Saturday, August 9, 2014

Tools for construction of a tiny house

Image downloaded from the internet at

I have read somewhere that one can build a tiny house with only 14 tools; it may indeed be possible but life will be much better with a bit more conveniences. How would one complete electrical work without a screwdriver? The image above shows four power tools, a miter saw, jig saw, circular saw and a drill. In the construction of a tiny house, these four power tools will certainly get a workout. I would add a couple extras; an impact driver, a small table saw and maybe a router. Of course getting an air compressor and pneumatic nailers will greatly simplify your life and ease the burden on your arms. It is possible to rent these tools but for the duration of time needed for most of these tools, it would be better to purchase and then sell upon completion.

I would use the impact driver for the thousands of screws and bolts that will need to be driven; I would use the table saw for cutting long angles across grain or cutting drip edges into the bottom of window sills and I would use the router for rounding over edges of wood for the ladder, edge of the tongue-and-groove boards on the loft and other areas. Andrew Morrison showed how to use a router to cut out window and door openings in his video series "Building a Tiny House"; this is really quick and easy. Sure, you can round over with a file but a router does such a beautiful job. You can buy the tools used on craigslist, use them for the construction, then sell them for approximately the same price at the end of construction.

Personally, I set my tool budget at $1500 with plans to sell the un-needed tools upon completion. I figure I can sell the power tools upon completion to recover some of my investment. As stated above, if you purchase the tools used and sell used, you could spend much less. So, here is the list of power tools and their costs I have obtained for my tiny house. The power tools occupy over half of my tool budget.

Craftsman sliding compound miter saw ($190)
19.2 volt drill and impact drill combo set ($110)
Refurbished Skil router ($49)
Porter Cable jig saw ($60)
Craftsman circular saw ($70)
Porter Cable air compressor ($110)
Husky brad and finish nailer set ($70)
Table saw ($200)

You can get a compound miter saw and table saw for $100 each but I wanted the extra capacity of the sliding compound miter and I wanted the slightly better quality of the more expensive table saw. I plan to build my own cabinets and interior furnishings. My past experience with building showed me that an increase in quality helps my end product. You can drive all your nails with a hammer but install tongue-and-groove interior siding is much easier with a finish nailer.

In my next blog post, I will discuss the "non-power" tools we can add to this list to make life a bit more comfortable.

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