Slim Pallet Pickings

It’s been a rough couple weeks looking for long pallets. Very few have been posted on craigslist and our usual lucky spots have been dry. Julia and I went out today and found lots of small and standard pallets but only one 6-footer. We also spotted a stack of really decrepit ones but decided there wasn’t one good 2×4 in the pile.

I need 16 more 6-foot 2x4s to finish the roof framing and I can get three 2x4s out of each pallet so I need to find about 6 more pallets. I think I have enough standard pallets for the wall sheathing stacked up at the farm so I’m going to keep an extra good look-out this week for at least six more long pallets and skip picking up the small ones. If I can’t find enough by the end of the week I might break down and spend some of the money made by selling free stuff found on craigslist and buy a couple 2x4s.

I’ve spent very little money on screws and saw blades so far; money very easily recouped by selling the free stuff I’ve already found free on craigslist. I figure that since 2×4 studs cost less than $2.00 each it might make more sense to get these last few pieces of lumber at the store instead of burning up gas looking for the free variety, as much as I hate to do that. I’ve used some pretty scrappy looking, yet solid, wood in the walls but I want to make sure the roof is sturdy enough not to come down on our heads. So in a way it seems like cheap insurance if I have to break down and spend $30 on 2x4s.

Julia snapped a photo of me loading the one good pallet we found. It came with a very nice piece of masonite attached to it. I’m not sure how I’ll use it but I’m certain it will come in handy. Below that is a photo of the pallets I left behind.



Pictures From The Farm

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.



Pallet walls are up, roof framing begins

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.