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The Outhouse, Part One

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Friday night, the Husband asked me, “Wanna build an outhouse this weekend?”

It’s a project we’ve been planning to do, and since it’s a small project, we figured it wouldn’t take too much time or money to complete it.

We started off by drawing some plans.


Of course, once we purchased the materials, the plans changed because our goal was to complete the task as inexpensively as possible.  Thus, we changed the dimensions of the plan to fit the materials we had.  But in the meantime, we made a list of things we needed, and Saturday morning we went shopping.

First, we went to this place downtown that sells reclaimed items.  It’s mostly wood from demolished barns and houses, but they also had doors, hinges, and doorknobs.  The proprietor was a little rough around the edges, and not very willing to negotiate prices.  We ended up with a door, some hinges, and some door handles.  We spent $42.80, which is more than I expected, but I guess reclaimed items are all the rage these days so they don’t come cheap.

After that, we went to the Habitat for Humanity Re-Store.  There we found a couple of pieces of wood that we will use for the bench inside the outhouse and for the door on the back from which we will remove the waste.  We realized we probably could have gotten a door there, too, and cheaper than what we’d found at the other place, but oh well.  We spent $6.42.

Our last stop was at Menard’s where we bought a couple of 4×4 treated posts, a treated 10-foot 2×6, some screws, a toilet seat, and a large bucket.  We spent $53.55


Husband started by making some skids for the bottom of the outhouse.  Basically, it will be on a kind of sled so that it will be easier to move if we would want to do that.  He rounded the ends of the 2×6.


After he framed the base (sled), he attached the 4×4 posts.  (We had purchased two, and we had two more at home.)


He began adding cross pieces to make sure the posts stayed square.

Meanwhile… I was trying to tear apart a bunch of pallets we had.  (We plan to use the slats as siding on the outhouse.)  This was NOT an easy job.  In fact, it was much more difficult than I’d imagined.


The wood would splinter when I tried to pull it loose from the frame, and the nails were threaded, which made it even harder.  Eventually, husband determined the best method was to cut through the nails with a Sawzall instead of trying to pry them out.


I took a break from the pallets to help get the posts squared up.  Then it was time to start on the floor.


Husband framed the floor, and I began marking the decking (which we already had) so he could cut it to fit.  Once it was cut, I screwed the decking to the joists.


By then, we were ravenous, so I went inside to make supper.  (Spaghetti & sauce with broccoli on the side.  Easy and quick!)

While I did that, Husband finished up the basic frame of the outhouse and began putting the siding on.


Then we ate dinner.  The sun went down, so we stopped our work for the night.

I’ll document part two as soon as we get to it!

About Karen Koch

I like the old-fashioned lifestyle. All this new-fangled stuff baffles me sometimes. I cherish living out in the country, raising chickens and rabbits, planting fruit trees, and enjoying a slow life filled with beautiful words and ideas. I don't always achieve a slow life. I teach middle school English and manage a little burgeoning farm with my husband, and somewhere in the midst of that, I try to find time for writing, running, knitting, reading, and playing the ukulele. And sometimes, I actually succeed.

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