5 Things We Couldn't Have Built the Tiny House Without

It seems like so long ago since we "finished" the tiny house. I say "finished" with quotes because no matter what size home you own, the work is never exactly done.

I get asked questions regularly about our building process. How do you get started? What books do you recommend? How do you learn how to build?

I thought I might offer some practical advice. These are the 5 things we couldn't have built the tiny house without.

Compound sliding miter saw from Harbor Freight. I know other builders will highly suggest that you invest in good quality tools. We did not do that. I can't say either method is right or wrong, but I can say that our $120 miter saw built the whole house for us. And we put that saw through a lot. It sat outside for months - maybe even years - with barely a covering. We would store it either under the house as it was being built or in the barn. It was a trusty tool and we are glad we had it. 

Honda generator. We made a pretty big investment early on in our building process. We bought the best super quiet Honda generator. Since we were building on a mountain without a road, much less power, we needed something that could run the miter saw and other tools. It came in quite handy when we ran the cement mixer to pour the piers and our air compressor (see next item). We also didn't want to bother our neighbors with any unnecessary noise. This generator was well worth the investment and we have since hooked it into our solar power system as a back up energy source. Though, since the house has been finished we have only had to run it a handful of times.

Air compressor. When we read the original plans for our tiny house, designer Jay Shafer indicated that he used screws for pretty much everything. We couldn't imagine the time it would take to install interior siding with screws, not to mention we weren't thrilled with the look that would achieve. We bought a Porter-Cable air compressor and were very pleased with how it worked. We used the finish nailer most of the time. We also bought this palm nailer that helped get into tight spaces.

Little Stumpy. This is the name we gave our corner or right angle drill. It is Ryobi, like this one but a much older version. A tiny house has a lot of tight spaces and just like the palm nailer, Little Stumpy helped us out a lot. It could fit into corners or cabinets or small areas without much of a fuss. Sometimes one of us was coiled up in a corner with Little Stumpy while the other stood over the space with a flashlight. Building a tiny house isn't always the most comfortable experience.

Friends. Yes, for just one moment I am going to get a little sentimental. Since building our tiny house was an adventure for us, we kept it open for friends to join any time they wanted to. Every year while we built we hosted an Independence Day party and invited anyone who wanted to up to camp and help build. People came up to Mt. Matt at various times throughout the year to see the tiny house, hang out, and lend a hand. While we did build this house by ourselves there are many things we couldn't have done without help. Plus, there is nothing like cracking open a cold beer and sitting by a campfire at night knowing how much you just accomplished during the day.

What tools and resources do you think are imperative when building a tiny house? 


  1. There are two basic types of Honda generators. Portable generators which are extremely versatile, and standby generators which are installed permanently outside a business or home.

  2. BRILLIANT!!!!
    Love how it turned out so inspired now!
    Thank you.
    Wow, looks great! Thanks for posting this. This post is very very helpful!


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