The Scrap House

Shingled Out

May 28, 2009

Today worked out. We have our fridge inside delivering lovely cold drinks, and we hit a great music vein today. To have music while we work, I open up my car(The brown one previously pictured.) and we use my phone with Pandora going through the stereo. We take turns day to day picking the starting point for Pandora, but today it started with They Might Be Giants. Well, normally, no matter what you say, Pandora takes you to Bruce Springsteen, who I still don’t like.  But today we hit that lovely 90’s flow of alternative grudge-ish rock. TMBG, Cake, Supergrass, Barenaked Ladies, Presidents of the USA… it worked. So, maybe the amount of work we get done is proportional to the goodness of the music. Oh well. Aside from that note, we almost got the roof done. The side I was working on is done except for the top cap, and Havard got the other side about 3/4th.  The colors are still a bit weird, but oh well. We ended up running out of shingles, but I’ve got a lead on some more, so we’re good.



Hyatt worked on the side some more. It’s looking great. Once you get siding on, the height of the trim around the windows is less pronounced, so it all vibes together. Whoever invented vinyl siding presumably knew that cedar shakes existed. But he just kept inventing vinyl siding. Heartless jerk. Such a wonderful material, it’s pretty and makes you smell like a sauna.



Past that, I half-heartedly started shaking the front while Hyatt and Havard did some clean-up work. I didn’t work for long, so I only did a couple rows. So tomorrow we’ll finish doing the roof and then probably start framing the door. It’s pretty slick that the roof is now water proof… you look up and don’t see sky, nifty!



I ended the last post with a quote from the song I was listening to at the time. Well, Climbing the Walls by TMBG is playing on Pandora right now, and somehow it just seems poignant. So we’ll use that ending scheme again.

Too much junk, too much junk
Can we please clear out this house?
In the trunk, in the trunk
And then we'll take it all to the dump
Then we won't need the car
'Cause we'll stay where we are
And I'll have all this room

Goodbye my liege, goodbye. Peace. -Ted

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If everything is auxiliary, then is anything?

May 28, 2009

First off, I’d like to thank Andy Sharber and the fine folks at Griffin Marine in Wanchese. They do great work, and are amazingly kind people. They provided us with a circuit breaker box today, presumably out of some sort of yacht. I thought it was kind of funny that everything was marked auxiliary, but either way it’s a great thing to have and I immensly appreciate Andy’s kindness. Thanks!




The other great news of the day is we actually — wait for it — started the roof! How many times have  I promised that? Well, we got the tar paper up and I started shingling in weather that was no less than 147 degrees. Or not. But it was slightly warm! Milk would have been a bad choice! The roof will be a bit multi-colored, but it’ll be alright. Adds a bit of charm. But not like lucky charms… a marshmallow roof would just be silly.




As you can see, Hyatt also kept up his industrious cedar shaking. There actually isn’t much left of that wall to do given the windows, and the good news is we didn’t make too much of a dent in our cedar shake supply. We still won’t have enough, but it will at least be close.


Well, I can’t think of something witty to put here as the ending, so I’ll leave you with a quote.

“Feel it all with a willing heart
Every stop is a place to start
If you know how to play the part with feeling” -Jimmy Buffett

That has nothing to do with this blog, but the song happens to be playing right now, so go with it. Peace. -Ted

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The 7 Deadly Shims

May 26, 2009

We got the other window in today. It should be the last difficult one, as the other two windows have frames around them already. The metal ones were just not fun. But we went through the same procedure as last time and got the other one in. I decided to just start over on the trimming… it was just plain wrong. I redid it in 2×4’s, so it has a bit more strength/weather proofing. I think it looks better too. I trimmed, Hyatt caulked. As he can make caulking look halfway good, and I can make it look like I lost a tooth-paste fight. Oh… and I actually used a real camera today. Fancy!




We also got, courtesy of Mr. Bill, three more bundles of cedar shakes and enough shingles to do the entire roof. So while we probably still don’t have enough shakes to do the whole thing, that made a pretty good dent in our “needed” account. I’m guessing we’ll need two or three more bundles. But what we have will keep Hyatt busy for a while.



Speaking of Hyatt, he also started shaking that side. Following a truly horrifying table saw maneuver which led me to believe that there are angles greater than 360, we had a nice angled piece to put at the bottom to kick the shakes out so the water will go over our side 2×10 joist.


