use a Z-frame design for my bathroom door because it was much easier to build than the complicated rail, stile and panel design that I used for my front door, but still fairly attractive. For the main part of the door, I used 1 x 6 tongue and groove pine boards (¾” x 5″ actual) which I glued, slotted and clamped together. I used 3 full pieces in the middle and two more pieces on either side ripped to 1 5/8″ for a total width of 18 ¼” which should fit well into my 20″ rough opening. I built a frame around my tongue and groove boards using ¾” pine boards that I had ripped down to the 2 ¾”. I carefully cut these, assembled them into a square and then glued and screwed them onto the tongue and groove. I then added one final ¾” diagonal piece, making sure that it fit snugly in the frame before gluing and screwing that to the tongue and groove as well. Since I knew that the screws were going to show in the final product, I purchased screws that I thought would look nice. I was also very careful to lay out the screws in a pattern that I thought would look attractive in the final door. After that, all that was left to be done was to sand the backside of the door, which was the rough-cut side of the tongue and groove.
It was much easier to build this door than I thought it was going to be and a lot easier than my front door. I didn’t have any major problems and I’m really happy with the final product. About the only thing that was difficult was cutting the corners of the diagonal brace because those cuts were at odd angles and had to be just about perfect so would fit snugly without any gaps. It was difficult to figure out how to mark those cuts before I made them. In the end, I marked them the best I could and deliberately made them a little bit bigger than I thought they should be so I could get close and then slowly cut them down to size to perfect them. That approach worked pretty well.
I spent the few hours I had left in the day cleaning the inside of the tiny house a bit and finally putting the legs on my kitchen cabinets to get them off the floor which will be necessary to install the flooring around them. I’m not planning to install flooring underneath the cabinets since this area will be hidden and not having flooring under the cabinets will make it easier to pull up the flooring in the future if I ever need to.
Now that I write it all down, it almost seems like I didn’t actually accomplish all that much. I basically spent about 13 hours installing some interior siding and building a door. However, I think it doesn’t seem like much just because it went so smoothly. Thinking about it again, I realize that I not only successfully designed and built an interior door all by myself today – something I have never done before – but it actually turned out pretty well! Two years ago, I would never have considered doing something like that myself. The fact that building a door by myself now seems like no big deal probably says a little bit about how much I have learned and how far I have come building this tiny house.
Oh! I almost forgot. Sheila thought it would be kind of neat if I shared how much it cost me to build my bathroom door. Let me start by saying that everything inside a tiny house is an odd dimension, especially the doors. You can’t just go down to Home Depot and pick up an 18” x 74” interior door. You could cut one down, but it wouldn’t look very nice when you were done. You could have one custom made, but that would probably cost several hundred dollars. Here’s what it cost me to build my door, in addition to my 4 hours of time:
- 4 @ 1” x 6” x 8’ tongue and groove pine boards: $32
- 4 @ 1” x 4” x 8’ S4S pine boards, ripped to 2 ¾”: $13.50
- Door Hinges: $2.50
- Door knob & latch: $15
- Screws: $2.50
- Total: $65.50