Friday, April 3, 2015

What To Doo About Our Loo

The time has come to build our loo.  We have put it off because it wasn't really needed before.  We had been staying in the guest quarters with it's own bathroom right there.  But now that we are spending the night in Tiny when we work on her, it's time we need one.  Waking up in the middle of the night and having to trek up to the main house when you need to use the bathroom stinks!  Especially since it always seems to be me that has to go!  There's nothing funnier than watching someone in their pj's doing the pee-pee dance/walk across the yard in the moonlight!  So, I demanded the loo be made as soon as possible.  And, voila!  Hubby did not disappoint!

Originally, our plan was to buy a commercial toilet. But as we saw how small the room was going to be (less than 16 sq. ft)  we started looking at other options. Commercial composting toilets are pretty large to say the least. They usually sit higher and you almost need a stool to step up on whilst "doing the doo"!  Another thing we didn't like was the look of the toilets. They barely look like a toilet in a house and more like something from a space shuttle! The cost of them can be shocking also. I think the unit we were considering was around $900! So, we decided to build our own! 

We decided to go with a basic loo based off the "Loveable Loo" design.  We figured start easy and if it didn't work for us, we could go another route.  The concept behind the "Loveable Loo" is that everything goes into one bucket, instead of a separator for liquids and solids.  You put down a layer of media of sawdust, cedar chips, peat moss, or whatever you wish to use, do your business then cover with another layer of media and voila, you are done.  Being that what you use for media, your waste and toilet paper are all biodegradable, you can compost it to use as fertilizer or just compost it to put it back into the earth.  I know many in the tiny community use this same concept and report that it works well. 

The first thing the hubby did was draw up a plan.  We didn't want just some square box to house our loo.  We wanted something that looked nice too.  And since the area is kinda small, we thought a octagonal shape would work better.

We decided we wanted to stain our loo the same color we stained the sink shelf.  We used edge-glued shelf grade boards to make the loo.  It's the same wood we used to make the sink shelf.  We got all of our measurements and cut our boards to the proper length.

Once all the lengths were cut we had to rip the pieces on 22.5 degree angles so they would form the shape of the loo.

After all the cutting, we figured out which sides would be the bottom on the panels and marked them. Then, marked a line on the inside-bottom about 2" from the sides of all panels. This is for drilling a pocket hole so the base can be fastened to the bottom panel of the toilet.  We screwed the panels down to a scrap piece of plywood. And, using a framing square we made sure that the panels were going down true.

We cut an alignment guide out of a piece of scrap. This was so we could hold the panels together at the tops while drilling the pegs. We even drilled pocket holes in it to fasten it to the base. Once we had 2 panels together we drilled a 1/4" hole just on the edge in 2 places. This put the hole through one panel and into the adjoining panel about an inch deep.

After that we took the alignment jig off and ran masking tape on both sides of the glue joint to keep the wood clean. To apply the glue we took one of the panels off the plywood base. After applying the glue we replaced the panel and filled the holes with 1/4" dowels. With the joint was held firmly together we wiped the glue off, cut the dowels off, removed the tape, put the screws back in, and moved onto the next glue joint. We moved around the base and did one joint at a time being careful not to screw up the doweling direction.

 There she is, all glued together and ready for the base.

We set the bucket where it needed to be and marked around the bucket and the little center circle. With a Dremel tool and a 1/4" mill bit we cut the circles about 1/8" deep. This was to keep the bucket from moving around inside the box.

Fits perfectly!

We cut the base to the right dimensions and screwed it onto the box.

We bought some felt padded feet to go on the bottom.  They can be adjusted to make the loo level since our floor is river rock.  We got them marked in place and mounted.

We wanted the top to sit down inside the box a little to keep it from moving around.  We marked the dimensions then chiseled a lip out all the way around the loo.

We then marked the loo's hole in the top and cut it out. We also rounded the edges on top over a bit.

We mounted some flush hinges to the lid of the box.

W mounted the toilet seat.  We also made some L shaped metal brackets to act as a seat stop.  They keep the seat from falling back and banging into the wall.  

