Shaping my space

Well, it’s been another month again. Maybe I’ll just post once a month, but hopefully I’ll get my act together to do a couple of shorter posts more frequently instead.

I still am looking for 1/2″ CDX plywood! And other things I can’t think of right now. Maybe nice wooden counter top?

Getting the walls up was exciting and it continues to look more and more like a house! Once they were all in place, it was time to secure them. I used ring shanked nails on the bottom plate. The trailer plans and DVD I got from Tumbleweed recommended that I use Simpson Strong Ties to act as an enormous nut to go over the threaded rods and screw into a nearby 2×4 stud. I guess I didn’t look at the plans carefully enough, because the Tumbleweed folks installed the ties as they were framing so that they’d be in the right place when they put the walls up. Also, whether I looked at the plans closely enough or not, the trailer I bought has two of the threaded rods in a really inconvenient place where there is no way a Simpson Strong Tie could fit over it. The threaded rod itself barely fit!

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After some discussion, my dad and I decided that using the hefty ties ($20 a piece by the way) was overkill. Instead, I am using one nut for each bolt, a locking washer, two regular washers – one bigger than the other, and thread-lock which is sticky stuff that is put on the threads of the nut/ bolt so that when it dries, nothing will jiggle apart. I am aware that the nut in the picture below should be all the way down by the washers. I haven’t actually applied the thread-lock yet or finished this step.

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Aside from being way more affordable than the Simpson Strong Ties, Gus from Cummington Supply and some other knowledgeable builders seemed confident in my new plan. I guess a lot of building codes are requiring a bunch of Simpson stuff to keep houses hurricane and tornado safe. I figure that if a tornado come along, I should be more worried about the whole thing getting lifted off the ground than my house coming apart from the trailer.

Just to make absolutely sure that my walls weren’t going anywhere, I installed metal strapping in big Xs over all four walls for sheer strength.

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When it was time to build the inside wall, I decided to construct it out of some 2x2s and 2x4s. I figured I should build the inner wall on the inside of the house so I didn’t have to try to fit it in from the door (which would not have been possible) or lift it allll the way up to get in from the open top. As it turns out, the random length of the loft (6’7″) was also the exact width of the inside of my house, so I was just barely able to build the wall on the inside floor. An inch longer and it wouldn’t have fit!

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Anyway, we framed it up and put plywood on one side using finish screws, then set it up and attached it to the end wall and floor before installing plywood on the other side. I had to pause for a few days in-between so I could buy more 1/4″ plywood and paint some of it. Annalise who is now home for the summer (!) helped a lot with painting and getting the plywood up.

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Soon after the wall was up, I installed the lower extension of the long-walls that went over the wheel well. It’s important that I have these walls supported because they will be load-bearing walls (roof, snow, etc) and were otherwise only half-supported by the wheel-well. I ripped some 2x4s to be the right thickness and made some cripples to go under the studs and soon I had a mini wall! It was very satisfying because it was something I could do fairly quickly and also didn’t need extra hands for.

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Soon it was time to frame the first loft! The wonderful Colin Garland of Raven Adventures who I have talked about in previous posts was able to get me another window that is beautiful but may not fit and bunch more 2x4s and 2x6s for lofts and rafters! I am continuously grateful for all he’s done to help me.

Another trip to Cummington Supply got me four 2×4 joist hangers for my first loft. I had a lot of fun working on this part again, because it was smaller scale and went fairly quickly. One frustrating part was figuring out how to cut out the place to put the end of the loft double header. I must have used 5 different tools to finally get it cut/ chipped out. And it’s so satisfying when everything fits so nicely and I have visible progress! It’s getting easier and easier to visualize the space.

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We attached a 2×4 to the inside wall with finish nails and they were SO hard to work with. I learned that it’s important to be patient but also that patience doesn’t always help…

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Soon I’ll be installing the floorboards on the first loft so I’ll have somewhere sturdy to stand while working on the rafters and roof. In preparation, I started scraping the dirt off the reclaimed floorboards I got from Erich in Brattleboro. It’s slow-going but I think I’ll be even more pleased to have them installed after all the prep work. I will prime and paint the bottom of each of them too because that’s what I’ll see from underneath the loft where my bed will be.

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