My wife’s aunt Sandy, who also lives up at the farm, sent me these photos. The farmer was out there today planting the corn and and fertilizing with fish emulsion and molasses. It’s an organic farm so nothing but the best sticky & stinky stuff for those baby corn plants.
I also realized a funny irony this morning… I’m building a tiny house just a couple miles from the Sutter Buttes, which has the honor of being known as the world’s smallest mountain range. I may also be the only person who thinks building a tiny house at the foot of the world’s smallest mountain range is funny… so thanks for bearing with me.
It will be even funnier when I build Nine Tiny Feet which might actually become a contender for the title of the world’s smallest house… but I’m not holding my breath or getting my hopes too high.
I spent my weekend outside working with pallet wood. It felt good to be making some progress on the Tiny Free House again. The walls are up and I even got started on the roof framing before I ran out of long 2x4s. I had been playing around with the idea of an asymmetrical roof line, but as I stood there, trying to figure out the right way to built it, I quickly realized how less sturdy it would have been. So I decided then and there to build a normal pitched roof. Building with pallets doesn’t make the strongest structure in the first place so attempting to build something even more out of the ordinary seemed like an invitation for more trouble.
I’m framing the roof with simple trusses that I build on the ground from pallet wood. Saturday morning I picked up a bunch of pallets including four over-sized pallets. They were about six feet long and longer which turned out to be perfect fit for my roof.
Some people see trash, I see lumber.
I decided that I didn’t want full pallets in the roof so it made more sense to break the pallets down into the lumber and build the roof from the raw materials. The six foot long pallets turned into very nice trusses. I’m not going to put a cross tie between the rafters because I suspect the loft will add enough strength to keep the roof from settling.
By making the trusses on the ground I’ll be able to keep the roof fairly square. Actually I was pleasantly surprised how strait the walls ended up. They are not as strait as a normal wall, but they aren’t as crooked as I expect them to be. They are also feeling more stable as I add more to the house.
Now I’m on the lookout for long pallets. I think I have enough standard pallets stacked up for the siding and maybe even the interior. So I’m going to hold off on collecting any of those until I use up the ones I already have. I’ve found that the long pallets are out there, you just have to know where to look. Auto repair and heating and air shops are great places to look for free pallets because these businesses get deliveries of bulky objects and regularly discard odd sized pallets.
Once I have the the rest of the wood for the roof framing collected, which is the equivalent of 24 6-foot 2x4s, I can finish the roof framing. I also need to find five or six 8-foot 2x4s for the loft.
After the rough framing is complete I’ll cover the roof in pallet boards, roofing felt, and some kind of metal roofing. I’m hoping to find some corrugated metal but I’m also playing with the crazy idea of using flattened #10 tin cans. I love the idea of tiny can shingles; that would be a sight.
I finally have time blocked off to get back up to the farm and get back to work on the tiny free house. The weather is perfect and there’s a pile of pallets is waiting for me. I’m really looking forward to spending some time outside working too. I work in front of a computer screen all day and while the winter here in California is mild, I still feel like I’ve been cooped up too long.
My next steps will be to first decide on the final roof design. Even though it takes up a little floor space I think I’m going to go with the asymmetrical roof design below. It’s unique, cute, stronger, and the steep roof pitch should be pretty good for solar panels if I can find some free ones.
I plan to take a rope and a couple of boards and mock-up the roof line just to get a good idea of how much floor space I’ll loose by having one short 48-inch wall. Google Sketch-Up is handy for picturing the house in 3D but nothing beats standing inside the real thing, especially when designing a tiny house where every inch counts.
Check back next week to see my progress! In the mean time you might be interested in some free tiny house plans I posted on my tiny house design blog.