Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Building the Bathroom

**A treat for you on the blog, today's post is by Farmer John himself.** 

The cabin project continues. We've built a form, roughed in the water lines, and poured a slab for the bathroom at the cabin. This weekend we made BIG progress.

Really, I should say that Mark made BIG progress. Our friend Mark used to be a carpenter and was in charge of crews that built and renovated hotels. Have you ever stayed at a Marriott? Yeah, that was Mark. Anyway, he's been helping us with this whole project. He made the plans and got a materials list together. He's given us some materials that he had at his farm. And, on Saturday he volunteered his tools, time, and energy to framing the room. 

The project started by drilling holes in treated 2x4's to attach the bottom plate to the slab.  This would make it easier to place the framed wall onto the bolts to be fastened down. We might have gone a little overboard on bolts, but we poured the slab not long after the infamous derecho and I had nightmares of our bathroom walls being blown into the creek.

We had our first setback early in the day when the compressor used to power the nail gun broke down. Break downs and setbacks have become commonplace with every project around the farm and we've become good at taking them in stride. While it is certainly possible to frame this small room with only a hammer, the nail gun is a nice way to ease the work and speed up the process. They are also probably the most fun of all carpentry tools. So Mollie ran to town after a small compressor loaned to us by Uncle John.

Before anyone could blink an eye Mark had two walls put together and we were hoisting them into place. The speed at which he worked was quite remarkable. In the time it took me pound one nail into a stud (and bend three more) Mark could have an entire wall put together. He and a crew of four were able to frame two complete houses in a week when he was doing this for a living. Our sixty-four square foot bathroom didn't provide much of a challenge.

After we had the third and final wall in place we realized that we had forgotten to rough-in the window. But after a few quick cuts and nails we had rectified the problem.

The frame was in place and now it was the time for roof rafters. Mark made a template with our first 2x10 and we used it to make the other five rafters. Mark climbed up the structure with a nail gun and fastened the rafters down while I handed them up. While watching Mark nimbly walk across roof rafters and shimmy up the building with a hand full of tools, I realized that carpentry would have been a poor career choice for me. I am much more industrious on the ground with feet firmly planted to the soil.

Sheathing came next. Part of the idea behind making the room 8x8 was that the sheets of plywood would fit evenly around the building without much cutting. For the most part it worked except that the concrete pad was just slightly out of square. The picture above shows us working the final piece into place and nailing it down.

Finally our progress ended for the day with putting down the chipboard on the roof. Mollie and I cut out the boards and Mark nailed them down. The room was beginning to take shape and we were beginning to get tired.

My first picture inside (partially) our new cabin bathroom. Thanks to Mark for all of his help. We will keep you updated as progress continues.


  1. Beast would be curious! Looks great! Can't wait to try it out;)

  2. Damn that know-how and those power tools do seem to speed things up! Let me know if you need to practice the next're welcome to come re-plumb, insulate, drywall, wire a fan, ect. in our bathroom. Cause it's gonna take me 2-10 years with my hand saw and my DIY book.

  3. John, come to Charleston to visit us and the Habitat for Humanity store. They currently have loads of tile, and potties and vanities and so on. Besides, you haven't been to visit me in Charleston yet! I love you and these BLOGS are just the best thing. Jim and I read them faithfully - more so than the evening news! Happiest Autumn ever!


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