We are starting a series of blog posts that will answer questions received from our members and supporters. We hope you enjoy the readings and thanks for your support!
– Brad Kittel and the Tiny Texas Houses Team
Question for this post to address: I know everyone learns differently but on average how long does it usually take to teach someone what you do? We’re in Canada but would love to come down at some point.
Beginning of Long Answer:
It depends on what element of the process you want to learn. Each part is going to have a learning curve and some will be easier if you have some pre-existing skills and ability to absorb new information quickly and retain it.
Salvage Mining should take a couple house “takedowns” to learn the planning and sequencing, safety issues, tools, sorting, packing, pricing, and qualifying what is worth saving and what is not. The safety issues are always the first concern and the consequences of neglecting the details can cost people their lives so you can not ignore the basics. The rewards from Salvage Mining can be greater than the Salvage Building for the amount of effort and time it takes to make the first money back for your work. After a few tear down and salvage jobs you will have the inventory to move up to the next level and build a portable Tiny Organic House. It is critical that you build it right so as to be able to pass it along to others for as long as possible because there will not likely be more of the same material to build from by the time these houses will need to be replaced. By then this will be 200-300 years from the time it was cut as trees that were up to 500 years old then.
The hardware in the form of hinges, door knobs, window locks, and every kind of metal or glass is worth something. Don’t believe it? Go buy it or better yet, try to make 0ne Piece of antique hardware. Mine the ore, smelt it to iron or steel, form it in molds that you have to make by hand, heat all with coal, and then polish and fine tune it all. This is not including the patinas, the different metals that had to be melted together to make the brass or sand and minerals for color in glass. You can have it all for just picking it up or pulling it out of a house. Amazing the amount of energy saved, life’s work respected, and the lack of need for an import to be made overseas by some poorly paid person in bad conditions and shipped to us in a plastic wrapper across 3,000 miles of water and land. Whew, it might save a little of that valuable energy the government wants to tax us for to save the atmosphere from all the pollution that the new products, packaging, and transportation of them generate.
The Salvage Building part is the same, perhaps one big house and a small house is enough to learn how-to-build techniques if you already have some background with basic tools, measuring, cutting, and such primary skills of construction so as to not cut off your hand or fingers if not trained at the use of power tools too. I hope that, given the pictures and videos one would take away from the adventure there will always be memory aides. They are designed to be available to fall back on and teach yourself or others if you have not done a part of the process for a while.
Wiring, plumbing, and structural elements are all easy, but depend on how serious you are about learning. I work 100 plus hours a week and feel like anyone who wants to devote their life to a cause of any sort will easily give 60 hours a week or more to it while they are hot to learn on a short fuse. Once you get home and start to build for yourself or work for yourself, all holds are off and you will kick up to 80 hours a week as you become impassioned with being able to fulfill your dreams and manifest what would have been miracles before just by getting others to help you save what would have been trash.
You can get out of anything what you put into it during your time committed to learning it. Homework at night to learn terminology, or work on the side to get the handle on redoing windows, or doors, on your own in the evening with direction so as to have one under your belt is up to you while you are here, and perhaps even earn some barter credits for buying some things you want with extra work projects that sell in the market.
Some would call it work and others opportunity to learn how to do, then repeat doing enough to gain a minimum hands on proficiency so as to show others later and grow your help to make the change happen when you get back home. Learn how to turn scraps into doghouses, bat-houses, birdhouses, or other sorts of instantly sellable creative and functional art that will set you free just off from learning how to salvage free houses, barns, buildings, and anything anyone will give you.
The world of Salvage wholesale and Retail is another grand time consumer if you are to not only learn the terminology but also the value on both the wholesale and retail level. Most people do not understand that more millionaires are made from trash, salvage, auto parts, and metal salvage yards than any other occupation in America. The Salvagefaire concept is one that can be put down anywhere in the country and the Pure Salvage Outposts where old Walmarts and empty industry buildings not in use could be taken through eminent domain since they have been written off the tax rolls on the backs of the locals anyway. Why not let them be warehouses for the treasures of the country that need not be thrown into the landfills we sorely need to quite building. Reducing the 51% of them that is comprised of building materials certainly can not hurt anything, especially our planet. This leads into the whole issue of knowing the language of salvage and architectural antiques.