In Hyatt’s other endeavors… he kept working on the gable ends. All of this speaking  of Hyatt is making it sound like he’s the only one who does anything. Which is not true. Charlie and I did something… I think. Anyway, I finally got a good picture of siding on the gable ends. I keep emphasizing this for two reasons… A. It looks really nice and I haven’t been able to get a good photo yet. B. I can’t possibly communicate how much work it is. How Hyatt has the patience to do it, I have no idea… but each piece is composed of about 10 trips to the band saw, 6 passes on the table saw, some trigonometry, and what I can only assume is a combination of topology, witchcraft, and a hint of full gospel baptist. It’s intense. Major props go to him for it. Prettiest pallets I’ve ever seen, that’s for sure.


Cutting around those rafter supports is the tricky part. Anyway… the only other noteworthy news is I found a sink. Now, if you’re keeping count, this is in fact the fourth sink we’ve found. Which may seem like a lot. But, when you find stainless steel, you don’t turn it down. This one came straight from the dump. I got it for two reasons, primarily the faucet, which I figured we could re-purpose to use in the shower. Also, it happens to be almost identical to the other stainless sink we got, so if I mess up the other sink installing it(I’m going to have to bend a 3 inch lip into it), I have a back up. If all else fails, we have two giant pieces of stainless steel. Can you say hydrogen generator?!


Signing off before the explosion, bye. Peace. -Ted

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Wait… THAT edge?

May 23, 2009
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So…  Friday was an early dismissal day, So we didn’t have a huge amount of time to work. Hyatt kept working on siding the gables, so that is starting to come together. I did a slightly more commendable job of photographing it this time. Slightly.



I think it’s looking really good. I suppose Hyatt just has more artistic vision than I do.

Havard and I worked on installing the kitchen window. Now, the two windows for this side of the house were actually new. However, there were metal and didn’t have a flange to mount them. We also realized, they’re sliders… not double hung. So, with some creative re-shaping with some tin snips and a pair of pliers, we ripped off half the old bracket so that it was even, and then drilled mounting holes. Luckily aluminum is pretty easy to work with. However, the flange that did exist was on the inside, not the out, so the windows are only barely recessed into the wall. It looks odd, but after siding goes on the height difference won’t be all that great. I’ll flash it enough so it won’t leak. The depth though left us with a very deep sill inside, which is nice. The last issue was, because the were meant to be sliders, there was a large trench on one side. Well, this would have collected water and leaked. So we had to flip it. In total, the window is mounted 270 degrees from what it should be. So it opens down, not up. But whatever works, aye?






We don’t have school Monday, so I’m not sure if we’ll get to work on the house. I’d like to, and I have to be down there anyway, so we’ll see. With intrepid trepidation, bye. Peace.-Ted


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Cleanse your pallet(s)

May 21, 2009
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Building Log, Twenty First Day Of May, Year of Two Thousand Plus Nine, At Approximately Fourteen Hundred and Forty Nine Hours. A good day.

Today, we did some stuff. Havard and I worked on tar-papering. Slap staplers are a good thing. We got the back gable done, and then installed the window. We had to trim the frame a bit, but it fits nice and snug.


The window is more heavily counter-weighted than one would think, yet it’s mounted sideways. So it’s a little tricky to open, but it’s alright. Now the loft is bright AND dry. Novel stuff. If you’re really observant, you’ll notice the siding in the gable ends. That was Hyatt’s handy work. He notched the pallet boards to create some bead-and-batton.  Hate to give him credit, but it actually looks really nice. Most of the time I have seen contrasting siding in gable ends it has been clap-board or bead and batton on the main wall and shakes in the gable ends. This is backwards, but it actually looked pretty slick. Better than I thought it would.




Sorry it’s not a very good photo. Lot’s of glare… I’ll try and get a better one tomorrow.The only reason we haven’t finished plywooding that one side is we don’t have a faucet for the shower and therefore can’t close it in. We have enough plywood… we’re just a bit delayed on that. The other side, and also the roof, is now completely covered, and partially tar-papered.


The only other thing we worked on today was the ladder. I couldn’t find any dowels, but I did find some bamboo, so I used that. I think bamboo is actually stronger. We’ll see. It’s a bit more rustic than I wanted it to look, but maybe after some sanding, staining, and trim it’ll look better.



