Plywood living (1 Viewer)

timetoleave

Newbie
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
22
Location
Midwest
Hi there. I was a carpenter for awhile before I decided to fuck off and hit the road. Being a carpenter in a former life is great. Framing hammers are great improvised weapons and you don't get hassled much by the cops. It's a tool officer.

But that's not what this is about.

As a vagabond I like to travel about but if I know I am going to be in a place for awhile and the conditions are right (more on that in a second) I like to cobble together something semi-permanent because fuck sleeping in my car or in my tent for more than a week or two. I'm getting soft in my old age I guess.

So on to those conditions. First you need a spot where the cops won't bother you because they don't care or because there are no cops. Second you need a source of building material. What you use will largely be dictated by what's available, but sometimes fate smiles and you find a treasure trove of scrap. Construction sites are great for this. The second factor is your environment. If you are in an area prone to extreme heat or cold you will need to factor that into your shack during construction.

Now a quick tutorial on R Values. R Values rate the resistance of heat flow from one side to another. For instance, a 1/2 piece of plywood has an R Value of 0.62. Insulation you buy at Home Depot or Lowes can range from 5.50 to 19.20 or higher. Effects are cumulative. You add more air pockets and building material, you insulate better. And that's the key. Trapping air. Now most of us I reckon aren't going to go buy rolls of insulation for a shack that might be standing for a month at most. But plywood (0.62 - 1.25) and cinder blocks (2.3-2.6) are readily available for the resourceful scrapper. Couple that with a sleeping back and proper positioning (find a natural wind break or shade such as a cliff face, sand dune or building) and you can drastically reduce your exposure to the elements.

When framing for a job the status quo is nails. They have greater shear resistance. Screws, however, can be reused a few times. They are also a cinch to get in with a power drill, which can be had for a few bucks if you do some creative yard sale-ing. But before you go assembling your shack you need to give it a skeleton. If you've done framing you can scrounge some 2x4 or 2x6 lumber and have at it. If you're a novice at carpentry you need to ensure that your outer wall, which will often be your inner wall in these cases, as something supporting it. Nothing sucks like having your house collapse on you in the middle of the night when the wind picks up.

Using diagonal braces to support outer walls is a viable solution. They are quick to put into place and quick to knock down. Use your noggin and examine where the stress points of your shack are going to be and reinforce them with whatever you can. The idea is to ensure that it remains standing in less than optimal conditions, but is still quick to assemble. We aren't building a permanent residence. Sometimes you get lucky and can butt one side of the shack against a tree, another building, a chain link fence or some other more permanent object. This is great if available.

When it comes time to put a roof on simpler is better. In cold climates you are going to lose heat to the ground (cardboard and newspaper are great insulators if you don't have a camping pad) and the roof, as heat rises. Once again, layers of cardboard covered by a tarp will keep you cozy. If you're in the middle of the fucking desert you want to reflect as much sunlight away and ensure air can flow freely through the structure. Pegs or supports that elevate the tarp away from the top plate of your walls to allow air in and out is a good idea, as are generous windows. For privacy use a light cotton fabric and a couple nails. Air gets in but people can't see your naked ass.

When it comes time to move it should take only an hour or so to knock everything down, recover your screws and other metal bits and pack up. The same principles here can be used in the woods. Logs and deadwood replace plywood, natural fiber substitutes for screws and pine needles or other dead plant matter can be used as insulation. Practice makes perfect with this shit. After your tenth shack you will be efficient and quick at erecting temporary but reasonably comfortable structures.

If the cops give you shit, just knock it down and move on after salvaging your nails and screws.
 
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Tude

Sometimes traveler is traveling.
Joined
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Messages
4,207
Age
62
Location
Rochester, NY
Cool and interesting as well. Got any pics of any of your creations? :) thanks!

Oh and I tossed on a Resources in the title cause that's what this is :D
 
OP
timetoleave

timetoleave

Newbie
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
22
Location
Midwest
Next time I put something together I'll take pictures of the process and finished project. Probably at Slab in Sept.
 

Tude

Sometimes traveler is traveling.
Joined
Jul 28, 2011
Messages
4,207
Age
62
Location
Rochester, NY
Cool - I am really really trying to get out there this year - trying to coordinate plans to fly out somewhere meet up and get there and back. hehe planes trains and automobiles ...
 
OP
timetoleave

timetoleave

Newbie
Joined
Aug 16, 2016
Messages
22
Location
Midwest
I like the idea of building whatever I want being limited only by material and space. Hope to see you out there.
 
W

wigwam

I deleted myself
Nice! I sometimes construct a wigwam off in the woods somewhere and live in it a while, then move on. only tools I carry are a knife and folding saw. I imagine this lifestyle with a truck would be fun. Do you just haul off all the non natural materials you use?
 

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