Relaxshax's Blog

Reader Mike’s Boatyard Dumpster Diving Tips (Free materials for building your home or shed…)
March 31, 2012, 9:06 am
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 A tiny housing newsletter of sorts…..lots in this one!

      Upcoming we have some cool guest posts and interviews from the likes of Gaby Sunheart, Tammy Strobel, and Andrew Odom (from I just have a ton of catching up to do! I’ve also been prepping for the Tumbleweed Miami workshop I’m hosting, planning a potential “Shoft” (Shed with a Loft) build for someone in state (a micro guesthouse more or less), AND pecking away on a 14′ shantyboat-like structure for a future video. All in time…all in time…..
     Oh yeah, I’m also working towards that July 6-9th Vermont Workshop on Tiny House/Cabin Building– WITH some building, speaking guests, tours of tiny houses, and more. We already have some interested parties- and again, the first FIVE in, get a free copy of Lloyd Kahn’s book “Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter”. We’ll also be doing some solar cooking, a little demo on log cabin notching and more! This workshop is going to be great. “TINY HOUSE SUMMER CAMP” is what we’re calling it. Kidcedar at gmail dot com if interested. Full roster is coming soon. Sleep space/lodging (either tenting it, or staying in one of our cabins) is included- first come, first serve (those who sign up earliest), and a couple of meals too…

 ABOVE- One of the cabin’s (mine)- we’ll see- and that you can stay in for the weekend!

ANYWAY….. since many of you know I love scavenging for materials, here’s a solid idea from one of our blog readers…..

Hey Deek,
Bought your book, follow your blog, always accumulating stacks of rescued boards and lumber in the back yard for projects.
A great place to dumpster dive: boatyards, especially now when guys are taking off the winter covers and getting ready to put the boats in the water.  
Stuff I have actually found in boatyard dumpsters:
* Lots of 1×2 lath (used as supports for winter covers)…. I built a tree house out of this stuff, and an arbor for my back deck.
* Plastic shrink wrap material … a substitute for Tyvek?
* Copper wire
* left over, partially empty cans of paint
* various boat fittings (hinges, latches, other nice chrome plated bronze thingies)
* quality lumber, especially teak, oak and mahogany.  I just finished building a really nice sofa table out of thrown out oak lumber and the top is a couple of mahogany boards that were the back seat of an outboard boat. Little useless chunks of oak board make my Sunday barbeque smell like a fancy Italian restaurant.
* electronics (marine radios, cd players, speakers etc.) Some broken, some not.
* other scrap metal- sold by weight
* rope, cord, fishing line
* many unused first aid kits
* And tons of recyclable bottles and cans = $$$ (a couple of hours netted me over $30 in beverage units- all while I was looking for other stuff in the meantime).

My goal with some of this material is to build a tree fort so that I have a small sanctuary to sit and read and nap, and when the grandkids come over, they think it’s their treefort to play in (so it gets by under the wife’s radar!).  Plus, 100% all scavenged materials, including the screws and nails. The door hinges came off of a foldable boat captain’s chair I pulled out of the boatyard dumpster. The roof is going to be a sheet of clear corrugated plastic material my son pulled out his work dumpster at Hart Supply in Hingham (they deal in all kinds of plexi products…. I love their stuff called containment-grade-polycarbonate…what they make the jail cells at Gitmo out of these days.)
I’ll send you pics when it’s up against the tree and operational.
Ps… Thanks for the tip about the Stanley Fat Max hand saw a while ago. Last month, Lowe’s had them on sale in the discontinued section for $8.  This tool is way sharp and crosscuts faster and easier than any electric saw I have ever had.
Mike from North Weymouth, MA
   Derek “Deek” Diedricksen runs the blog, Hosts “Tiny Yellow House” TV on youtube, and is author of the tiny house, fort, cabin, treehouse, and cottage design book “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks” which you can check out by clicking HERE.

A tiny house trapped in the Twilight Zone? And $100 off Tumbleweed Courses
March 30, 2012, 4:24 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

This photo is just bizarre, yet strangely interesting in a way I can’t really describe- a combination of peaceful and EERIE. I’m not even sure if the photo is real. Is it a scale model in miniature? A photo shopped job? Still, its a tiny fixer-upper for sure….

