The Scrap House


December 23, 2009

Well, I’m really glad to say, it finally happened. The house, known as Walter for reasons I will never fathom, has been moved. 22 miles, down highway 12, to my front yard. I promised the school it would be gone about 9 months ago, but hey, what’s most of a year among friends? I’m not sure who took this photo, honestly, so I wish I could credit them. Hyatt sent it to me though. I’m out of town, but I’ll take some photos of its resting place and a status update. Initial reports sound like it made it fine, though. It’s good to know it’s done. Also, I’d of course like to thank the movers, Jarvis at Cape Point Exxon and Towing, purveyors of fine ethanol free gas and other such services. So thanks! And of course, Merry Christmas everyone! 


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The Free Press, How appropriate.

August 29, 2009

Jordan Tomberlin recently did a story on the house for the Island Free Press. While the name of the paper might be the most appropriate for the project, it’s also my favorite article so far I believe.  Jordan did a great job writing it, so thanks to her!

We’re getting closer to being able to move the house. I found somebody willing/able to do it, so we’re not far away. I’ll post any progress on that front.

Link to article: (click on the photo)


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Late summer cleaning, not nearly as popular.

August 9, 2009
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So, no work on the house per se, but we are nearing a point when this thing needs to be moved. We’re still tossing around ideas, which mostly involve tossing around the house, but we seem to have tons of means to no ends. Hopefully we’ll get somewhere soon. But either way, the place needed to be cleaned up, as our “clean up later” philosophy kind of caught up with the poor house. 96 square feet gets small quickly when cluttered.


Toyota trucks, the understated underworkings of the entire earth. That’s a weird photo though… the door of the truck is just open, it’s not one of the rare Toyota’s with the “Ford Anglia Cab” option. But either way, this is essentially the first time we’ve taken materials TO the dump. Trust me, by the time we’re done with materials, they’re either so rotten, warped, or small that nothing short of termites could make a home out of them. So what looks like waste isn’t. Obviously I still haven’t made progress finishing that wall, but I have all the needed shakes. I’ll just do it when I get the house moved and have more time.


Notice the lack of stuff piled up next to the house. Nifty, aye?


The cleaned up interior. We’ve been getting some really heavy rain here lately, but the inside of the house seemed nice and dry; even the carpet upstairs. So apparently it’s pretty well sealed. I was pleased. The water damage on the floor was already part of the plywood when we installed it. Oh the joys of free materials.  Here’s a random panoramic showing the bathroom and kitchen.


Well, it’ll be tiled and walled and finished and whatnot in due time. I think the plan is to put it up 5 or so feet on pilings and build a small deck around it. We get some pretty bad flooding here, so height is never a bad thing. Our main house is about six and and half feet up.


Now, on to the fake wood. Originally, I had intended to do a vertical wainscoting in the bathroom with this stuff. However, it’s heavy, and doesn’t cut very well. We have a friend, Curtis, who wanted to use it for an outside shower, so we gave it all to him. After all, it got the school grounds cleaned up. And more importantly, it was an excuse to drive Curtis’s truck. Now, no offense to Curtis, but some vehicles are so bad that they’re amusing.


There it is in all it’s glory, sporting a rather conspicuous Toyota Landcruiser grill. This lovely toyota Nissan has all of about 50 foot pounds of torque, broken power steering, and a vacuum leak somewhere with the brakes. Now this last part makes it really interesting, as if you apply to much pressure to the brake, it stalls. So you have to modulate, plan, and heel-toe for all the wrong reasons. Besides, the syncros have this really awesome whine to them that make it sound like an original Mini with a rod-link transmission. Driving this truck feels like an accomplishment. A sense of occasion. It’s spectacular.

Speaking of japanese trucks with forged identities, this was posted over at Kent Griswold’s awesome site


It’s owned by Lyle Congdon, and was mentioned in conjunction with the tiny house she built. I didn’t ask her for permission to use that photo, so I hope she doesn’t mind. There wasn’t much info on the other site about it, but from what I can tell it looks to be a ’90 or ’91 Toyota with a ’44 Dodge grill and bed on it. Awesome!