I’ll cut the ends of the bamboo off once the glue dries and put a cap on the side.

Speaking of ladders, this one was remarkable well balanced.


Well, until whenever I feel like posting again, bye. It could be tomorrow afternoon, or even… gasp… tomorrow evening.-Ted


Oh, and one last thing. Yesterday, Hyatt’s dad brought us donuts, seems to be a weekly occurrence, which is awfully nice of them … so I wanted to thank them for that. Thanks Scott and Carol!

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Former or ladder?

May 20, 2009
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Got any Moet et Chandon Champagne? That has nothing to do with the house, I’ve just had the song “Killer Queen” stuck in my head for like three days now.

So.. a la casa. We continued working on the roof. Boring that is. But it’s nice to finally experience what the space is going to feel like once it’s done. The loft is great. If you’re building a small house, I can’t emphasize enough how nice it is to have a steep roof. Five can comfortably converse in the loft. It’s chill. I like it. It became more living space than you’d imagine. I could actually imagine 8 or 10 people hanging out  in this house without anyone feeling cramped. When we have to move it, the power lines and traffic lights probably won’t like the steep roof nearly as much, but I digress.


There’s looking forward.


Recessing the loft 6 inches below the top plate worked really well. We all kind of randomly stopped working and had a philosophical discussion up there after we’d put the last piece of plywood on. That’s how powerful that loft is.  That opening in the back is a regular window, just oriented sideways.

Hyatt did cedar shakes. Noticing a pattern? He’s good at that… so we let ’em do it. He got the top done, then we ran out, but then Mr. Tokazowski brought us some he had left over from a shed. Thanks for that! He also had given us some tar paper earlier, so thanks for that too.


Then we got bored and decided we needed a ladder. Without rafters to hang from, getting up into the loft got more difficult. So we ripped a 2×4 in half, routed, and then routed some rungs from 2×2’s. I think we’re going to drill out pegs for assembly. Didn’t get further than the routing, length, and angle. Final assembly tomorrow hopefully. The angle involved trigonometry…probably too much in fact.


Pine can clean up well.


We also found a door at the dump. We already had a door, a perfect one. But I’m not in a position to turn stuff down… so here it is. I might make it into the counter top. It’s hollow core, so not sure… It has hinges at the very least.


Speaking of, and in my continueing “never know what you’re going to find” series, it’s not only building supplies the dump has to offer! I found this really nice bike. All the gears work, and it’s aluminum so it won’t rust. The brakes are spotty, but hey, there aren’t any hills around here anyway. Charlie claimed ownership… it’s green, so it matched the jacket. But it’s a perfectly lovely bike. To quote Jay Leno’s mother… “The waaaaaste… oh, the waaaste.”

Maybe a little preachy. Sorry bout that. I’m back.


And besides, that’s just a cool photo. The Charlie is moving, but the bike is not? Well, you know what they say, no matter how far you push the envelope, it is still stationary.

Once begun, now done. Bye. -Ted

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Needed Materials

May 20, 2009
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As per a request from a couple teachers, I added a list of materials we currently need. The link to that page is on the left, under “Navigation.”

Thanks. -Ted

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So brain, what are we gonna do today?

May 20, 2009

Try and build a roof.  We actually did it. Fun.

And by fun, I mean whatever the opposite of the word fun is. Let’s try some out now.
Unpleasant? Tedious? Unenjoyable? Gut wrenching? NOT fun?

Either way, it happened for the most part. That roof is just very. Very. Very steep.  But we got it mostly up there. Looks nice. Not sure how exactly we’re going to shingle it… I guess just a toe-hold board. Awesome. Need I go through the previous list again? No? You’re good? Okay.



So we got all of one side one, and that little piece of the other side. So 5/8 done! That should be done by this evening, then the joy of tar-papering and shingling. Wasn’t that the name of Bob Ross’s show? That one side of the roof was done with only a reasonable, leak-resistant, and very un-scrap like 4 pieces of plywood.

Anyway, Hyatt continued cedar shaking like the happy marmot he is.(No Germans, not a squirrel… much bigger, no tail) He got the back wall almost done and made the executive decision that the gable ends are going to be a different type of siding. Which I think will look odd, but angles and shakes don’t really get along, so time wise I understand. But either way, that’s looking good. Despite us being almost out of shingles after one wall. Luckily all the other walls have lots of windows and doors.