Today’s been a fun/interesting day- gloomy though (weather-wise), like the “sand storm”-looking sky in this photo. I woke up this morning, and having still not picked up a new coffee maker, it was back to a dose of stove top “Cowboy Coffee” to get the morning going….ever try it?- VERY easy to do, and tastes fine, you’re just left with some grinds in your mug….

Hmmm…since we’ll be hanging ’round the fire at night for out Vermont Tiny House Building Workshop on July 6-9th- we just might have to mess with some cowboy coffee, paper bag donuts, burgers on a rock (cooked on a hot rock), etc…. more details coming soon on that! Below is ONE of the cabins that some of the attendees will be welcome to stay in…. its been featured in several books, newspaper, tv shows, and blogs…speaking of which….

 First FIVE to sign up for the workshop will also get a free copy of Lloyd Kahn’s new incredible book- “Tiny Homes, Simple Shelter”– easily one of the best tiny housing/homemade housing books out there. A $25.00 value.

Also- Tumbleweed Miami (which I’m teaching) still has a $100 off special for the next two days- click below to find out more- MANY guest speakers….and we might add ONE MORE soon….

I just did an interview this morning for the Miami Sun-Sentinel- a huge metro paper that interviewed Jay Shafer and I on the small housing scene- once that runs, this workshop could get nuts, so check it out now- while you can still save $100!  HERE’s THE LINK YOU NEED….;aff_id=10

 Derek “Deek” Diedricksen runs the blog, Hosts “Tiny Yellow House” TV on youtube, and is author of the tiny house, fort, cabin, treehouse, and cottage design book “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks” which you can check out by clicking HERE.

NEW Tiny House Thrift Video and THREE guests announced for Tumbleweed Miami!
March 28, 2012, 3:45 pm
Filed under: wa

      First off, as part of an ongoing mini-video series (all laid back, one-take narrations) for The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company- here’s video #2- one pertaining to free and repurposed/re-built windows as a means to save a TON of money on your tiny house or cabin project. Having used found windows in well over a dozen cabin and shelter projects I’ve personally built, believe me, the savings is HUGE. I’m currently using some in a tiny houseboat/shantyboat project of mine in fact….

     These are the kind of things I’ll be talking about in a new workshop segment “How to save THOUSANDS while building your own Tumbleweed or Tiny House“. These tips VERY MUCH so pertain to any sized dwelling too. Most of them are also found in my book (below) “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks”….


These additional speakers will not only make things more diverse, but fun and informational on several levels….

Alex Pino of will be doing a short piece on tiny housing in relation to his involvement in the scene, and upcoming projects, through a segment called “How to Downsize Your Home and Life-Fast!”

Jo-Anne Peck from (who build beautiful sheds and guest homes in the Florida area) will be appearing on Sunday to talk about Florida building codes, what her company has been up to, and their approaches and techniques in building.

L.A. Davis from MGN SOLAR will be there to talk about his solar energy knowledge, and how his work and ideas especially caters to tiny homes.

I’ll also be introducing a few new segments to the Tumbleweed workshop scene with talks on utilizing (how, when, and where) recycled and repurposed materials in your home build, a critique/showcase session with a slide show of a wild array of tiny homes, shelters, and cabins, AND a session on “Tricks Of The Trade”- time, body, and mind saving techniques and tips that I’ve acquired in over 20 years of building.

I’ll also later juggle bowling pins set afire! Not really….

I’m also teaching the Tumbleweed BOSTON course- May 20 and 21st;aff_id=10


A prior gathering up at my Vermont cabin in the woods. Photo by Bruce Bettis

 AND- it looks like July 6-9th- FOUR DAYS (day 4 is an optional wind-down day)
I’ll be hosting another one of the Hands-On, Tiny House/Shelter Building Workshops, in Northern VT (Orleans). kidcedar at gmail dot com if you might be interested…

We’ll assemble a tiny cabin in one weekend, tour SEVEN tiny dwellings, lodging and camping spots on site are included, bonfire discussions at night, two dinners provided, guest speakers, and perhaps a horseshoe tournament one night, and then some….

And if you like hiking, fishing, and the outdoors- there are few better places…
The neighboring town of Coventry also has THE MOST covered bridges of any town in the US as well. Seven of them I believe…bring those cameras…

kidcedar at gmail dot com if you might be interested. We’ll announce more details and the price very soon…

Oh yeah, we’re only going to do somewhere around 15 people total, IF that….