Any way… this is straying farther and farther from the point, so I better put this thing to bed. And I’m out of coffee, so it’s kind of  double whammy. Oh well.

Oh wait… I knew I forgot something. More promotion. The Coastland Times,  local newspaper extrordinaire, was kind enough to print the article that Sharon Sullivan wrote for us. That was pretty cool to see. So I’d like to thank everybody involved with that. It’s the same article as was posted on the school site, so don’t worry about trying to quint and read it in my amazingly high quality “scan.”


Okay. Umm… until next time, this has been an UBU production.

Sit, Ubu, sit.

Good dog.


Okay… not really. I wrote it. Peace. -Ted

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Post posting.

July 16, 2009

Sharon Sullivan, The Dare County School Relations Coordinator, was kind enough to write an article featuring our house and the story therein. It’s currently on the school’s website, and I believe it will be in a couple local papers as well. Thanks Sharon! Check it out if you care to:


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Warp Speed, about 10 MPH

June 21, 2009

Well, the time has not quite come, as I’m not in the country at the moment. However, I have been doing a lot of thinking about  moving this silly house. Or more likely, thinking about how I’m out of ideas. The problem is one of height. The house is thirteen and a half feet tall. The cable lines are 15 feet. So, we have to figure out some sort of trailer arrangement to move the house the 22 miles to my house.

We’ve been mildly entertaining the idea of putting the house on its side. As the house without the roof is 8×8 in profile, if you situated it such that the plane of one of the roofs was horizontal, then the house would only be 11.3 feet tall. Like so:


I can’t tell if this idea is brilliant or just plain stupid. I think we’re going to cross brace the house pretty severly either way, so ridgidity shouldn’t be a problem. And cribbing solves everything. The other option would be to just find a trailer that was really that low… but I honestly don’t know if such a think exists. Just a low boy trailer?

So this is kind of a call for help. Do any of y’all faithful blog readers have any suggestions? Experience? Dry and snark remarks? Let me know what yah think. Peace. -Ted

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Last but probably least.

June 13, 2009

Wow. That was a depressing start. I apologize. Well, you might have realized that my posts have been fewer and farther between. Sorry. School is wrapping up, graduation, you know… stuff to do. So we haven’t had the stuctured time to work on the house. We have been doing work though. First off, we got a whole bunch of cedar shakes. All from the same man, Buddy McDaniels. I hope I’m spelling his name right. Buddy has quite the collection of lumber strewn across his various properties. He’s the type of man I could only hope to be one day, a kinder man you will not find. We went by his house and after intricately studying his barn, the contents therein, and his turkey pen(built for free I might add), he rustled through a couple piles and found these shakes for us. It’s the kind of place only true scrap junkies understand. From the outside perspective, it looks chaotic. But you better believe he knows exactly where every piece is. Anyway, because of his kindness, we now have more than enough to finish the remaining side.


Now, you might be thinking, to finish shaking that side, you had to finish plywooding, and to finish plywooding, you had to finish plumbing… Ah ha! Indeed. Hyatt fiberglassed over the existing holes in the shower, and then using a wonderful combination of adapters, we used the faucet off of one of the sinks we already had. It’s a little wonkey, but it works. The plumbing leading up to the shower head will be exposed, but a lot of showers, mainly outside, are done like that around here, so we figured it’d pass.





With that done, we plywooded and started shaking. But with some phenol barbital we got that stopped. Sorry. That joke was probably inappropriate. Your honor, I apologize. Anyway, I like this photo. It shows the variety of plywood and various wall coverings available on today’s market. 😉


And with some various and questionable tar papering, we got the first row of shingles down.


But alas! I need to back-track. When you don’t post often enough, you forget what’s been said. So we’re gonna have to take care of that. First off, we got the soffits done. There are two ways to do soffits, flying and, well, something else I’ve now forgotten. We did neither. Hyatt decided if we cut the edge of a piece of 1×6 at a 45 degree angle and then cut it to width between the rafters, it’d achieve the same affect. And I was obliged to agree. This also allowed us to keep the rafters exposed, a look I kind of like. We’ve since caulked them, so they’re nice and watertight.