Only the top row left there. Now. One might ask. Ask they might, something like, “Now Ted, why didn’t you post on Monday?” To which I’d say, “Now Friends, It was raining. And I KNOW you ain’t be expectin’ me to be out there in some torrential downpour.” So yeah. That’s pretty much how the discussion would break down. But either way, we were at least productive. We cleaned. And BTW, in case you were wondering… if you take a dust vacuum they use for venting tools, and then duct-tape a rudimentary hose onto it, it STILL doesn’t make a good vacuum. Oh well.



"Ebony and Imitation Silver" Not as catchy.

"Ebony and Imitation Silver" Not as catchy.

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Fridge Fairy

May 17, 2009

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while. Things have gotten in the way. But I figured I needed to post something. So here is something.


Nope. It’s not a lovely abstract oil painting. It’s our house, in the rain, viewed through a window. That depicted pretty much the entire day. We got-wait for it- ONE row of shingles done before it started pouring. Oh well.

We did get something out of the day though. Sometime Thursday evening someone decided to leave a fridge in our house. That was nice of them. Have no idea who, but if you read this, Thanks! It smelled like rotten fish, and it was a horrible fake wood-paneling, but who cares? I got the smell out pretty well, and it works like a champ. Was cold within 10 minutes. We decided we needed to take care of the faux-wood, so after a coat of primer, a coat of black, and a coat of Rust-oleum Metallic Silver… not to mention a WONDERFUL hour and a half of us all basking in spray paint fumes in an enclosed room, we now have a faux-stainless fridge. Should contrast the black stove quite nicely. Hopefully there will be more progress tomorrow. I have a couple leads on cedar shakes, and maybe we can start plywooding the roof(How many times have I said that already?!)

So… Bye.



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Stop. Hammer Time. Or cliche time, at least.

May 14, 2009

Yesterday, now that you know Walter and Ethyl, I told you I’d introduce you to Clarence. Clarence is my hammer. No one else gets to use Clarence. My hammer, yah hear?  Pretty much the only hammer I can actually get a nail in straight with, it seems. Havard’s hammer is the Mammer. And Hyatt’s drill is the Mandrill. But it is actually a drill, not a mandrill.  Go figure.

Me and Clarence

Me and Clarence

So… we actually did work today. Kind of. We started siding, however, once we got the first double row done, Mr. Bill told us we were doing it wrong, so, with subsequent hissy fit, we had to start over on that. But between two layers of tar paper, a 1×4 cap, and liquid nailing the bottom layer of shingles… that wall IS NOT going to leak. I hope.



Havard kept working on the shed. It is starting to take shape.



It’s kind of big, but the size was arbitrary. Oh well. Other than that, I just worked on plywooding and cutting out windows. Windows are done, but I can’t finish the plywood until we finish the plumbing. So a mild hold there.



And so… You’ve seen the Ted, the Havard, the Hyatt, and even the Clarence. But there is a fifth member which we haven’t covered. The Charlie. Who can, randomly and alternatively, be known as: Charlie, Evil Charlie, The Sweaty Armpit, or The Guy In The Green Jacket(Everyone needs a trademark, aye?) He’s chief holder, cutter, passer, measurer, and moral booster.


I should probably also give an honorable mention to Jefferey. Who, to me, is Vanimal. He’s not part of the crew working on the house, but he does occasionally hang around. Why does he matter? Well, he managed to break out two of our fireblocks climbing down from the loft. Apparently 2×2 fireblocks don’t like supporting 160 lbs. To quote:

V: “Ahh… I hit my head.”

T:”Why the **** were you standing on a fireblock?!?!”

V:”Why are you yelling at me?!”

El fin. Oh well. Not permanent. Or so I hope. The brain damage might very well be, though.


There probably won’t be a post tomorrow, as Hyatt and I are going to be in AP testing for all of 6 hours or so. Fun. But either way, the house will probably be briefly unattended. Sorry. But Friday, we’ll see. So… in a Jeremy Clarkson voice, Goodnight! -Ted


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About author

This blog is dedicated to an experiment a group of three other fellow students and I are doing at our school in Buxton, NC. My Drafting III class and I set out to see if we could build a house for free. It's small, but functional. All the materials come out of dumpsters. And most of all, it's working.