Voila!  Now we are ready for stain and varnish! 

We stained the loo the same green we used on the shelf under the sink. 

Looking good so far!

We added some decorative clasps on the sides to keep the lid closed.

 Hubby checking out the finished project.  He approves!  

Fits perfectly in the little space we had for the toilet.  Plenty of elbow room and all to do your business!  

So there you have it...our loo!  We are really happy with how it turned out.  We will be trying different medias to see which works best for stopping odors.  Our first will be to try the sawdust we have been collecting since it's free.  The local feed store sells shavings and such for stalls so we may go look at what they have.  I'll be sure to give a rundown on how the media works once we have been using it for a while.  :)


Alan Plummer said...

WOW! SOOO Fancy! Nice Job!!

You mentioned cedar shavings for "media" Someone who uses a bucket, sawdust toilet warned me about cedar. It takes a long to to biodegrade. They said pine, in fact fir is a good choice. Thought I'd pass that along.

Wow, that IS a fancy Loo!!!

I was planning to use at first a SunMar Toilet, then I moved to a Nature's Head, now I too am at the bucket option. I've tried it and it really is FINE!

I already have my bucket... "Blue for Poo"... :)

I hope you poop in peace for many years!

Anonymous said...

A few people we talked to said that peat moss sucks the odor up better than most medias. But, we have had pretty good luck with pine shavings from our planer. A bucket just seems so much cheaper than a commercial composter anyway!

Guy in the pictures.

Chrissy Stanley said...

Thanks Alan. We plan to try a few different types of media. The pine works pretty well. Might try adding a bit of peat moss with it, for that extra added protection on taco days!

Alan Plummer said...

LOL - just saw the taco days comment.

OK, so after checking out your kitchen cabinets again, ... I'm thinking I'll give it a try. Got any good websites I should go to if I've never made cabinets before?

Anonymous said...

Chrissy told me to respond to this one so here goes.............!! The best piece of equipment to buy for cabinet making is a Kreg Jig. It allows you to hide the screws used to bond the cabinet sections together. Their site has some great tutorial videos for cabinets and lots of other cool project ideas! Searching or wood working site probably won't have step buy step cabinet making tutorials but many will show you how to make cabinet type joinery. A edge router could possibly cut your build times down but it isn't necessary.

I will tell you that it takes a lot of planning and patience. The cabinet itself isn't very hard to build but the doors and hardware installation take a lot of time! The doors will most likely take up most of your time depending on what kind of tools are used. We didn't have a shop or a ton of special tools so the table saw is what we used for the majority of the cuts and joints.

Lastly, [] was very useful to us, as was pinterest. And, using tape to mask off glue joints will make sanding and staining door joints much easier. Also, check out the different types of door and drawer hardware because most houses use the cheapest hardware they can find but, there is soooooo much nicer and higher quality stuff on the market today!

Chrissy and I were talking and she made an interesting observation. She said that most of the people building tiny houses are trying to build unconventional houses with conventional building materials! The cabinets bought from Homedepot and Lowes are all a standard heighth and depth! By building your own you can determine how tall or deep you want them to be. Don't let big box stores determine your floor space and your style of interior for you!

Use your imagination!

Guy in all the pictures:-)

Alan Plummer said...

Got it Guy (in all the pictures...) LOL

Oh, you meant Ronnie commented HERE.. I FOUND it!

Thanks guy... or Ronnie, :) for the information. I'm not a big box shopper so not to worry about that with me!

I had planned for an acquaintance who does custom cabinetry for a living build my kitchen cabinets, and all at custom sizes. I hate having to bend over or get on hands and knees to get things in the back of the cupboards anyway so had planned on 18" deep on those. I really don't store much food and want to eat fresh unprocessed foods 100% of the time anyway.

Kreg jig, yes, I know exactly what that is but didn't know the name of it. I'll look into that for sure!

The web sites will be a big help I'm sure! Thanks again! I still have a ways to go before worrying about cabinets but I think I'll give em a try!

Drive on!