Used, Reclaimed & Recycled Building Materials: 10 Tips For Finding Salvage Wood

Want to reduce the environmental impact of your tiny house project? Reclaimed lumber is for you!

There’s no substitute for the warmth and ambiance of wooden architecture, especially when you’re using reclaimed lumber. Every knot, notch and nail-hole tells a story and adds to the richness of your project. Plus you get to tell your friends all about it when they come over for a visit.

(The natural builders at Dancing Rabbit Eco-village figured this out a long time ago. If you want to see some of the handiwork featured in this article firsthand, consider paying us a visit through our annual visitor program.)

The best part is: reclaimed lumber is environmentally sustainable because it doesn’t come with the baggage of embodied pollution, worldwide deforestation and species extinction. (The spotted owls offer their hearty thanks.) Not to mention you can often buy it at rock-bottom prices, on a barter-trade basis, or even for free.  In short, reclaimed lumber is the perfect compliment to other natural building techniques and materials you can incorporate into your design. Continue reading

The Foxhole a Cob and Timber Tiny Home

Winter Foxhole

Guest Post by Collin Vickers

Modern day pioneers, Mae Ferber and Benjamin Brownlow, have set out to rediscover the lost arts of Old West homesteading in the information age, with a touch of high technology and fervent passion for ecological sustainability.

Their adventures in eco-living take place in the Foxhole, a living roof structure made mostly of natural materials on the outskirts of Dancing Rabbit Eco-village in the rolling hills of northeast Missouri. They have built it almost entirely without the use of fossil fuels, relying on their own hands and the help of a few friends and summer interns, with the exception of the foundation, which was excavated by machinery.

Ben, Mae and Althea

The house rests on a gravel bed foundation and the north wall, along with a spacious root cellar, has been dug into the crest of a ridge that merges with the soil heaped onto their roof, which has been planted with local flora that blend seamlessly with the surrounding landscape. Continue reading

Timber Framed Shed

by David Stiles

A New York Times writer once asked an Amish farmer, “Why did you build your barn walls five feet thick when you only needed to make them one foot thick?” The farmer’s simple answer was, “Why not?”

The same question could be asked of anybody considering timber-framing a tiny house rather than stick-building it out of 2x4s. Using only a wooden mallet, a saw, and some chisels to make the time-consuming mortise joints can take five or ten times longer to complete the building. So why do it? The answer is simple: satisfaction. Knowing that you’re building in the time-honored fashion of craftsmen from past centuries, and completing a frame that is much stronger, more durable, and uses less wood, is very satisfying.

timber frame

Having written several do-it-yourself books on sheds, cabins, and workshops, we were asked several years ago by an Amish community to design a shed that they could sell to the public. They invited us to visit their farms and see how they worked. The weekend that we spent with them was truly amazing; like being transported back two centuries. We saw them loading up a horse-drawn wagon with timbers for a barn-raising the next day, just like in the movie Witness.

timber frame tiny house

We named our design “The Perfect Shed,” it has the perfect proportions (discovered by the ancient mathematician Euclid) of the ‘golden ratio.’ Having designed sheds for 30 years, we think the size is perfect too. It is 10ft x 12ft – neither too big nor too small. The shed is insulated throughout, with electric wiring inside the stuccoed walls, a sleeping loft, and room for a small kitchen. We think it would make a perfect studio, home office, music room, hobby workshop – or even a self-sustaining ‘eco-shed’ with a wood-burning stove, composting toilet and solar electric supply. We have plans for building it using 2x4s as well.

timber frame and horse

To put our design to the test we teamed up with an artist/craftsman named Toby Haynes who comes every year from Cornwall, England to help us with construction. We built our own timber-framed Tudor cottage as you can see in the photo and even had a community barn-raising where neighbors – including the children – pitched in.

timber frame cottage

perfect shed

Connecticut Post & Beam

by Laurie Sharp

We have been following the Tiny House Blog for years, always anxious to see what our friends and neighbors are up to. The Small Home movement is in full swing and we believe post and beam framing has not been addressed often enough as one of the choices available.

We have a unique “T-Rex” Connector to be used strictly with post and beam framing, offering an alternative to the many small home advocates out there. Our exclusively-designed post and beam connectors are extruded from 6061 structural grade aluminum, which is used in everything from ship building to skyscrapers; in addition, our “T-Rex” Connectors are engineer-approved.

The Wilton

For the DIY individual, we have extensive plans and connectors available; you can either use milled lumber from your own land or purchase economically from a local sawmill.

For one who doesn’t have the time required for a DIY project, you can purchase the kit with everything needed to construct a post and beam frame, using the pre-slotted and pre-drilled white pine. Windows, roofing material, doors, and siding can be added to any order.

raising the wilton

For someone who can’t wait, we can add a covered porch and construct your post and beam home for you in the New England area.

Take a look at our website at to see what post and beam framing can offer you! We are willing to work closely with anyone from the Tiny House community.

post and beam logo

post and beam

Wilton rendering

A Tiny Timber-Framed House

by Paul and Makenzie Benander

My partner and I have been building a tiny timber-framed house for a little over a year now. We thought you or some of your readers might find it interesting or helpful to hear about our project. When we started our build we had a hard time finding other people in the tiny house community who were doing a timber frame on a trailer. I’ve attached some pictures of the frame raising and some recent shots, as well as a brief synopsis of the project. For more pictures we have a blog at

timber frame and us

Thanks for your time and keep up the good work! We’ve spent countless hours perusing your blog throughout our journey and gotten lots of great info and ideas!

The Project:

We first heard of the tiny house movement during our senior year at college. With so much up in the air in terms of job opportunities and additional schooling we were immediately intrigued by the idea of living simply and taking home with us where ever we ended up.

We got the idea to try and do a timber frame construction after I had taken a timber-framing workshop. We had always loved the look and feel of post and beam construction and after putting together a small shed in the workshop I had attended, we thought ‘Why not a tiny house?’. Two major factors to consider in a tiny house frame are strength/stability and weight.

timber frame raising


As it turns out, timber frames have a long history in New England and are a tried and true form of construction that relies on careful joinery. They are however, traditionally heavy frames. We decided to go with 6×6 hemlock timbers as opposed to the standard 8×8 to save on weight and room. Once the frame had been planned out we were then able to calculate the wet vs. dry weight of the timbers to know exactly what we were dealing with. As another precaution we also opted for a new trailer (as opposed to used) rated for 10,000 lbs.

timber frame assembly

Equipped with a mallet, set of chisels and books, we began construction on our tiny house in October 2012. The winter was spent working on the timbers and preparing the trailer and this May we were able to have a ‘tiny house-raising’ where friends came and helped us to raise the frame.

Since the raising we have spent the summer and fall months closing in, insulating, installing windows and doors, and beginning our systems work.

timber frame crew

timber exterior completed

 Jøtul F 602