Making it easy and doing it right…

I pulled a lot of lumber and plywood out of a dumpster in Philadelphia. There was a new construction of a three-story home being built, and the dumpster on the street was brimming with clean useable cutoffs. If I had the time and patience – I told myself – I could build an entire house from these discarded materials. And I could. Anybody can.

Today, it was time to apply plywood to the bottom of the subfloor framing. This plywood is to create somewhat of a barrier to keep small animals out of the house, and also to create closed cavities between the joists where insulation will go. I began laying down pieces of recovered plywood and lining them up to see where I would need to cut. It wasn’t looking great.

Most of the cutoff sheets were narrower than 4′ and there would need to be a lot of cutting to make all of this work. While time is not such an issue, it also looked like a huge pain in the ass, and it didn’t even look structurally sound. My least favorite part was that the underside of the floor would be covered in a network of unsupported seams. I could add more wood or supports, but wait wait wait… this is getting silly. In the interest of doing things right the first time, I went out to the store and bought two more sheets of plywood. I had the third sheet that I needed left over from a previous project that I finished years ago.

So, what am I going to do with all of that great dumpster wood? Most of the 2×4 lumber will be cut down and used for all of the shorter pieces needed in the wall framing. The plywood would be great for… doghouses? Bird houses? I’m hoping that this tiny house isn’t the last thing I will be building. I’m hoping that after this house I will still have the desire and motivation to keep building. I’ve been inspired by the books that I’ve read, and I’m hoping that I’ve found a new hobby to keep me busy and alive for awhile.


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