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Thread: outhouse

  1. #1
    Member Magnum Man's Avatar
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    Talking outhouse

    How do you build an outhouse? How big a hole do you need? Does it ned to be vented to the atmosphere? Will the hole provide indefinate service? lol thanks for info

  2. #2
    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Thumbs up The Bigger the better

    On both size of the outhouse and the hole. I built my outhouse 4' wide 8' deep. On piece of ply worked great for the floor and it is easy to lay out and frame. 10' tall in the front 8' foot i the back and just a simple shed roof for the snow to slide off in the winter. I put a very large hole in the ground but it was also easy digging. I find with the bigger house you can remove waders, snowmachine gear, etc etc with out losing things down it. Placed a few hooks to hang things as you remove them to be safe. I dug down about 6 feet and it is around 3 feet round at top and about 2 at the bottom. My wife bought some stuff you put in the septic and it helps the stuff decompose so i have not had any issues. Id love to see what others have to say on this issue
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

  3. #3
    Member akhunter3's Avatar
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    Default venting...to the atmosphere

    Quote Originally Posted by Magnum Man View Post
    How do you build an outhouse? How big a hole do you need? Does it ned to be vented to the atmosphere? Will the hole provide indefinate service? lol thanks for info


    Depending on what you eat, you probably don't even want to think about using it if you don't have it vented to atmosphere. Personally if I am eating chinese and it ain't vented...I better go use the neighbors. lol






    Done with the maturity moment


    Jon

  4. #4
    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    Default Your choice

    You can vent it pretty easy, if you want to.
    I dug mine with a backhoe. I buried two 55 gallon drums that I tacked together end to end. The framed box that the seat is on can be drilled off to the side for a 2" pipe to run up thru the roof. With the seat lid down, it will be fresher in there.
    Then, most importantly, consider the view from the throne.
    Live life and love it
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    Default

    A little humor on the subject. My buddy put one over an old air vent to a closed up mine. Its 1200 feet deep and almost 4 feet across. If I remember right he dosent have it vented. It should last a lot longer than several out-houses.

    Gun Runner

  6. #6
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    Default outhouse

    I like outhouses, at least good ones that don't stink.

    The proper way to keep them from stinking is to NEVER pee in them. It is the mixing of urine with the feces that causes all the stink.

    My wife and I have used our "privy" for almost 20 years, with no odors, because we pee elsewhere.

    I'll try to post a picture of my outhouse tomorrow. There are 2 squares of shakes on the roof... bevel cedar siding... cribbed 4 x 4 x 8 foot deep hole... all-weather wood 4x6's for a foundation... etc. It's fun to make a nice small building of one. And utility, too.

  7. #7
    Member grcg's Avatar
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    Default Imho

    We have had several and made a few over the years.

    My favorites have not had a door, but have a "screen" by extending a partial wall around the front. Kind of like the attached sketch. We left a gap at the bottom of the screen wall that filled up with grasses and flowers in the summer. That was really pretty. We made the screen wall tall enough to give you privacy but still see the trees and view above it. Plus, the open air gives you lots of ventilation! I don't imagine that you would want this design in a windy place.

    I know folks that have worked to dig down to bedrock, and then periodically, much of the contents of the hole were washed away, so then it didn't have to be re-dug too often.

    I know folks that let them dry out a bit, and then burn the contents. That does leave a nice charcoal afterward that masks odors. But you gotta be dedicated to burning most of it. And it takes awhile, and it can take an accelerant. (Be careful - you pyros out there!)

    I know folks that will not put toilet paper in the hole with the idea that the hole won't fill up as fast - they burn the toilet paper in a metal bucket instead. I don't like this method much myself...but to each their own.

    I know folks that toss a cup full of lime or wood ash in the hole one a week or so. To me, that does seem to help with any smell. But in my experience, if you take care of your outhouse, you don't have to use it too much. If you dump your sink bucket in there, you may have to use it more. If you can help it - don't dump your sink bucket in there.

    A blue foam or removable/washable fuzzy seat cover will be a great asset in the winter. (no pun intended)

    Give some thought to how you design the roof and any vents or lights. The way they did the roof and light on the outhouse of the cabin we just bought, it allows for water to drip on the seat and freeze. Little ice stalagmites are not fun to try to chip off or sit on.

