Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Building the Chicken Palace, part 1

It was Labor Day. That meant I was supposed to work, right? Actually, getting a start on the DIY Chicken Palace wasn't work in the traditional sense because I laughed too much. There was sweat involved, but no blood or tears. Yet.

Planning the project, shopping for the materials, then hauling them home was the hard part. Click here if you need to catch up. Putting the Palace together would be the fun part ... or so I hoped.

I set up shop in the garage, then stared at the pile of lumber for longer than I'd care to admit. I had most of the tools and supplies I needed...all that was missing was an instruction manual. What would Dad do? I asked myself. Measure twice and cut once. Alrighty then.

I can't begin to tell you the perverse amount of satisfaction I get from figuring out how to do something when I don't have the right tool. 
While I do have an impressive collection of Dad's hand-me-downs, it does not include a pair of sawhorses. 
Watch the curtain rise on DIY Improv Theater. 

And when I accomplish a two-person job by myself? I'm insufferable. Seriously, you don't want to be around to witness the fist-pumping.

Somewhere along the line I read about clamping a board to a board to use as a guide for the saw. It worked!

And when I needed to attach the legs of the base to the Palace floor, what better to assist me than 
Snapper's scratching post and Smooch's 40-pound bag of dog food for ballast?

There was a table dance involved to test the strength and levelness (is that a word?) of the Palace base. It passed!

I kept reminding myself that I was building a chicken coop and not a piece of fine furniture, so I did cut myself some slack. But when all was said and done, the base of the Chicken Palace was sturdy, level ... and kind of awkward and heavy. Not to worry. I have a plan to easily transport it to its final destination in the barn.

Meanwhile, at the end of construction day one, the base was finished and suitable for framing. Between now and next weekend, I'll be scheming how I can attach the siding without the benefit of an assistant. Can you see me deviously rubbing my hands together with an evil grin on my face?

You would think that someone capable of getting this far would have thought to take down the bicycle hanging from the ceiling so she wouldn't bang her head on it 127 times in one afternoon.


  1. I'm impressed Carson! Seems like there is nothing that stops you, even the bike hanging from the ceiling ... LOL! I'm anxious to see Part 2.

  2. We are seriously impressed! Way to go!

  3. Wow. My hat is off to you, Ms. Carson!

    I think you should have put Don to use while he was out there last weekend. (For holding, of course!) Guess you could always invite them back? :)

    I suspect a four hoofed accomplice for moving the structure to it's final resting place?

  4. Way to go Carson! Doin' good so far. Any swear words yet?
    Best always, Sandra

  5. Outside-the-box thinking is the only way to successfully build something large when working alone. One of my daughter's told me once, "Mom, you're so far out of the box, I think you threw the box away."

    When I work alone and have to hold something long in place to fasten it (like a fence board or a piece of siding) drive a big nail (part way in) on the line where the bottom edge of your siding will line line up (if this makes sense) for the piece to sit on while you fasten the other end. After your piece is secure, remove the nail and move it up to help you hold the next piece in the right spot.

  6. Aren't you just the handiest chick in the coop? Looks mah-vuh-lus!!

  7. Your DIY Chicken Coop base is exactly the type of table I want in my house!!!! I LOVE furniture that is funky, homemade and oozing with character!!!!

    Good for you!!

    I'm exhausted just viewing the post!!!

  8. You are SO my idol! This is just the way I do things, only I'm a lot slower and not as polished.I wonder if projects like this could be accomplished by people like us (and I feel presumptuous even pretending to be like you) if we didn't have the critters to talk to and to share the happy dance? The scratching post and bag of dog food were sheer genius!

  9. I am very impressed eh!! um, maybe you should "invite" a friend or two out for a drink and while they are there....heh heh heh ;-)
    Next project, making saw horses :D

  10. Nice!!!!!! It is always a joy to fist pump on a solitary gal accomplishment. Used to do that alot, feels fantastico. Congrats on the DIY Chicken Palace, looking good.

  11. Oh, I love the ingenious solutions you came up with.... and I recognize that "I can do this myself" (sometimes said through clenched teeth) attitude! Perhaps with a little "I'll show them" thrown in!
    Congrats - it looks great. Can't wait to see the rest!
    (She says as she soaks the foot she crushed by trying to prove she could move the 4' X 8' X 3/4" plywood out of the barn by herself!)

  12. WooHoo! I expect your daddy is plenty proud of you right now.

  13. Will this gizmo be on wheels? If so, make sure they are heavy duty wheels with brakes.

  14. Carol in Colorado9/7/11, 9:07 AM

    Awesome job, Carpenter Carson!! I can't wait to see the rest of the coop go together. Moving it will be fun and I suspect a four legged critter will be helping and not Wynonna.

  15. You go girl!! Who needs a man around to do simple (heehee) projects like chicken palaces?? I can't wait to see the finished product. I am sure the girls will love it and will pay you back with plenty of eggs through the winter.

  16. ... I would have paid to see THAT table dance. LOL I am so impressed and I adore the helping bag of dog food - cuts down on any bickering an extra pair of hands might offer... :)

    Can't wait to see how this progresses along. And as for accidents and blood -- isn't that why we often paint it red? :)

  17. Nice job, Carson! You know, some people were just born to bang their heads. Where do you think the term head-bangers comes from? You are part of a longstanding and proud tradition!

  18. You might enjoy Community Chickens on facebook. Lots of kindred spirits.

  19. I have a suggestion for the floor. All of my coops have wooden floors, too. I cut a piece of roofing from a roll of that stuff that has gravel on one side and black stuff on the other (I'm such a pro, I don't know what the name is) and line the floor with it. Sometimes I sprinkle some Seven on the wood before I lay the roofing down, gravelly side up. Then I put shavings over it. When it's time to clean, all I have to do is use a whisk broom and a dustpan. The floor lasts a lot longer this way. I also paint both sides of the floor and all the other boards so that nasty little chicken mites don't have a place to hide. The roofing lasts about 6 months and then I pull it out and put down a new piece.

    I'm impressed by how sturdy your base is, and also a little bemused, since it's only going to hold a few lightweight chickens. Great job with those corners and angles!

  20. You are putting some of us guys to shame! :-)

  21. Your "ladies" are going to be so glad to have that palace once winter comes!

  22. Ah ha ha!! My forehead totally remembers that bike seat!!!
    Wonderful work so far. I love your DIY projects and your single-handed skills *always* impress me. :-)

  23. Estella from Co.9/7/11, 8:54 PM

    Liked the happy dance... :)

  24. So many project of mine are measure nice, cut twice, curse, return to lumber yard.

    And boy do it indetify with that bike... Lol

    Looks pretty heavy. You'll need more than Ethel.

  25. Looking good :). I know that victorious feeling of doing a job single-handed that's usually meant for two.

    The fact I'm 4'11" and can accomplish this makes victory all the sweeter, haha.