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Tiny House Construction & Building Tips With Curt Lyons (Tip 1)

The Wright Way – Tiny House Construction & Building Tips With Curt Lyons #1

I have been talking with Alex about doing a series of building tips for people building their first tiny house. Admittedly, I am currently building my first tiny house, however I have years of professional construction and teaching experience to share with you. I have built log homes, done historic preservation, additions, new construction and home repairs. I also started a company that specializes in helping home owners get involved in their own projects, knowing they have professional hand holding help. In all this time I learned a lot about streamlining a building process, building safely, problem solving, and helping people become more empowered.

As I began construction of my own tiny house and found myself taking advantage of what I already knew, as well as my own head scratching moments, it reminded me how daunting this process must feel to first time home builders, and it seemed like a great opportunity to be able to help. Many of these lessons, I learned the hard way, and would be happy to help you skip that path by learning from my mistakes.

Curt’s Tiny House Building Tip #1

laying drill down

So we’ll start with my first tip.

I often joke that I had to learn construction because I had a history degree, which wasn’t in big demand, “That’s great kid; can you swing a hammer?” One time I had leaned a 4′ level up against a wall in between uses, only to walk away and have it slide off the wall and hit the floor. Now this is not a good thing, since a level is a potentially delicate instrument that is worthless if it can’t be trusted to be accurate. Upon seeing the level slide to the ground, one of my carpenter mentors said, “You know a tool that is laying down, can’t fall down.” So in the case with the level it was best to lay it on the floor in between uses, or better yet put in a nail on a stud that the level can securely hang on, out of the way of being bumped, knocked over, or stepped on.

Think of this idiom, “Tools that are laying down, can’t fall down,” when it comes to using cordless drills as well. Some batteries are so big that the natural tendency is to stand the tool up in between uses. Yes I admit you’ll  see me do this from time to time, but I have also had my cordless drill get knocked over onto its drill bit, snapping or bending the bit and costing me precious time when I realize I don’t have another bit that size with me, which means a trip to the hardware store.

So hang up your levels, and lay down your drills, so you can prevent them from falling over and getting damaged.

Related: Tiny House Construction Tip #2 with Curt Lyons

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Curt Lyons

Curt Lyons

owner/operator at youtoocanDIY LLC
I have been building in various capacities for 20 years, log homes, Victorian and contemporary remodels, and historic preservation. I am also an affordable and sustainable housing advocate. My specialty is helping empower people who want to be involved but need help. When I am not building I enjoy the outdoors with Nordic skiing, rock climbing and kayaking.
{ 8 comments… add one }
  • Lisa E. January 9, 2015, 12:29 pm

    In a perfect world, Curt would have a lot where one could go and build their TH with his on-site guidance. As much as I would love to build my own TH myself, there are so many things to be considered it’s scary. Even something as simple as putting up a door requires a certain understanding of the task so the door hangs (and moves) properly. Maybe Curt, or someone, could turn this into a workshop/business where one can call, get a time slot to appear and build in his designated lot. Not likely to happen this way, but a magic wand wish.

    • Curt Lyons Curt January 13, 2015, 3:44 pm

      Lisa, I would love to figure out how to do this very thing, since a lot of the work I have done is remodeling homes with people knowing I am there to help, advise, talk them down off the ledge… I live in Fort Collins, CO and we have an acre so there is the potential for this.

  • Marsha Cowan January 9, 2015, 4:24 pm

    Absolutely great and practical tip! So true! I, of course, learned this lesson the hard way…many trips to the hardware store for bits…so listen up, people! Save precious minutes of your life! Lay those tools down! Thanks, Curt!

  • rusty January 9, 2015, 6:58 pm

    As a carpenter myself those are great tips learned the hard way myself. A couple of others if you don’t mind . Leaving anything on top of a step ladder anytime can hurt your head . Lastly table saws and saw tables are not good coffee tables , pet peace ! Always have fun doing construction as it opens you to creativity .thanks all

  • Saint Phlip January 9, 2015, 8:46 pm

    My tip would be, don’t use a cordess drill in the first pllace, if you can possibly avoid it. The ones that actually have enough power to do the job, run out of power just as you’re getting into the swing of things, and developing a rhythm. Using a corded drill, or for that matter, any other corded tool makes sure you have the power you need as long as you need it. The only reasons I can think to use a cordless power tool involve either total cluelessness, an odd spot to use the tool for the project, or lack of access to the grid, which is unlikely for most of us building in our yards or driveways. Take the time to use the right tools, and to set them up properly- you’ll save time, money, and injuries.

    • Curt Lyons Curt January 13, 2015, 4:06 pm

      I have to respectfully disagree with you on the cordless tools. Corded tools such as drills have their place, but so do cordless tools. Case in point I am often on a ladder with both a cordless impact driver and a cordless drill on my toolbelt and the weight would only be that much more cumbersome with cords hanging off of me and snagging on things as well.

  • CathyAnn January 9, 2015, 10:24 pm

    These tips are commonsense, but commonsense isn’t always common. I’m going to enjoy reading these tips. Thank you!

  • agathachristy July 4, 2015, 6:19 am

    seriously it is amazing, i thought these are not possible but it is quite interesting. thanks for sharing great information and very useful for all.

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