Saturday, December 31, 2011

Back from Cincinatti.....and progress

...and I am back. Van ran wonderful although I discovered my loose steering wheel is actually a loose steering wheel and a cracked steering column. That will be dealt with later.

As a Christmas present, my friends insulated my house for me...most of it. I came home to the walls (up to the half wall) insulated and vapor barrier installed. They also replaced the broken window with a much smaller one. I am going to replace the replacement next week. The small window just does not look right. Today I finished insulating the rest and bought the bits to run my stove-pipe through the roof. That will be tomorrow's project as it is supposed to get really cold here in the mountains over the next few days.

I have been pondering wall coverings and, as cost effective drywall is, I think that the weight and likely hood of cracking  when I move the building precludes it as a good candidate. I looked at 5mm luann plywood (door skin) and that might work if I prime and paint it well. I will make the final decision on my next trip to Lowe's. I will also pick up new plywood for a second layer on the floor and my floor laminates......and my budget will be about blown. The sleeping loft will have to wait. I think I may just use a futon for now.

Pictures soon......


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Forward progress.......

So here I am.....sitting in Cincinatti.......realizing that I have been neglecting my blog. So here is an update.

I could not wait for my friend to get the sliding glass door out of his house (and into mine) before I left so I bought one at the local junk store for a hundred bucks. It is a year old and in perfect shape. It's a bit smaller than the freebie but that's OK. It is installed and looks amazing. The building is buttoned up and waiting for me to get back and to get to work. I brought the new "new" stove up to Cincy with me and plumbed it to run off a 20lb tank. It was pretty expensive to get all the bits but it will work in the cabin so that's great. The output BTU's seems a little low, possibly the wrong regulator so that will need to be addressed. Here's some photo's....

for a month

So I am in Cincy for a month. Progress on the Shack will commence after Christmas. Happy Holidays!!!!!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Some tiny house items that I may add..

I have a small RV shower pan that a friend was going to use in a school bus conversion. This will be the basis for my shower. You will have to step up and in but it has a tiny footprint and should work ok in the tiny bathroom. I have been thinking a lot about utilities. I have already decided to run 12v wiring for the RV lights that I bought. I would like to run gas too.... I have three LP fixtures (stove, heater, and I plan on getting an on-demand hot water heater for the shower. I would like to have just on gas hook-up outside. The plan is to plumb the back wall with gas pipe with a section going around the front of the house to where the heater will live. here is a link to the shower..

Water will be stored in rain collection barrels outside and a 12v on demand pump will provide the water pressure to turn the heater on. I would like to figure out a way to divert this hot water to a kitchen faucet too....hmmmmmmm I may have to buy two of these. One for the shower and one for the sink.

The heater I plan on getting is a 3 panel propane heater with a thermostat. I plan on leaving this heater on low all the time to keep the house from freezing. With a thermostat it will only run when the temp inside dips. I intend to use the wood stove for heat but since a fire only lasts a couple of hours the propane heater should make mornings bearable. here is the heater....

I plan on supplying these fixtures from a 100lb tank outside. Ideally I will get a month out of a tank but I will keep a couple of 20 pound tanks filled just in case....

that's it for now....

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

takin' care of business..

So I have been working away at the shack and my new job. I am leaving on Sunday for my winter job in Cinncinatti and I have been trying to get the building dries in. The side walls are up (with old chipboard) and the windows are in. The windows work....sort of. Putting them in racked them a bit and they don't open and close very well but that's ok. I will shave where they are sticking next summer. Some bits came to finally make the stove pipe work right. That has been a chore. My stove has not been made in quite awhile and it uses 5" inch stove pipe (uncommon). I thought that it used 4" and ordered a bunch of that last season......nope. So last week I bought a section of 5" pipe and a 5"-4" reducer. Everything fits and when I go through the roof it should be right on. getting through the roof is going to be tricky but I should be ok with a metal box, brackets,  flashing, and an angled roof flashing. I will do that when I get back after I put up drywall.
 My to do list before I leave.....
1. Finish upper end wall (I should have enough chip board to piece it together)
2. Frame a table for the stove 2'x2'
3. Get a new window for the front (might have a freebie) and install
4. Get and Install the sliding glass door.

If I don't get the door I will buy a sheet of plywood and board the opening up until I get back. I am getting a freebie but it is taking forever. I would like to have the outside at least roughed in so I can work from the inside out when I get back.

