Tag: front door

Outhouse 2.0

Now that the deck and the keep have both been refinished, the outhouse has been looking even worse than usual by comparison. The door sticks and sometimes won’t even close. The seat’s at an uncomfortable height and depth. It’s covered in cobwebs and open to all manner of critters. And the aging wood has been absorbing unspeakable horrors for the better part of four decades. It needs to go. While not the most glamorous project, it’s hard to argue against the importance and necessity of an outhouse, so some real thought needs to go into its replacement.

Like many projects up here, this one started in SketchUp. I designed a simple four-foot square plywood platform that stands on joists made from the leftover treated 2×8 lumber from the deck. The framing would be done with 2×4 studs, I’d install two windows that I had found in the pole barn, and the whole thing would be panelled with the pine plywood siding that was stacked under the big house trailer. I still needed a roof and a door. My hope was that I could reuse the roof from the old outhouse, so I just had to track down a suitable door. I turned to craigslist and was in luck; I found an outswing, exterior, prehung door for only $40. It was 36″ wide, which is a bit much for this little building, but it was hard to argue with the price.

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Log: Puckaweekend 2015 (October 21 – 25)

Wednesday

October 21, 2015: Welcome to the future, everyone.

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The new mower does excellent work. I was able to reconquer the marsh trails in record time.

Had an unusual detour on the way here. All traffic on Hwy 23 around the golf course was being routed onto some narrow country roads for what I later found out was an accident involving a semi trailer full of carrots. Took about 15 minutes longer than I would have liked, but I arrived at 4:30 pm in a relatively empty truck. Beautiful day: sunny, breezy, and in the upper 60s. Everything I need for the long weekend is already here, hauled up last trip, so I was able to get right to work. Opened up the keep and the pole barn and set out to finish mowing the overgrown marsh trails. I debated using the older Craftsman mower for this to save wear and tear on the new one, but this part of the marsh is much flatter than it used to be and the new mower cuts wider swaths and bogs down less. The trails were tamed in short order—by the time I lost daylight, all the areas I had cleared last fall were cut again, now several feet wider in most places. I parked the mower and headed inside for the night.

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Log: August 21-23, 2015

Friday

Came up a little after 4:00 pm with a full truck bed of tools and building materials. Warmer and more humid than I expected. I wasn’t here five minutes and a UPS truck rolled up the driveway. The experiment worked! Amazon and UPS consider this a valid shipping address, so I got a new TV antenna for my trailer delivered right to Puckaway. I unloaded my tools, the new storm door for my trailer, and the salvaged countertops I got for free on craigslist and went hunting for a pole I could use to hang the antenna.

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I found three pipes of varying diameters and built an antenna mast. I drilled through the two larger pipes about two feet from the end and ran bolts through. This let the next smaller pipe “stack” inside and netted me about 30 feet of overall height for the antenna. I temporarily strapped the pole to the side of the deck, hooked up the TV, and scanned for channels. I was able to pull CBS, ABC, and FOX from Madison. Not bad for $30. I’m sure I could get more channels if I could raise the antenna even further, but I had more pressing tasks ahead.

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Log: July 24-26, 2015

Friday

Came up at 6:30 and got things settled in the trailer. Turned on the A/C right away as it was 80° out with 90% humidity. Had to clean out the drain hole on the back of the unit as the fan was slinging water. I need to come up with a solution to protect that from the elements and leaves and whatnot while still letting it vent properly. I spent some time in the pole barn getting a workstation set up for cutting down the trailer door, the one project I’m absolutely determined to finish this weekend. Aside from looking much better, being able to latch and lock again, and doing a better job of insulating the trailer, I’m hoping this cuts off one more point of critter entry.

I installed the adapter I needed to finish the kitchen sink drain and tested everything out. I really appreciate being able to wash up inside—sure beats hanging out by the pump with all the mosquitoes. Dressed the bed with the clean sheets I brought up with me and did some general housekeeping. Spent the rest of the night lounging and watching TV. It’s going to be a busy weekend, so I might as well relax while I can. The new “ducting” on the A/C sure seems to help it circulate better; it got down to 70° in the trailer and the difference in humidity is immediately noticeable as soon as you go outside. In bed by 10:30.

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Custom Cut Steel Entry Door

The main trailer door was in bad shape.

It was actually the third door to be in bad shape. The first, the original door to the trailer, had peeled and rotted away from years of disuse and exposure to the elements thanks to both a lack of weather protection around the frame and the trailer having sat in the yard at a slight tilt for many years. The second door was a hollow-core interior door that fell apart almost immediately and never fit well into the existing frame. And the latest door was a hastily hung interior door from my house that couldn’t even latch. Gaps wide enough to fit a determined housecat existed along the top and bottom of the door frame. The new deck looked so nice that it made the door seem even worse by comparison, so it was time to give this project the attention it deserved.

The problem with mobile homes, especially older, smaller ones, is that pretty much everything is at a reduced dimension compared to normal construction. This saves space and weight, which are important for the “mobile” part of a mobile home. But it makes finding replacement materials and effecting proper repairs a little challenging. A standard rough opening for an exterior door is 82 1/2″ tall, minimum. The rough opening for the trailer is less than 79″. There are specialty mobile home catalogs and suppliers out there, but you certainly pay for the privilege of custom-fit parts. The cheapest exterior door assembly I found during my initial research was over $300 and it was pretty plain and flimsy looking. I knew Menards had steel exterior doors for around half that price, but at a standard height. Could I actually cut down a door like that?

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Log: May 1-3, 2015

Friday

Arrived around 6:30 pm with a strapped down load in the truck bed. Two mattresses, some 2″x6″s and two sheets of 5/8″ OSB to build the trundle bed, 10′ 1″x12″ shelf boards, extra planks for the deck stairs, and a brand new door for my trailer. Unloaded everything into the pole barn and got my first good look at the deck in the daylight. The current goal is to finish the platform and stairs; the railing will get added on later this summer.

I hadn’t planned on resuming work on the deck until Saturday. The project for the night was to build a trundle bed and provide a much-needed upgrade to the sleeping accommodations in the trailer. I had found a simple plan for building a frame online and tweaked it to allow for a full mattress on top and a pullout twin mattress. I set up shop in the pole barn and got to work building the full mattress frame. I forgot to grab the caster wheels for the small, simple twin pullout, so that’ll have to wait. The OSB can be lifted out of the 2×6 frame leaving a light, sturdy assembly that’s pretty easy to move around.

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