Moving Day!

May 31, 2014 – The day has finally arrived! We moved the tiny house out to our property! The tiny house is far from finished but our lease is up and we are done paying rent!

We hired Terry and his very nice truck to move the tiny house from Pelkie out to Chatham. It took just over two hours and everything went very smooth. It was rather windy though and Terry mentioned that it would have been better if we had sway bars on the trailer. Since we didn’t, he just took it a little slower.

I was a jumbled ball of nerves when we moved the house last fall to my moms so this time I avoided coffee in the morning and also drove in front of the tiny house while Pete followed behind. I discovered being in front was way less stressful than watching the tiny house from behind. I only had to think about my home rolling down the road at 55 mph whenever I looked in the rear view mirror; which lets face it was every 45 seconds. But still I was much less nauseous this time around. I’m glad we don’t plan on moving the tiny house any time soon, but I think I would eventually get used to it if we traveled with it.

It will be interesting trying to live in the tiny house while we finish building but we’re so happy to finally be out at the property that I think the new excitement will outlast the construction phase…I hope.

Thanks again Terry for safely moving my baby!

Categories: Tiny House Living, Towing the Tiny House, Trailer | Tags: , , , , | 6 Comments

Tiny House on the Move

March 29, 2013 – For the past 8 months we have been renting/caretaking a house from friends of ours who were trying to sell it. We always knew it would sell eventually, but we hoped it wouldn’t be until the end of the summer. Fortunately for our friends and unfortunately for us, the house got an offer in the winter and the buyers wanted to move fast. We ended up having to be out within a month and not only find a new place to live, but also find a place for the tiny house. Weather was also not on our side. We had a crazy winter this year; it was very late and not much snow to start, but mother nature made up for that and we got hit with snowstorm after snowstorm far later than many of us would like.

Jeff and Cindy were gracious enough to let us bring the tiny house back to their place. Now the only problem was finding a good time to move the house. We made a couple of failed attempts earlier in the month. Pete borrowed Eric’s truck, since his is a 3/4 ton and Pete thought it would pull the house easier, and we made attempt number one. However, the concrete blocks that the jack stands sit on were frozen into the ground. Pete had to rip them out of the ground using the truck and a heavy-duty chain. By the time the blocks were free it was too dark to move the house. The second attempt failed due to several inches of ice in the driveway preventing the truck from getting any traction. All of these complications kept delaying the move because we were trying to move the house in the evening when there would be the least amount of traffic and hopefully the least amount of cops (not that we were breaking the law, or were we…it’s a bit of a gray area).

We finally got a beautiful day and decided to move the house in the middle of the afternoon on a Friday while everyone else was heading out of town for the holiday weekend. We only had about four miles to go so we figured traffic could just deal with us. We also scouted the whole route ahead of time to make sure overhead lines wouldn’t be an issue. We had one very low cable line running across the road in our neighborhood, but we were able to avoid it by going around the block. I followed behind Pete in our truck and everything went off without a hitch.

Now, if only spring would come, we might be able to start building again.

Categories: Tiny House Living, Towing the Tiny House, Trailer | 2 Comments

New Construction Site – Here We Come

June 8, 2012 – At the end of July, our lease is up and our landlord will be moving back into her home. We didn’t want to get too far along on the tiny house knowing that we’d have to relocate so we packed up the tools and hitched up the house. Speaking of tools, Jay Shafer – the creator of the Tumbleweed Tiny Homes, claims only 14 tools are needed to build a tiny house. While we thought we were going to have to borrow tools from everyone we know, it turned out that between us and my mom we had all 14 (we did borrow a nail gun from a co-worker). A big thank you goes out to my mom for letting us raid her basement for all things useful to the project. Thanks mom!

Once we got the trailer hitched to the truck we realized we had a small problem. The trailer came with drop down supports at the back of the trailer. When we first brought the trailer home, we dropped the supports and built the floor. It wasn’t until today that we realized not only would the supports not come out, but that we also could not put them back in the upright position because the floor was now in the way. We discussed grabbing the grinder and cutting them off, but for some reason instead we decided to drive the trailer up to a small hill in the yard so that the supports would fall out. To make a long story short, it all worked out in the end, but really we should have just cut the darn things off. At one point the trailer and the truck were wedged between the barn and a spruce tree and no amount of going forward or backwards was helping the situation.  While one of the supports did come out, the other one was still on and being driven into the ground as Pete tried to maneuver the trailer.  Like I said, it all worked out in the end.

Our new construction site is in the driveway of our friends Jeff & Cindy Noble. Jeff and Cindy were kind enough to let us move the project to their house and we are so very grateful for their hospitality. Thanks Jeff & Cindy!  We’ll see how they react when we ask to live there permanently!  🙂

We had hoped to be super productive this weekend. We anticipated getting the welding done and the floor sheathed with the aluminum; however the welding supplies that we thought would be in stock were not and we are having to order materials. We did manage to get the VERY heavy floor off the trailer and stored in the garage. Just in time too! As soon as we got the floor off the rain came down.