And that friends, means the house is officially in the dry. Insert pyrotechnics here. What can you do when something is dry? Well, carpet of course. We found some lovely thick berber. Well, we actually bought it. But Hyatt wanted it anyway because he was making some sub enclosures, plus they needed a patch for their shop I think. So it was kinda sorta scrap. Besides, it was on sale. 16 foot roll for $5. I think it’ll pass. The loft is just great now. It’s wide enough to lay width-wise, and when you do and look up it creates this cool illusion… the ceiling opposite of you looks perfectly horizontal, making the ceiling above you look perfectly vertical. So it looks like you’re laying in a square, rather than a triangle. It’s hard to explain I guess. Either way, it is now plush. Frankly, the floor in the loft was so uneven(It’s about 16 pieces of ply) that carpet was the only choice, but for a sleeping area it works well.



It’s actually really nice carpet. For more info, just dial 1-800 I REALLY ENJOY CARPETING.

You either get that joke or you don’t. Sorry. Let’s see, what else have we done? Umm… We did the kitchen ceiling. We went with that nice piece of cedar like we were planning. It’s not exactly a traditional finish, but I think it looks good, if a little different. Hey, we won’t have a moth problem! That white streak is just the wire for the light.


Oddly enough, we got another sink. Yes, that’s the fifth one. You think nice stainless steel sinks would be hard to find, but apparently not. You can’t give these things away! Well, actually, you can, but not a dollar more! This one came from the dump. I just have a hard time turning down stainless.


This post is getting long… hmm. What else? Oh, we got a toilet paper holder. How exciting.


We also finished shaking the other side and front.


This is getting abstract. So what about this photo of a cat I just took a few minutes ago in our garage? That works.


And I thought this was kind of funny. As I was walking out of the school to leave today, I just sort of noticed how long my car was compared to the house. So I figured it would be a neat perspective shot. Then when I looked at it later, I noticed the expression on Hyatt’s face. Why was he so freaking confused looking? Oh well. Surprise!


*Cropped for your convenience*


Well, the truth is, this is probably going to be the last post in a while. Graduation is tomorrow, and after that I am going to be out of town for a few weeks. So I doubt much work will get done then. However, after I get back, the real excitement happens. The house can’t stay at the school forever, so I’ll have to document the moving project. We’re going to cut the pilings, put it on a trailer, and tow it the 22 miles to my front yard. The interesting part is we only have 15 feet of clearance under the cables, and the house is 13.5 feet. So we don’t have too much wiggle room. But I’m sure it’ll be fine. I actually have a pretty good amount of confidence in the house’s structural integrity. But what fun the process will be. Well, thanks for everything guys! I’ll be back, don’t cha worry. I’m going to finish this post with a quote, a quote Hyatt is going to use in his graduation speech tomorrow, in fact.  It’s from Jay Leno, a personal hero of mine. But more so, it’s Leno as… the Crimson Chin!

“As long is there is one burning ember on the barbecue of justice, we can still cook a mighty steak of victory.”

Who cares? I’m a vegequarian, and I’m done. 😉 Peace. -Ted



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So much for the straight and narrow.

June 7, 2009
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I know it’s been a while. Watcha gonna do? Schools been wrapping up so we’ve all been pretty busy. But we did get some work done.

I’ve just been working on the shakes. The problem is we don’t have any more… so… umm, hopefully Craigslist will prevail. We’ll see. But I got all but a couple rows done on the front, then we only have one side left to do. I also started the trim on that one side. We had to section it pretty extremely on the table saw, so that trim is going to take a little extra time.


Hyatt straddled the roof for most of the day. He got the top cap done and the front side evened up. It looks nice, and the roof is now officially done.


And sadly enough, because of our material roadblock, that’s all we were really able to do. It’s a bit funny that it took this long for materials to be a truly limiting factor, but oh well. We’ll find some shakes somewhere. Then we have to start thinking about moving it. The interior won’t be done by the time it has to leave school grounds, so that will take place gradually over the summer in my front yard.

