The same week we towed the trailer home, we also got our lumber ordered and delivered. We chose to go with the local lumber yard, Miller Lumber, since they deliver for free and the next nearest town is 45 miles away. They answered all of our questions and gave us a tour of the yard so we could see the quality of the wood they stock before we made our order. They also confirmed our research into the proper species and grade of wood to use for a livable structure (according to code in our area); No. 2 Doug-fir*. When we said we were building a tiny house, the rep was very intrigued and genuinely excited about our project. He had recently seen one of the tiny house TV shows.
When the lumber arrived, our excitement tripled. We had just parked the foundation of our house and now we had the Lincoln logs for building. As we double checked the lumber, we unfortunately discovered that Miller hadn’t delivered everything we ordered. We called and without hesitating, they loaded up another truck and brought the missing pieces. Yay for local businesses.
Over the next couple of days neither of us could keep from occasionally staring at the lumber sitting in our shop. That massive pile of wood was going to somehow morph into a livable standing structure. And we were the ones who were going to do it. The thought was both empowering and terrifying.
Of course we couldn’t do that without the hardware. So a couple days later, we spent about an hour compiling a list, then strolled into Home Depot expecting to spend maybe 30 minutes finding everything we needed then walking out happy and rearing to go. That’s when reality took a shiny little thumb tack, giggled, and stabbed a little hole in the bubble we had developed over the past week.
First we realized the bolts were more expensive than we had budgeted. Then the nails we wanted didn’t exist, at least at that store. And choosing self tapping screws was going to be little more difficult than we had anticipated. We had no idea hardware was really so complicated. Nails are nails, right? You smack them around until they hold two pieces of wood together. Except not. We left the store feeling a little overwhelmed and deflated.
Not letting that get us down, we decided to go back to the local guy. We went into Miller Lumber to see if they could help us, at least with the nails. By that time, word had spread and almost all of their employees knew about our project. They didn’t carry the nails we wanted so they started calling around to see if they could special order them. They tried both their suppliers but unfortunately they didn’t carry them either. Apparently, 3 1/4 inch ring shank framing nails aren’t common. So instead, they started to offer us alternative methods we could use to get the same results for strength, resistance to movement and shear strength. We told them we’d do a little more research and think about the options.
The next day, Raelynn was poking around the internet to see what she could find. Lo and behold she found the exact nails we needed. At Home Depot. Online. The only place you can order them. Reality giggled again.
After a brief discussion we decided to order them. The 10-day long wait would be worth what we would save by not using a more complicated, alternative method. The bubble re-inflated. In just 10 days, the pixilated house we’ve been staring at on our computer for the past 6 months will start to take a physical form that we can see, touch, and hopefully not break.
*Quick informational note about lumber: If you plan on building anything, particularly something you plan to live in, don’t just grab any old 2X4. Do your research into species and grades. Each species has different strength characteristics and the kind most easily found in your area may not be the best for construction. Lumber also has different grades that account for the number of knots on the board, the tightness of the grain and other characteristics that will effect it’s strength. Grading for “structural light framing” lumber is Select Structural, No.1, No. 2, and No. 3 with Select being the strongest. As we ordered No. 2 ,the wood we got was at least No. 2 if not better. We’ve already found about a half dozen Select.