Categories: Floor, Trailer, Welding | 10 Comments

Construction Begins

May 11, 2012 – Today we were finally brave enough to officially start building.  We’ve been planning for weeks and wanting to start, but also needing to come up with a game plan and source materials. The first issue we had with sourcing materials was finding the recommended framing nails. The plans call for a 3” Bostich Hurriquake nail. We are in Michigan, where we neither have hurricanes or earthquakes, so we weren’t able to just pick these up at Lowe’s. I called Bostich’s customer service line and was given the number to one of their distributors in Michigan. The distributor gave me the number to a sales rep in my area and he was able to tell me that they are available in a 15 degree coil; however, the nail gun that has generously been loaned to us for our project (thank you Jason), is a 21 degree stick nailer. After consulting with our off-site project manager (my brother Chris, who lives in Anchorage), we have decided to go with a ring-shank nail that will work with the nail gun. Let’s hope we don’t regret this when we’re driving down the freeway with tiny house in tow.

Our day started with a trip into town – a 25 minute drive. We stopped in at my office to pick up the nail gun and air compressor and a grinder. After a quick demo on how things worked we ran to Hilltop RV to purchase scissor jacks for the trailer. At this point we’re not quite sure where we’re going to install them; we’re hoping to have our welder weld them on while she’s doing the other welding (more on that later).

We’ve decided to get the bulk of our supplies from ProBuild in Marquette. We’ve been working with Tony, and not only has he been very helpful in getting us what we need, he also thinks this is a very neat project. We picked up a box of nails for the nail gun, a box of construction adhesive, the lumber for the floor, ear protection, and concrete blocks for when we put the leveling jacks on. I had originally picked up all the lumber for the floor two weeks ago; however, after consulting with our project manager, he strongly recommended that we frame the whole floor in treated lumber. It’s been his experience that the first thing to go in campers and trailers is the floor. Taking his advice we purchased treated lumber for the floor and will use the lumber I bought previously for the framing of the walls.

The first thing we tackled when we got home was cutting off a metal bar that runs perpendicular to the trailer boards. This piece of metal sits higher than the rest of the trailer frame and we felt it was going to interfere with the floor frame resting on the trailer. Pete used a metal cutting blade and starting cutting through the welded joints to free the bar. He had gotten trough all but the last corner weld when the cutting blade was down to nothing. We were hoping to get this piece of extraneous metal off and then remove all the unnecessary boards from the trailer, so we decided it was worth another trip into town to pick up another cutting blade as well as a grinding blade. And of course, on such a beautiful day, we picked up some ice cream!

Back at home with a brand new cutting blade, Pete cut through the last join and the metal piece was free. I followed that up by unscrewing all the boards from the trailer that we planned on removing. The plans say to remove all extra boards leaving a 24”-36” gap between boards. This left us with four boards on the trailer.

After the prep work we were able to start framing the floor. We started on the section on the hitch side of the trailer above the wheel wells. We were able to get a few boards cut and pieced together and was about to start cutting the cross pieces when the weather started to look ominous. We decided that we made pretty good progress for our first day of construction and decided to call it quits.

It feels good to have actually started construction. We are finally moving out of the planning phase and actually building a house!

Categories: Framing, Trailer | 3 Comments

And a Trailer we Have

April 20, 2012 – We picked up our trailer today from D & K Trailers in Christmas, Michigan today.  We were driving downstate a few weeks ago and stopped in to ask some questions and check out prices.  Dean and Connie were super helpful in finding the right trailer for our needs; they were also very excited about our project and wanted to know all the details. We were planning on stopping at one other trailer place downstate to compare prices; however, we appreciated the knowledge that Dean and Connie had in helping us figure things out and we wanted to support a local business, so we ordered our trailer that day from them.

We decided on an 18′ double-axle equipment hauler style trailer from Big Tex with a 10,000 lb rating. The plans call for a 7,000 lb rating, but we decided to go a little beefier in our trailer so that we had the option of using heavier materials if need be.

Our trailer was not custom-made so some materials needed to be removed in order to get it ready for the tiny house.  Dean removed the front metal bar making our trailer a true flat-bed in addition to the spare tire mount. He also lowered the price a little bit and kept the ramps that came with the trailer as we have no need for those.

When the trailer was weighed by the manufacturer prior to shipping it came just over 2,500 lbs, which means having to purchase a title. Connie was able to take the trailer to the weigh station after the excess metal and ramps were removed and re-weighed the trailer.  This saved us some money at the Secretary of State as we only had to purchase a trailer plate and did not need a title; we only had to register it.

There was some discussion at the Secretary of State whether or not we needed to register the trailer in the first place, as we’ll have to go back when the trailer is finished and re-register it as a camper. However, we will be using the trailer to haul materials and we might be changing building locations a few times before the tiny house is finished, so we decided to make sure we were legal all along. It might end up costing us an additional $75 for a whole new plate when it comes time to register it as a camper.

When it does come time to register the tiny house as a camper, we have to have the state police inspect it and make sure it is road legal. They will fill out a form and if the trailer does not have one already, they will issue us a VIN number. We will then be able to take the form back to the Secretary of State and get a new plate.

Categories: Trailer | 19 Comments

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