I borrowed a chop saw from friend. This is a key tool for this phase. Beg, borrow or buy one! I guess I don’t have any photos of this phase, but I cut all the 2×4’s to length and then built the walls one by one. A cordless drill is another key tool for this phase. I chose the Milwaukee 3/8-Inch Drill… based on some online reviews. I was very happy with my choice. I spent a lot of time with it. Although I got a bit bruisy on my thumb knuckle from trying to control the torque, my hands and arms didn’t get tired – it was light-weight, well-balanced, and had plenty of torque and battery life to be up to the job.

Another big choice/debate online with respect to coop building is ‘screws or nails.’ It doesn’t have the same fervor as the pressure-treated wood discussion, but there are pros and cons to each option. Nails are definitely cheaper, and if you’re already skilled at toe-nailing, then that may be the route for you. I knew I’d spend waaaayyy too much time correcting mis-hits and trying to straighten bent nails.

Those who favor screws talk about how it’s much easier to correct mistakes as one major benefit. Mistakes? I’m not gonna make a mistake. I know, Measure twice, cut once… Turned out to be a major benefit for me. My ‘mistake’ was at the design level. I thought that the front wall should be a foot taller than the rear, but since I framed the coop (against convention – more about this later) with the 2×4’s on edge, the front was way too tall. It was very easy to disassemble the wall, trim the studs and reassemble it.

Another key tool was the framing square or speed square. Never had one before this project, and now I’m not sure how I functioned without one. I used it for marking cuts and checking alignment, and as a brace as I was screwing boards together

Urban Coop FramedOnce the walls were built, which I did with them flat on the patio, I moved them down to the garden level and had a coop-raising. Since it was a small project and I’m not in Amish country, this was a solitary event. It was remarkably easy – a couple of clamps held 2 walls together as I checked for plumb and square. I drove the screws and that was that. Some folks may prefer having a full blueprint or detailed plans in advance, but I was content to measure, cut and frame the rest of it based on a mental image. I framed the interior wall and the coop deck in place.

Next: Roofing and Siding

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