If finishing the subfloor was anticlimactic, getting the walls framed and raised was its polar opposite. Oh how great it feels to be VERTICAL!
After the countless hours I spent creating the framing plan on sketchup over the summer, I took to cutting the lumber and making my computer drawings real.
I started with the high wall at the front of the trailer and built an 8ft section on my own, and with Tish’s help we managed to stand the wall up on the ground to get it off the trailer and give myself more room to build the next section of wall.
However, much to my surprise and incredible appreciation, my dad and his buddy (a contractor) saw my strife in building slowly on my own and offered two full days of their time to help me get the walls framed and attached. They agreed to help me last Wednesday and Thursday, and after traveling for a few days over the Thanksgiving holiday and preparing for my thesis proposal defense the following Monday, I scrambled to get my shit together and make sure my framing was ready for their interpretation. It the midst of my stressful running around trying to make everything perfect for them as to not waste their time, my dad came to me and reminded me that these two days were supposed to be fun, a project we were fortunate enough to have the time to do together. This completely shifted my perspective, I immediately felt calm and realized that no matter what we were able to accomplish in the two days they were going to work with me, we were going to enjoy the process.
On Wednesday we got a late start after running some errands and making sure we had all the supplies we needed. We got to the trailer around 10:30-11 and got right to work. Our first task was to level the trailer, which took all three of us and Dan’s laser. Dan worked the laser while I found the measurement and Dad adjusted our screw jacks to reach level. Once the trailer was level it was time to frame the walls! I had already cut most of the lumber for the final section of the wall that I had already started, so we stood up the section I had already built and Dad and Dan built the rest of the high wall in place. They took measurements and yelled out cuts to me, I manned the chop saw and even did a good enough job on my cuts to earn a compliment on my precision from Dan. After said compliment of course I made about 3 wrong cuts in a row which was enough to humble my ego back in check. That first day, we managed to get the full high wall and the back wall framed and attached to the trailer. We all agreed to meet earlier the following day, knowing the other long wall had 5 windows and would be the hardest to frame.
On Thursday morning we met at the trailer at 8 a.m., before the frost on the subfloor had had a chance to melt. Dad swept the ice off while I got the chop saw fired up. We started with the short wall at the front of the trailer, as it was the easiest to do and we already had our angle cuts laid out from the back wall we framed the previous afternoon. The wall was framed and attached in an hour flat! All we had left was the complicated 5-window wall, which was made even more difficult because we lost our building surface on the trailer when we attached the wall we had just completed. We spent awhile discussing the framing plan, and devising a strategy to build the wall. Dan and Dad spent about 30 min laying out the wall and getting the correct measurements, making sure to ask me questions at every point of confusion, respecting my design and knowing that I had placed windows in a specific location for a reason. Once the layout was done, it was time to build. Again, Dan hollered out measurements for me to cut, and he and Dad put the pieces of the puzzle together. They decided to build the wall in three sections, the section at the front of the trailer first, then the one at the back of the trailer, and then they built the middle section over the wheel wells in place. To do this they pull all of the measurements from the back of the trailer and marked them on the floor, then brought in the bottom plate and transferred the measurements on to it. Since the bottom plate was going to be three different sections, it was really important that all of the measurements were pulled from the same place and lined up perfectly on each bottom plate. Midway through the final wall, Tish brought us lunch and we all took a much-deserved break while we ate our sandwiches and filled Tish in on our fun. After the break, we got right back to work finishing the wall and tying all of the walls together with an additional top plate. We braced the walls, bolted down the sections on the wheel wells and called it a day as the sun went down.
After two days of hard work, we had all four walls up and had enjoyed an amazing experience together. We stood chatting and admiring our work, looking forward to the next time we would be able to work together again!!