I have been looking at the floor and I will have to put new sub-floor down before I put flooring in. This will be done last but it's on my my mind because my buddy put laminates down in his schoolie last night and it looks amazing. I think a layer of blue foam will go down too.....extra insulation can't hurt!

Here are some pics.......

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

lowered expectations....

so I have not gotten nearly enough done for my liking. My day job distracts me from the cabin build and the cabin build distracts me from my day job and I am getting nothing done. The windows are coming along. I have a coat of paint on them and though I could have made them nicer they will look fine. Tomorrow I will frame them out and finish painting and assembling them. The bits that I bought at the junkyard are OK. The stove should work and I am starting to really enjoy the golden yellow color. The 12v lights should all be fine. The RV electric service and the fresh water supply box were garbage. Both got trashed. I did salvage a nice 25' heavy duty power cord from the power supply so it wasn't a total loss. I was temped to fix it (the transformer was fried) but I van buy a new one that charges my house batteries for a couple hundred so I think I will save myself the effort since the part number on the transformer did not cross reference. I have a small 110v to 12v converter that came with a crappy thermo-electric cooler which I may be able to test things.
  I really need to get the shack dried in before I leave for Cincinatti so I gotta get to work! I can do the interior while its cold out but I shudder at the thought of putting siding up in 20 degree weather! This weekend I will push....get the windows done, sliding door put in, run wire for 12v lighting and get the siding up......even if I have to hodge podge the old and left over sheets together. I plan on re siding the whole thing down the line so it just needs to survive this winter......and keep me warm. More to come.

Junkyard finds...

...So the end result of this project will hopefully be an off grid cabin on a few acres of land. I have been thinking about the electrical system a good deal (as I pick away at the rest of it) and I have decided that the house will have to be wired for 12v. I cannot stand exposed wires and extension cords so this means in-wall wiring. Today I went to the junk yard (a mile away) and grabbed 5 12v conversion van reading lights. 4 are single lamp and 1 is a double. These will be placed throughout the cabin. The double over the stove, a single over the bed, 2 singles in the living area and a single someplace else. I intend to use in-wall wiring (safety first) so I can re-wire to 110v if it ever comes to that. I have these same lights in my van and they are plenty bright in a small space. I plan to augment the lighting with some oil lamps (which I love). I also got a small card table for the vandaminium that holds 4 glasses!s
    Also, at the same junk yard, I found an old pop-up with a 10 gallon water tank (rectangle with all the fittings) and a 3 burner propane stove. I am headed out now to strip them out. There is a sink with a hand pump too but the color is pretty awful (matches the stove but I can paint that) so I don't know. maybe I will grab it.
   So I today I am getting the following...

5 12v RV reading light fixtures
1 10 gallon RV water tank with fittings
1 3 burner surface mount propane stove
1 sink with hand pump

All for $30. needless to say I am excited!

Wiring the lights will have to happen before drywall but in the end it will be worth the added expense!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

some windows and a sliding door... I have to wait another day for the sliding door but that's OK. I found 5 32"x32" windows at the local salvage store. They are old windows, single pane and uninsulated which is not ideal but I could not pass them up for the price. I will have to put plastic over them this winter to increase the R value but I think that they will look amazing  high on the rear wall. I plan to use three or four stretching the entire length of the back wall. I would like to find a way to hinge a couple too so I can use them to vent the house in the hot summers. Next weeks project is to frame these in!! Here are some pics (and sketches) of my plans so far....

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


so I got the rear and side walls framed up and tomorrow I will start the new sheeting on the rear wall, getting ready for insulation. The building is definitely out of plumb but I have a crazy plan to use a tractor and a buttload of screws to get everything lined and more to come!!

nothing is square....

So in trying to frame out the side wall I have discovered that nothing is plumb in the shack. The side wall is more of a parallelogram than a rectangle and the knee wall kicks in an inch or two at one end. I will need to get these lines much straighter if I want the drywall to look good. Also, the studs are at weird intervals on the front wall which is not that big a deal since I plan to cut most of them out to install the sliding glass door. Oh well, back to work.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

.....a little progress....

.....was made today. Here's some pics.

I tore out the old wall wall and am getting ready to frame out for siding. Also, I re-seasoned the Neptune wood stove. It has a fire burning in it now and the cast iron is getting nice and hot.....
Tomorrow I will finish the wall and get ready to start framing out the spot for the sliding glass door. I am getting a freebie which is great. It will open left to right from the inside and I will be able to move the stove into the corner freeing up some space on the back wall!!!

