Saturday, June 23, 2012

Building an Outhouse, Part Three

Progress on the outhouse has been steady, but broken up into chunks of time here and there. This has mostly been due to the weather.As some of you may be aware, Thunder Bay and this part of the world have been hit by above average rainfalls this past month. Duluth has been especially hard hit in the past week.

Thankfully, we are at a pretty high elevation here, and so the biggest inconvenience has been our gravel pit being turned into a pond for a day or two. Well, that, and having to open and close the yurts a few times a day to reflect the changing weather.

After the first wall of the outhouse went up, the other two walls went rather quickly. As always, after the prototype has been built and fleshed out, the remainder of a project goes more smoothly, especially with such eager help!

The door was a bit of a trick. As I will show in future posts, I didn't purchase a pre-made or pre-hung door, and instead opted to build mine from my own lumber. That has been a really satisfying part of this particular project - I have not used any lumber that I didn't mill myself. It's a really cool feeling - sure to make me spend extra time in there reflecting.

With the knowledge that the door was made with solid wood, at least an inch thick, I was really concerned with its weight. As such, I opted to hang it with four hinges. It took a little finagling to get them installed, but nothing I couldn't handle, and I was especially tickled that I was able to do it myself, so that Donna and Kenny were able to see it as a completed and finished door when they performed their daily inspection.

Actually, by the time they arrived, I was just finishing up the platform that the actual toilet seat would rest on. Kenny helped me to attach the seat to the platform, and then we carried it out to the outhouse to see how it fit together.

In order to make good use of space, I opted to place the seat in the corner of the outhouse, rather than the traditional bench centred on a wall. Can you guess what I forgot to account for?

It looked great, until I tried to lift the lid - rats. The lid couldn't lift up completely because it was too close to the walls! I didn't want to build a new platform, just to space the lid out further, so I opted for a more simplistic solution - I cut the lid off the seat altogether. With a handle screwed on, I won temporary approval from Donna for this idea.

Kenny liked it best, combined with his "sword" and he played at being a knight for some time - defending Mama from imaginary dragons :).

I tested out the bucket, which fit well, and then realized that not all five gallon buckets are created equal - they have different heights and diameters!

Luckily I have some flexibility. For the time being, I have two identical buckets that will work great, and that solution should last for a few years I hope. But, when the time comes to get a new bucket, I can either lay down some boards under the seat to raise the bucket up, or else just cut the top edge off of a bucket to make it fit. No great concern!

Next step, as far as useability is concerned, is to put in a few shelves. There can't be too many places to store things in the outhouse. Oh yes, there needs to be some mechanism to lock the door too. No one wants to surprise, or to be surprised by anyone out there.

There are still a number of steps to take before the outhouse is completed - I may begin my next project before it is totally finished, as there are a few things that are moving up the priority list, and I can think of one or two items I want to do to the outhouse that I can't perform for a week or so yet. Stay tuned, I'll be sure to post the completed outhouse as soon as possible, but I'll also try to keep everyone updated in the meantime. Until then I'll enjoy one of the benefits of the rainy/sunny weather we've been having of late - beautiful rainbows!

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