    Give some thought to making the base of the outhouse secure and completely touching the ground. It is common for porcupines, bears, etc.... to chew through an outhouse to get at the hole. (what are they thinking?!?!?!) The only instances of this that I have personally seen, they have not made sure that the outhouse structure touches or goes into the ground all the way around. So I am imagining that the critters get a whiff at ground level and go investigating. Yuck.

    Don't scimp on the size of the hole. If possible, dig the hole before making the outhouse. Then if there are any weirdnesses, you can compensate in the design of the outhouse. Be careful when digging the hole - even holes that you percive as shallow can cave in on you.

    Don't scimp on the floor or the seat - you don't want to be busting thorugh those.

    A well maintained outhouse is a pleasure to use - I'd take one over most gas station bathrooms any day!!

  8. #8
    Member grcg's Avatar
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    Default Imho

    We have had several and made a few over the years.

    My favorites have not had a door, but have a "screen" by extending a partial wall around the front. Kind of like the attached sketch. We left a gap at the bottom of the screen wall that filled up with grasses and flowers in the summer. That was really pretty. We made the screen wall tall enough to give you privacy but still see the trees and view above it. Plus, the open air gives you lots of ventilation! I don't imagine that you would want this design in a windy place.

    I know folks that have worked to dig down to bedrock, and then periodically, much of the contents of the hole were washed away, so then it didn't have to be re-dug too often.

    I know folks that let them dry out a bit, and then burn the contents. That does leave a nice charcoal afterward that masks odors. But you gotta be dedicated to burning most of it. And it takes awhile, and it can take an accelerant. (Be careful - you pyros out there!)

    I know folks that will not put toilet paper in the hole with the idea that the hole won't fill up as fast - they burn the toilet paper in a metal bucket instead. I don't like this method much myself...but to each their own.

    I know folks that toss a cup full of lime or wood ash in the hole one a week or so. To me, that does seem to help with any smell. But in my experience, if you take care of your outhouse, you don't have to use it too much. If you dump your sink bucket in there, you may have to use it more. If you can help it - don't dump your sink bucket in there.

    A blue foam or removable/washable fuzzy seat cover will be a great asset in the winter. (no pun intended)

    Give some thought to how you design the roof and any vents or lights. The way they did the roof and light on the outhouse of the cabin we just bought, it allows for water to drip on the seat and freeze. Little ice stalagmites are not fun to try to chip off or sit on.

    Give some thought to making the base of the outhouse secure and completely touching the ground. It is common for porcupines, bears, etc.... to chew through an outhouse to get at the hole. (what are they thinking?!?!?!) The only instances of this that I have personally seen, they have not made sure that the outhouse structure touches or goes into the ground all the way around. So I am imagining that the critters get a whiff at ground level and go investigating. Yuck.

    Don't scimp on the size of the hole. If possible, dig the hole before making the outhouse. Then if there are any weirdnesses, you can compensate in the design of the outhouse. Be careful when digging the hole - even holes that you percive as shallow can cave in on you.

    Don't scimp on the floor or the seat - you don't want to be busting thorugh those.

    A well maintained outhouse is a pleasure to use - I'd take one over most gas station bathrooms any day!!
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  9. #9
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    Default

    I have had made a few outhouses in my time Grew up on a homested and that was my job well one of them we also had a honey bucket in the house. Any way this last out house had to be the worst in fact im not done. I dug it by hand what a job 15 inches of peat moss, not bad 10 inches of gravel not bad but then i hit hard clay. i got down to about 3 more ft and had to take a break. Was a sunny day so i went up on the deck had one beer. Came back to the hole i dug and it was full of water.
    I gave up for that trip. Next week im back have a pump. pumped out the hole and dug out another 2and a half feet cant get thru the clay. Had another beer on the deck came back almost full of water. the water is coming thrue the gravel. i cut the lid and botom off a 55 gallon drum
    and cut small holes all around. I pumped and dug for two more days.
    finaly i got this drum in its 3and a half feet to the drum I couldnt get true the clay. I built a cribb around the drum so theres just water in the drum.
    Then i dug a 3and a half foot ditch about 30 ft long and put in sewar pipe
    lucky it was down hill like a leach feild. It drains the water from the cribb..
    thats as far as i got this year it works great but what a job. the view is great.... There is water runing thru the gravel on the hole side of the lake i found out everone had this problem.
    I am going to dig a well the same way theres water goiig thrue it all winter long if you cover it It was 20 below i had a piece of plywood over the hole and 5 feet of snow on top of that i undug it and there was running water in the hole.. This summer i will finish it it will last a life time Cuz im not digging another, there anyway..
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    Default

    Not familiar with the Alaskan methods here, but I grew up in the Arkansas hills.

