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Shlomy Builds an Outhouse, Part One: Framing & Siding

by Tara

Ever since Tyler and I met Shlomy by rooming together at a strawbale building workshop in Rhode Island, I've been impressed and inspired by his drive to become a competent builder. So far he has apprenticed with Christina Ott to learn about cob building, Ryan Chivers to learn about plastering and tadelakt, and Thomas Downs to learn the art of timberframing. He has also worked with carpenters, and various other craftspeople on cob and strawbale houses, decks, and natural plaster applications.

Tadelakting a Strawbale Playhouse

Recently, he created this beautiful cob oven for Nomad Bakery in New Hampshire!

Shlomy Building Cob Oven

When Shlomy arrived on our land, he mentioned wanting to lend a hand during his family's time here. Eager to make the most of his kind offer, we had several long talks about what building projects we could tackle together, given our time constraints. As we chatted and schemed, I was surprised to learn that despite all of his experience, Shlomy had yet to build an entire stick-framed structure from start to finish.

And so, when I found adorable plans for "The Perfect Privy", complete with instructions, diagrams, and a materials list, it was settled: we'd build an outhouse. The project would be small enough to complete during Shlomy's visit, he'd learn a lot, and it would be eminently useful for us when it was done. I placed an order for all of the materials, and Shlomy agreed to take charge of the project, eager to tackle his first start-to-finish stick-framed structure.

(Speaking of firsts, Shlomy's step-son Nehemiah got to fire a nail gun for the first time!)

Shlomy Teaching Nehemiah How to Use Nailgun Nehemiah After Firing a Nailgun for the First Time Nehemiah After Firing a Nailgun for the First Time

So far, the project is coming along splendidly!

Outhouse Floor Framing Shlomy Measuring Outhouse Framing Shlomy Cutting Outhouse Floor Framing Outhouse Floor Framing w/ Stone Base Nehemiah and Shlomy Placing Outhouse Floor Shlomy

I have to say, it has been hilariously gratifying to work with Shlomy, to hear him voice the same frustrations that we have when we build: "I cut everything perfectly! So why is it not perfect!?!" I know all too well how hard it is to strike a balance between perfection, and getting shit done. How difficult it is to know how exact something needs to be, without knowing which imperfections will come back to haunt you later, and how badly. What better place to learn all of these things than on an outhouse!?

Shlomy Measuring Siding for Outhouse Shlomy Affixing Siding to Outhouse Shlomy Affixing Siding to Outhouse Shlomy Affixing Siding to Outhouse Shlomy Affixing Siding to Outhouse

While I love how stinkin' cute the little thing is going to be, mostly I'm just excited that I'll be able to poop closer to our house. Thusfar, we've been tromping down to the camper to use the restroom. While walking 400 feet in rain and snow to use an uninsulated bathroom is surprisingly not as awful as it sounds, it can become an issue when we have guests staying in the camper, or friends over to visit!

Outhouse Under Construction in the Forest Shlomy in Outhouse