If you want to learn the Salvage Warehousing part of it then there is also the huge vocabulary one needs to gain a grasp of so that we can all talk the same language of Salvage. Shiplap, clapboard, t-117, novelty siding, German siding, cove, crown, T-105, T-107, and many other words that describe the cut of a board that has been milled to be siding or a molding.
This part includes learning how to stack safely, making bundles that will not roll, break apart when fork lifted, and will allow you to climb on them without pulling them over. Certain methods will save time but also teach you not to pay too much for the Pile Syndrome where it costs you every time you handle material and the manpower to move it unnecessarily is costly. So much to learn but again, if you have a back ground with warehouses and forklifts, paperwork for orders, incoming inventory, outgoing sales, etc, then it will be much easier and take less time. Important and dangerous if it is not attended to correctly.
Hopefully you gather friends with varied talents and backgrounds, equipment and tools such that it is easier than one guy doing it alone like I did and trying to figure out how to pay for everyone to participate and learn only to see them leave and do it on their own as soon as they saw it could be lucrative. There does not seem to be any loyalty or payback for the good deeds one receives anymore and the pay forward seems to last until someone offers more pay or they can go into making knock offs or start their own businesses. I want to see people move up and do just that, but I can no longer afford to teach everyone how to do it for free.
Salvage Appraisal and Salvage Brokering are more a cross over occupation for those with some experience with some areas of this already but it is also learnable. That means being out in the field identifying all of trillions of dollars in salvage waiting to be harvested and then marketing it for the owner or for yourself if you have chosen to create a portfolio of building materials that can be bought for five cents on the dollar right now.
Let me see, that leaves the Financing and the orchestration of setting up Pure Salvage Outposts by doing Salvage Mining Seminars to get the inventory to then do the Salvage Building Seminars around the country that it will take to crank up thousands of locations where people can take in and barter what they have for doors, windows, flooring, and the people to do the work to create these houses for much less cost, and much more benefit to the country than they materials will be in the dump. This is the chance for local governments to attract people by changing the paradigm and making it advantageous to live in a Tiny Town again where they are not expanding utilities, roads, and consumption all the way by bringing in big box stores and toxifying the homes and neighborhoods we love.
These are each going to take more time than the basic levels but are also full of rewards for those who do not want to get dirty or sweaty, not bang on things, but sell or buy cool junk, buildings, houses. Etc. Then pulling the Salvage Miners, Salvage Buyers, and Brokers into play for you to sell you salvage rights through the Salvage Clearinghouse and the Pure Salvage Network which will give you a national outlet for local finds anywhere in the country so you know it is sold before you take it down to put it on the truck and ship it direct instead of wasting money, labor, and building costs to warehouse it if you do not need to. This will develop into a specialty as we see people who focus on beams, barn wood, stained glass and more spring up all over the country who will be willing to barter and exchange through our networks.
The Financing for the Territories, the villages, and the houses will be a critical part of this whole ideology until it get enough momentum to support itself through the investment of its members into this form of savings instead of the fiat dollars that could disappear in a weekend. We will see how this part plays out because we have to depend on people with the money growing a spiritual eye for this opportunity to contribute some of their gifts to the betterment of our Planet and Mankind. Should that be hard to imagine? I still have to as such people have yet to appear at TTH and they are always invited with open arms.
So there you have a broad spectrum of answers for different aspects of this without even covering all of them, the depth of which you could go into each, or the possibilities for anything you want to come out of it is you are willing to do the work and believe in your self. Is so, I hope you will become part of the Pure Salvage Living Renaissance.