    My great-grandparents had an outhouse all their lives. They always kept a bucket of ashes from their stove inside it with a small shovel. Everytime they finished their business, they dumped some ashes down the hole, and it took care of the odor. Once or twice a year, the contents were shoveled out and used for fertilizer.

  11. #11
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Outhouse hints

    One strong hint.

    If it is -30 degrees and you accidentally drop a little deposit on the seat; don't try to wipe it off. The resulting air temperture and temperature of the seat will adhere the for-mentioned deposit as a permanently streak to the seat. ;(

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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  12. #12
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    Angry Outhouses

    I remember visiting a friend in maine.I went to use his outhouse and it was a two holer.There was no hole.Just a pile in the bottom.As I was leaving, I happened to spot 30 yds away a huge pile of. stuff.Seems he uses it till it fills, and moves it.What a system. lol

  13. #13
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    Default outhouse

    Inside dimensions 4'x6'. Roomy is good!
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  14. #14
    Moderator Daveinthebush's Avatar
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    Default Lumber

    If I was using dimensional lumber I would build it 4' x 8'. Use the extra room as some storage for something. It saves on building materials, cutting and other benifits.

    Vietnam - June 70 - Feb. 72
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    Default outhouse iron

    I always have a beater Mauser leaning in the corner of my outhouse .

  16. #16

    Default venting an outhouse??

    we've got 2 x 55 gallon drums tacked end to end buried right now with 20-30" out of the ground

    would you use that as a "riser so it's flush with the bottom of the "box" the seat is mounted on?

    then vent the drums with an elbow and pipe??

    or bury the drums deeper and just run a couple of vent pipes through the "box"?

    I don't think we need to worry about filling up the thing even dug as it is now

    We're talking a few years use maybe 20-30 days a year by 2 people

    gonna be a big big upgrade from the ole lined 5 gallon bucket that's for certain!!!

  17. #17
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    Wink What I've learned...

    I use to have a porta-potty here in the cabin, and dumped it in a hole.After a while, the earth pores got plugged wit the TP, and it wouldn't drain.It actually held water like a bucket for over a year.If a guy can keep tp out of the privy, he has a better chance for decomposition with a little wood ash or lime.GR

  18. #18
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    I dug down as far as I could until I hit gravel at 6 ft. The dimension of my outhouse is 4’x4’. I used 8’ plywood for the sides. 7’ in the back and 8’ in the front. Metal roofing helped the snow slide. One Year I measured 5’ of standing snow on top. I screwed the whole thing together by using 2x2’s in the corners for “frame”. After digging the hole, I used two 8”x8” pressure treated lumber for the outhouse to sit on. I was afraid that the dirt might give away after awhile. Then I vented. I’ve been using blueboard for the seat in the winter for many years now. That stuff works great in the winter. On the sides I cut out some windows for light and stapled wire mesh to keep the bugs and critters out. Fun little project.

  19. #19
    Member Rock_skipper's Avatar
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    I remember when I was a kid we built a two-holer out of 4" 3 sided logs. In the winter when one side was filling up we changed over to the other side. That things still standing and being used, we did vent it. You could probably go down to Home Depot or Lowe's and get those garden logs and do the same thing. Just a thought

  20. #20
    Member Michael's Avatar
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    Here is our "room with a view". I built it while my wife dug the hole for a 50 gallon drum. It's based on some CCC plans I found on line. The only real change I made was to angle the front of the seat box back at the bottom to give you a little 'heel' room while sitting. I lined the inside of the box with aluminum newspaper plates I got from the Anchorage Daily News(finally a good use for them). It really helps in keeping the odor down. I also installed a 4" vent that is flush with the bottom of the seat board. We use lime and wood ash as well. We've been using it for about 10 years.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...thouseedit.jpg

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v4...houseFront.jpg

    All the wood is off our woodmizer. The framing and sheathing is Spruce and the shingles are Cottonwood. Very impressed with the cottonwood.

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