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April 2014 - Oneida Trail

Replacing Rotting Door Wood: Rot to Not

How did I miss this?
Time to Address This

The Judge

Michelle comes home to an awkwardly smiling Chris. Chris presents the door he drove 45 minutes to get. It was supposed to have built-in-blinds with a luscious and deep stained wooden interior. “Where are the blinds?” “Didn’t have them. Just this screen.” “Hmmm…that’s weird.” “Yea.” “Oh well, hey is that rotting?” Stumbling explanation ensues.

Rotten Altitude?

Up and up he hikes into…new territory once again. Now, he’s entered the land of rotting wood doors! Oh no! As always, it’s time to explore and try something new. It’s a slight bummer that I’ve needlessly brought it upon myself; however, let’s get this door back to something worth using, and also save my “deal of the century” reputation with Michelle.


  • Piece of Wood
  • Wood Putty
  • Stain or Paint, Polyurethane, Brushes or Rollers
  • Biscuits for Joint Planer
  • Wood Glue


  • Oscillating Tool or Multi-Tool
  • Chisel
  • Joint Planer
  • Brad Driver
  • Table Saw
  • 4 ft Clamps and Small Clamps
  • Oscillating Sander and Pads

Get Away Decay

To remove the rot I checked out some online videos, and I saw people using an oscillating multi-tool. I didn’t have one, but my neighbor Michael Greenwood did. He was kind enough to lend me the tool; thanks Mike!

My Cutting Tool of Choice
My Cutting Tool of Choice

I originally intended to remove the entire bottom piece of framing wood; however, after removing layers of the door, I found that I couldn’t figure out how to remove the tempered glass (probably needed some heat applied to the seals) and I wasn’t sure if I really did want to remove it and make the seal weakened/have to reseal it well, so I decided to just cut out the bad parts. I created my guidelines as well as fastened a piece of wood to coax the oscillating cutter. I removed some good wood on one side so it matched the other side.

Cutting out the Rot
Cutting out the Rot
Right Side: This Door Came Free with Doyle Security
Right Side: This Door Came with Free Doyle Security

I also sanded the entire door and frame at this point. The bottom threshold piece was pretty beat up and I thought I’d have to replace it, but it was a nice hardwood and sanding it did the trick.


Door Threshold Piece
Door Threshold Piece
Sanding Magic
Sanding Magic

Once everything was sanded with my oscillating sander, I started to cut the replacement wood piece. I made this piece into an “L” shape; my plan was to have a two tier level replacement piece where I could have plane biscuits on each level for extra strength. This didn’t work out; the planer was too big to reach the bottom level on the door, so I didn’t get my overkill worth of strength.

Table Sawed "L" Piece of Wood
Table Sawed “L” Piece of Wood
Joint Planer: Nice tool Pa introduced me to
Joint Planer: Nice tool Pa introduced me to. Use it for joining wood indiscreetly. I used it previously for a small table top. It’s just a sideways saw blade.

After dry fitting the piece, it was ready for a go. I moved the door inside the house to achieve proper temperatures for the wood glue. Step 1: Wood glue massacre. Step 2: Torture clamps!

Joint Planer creates the right size holes for these wooden biscuits to be glued in.
The joint planer creates the right size holes for these wooden biscuits to be glued in.
Biscuit Close Up: It's smiling at you.
Biscuit Close Up: It’s smiling at you.
Torturing Wood. One of my hobbies.
Torturing Wood. One of my hobbies.
Fitted Piece with Putty
Fitted Piece with Putty

There were several imperfections during this entire process. While I was cutting the rotting piece out, I scratched the sides of the wood.

<img class="size-medium wp-image-287" src="http://www lipitor generic.oneidatrail.com/app/uploads/2014/07/IMG_2472-213×300.jpg” alt=”Oscillating Cutter Marks and Gap” width=”213″ height=”300″ />
Oscillating Cutter Marks and Gap

The cut replacement wood piece was a solid fit, but it left a small gap (mainly because I didn’t cut accurately and it was difficult to do it perfectly–I think I was using an old blade). I really wanted to keep the wood visible, but I failed to match the two types of wood and I didn’t even try to match the putty infill, so even with these going against me, I did a trial stain test anyway. Surprise, surprise, it looked like crap, so I had no choice but to paint it; thankfully, it looked great painted. I actually used an exterior paint on the bottom of the door to really help prevent moisture penetrating the wood again. The paint has two layers, and then I added two layers of polyurethane to seal it and prevent marking up the paint.

Painted Door
Painted Door
Wood Putty Hid the Lines Well

To reattach the trim pieces, which I also sanded and painted, I planned on borrowing dad’s small finishing nailer and compressor. He asked why I would haul all of that over for just a couple of quick nails and sent me home with a Brad driver. This little baby worked like a charm.

Brad Driver
Brad Driver
Simply press the finishing nails in.
Simply press the finishing nails in with any built up anger you’re holding on to.

Overall, I’m happy with the result even though there was a lot of adjustments made along the way. The door is tempered glass which will be good for a moving house, and it looks nice and new again; a little bummed I had to hide the wood grain with paint–I hate painting wood. I bought bottom door weatherstripping, and I still have to attach it, but this door is pretty much waiting for its home!

The reins are ours,


Categories: Building

Tiny House Planning: Window Bonanza: Deal of the Century Two

Tiny House Financial Stranger Angel

While purchasing new windows at Home Depot, a man says, “How much you paying for those five windows?” “100 each.” “Did you see the ad on craigslist on Teall Ave? Bet they got your size windows there.” “I’ll check it out.” Although I spent $500 for the windows I needed to get, I took the guys advice…and found all five similar size windows for $100 total! Brought the depot ones back! $400 bucks saved that day. Thank you tiny house angel.

