Getting the first wall up was an amazing milestone!

Twelve days ago I picked up my trailer and already I have one wall up.  I couldn’t be happier.

Whilst we’re not on a timeline, as such, I don’t want to spend forever on this build, but I also don’t want to rush it. It’s all about getting the happy medium between the two.

I read on Andrew Morrison’s site that getting rid of a timeline was one of the best things they did as it slowed the process down and generally improved the quality of the build. I totally value this advice and have had a couple of reminders throughout the last few days about this. Not just from friends, but from circumstances.

One of them came during the building of the first wall.

Before I tell you about that however, a friend of mine, who has been framing for 17 years, stopped by today and gave me some quick pointers before I set off on my framing expedition. It’s so helpful to have friends in the business who can show you their ways. I’m very grateful.

After a quick ten minute visit and after a few hints and tips, I was left alone to crack on.

As per the Tumbleweed DVD, my framer buddy had agreed that adding the siding before raising the wall, was a good idea. This was my intention.

Within the morning I had cut and framed the first short wall and laid the first piece of ply on the framing. On my return from lunch, I realised that I had not left an overlap section of plywood to overlap the floor assembly. This meant removing all the nails from a 4 x 8 piece of ply, shuffling it down a few inches and reapplying. I’m glad I caught it before any glue had set.

This is just one of the reminders to stay focused and slow in the build. Thankfully it didn’t take long to remove the nails as it is a job I’ve done before, as I’d helped a friend replace some rotten plywood in a renovation for some practice. (I recommend buying a small nail bar.)

After correcting my mistake and taking a few breaths, I continued on and by the end of the day wall number one was up!

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I am going to cut out the window at a later time.

Construction Process

Weeks before the build, I had learned how to use ‘SketchUp’ 3D drawing program and had used the 16 o/c rule to create a structure. I used this picture to copy and lay out my first wall.

I cut the bottom (sole) plate and top plate to the same length as the width of the trailer and then began marking out the studs on both.

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I am using the ‘blocking’ technique also known as the ‘L’ in the corners, but I was thrown by the fact that a ‘king stud’ (one that runs entire bottom to top) fell in that same place. This is where I sent a picture to my buddy. Later on he dropped over and showed me what to do. It appears that I was too hung up on the 8 foot spacing and the 16 o/c spacing.

There’s no problem cutting ply a little shorter so that it fits on the stud prior and then using another piece to complete the wall. This made my life a lot easier and solved much of the dilemma I had had when building the floor. It means there might be some wasted material, but that’s the way it goes.

After cutting some of the wood, and marking out the sole and top plate, I nailed down the sole plate (on it’s side) to the floor of the trailer, along a straight edge. This makes sure that the base of the wall is straight to start with and won’t move as you being nailing into it.

I then loosely laid out the entire wall and made myself some headers by glueing and nailing a piece of 1/2″ plywood between two 2 x 4’s.

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I then re-measured everything a million times before nailing it together.

Make sure that everything it flush. You don’t want a ridge forming between the stud and the top plate, line things p so there’s no raised studs.

Once everything was nailed, it was time to square the wall.

This involves measuring corner to corner, and making sure those measurements are the same. I simply hooked the tape over the corner of the frame and made sure each length was the same. If it’s not, you hammer the top of the wall, one way or another to shorten or lengthen the diagonal until they are exactly the same.

Once the diagonals measure the same length, the wall is square and it’s time to nail in the plywood.

I applied the glue and then lay down one piece of ply. This is the point where I forgot to overhang the flooring, but where you will not.

After making sure I had the required amount of overhang, in my case, I wanted to go over the trailer frame by 1/2″ inch (which meant overhanging by 5 1/2″ to include my floor assembly), I attached another piece of ply going back across in the other direction with a staggered seem.

I then continued cutting and attaching plywood until the wall was covered, including the overhang needed on top of the wall too, to account for the yet to be added 2nd top plate, loft rim joist and rafter base plate.

Once everything was nailed securely into place (I’m going to add a few screws too), it was time to lift the sucker. I was able to lift the short wall by myself, but needed a helper to hold the wall onto the trailer at the base (Due to the overhanging plywood, it’s not possible to use a piece of wood attached to the trailer to stop the wall from slipping off.)

I secured the wall into place with some braces and then levelled it and screwed it down.

Once I introduce the 2nd wall, I will confirm it’s straightness and nail it down as well as the screws.

Hey Presto, first ever wall built!

What’s next?

Wall two of course!

 

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