We woke up early on the morning of July 25th, at which point it still hadn’t quite sunk in that we were actually starting the tiny house for real. After getting together all our work clothes, gear, and a quick breakfast, we headed out!
It was an awesome first day!! I learned so much, and Tim is a first rate teacher. Being around welding and in a welding shop is kind of intimidating at first, but as long as all safety precautions are followed and, obviously, someone experienced is doing the actual welding, it’s actually really, really fun. I guess the part I found fun is what’s considered the fabrication part of the work- this involves the fitting of pieces in the correct positions, and making all the pieces square and level. We started out by welding on two end pieces to our side rails in order to bring them both to a full 28 feet. In order to do this, Tim had to prepare the pieces of HSS by bevelling their edges to an angle, using a torch and a grinder.
This was the first time we really had a good look at the steel we had ordered and could visualize the full length of our tiny house. Once that was done, the front and back end pieces were tacked on to make the exterior box portion of the trailer frame (using 2 x 4 HSS). This was a big step, since it represented the footprint of our future tiny house! I can’t believe how fast time goes when you’re doing this kind of work. There are so many tiny adjustments that need to be made, and problem solving is a constant. What I hadn’t even thought about is that tiny discrepancies in accuracy or precision with respect to materials and the environment you’re in can have a big impact on the integrity of something new being built. Even the floor isn’t perfectly level everywhere. So, it was key to have scraps of metal and wood around us to shim and prop up our pieces of steel, making sure all of Tim’s welds resulted in flat and square corners. I think my favourite fix was the situation in which we used a hammer to bang on the steel perpendicular to a weld while it’s still molten, in order to squish it into place. I’ll just let some pictures do the talking now, since they tell the story much better than I!
When it was all said and done at the end of the day, we had completed the outside main frame of the trailer, as well as 6 of the 11 ribs that are positioned perpendicular to the side rails (not including the section for the axles). The ribs are made of 4 inch C-Channel, for reference. We worked for about 9 hours, and were happy with our progress! The tricky bits are on the docket for Day 2, including the tongue and axles.