Window Bonanza

That stranger didn’t just lead me to $400 worth of savings–he lead me to securing windows for the house and the companion studio! We actually may have too many windows now, haha. Crazy! With a projected window cost between $800-3800 dollars, we have paid a total of $266 for twelve windows and a skylight—that’s $20.50 per window. We also have obtained our eleven windows for the companion studio at only $226–that’s 20.50 per window as well. Mainly, the score entailed showcase windows—a thing for tiny house builders to seek out.

Craigslist/Angel Advice Window Score
Craigslist/Angel Advice Window Score

Although a stranger pushed me to check out the windows on Teall Ave, it was an ad on craigslist I glanced over. 80% of our windows and doors came from craigslist and the other 20% through Michelle’s builder/part-time boss’ network. Overall, the windows acquired ranged from $20-60 on craigslist after wheelin’ and dealin’ Extra resources.

Out of Business = Good Business

Leo A. Kline, a home improvement specialist since 1947, was going out of business, and it was good business for us. A kind man named Paul offered us a lot of deals for eighteen windows and a new sliding glass door (for the companion studio). Pa, my uncle and I went to pick up the windows and we also had to take down a display case as part of the deal with Paul. Scrapped the aluminum from the display case for $55, too. Four of the windows and the door are tempered glass, an added bonus. We paid around $16 per window. After consulting some tiny house sites, I found that a lot of people chose not to use tempered glass windows–Tiny Tack home included. Although it’s a good idea, it depends on how much you plan to travel and it’s too expensive for most tiny homebuilders, so it’s not fretted about.

Less Awesome

I bought an aluminum clad tempered glass door from someone for $100. Like an idiot, I didn’t inspect it well, and the wood was rotting at the bottom from the side I didn’t look at! Time to learn how to deal with rotting wood…at least I’ll have a winter project before the spring.

Needs some TLC.
Needs some TLC
How did I miss this?
How did I miss this?


The reins are ours,


Categories: Design, People

Tiny House Materials: Allocate to Accumulate

PJ, Collin, and I scoring a Big Window!
PJ, Collin, and I scoring a Big Window!

Counted my lucky stars this winter, and winter was one of them. The winter break allowed me to slowly accumulate materials at fantastic prices, get estimates on all material amounts and anticipated costs, and finalize The Oneida’s details. Having the final picture in mind has allowed me to backtrack and make tiny adjustments to set Michelle and I up for success.

Winter, Thank You

I was one of the few Syracuse residents not anticipating the end of winter.  Although excited to build, I loved the time to read through countless blogs, edit our plans, find awesome deals and salvaged materials on online, and secure funds for the build. I actually sold my car this winter for this project. I’m going all into this tiny house and simple living thang. I want to be personally off fossil fuels within the next two years. Getting Michelle off fossil fuels may be a different story! Wish me luck!

Salvaged Materials

Every salvaged material we find utilizes and converts a potential waste stream. When we find these materials, it reflects permaculture’s “there is no such thing as waste” principle. According to the World Watch Paper 124, “The average American house consumes about three quarters of an acre of forest and produces about seven tons of construction waste.” The amount of pounds of construction waste after a typical American house build is the entire amount of pounds used for a tiny house construction build! We actually scored some of that “waste” from a beyond huge American home.

If you have the option of delaying for a season to really hash out your design and slowly obtain materials, I highly recommend it. As an added benefit, you can become addicted to craigslist’s Materials page.  Shout outs to PJ, Pa, and my brother Collin for helping us get random materials throughout the season. I hope other tiny house builders also find what my mom calls–“deals of the century.”

“Deal of the Century” One: Mansion Leftovers

Michelle goes to school for Sustainable Construction Management at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry, and she’s making some connections. One of those connections was her builder friend’s friend who had materials left over from a mansion build. To associate with a gigantic mansion built for two people feels dirty…but to exploit their waste feels extremely gratifying.

Simply stated, we scored around $9000 of materials for $600, which includes windows, foam insulation, and T&G interior pine siding. Some of these materials are high end; we would have never spent $6000 on six windows, but $200 for $6000 windows? Yeppers.

Windows: We secured triple glazed aluminum-clad wooden windows with brass hardware. There were five of them. These windows are top of the line, and they are heavy! I’m even a little worried if they might be too heavy. Maybe, I’ll try to resell them to purchase our companion studio trailer lipitor 40 mg. Is that wrong?

Heavy & Awesome Windows
Heavy & Awesome Windows

T&G Pine: Green painted and polyurethaned pine siding is now in our possession. If you count the coatings, we got around $1200 worth of “leftover” T&G pine siding for…wait for it…$450. Because they’re two different types, I plan to plane one and paint the other, but we should have enough interior siding now for the tiny house!

Scored T&G Pine Sidng
Scored T&G Pine Sidng

Insulation: Although we originally planned on getting sheep’s wool insulation from Oregon Shepherd (would have been so cool!) at around $3000+ for the tiny house and studio, we instead have secured enough 4” foam for both our tiny buildings for…wait for it…$150.

4" Insulated Concrete Foam: Our Insulation
4″ Insulated Concrete Foam: Our New Insulation

It’s not ideal because the foam was originally intended for ICF (insulated concrete forms), so we’ll have to use the table saw to cut it to 3.5 inches and cut off the weird ends.  We looked into rough cut lumber or furring strips for the added half of inch of insulation, but we were deterred by rough cut lumber’s warping issues or having to add wood to all the hundreds of cut framing pieces. No, thanks.

The reins are ours,


Reflections, Hindsight, and Alterations

  • If we didn’t have the winter holding us back, we would have never made the time to find such a deal.  Lesson learned: allocate time to accumulate.


  • Oregon Shepherd: Natural Wool Insulation — http://www.oregonshepherd.com/


Categories: People, Permaculture