....more to come!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

back pain....

chopping wood all day equals.....

So the firebox in the little Neptune is small.......real small. I bucked and split about a half a cord of hardwood yesterday and .......wait for it..........I bucked it too long. Now my back hurts and I have a pile of wood that I can't use without hitting it with the chainsaw again (scary thought). I am going to call some custom cutters and see if I can get a load of firewood delivered that is the right is soooooo short!!! Measure twice and cut once applies in other activities than just carpentry apparently.

The Neptune A-1

So my heating plan is the Neptune A-1 marine woodstove. It is a cooking stove with a small oven and a single eye over the firebox. The tiny firebox. I took it out of storage and gave it a test firing last night out in the yard. I got a good bed of coals going and added 3 pieces of somewhat seasoned red oak at 6PM. At 7:36 PM the firebox just had a few coals in it and by 8PM the fire had burned out. About two hours. The built in flue damper was closed and the fire never took off. That is not a lot of time. The heavy cast iron stove continued to generate heat about 10PM so there is about 4 hours of heat making ability with the little stove. I am going to need to make sure that the cabin is really insulated to hold this heat. My last experience with this stove was not great but I was trying to heat a huge space. The cabin I am building is only 8x16 with a shed roof, 13 feet on the high side. I would guess this is a quarter of the volume of the last cabin (which was very poorly insulated).
I am going to back up the wood heat with a small propane heater...the Mr. Heater Big Buddy running off a bulk tank. This heater has three settings and I hope that the lowest one is not too much. If so, I may buy a wall mount propane heater with a thermostat. Just hate to spend the extra dough since I already have a heater.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

dragging a shack...

Tractors are good. We just moved the shack about 400 yards with chains and a tractor. It slid surprisingly well even up the hill that is the driveway for the outpost and it is now sitting where it will spend the winter. There is a long list of things to do, most of which will have to be done when I get back from Cincinnati after Christmas but there are some immediate projects that have to be done. First, I have to clean it out. It has been sitting open for years (and unused for the last year) so between hornets nests, dirt, mud dobber nests, more dirt, leaves, bird droppings and more dirt I have my work cut out for me. Next, there is a wall that needs to be finished. It is on the end farthest from the door and it will need to be framed out and exterior sheeting put up. I am planning on putting in a sliding glass door where the front door is but if I put it here it will save me a bunch of work and time and money.....I just don't think it's the spot. I am going to have to explore this a bit from an interior design standpoint. If I decide not to put the slider here then I need to frame out an opening where the front door is for the sliding glass door and install. The rear wall needs attention too. It needs more framing 2x4's so I can hang sheetrock (and insulate) and needs new exterior panels. The ones that were there were never finished and after 5-6 years are in pretty bad shape. The window on the front needs to be replaced too but I will do that later and for now just cover it. The idea is to have the space dry so I can work on the interior when I get back from Ohio (with money in my pocket) soooo........a list.

1. clean out the shack
2. fix the back and side walls
3. buy, frame in and install a sliding glass door
4. replace or cover the broken window

This way when I get back I can focus on making the interior livable.........the next list.

5. run basic wiring for a few outlets (not used until I am permanently situated)
6. seal and insulate walls and roof
7. sheetrock walls and roof
8. Install floors (laminates)
9. Install wood stove and stovepipe
10. paint.
11. and the list goes on and on and on....

I have got my work cut out for me...

....and this is what I have.

My new old tiny house... I have been a dedicated van dweller for the last three years and as winter approaches I find myself really wanting to nest a bit. I kind of miss having a home. The van is great in the summers but I usually head south for the winters. Well, I have a new job and I have decided that I need to stay in the mountains for the winter. Which means I need a place to live....that is not the van.
I have been wanting to build a tiny house for a few years now, ever since I first discovered the movement on the internet but there was always a reason not to....mostly my desire to change venues every six months or so and the fact that I have never owned a vehicle that will pull a house on wheels. Recently I inherited one of the changing rooms that the rafting company used while we were building our new outpost and I have decided to make it into a small but modern living space. I can live in it on our property in the winter and hopefully find a spot for the summers. If not it's back to the van for me (which is not too bad either!!) This blog is to document the renovation from hollow shack to a modern, comfortable living space.
Here are some photo's of what I want....