The only new materials we’ve gotten in the past couple days is some nice lauan. Havard and I got bored, went to the dump, and they had a nice 8×4 piece of lauan. I still am amazed at the thought of finding full size materials at the dump. No nails, no cracks… go figure. It’ll probably become the bathroom walls and ceiling. Clarence also has a cameo in that pic.


Finally, Charlie took this picture of me and wanted me to put it up. So here it is.


Sanuks for the win. Alright, well, I’ll be bach. You can be Vivaldi. Peace. -Ted

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Give me a brake.

June 3, 2009
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No really, they make metal working a lot easier. More on that later.

The final window is in. And it’s adorable! Wow… that didn’t sound masculine at all. I meant, uhh, with a lot of grunting and sweating we wrestled it into place. That’s better.


Hyatt and Havard worked on the remaining side of the roof. It’s now done except for the top cap. The good news is, if we ever have to replace any shingles, at least we won’t have to worry about matching!


Which segways me into my next point. Twenty pounds of potatoes, fifteen pound sack. Which seems awfully heavy for burlap, but that’s is beside the point. The kitchen. We set everything in place to see how it worked. I think this is the layout we finally decided upon. The counter top will go on top of the fridge, and I’ll make a cover so the back (left) part of the sink can be used as counter space too.


The stove will of course be at a regular height, but that didn’t stop Hyatt from the simulation of cooking eggs at a lower level. How novel.


We finally are to the point where we don’t really need any more framing material, so we started hauling off scrap today. It’s all scrap, so it’s second level scrap, which probably prompts the removal of the “s”, but whatever. That’s our teachers truck, BTW. Never underestimate how fun a Ford Ranger with the V6 and no muffler can be.  After he gave me the keys to it, I’m suspicious it’ll break the tires free pretty easily in the school parking lot. Not sure why I have that theory, but either way, it’s a great truck.


The only other thing accomplished today was the cedar shakes which were already done on the front. You see,  Our teacher’s other class wanted to help out while we were gone. Which we greatly appreciate. However, they suck at doing cedar shakes.  So Havard and I had to remove those and start over. But it’s all good. We were able to save all but about five shakes, so it wasn’t a great loss. If I wasn’t such a paranoid perfectionist, it probably wouldn’t have been an issue, and they still aren’t perfect, but oh well.


Now friends. You all know me, kind of. And y’all know I wouldn’t make a reference without eventually coming back to it. So the brake reference. Even though we don’t have to build to code, it is still nice to vaguely be influenced by it. Especially stuff involving fire safety. As dictated, we needed a metal enclosure for our circuit panel. Our teacher also teaches a computer engineering class, so he had some left over cases. The size worked out perfectly. We’ll bend and rivet it into shape tomorrow. You see? Looky there, full circle. Or something like it.



I give up on the endings. Bye. Peace. -Ted

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How do you fix a broken tuba?

June 2, 2009
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With a tuba glue! But in all seriousness, adhesives can be quite useful. Mainly for making stuff not leak. And what leaks doesn’t leak? A window. Now friends, you might be getting tired of windows. And I just don’t care. Hyatt has been taking a hiatus for the past couple days, so Havard, Charlie and I have been working on some small stuff like windows. Hyatt, in his carpentry mastery, STOP

If you would be so kind, please go back and read the previous sentence in as sarcastic a tone as possible. Thankyou for your cooperation. I’ll start back from the last comma.

, decided he would cut the opening for a 59″ window to 59 and 1/32″. Lovely.  It was a wee bit tight. Oh well. With chiseling, cussing, hammering, and various observational humor, Havard and I got it in, flashed, glued, and trimmed.

And it still opened easily. Everybody happy.



I’d also like you to notice his hand. My hand doesn’t bend that way.


See all that extra room we had to shim it? Suuuuure.

We also have a door now. Which was equally fun to put in. We routed out and recessed the hinges and it went in pretty fine.


Not bad for a dump door.


Also, someone asked for a sense of scale. I don’t know who that was, I’m not a doctor. But anyway… I think they wanted a person for scale, so here is Charlie, the 6’1″ ruler.


And remember friends, Beware of Billy Mays. Peace. -Ted

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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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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.