In mid-July we had a great trip over to the property that was really fun and really productive. My sister Emily flew into Phoenix with her two eldest offspring, my niece Molly and nephew Ethan. They got a car and drove up to the Quompound to camp with us and help with the next phase of Quonset hut construction. We were also joined for the second time by our friend Steven, who was a big help and lots of fun to have around as always. It was QuonsetPalooza 2.0 and a great time was had by all. Looking back at the pictures, it’s really cool to see how the place was transformed that week.

When we arrived on Saturday evening, the Workshop was just an open-ended arch shell, and the Headquarters building was a mere four arches sitting there on the slab. Arch panels were stacked around waiting to be installed. There were open trenches all around the buildings for water, power, and sewer lines, along with corresponding piles of dirt. Just walking around the buildings was quite difficult.

One of the first orders of business, once we arrived from L.A. and before the family crowd descended, was to finally install our toilet! Since the waste pipe had been connected to the septic tank the previous trip out, everything was ready and it was flushable as soon as it was installed.

We built a privacy enclosure of 2×4’s with canvas “walls” around it which was awkward at times, comical at times, and worked fine for the time we needed it. Fortunately, no big gusts of wind came up at just the wrong moment that week. This photo shows the canvas bathroom “walls” surrounded by ladders and scaffolding:

Monday, the excavation crew arrived and closed up all the trenches. Working with Kevin Perkins and his team at JMZ Excavating has been a real pleasure; we can’t recommend them highly enough!

Monday afternoon the Fam showed up. The rest of the day was spent with hugs, greetings, a tour of the property, setting up more of our camp area, getting them settled in, and dinner in Williams.

Tuesday morning we were rocking and rolling with the Quonsets! First, we stood a window box on a wooden stand to approximate its position on the curved wall. We were trying to understand more precisely where the side window openings were going to be. (For a more in-depth discussion of the side window assemblies, check out my YouTube video on the topic.)

The SteelMaster construction guide booklet says to put the whole building together, then remove the affected panels and cut them as needed to create the side openings. We put together the first four arches with this approach in mind, but then decided to just cut the panels as we went to create the openings for the rest of the building. In the photo above, the 3rd and 4th arches from the left will have to be removed for cutting.

As it turned out, the cut-as-you-go method worked well for us: taking the panels out later to cut them was a pretty big hassle compared to cutting as we went. Putting it together with holes in the sides was a bit of a 3D jigsaw puzzle though, as you’ll see in the photos on below. It was a little scary to diverge from the manufacturer’s recommendations but we didn’t encounter any real problems doing it this way. As with all things Quonset, your mileage may vary.

I’ll let the pictures tell the story:

By Wednesday afternoon we had all the arches assembled for the second building! Time for a group photo:

Then we divided up into two teams. One group worked on the end wall of the Workshop and the other worked on disassembling and cutting the remaining two windows in the shell of the Headquarters building.

I would by lying if I said it wasn’t fun to pose for pictures while up on top of the building!

Friday morning Emily and Ethan left for the airport, to fly back to Chicago. Molly got to hang back to return to L.A. with Eric and me. She flew back to Chicago from LAX a few days after we returned. Here, she and Eric work on the front wall of the Workshop.

Then, on our last day, I hurt my back. It was bad. As I was gathering our garbage to run it to the town dump, I picked up a big black trash bag that wasn’t even particularly heavy, and my back just strained and gave out. It was agonizing. My back had been sore for a few days from the exertion it had been under, and I should have paid more attention to it.  It was so bad that a week later it was still very sore and we decided to postpone our next trip out. At this point, we’re back on the schedule to return next week and hopefully get at least one side window box installed.

Even with the injury though, it was a great week. Looking back at how it looked when we arrived versus when we left, it’s pretty amazing! And exciting!

Curious about Quonsets? Ready to learn more about these bizarre, amazing, shiny, round, prefab structures? Drop your info below and I’ll start you off on my email tutorial series. Looking to build an inexpensive but beautiful home debt-free? Considering going off-grid? Or are you just tired of the same old same old and want something unique and beautiful? A Quonset House might be the answer for you.

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