Monday, January 20, 2014

Little House Little Tips

I've only been building my house for a bit over a month now but I've learned a few tips I thought I'd share so you can spread liberally over the affected area and if you don't see any improvement come back and see me next week.

Embrace the dirty

If you try and stay clean and build at the same time you'll have a really tough time doing either.

 I started with a few shirts and one special pair of pants that I've been meaning to get rid of but needed one last hurrah. I wore those few shirts and the same torn, ragged pair of pants for about 30 days straight as I started my house build. I did shower twice a day but with all the glue, saw dust, and soot I never felt truly clean. I knew whatever clothes I wore during that time would be ruined so once I embraced the dirty it helped. My "uniform" made me look a bit like a homeless person, which to be fair was only 30 days from being the truth if I didn't build fast.


I'm not going to list out a thousand little tools you need but these are some that I find almost never leave my side. 

Speed Square: I don't use this as much as I would if I were doing traditional framing but it's still a VERY handy tool for the simple fact that it's the perfect straight edge. You will be drawing a metric ton of cut lines and this will be part of nearly all of them. Even with SIPs and not really framing traditionally I still get tons of miles out of this tool with no moving parts. It rates a 7 on the hand to hand fighting weapon scale out of 10.

Gloves: These make it easier to embrace the dirty because if you're like me and learn to just keep them on all the time, you'll have nice clean hands at the end of the day to eat dinner with ease. Also, I've saved myself from a few razor cuts, screw tips, and literally more splinters than you can shake a wooden splintering stick at. Get some good ones and wear the same ones everyday. That way you can have them form to your hands over time and if you're lucky your body won't reject them and they can replace your hand skin. During the inevitable Zombie apocalypse gloves will be key to keep yourself from being bitten by a stray walker.

Tape Measure(s): I like to start the day with at least three tapes and by the end of the day I play a little Easter egg hunt with myself to find all of them. I paint mine a good color like purple so they stand out. You'll end up with one by your saw, one by your site, and one on your belt. It's better than having to look for it every time you lose it. Keeps you from having to stop in the middle of the day to search. Plus they are cheap. I recommend getting one good one and then a few cheap ones to lend to helpers.


  1. Hello Joe - I enjoyed browsing your blog just now. Jay told me to contact you here for a possible photo shoot with your building project. Would you be willing to let me come take a picture at your construction site for an article I'm working on? I can also be reached here...

  2. Hey Joe! My name's Rose. I'm from the Humboldt(ish) area but currently living in Japan. Matt from tumbleweed recommended I check out your blog. :) Great posts! How exciting about your build, I'm sure it's hard but rewarding work. I plan on buying plans/a trailer this year and starting construction on my tiny house sometime next year. I'll be driving down the California coast this May before I move to Brazil- so maybe could grab some coffee and talk tiny houses or I could check out your build? Hope all is well in your world. :)

  3. The coolest effect of your article is that it is important to remember the small things through the larger process of building the home. It really is about having the right gloves and tape measure for the job. I can see that it would be such a nuisance to have to stop your building process and run off to the hardware store several times a day. Preparation is key to the build process isn't it.

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