-Derek “Deek” Diedricksen

FIVE really cool modern bookshelves for your small cabin or tiny house…
March 27, 2012, 3:31 pm
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A Book For Your Bookshelf ABOUT Bookshelves….New from Alex Johnson….

Just watch that head when you stand up! Yeowch!

     Even though I’ve been a fan of Alex Johnson’s site, a blog dedicated to small guest homes and work shed conversions, I had no idea that Alex additionally ran a site based on his fascination with unique bookshelves, and less of an idea that he was authoring a book on the very same subject! He’s certainly a busy guy and the result is a very fun, colorful, and slick, coffee table style book that is absolutely loaded with some insanely creative spins on good ole’ bookshelving. Bookshelves with desks built into them, one’s shaped like animals, elastic-band shelves, shelves you can lay inside, and ones that hang like garments in a closet- its all inside this really offbeat and niche-interest, but SO COOL- book. For all the tiny housers and small space dwellers out there, yes, there are certainly some interesting, and fitting ideas in this one- afterall, what are bookshelves but organizational storage?

My favorite is the tread/stairs bookshelves below- I wonder how much weight they can bare, or if they could be strengthened so as to provide access up to a sleep loft in a cabin, while also serving as book nooks?

I’ll also soon have a review up for “My Cool Campervan”, as well as on a few other tiny housing/small living/mobile dwelling books that have recently come out….

Not so much a space saver, but its a TINY HOUSE-shaped bookshelf- I couldn’t resist!

 Derek “Deek” Diedricksen runs the blog, Hosts “Tiny Yellow House” TV on youtube, and is author of the tiny house, fort, cabin, treehouse, and cottage design book “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks” which you can check out by clicking HERE.

March 26, 2012, 7:33 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

This one’s so fun/funky that it could make for its own “printed wall hanging OF a wall”. LOTS of time must have gone into this, and I wonder if the boards were found “as is” or painted, and retouched individually. A time consuming, but easy, project I’d imagine- just watch out for old lead painted wood!
     I’d LOVE to deck out even just one wall of a tiny house, cabin, or even a treehouse with something like this. My brother Dustin has a pallet wall in his home from a ton of forklift pallets I dumped at his house for him, and it looks great- we’ll have to do a video at some point still…

 Derek “Deek” Diedricksen runs the blog, Hosts “Tiny Yellow House” TV on youtube, teaches workshops for the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, and is author of the tiny house, fort, cabin, treehouse, and cottage design book “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks” which you can check out by clicking HERE.

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Swedish "Chameleon" Cabin In The Woods- A Tiny Hut That You Can Rent!
March 25, 2012, 6:51 pm
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Wow….check out this Swedish woodland cabin that you can rent nightly! Quite the chameleon- a rustic heap (which I love), on the outside, and swanky on the in. A working fireplace is sure to keep it warm, but I don’t see a single window(?)- still, I love how simple this little cabin/micro-rental is….Apparently, its one of a few cabins on this property….I’m digging for more info, or anyone who has it, please post it below…

Derek “Deek” Diedricksen runs the blog, Hosts “Tiny Yellow House” TV on youtube, teaches workshops for the Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, and is author of the tiny house, fort, cabin, treehouse, and cottage design book “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks” which you can check out by clicking HERE.

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Tiny House Space Saving Tips- USE THE SPACE BEHIND THAT DOOR!
March 24, 2012, 7:07 am
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Thje $40 shelving unit- without the electric blue trim (which I’ll get to at some point)

Made from extra plywood I had laying around, a few pine planks, and cheap batten strips this lil’ truck and toy display case I built (it took a grand total of about 90 minutes- $40 in materials) is one example of just how to utilize the wasted space behind the doors in one’s home- particularly helpful in small or tiny houses. The shelving here serves as both out of the way storage, and a low key display case of sorts. The shelving was measured to be just under the width of the door’s trim, so that the door can still fully swing open to this 10′ by 10′ shared bedroom. This is one of the space saving tips from my book “Humble Homes, Simple Shacks”.

This was built for an upcoming mini video “Tiny House Thrift”- for and blog. I’ll also toss it up on

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