LittleHouse – Building the Girders


LittleHouse – Building the Girders

by admin on Nov.12, 2006, under Framing

Building Girders
12 November 2006.
Wow, it’s been a long time!
Work schedule prevented us from getting up during the last summer. In addition, when we finally came up in October, we were focused on winterizing our water tank and plumbing.

Anyway, here we are building up the main beams that will sit on top of the piers to support the little house. The beams consist of two 2×8’s on the outside, with an 8″ wide piece of half-inch plywood sandwiched between. All the pieces are glued together with construction adhesive and nailed with a bunch of 3-1/2″ nails.

Building the Girders

On our last trip, we carefully measured the distance between each of the piers. Then, while in Mesa, we pre-cut the boards such that the joints would be separated by at least 4 feet for the 2x8s and the 1/2″ plywood joints were at least 2 feet from any of the other joints. In addition, we made almost all of the joints rest on top of a pier. That wasn’t possible in one case, but that shouldn’t matter, as the beams were engineered to be strong enough regardless of where the joints fell.

Total length of each beam is 24′-6″.
We put the extra 6″ in to compensate for the possibility of the piers not being exactly square.

Girders in Place
12 November 2006.
We set the finished girders in place (the brackets actually lined up pretty good!). Using the laser level, we found that the highest pier was the one near where Tara is standing. After leveling this beam, we then used the laser level again to level the second beam at the same height.

There was about a half-inch of difference between the highest spot and the lowest, before leveling. That wasn’t too bad, considering our crude construction techniques for the piers.

Due to the varying consistency of the cement, some actually shrunk a little more than others as they dried out.

Girders in Place

Girders Close Up
12 November 2006.
We found that the carriage bolts that I bought have square knobs in the end to bite into the wood. Unfortunately, they don’t work all that well with the metal brackets. So we only used one on each end to hold the beams in place so that the cows don’t move them. On our next trip, we’ll bring up some hex-head bolts to fit, in place of the carriage bolts.

Girders Close-Up


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