Laying out the counters

Started work on the countertops today. Our counters and some of our shelving are made out of 1 5/8” thick hard maple that we glued up with the help of Creative Woodworking NW.

With a Janka hardness of 1,450 psi these counters are almost twice as tough as our bigleaf maple floors, and quite honestly the weight of them is a little bit heavy for a tiny house. This illustrates our rapidly evolving thinking about tiny house weight.

Being a super lightweight, minimalist-everything sort of guy I imagined that I would try to make the actually tiny house as light as possible, but when we ran the numbers on everything we could possibly do to go light without being ridiculous, it turned out that the difference between lightweight and moderate weight was only about 1000 pounds, and when you’re talking about the difference between 8000 and 9000 pounds that really doesn’t change anything. Your trailer, your tow vehicle, what you can do with the tiny house, it’s all the same. Now if you can get down below 7000 that changes a lot (my next tiny house project) but at our projected weights it really got me thinking about some of the advantages of a bit of weight.

A lot of weight in the walls is counterproductive from an insulation standpoint and usually structurally unnecessary, but if you can concentrate the weight inside of the insulated shell now you have thermal mass, which is hugely useful in modulating the daytime-nighttime temperature flux of relatively thin-walled structures, which is a big consideration for minimizing energy consumption and general comfort in an off grid setting.

So we ended up putting sheet rock and building heavy, REMOVABLE furniture so we can lighten things up for transport if needed. (Or shift to balance trailer weight). Keep in mind this is still only a moderate weight tiny house and I’m not advocating for the insane overbuilding that can result in tiny house disasters.

I borrowed a friend’s cordless Makita track saw to break down the glue ups and found myself wishing Milwaukee would make one so I could justify buying it. I’m not a fan of Makita tools, but it got the job done. Thanks Justin!

– Brian

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