Building my Cabin Retreat

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Building my Cabin Retreat

Post by Watch Ryder » Wed May 18, 2016 8:40 pm

Well I've just returned to my land in the lush green mountains of the Pacific Northwest! It's been a while but I have all summer to try and complete a small cabin construction, make it semi-self-sufficient then in later days strive for 100% (or close to it).

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The design is a simple pole-cabin with a single pitched roof. Later I will build a double pitched cabin that is larger and more spacious inside.

In the previous year I had only just had time to put the roof up before the winter weather descended, this time I have more time. I also have the funds on me to make the main payment and have land I can call my own. :)

The first thing to do was unload my trailer and set up my tent. That way I could empty it and move it outside. Where it was parked I will make a temporary kitchen while I work on building the floor for the living quarters.

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I noticed that although the cabin shell was sheltered from the elements some moisture had caused mold on the pine logs, especially this one:

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However the tamarack and fir logs were much less affected.

After that I made some measurements and headed off to the nearest city to get the joists, I had the guy at Home Depot make the cuts and was happy once I got back and mounted the joists...

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Re: Building my Cabin Retreat

Post by modustollens » Wed May 18, 2016 9:43 pm

Sounds like a dream to have a piece of land for a simple place. Is it fairly isolated or do you have neighbours?

A reliable water supply would be key; I assume you have a plan for that?

When the housewarming party happens will you have an ice box to keep my ale cold?

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Re: Building my Cabin Retreat

Post by ineffableone » Wed May 18, 2016 10:51 pm

Sucks the mold on the logs. Hopefully you can nip that before it become a big problem.

I look forward to seeing your progress as I will be doing a lot of the same here soon if my bid on property in Eastern WA goes through. Though I actually plan to move over and live there as soon as I can get a travel trailer to set up on it. But I will be doing a lot of work clearing and building and getting ready for winter.
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Re: Building my Cabin Retreat

Post by Watch Ryder » Wed May 18, 2016 10:54 pm

modustollens wrote:Sounds like a dream to have a piece of land for a simple place. Is it fairly isolated or do you have neighbours?

A reliable water supply would be key; I assume you have a plan for that?

When the housewarming party happens will you have an ice box to keep my ale cold?

MT
Fairly isolated, got a well for water too. :)

I have an icebox, no fridge yet though...

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Re: Building my Cabin Retreat

Post by Watch Ryder » Wed May 18, 2016 11:01 pm

ineffableone wrote:Sucks the mold on the logs. Hopefully you can nip that before it become a big problem.

I look forward to seeing your progress as I will be doing a lot of the same here soon if my bid on property in Eastern WA goes through. Though I actually plan to move over and live there as soon as I can get a travel trailer to set up on it. But I will be doing a lot of work clearing and building and getting ready for winter.
I am spraying the logs with white vinegar, I'm told that will remove the mold without bleach effects...

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Re: Building my Cabin Retreat

Post by Watch Ryder » Wed May 18, 2016 11:10 pm

The first set of double joists were challenging, not only was I having to drill through three tamarack logs (or larch logs as they are also known), but the posts were not aligned. This is due to the differences in hole configuration, log thickness etc.

I made a notch on the center post which took about an hour or so. The it was a case of making the other side the same so that both joists were the same height. I used a combination square and carpenters level for this which I got between the bubble.

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What happened was the joists had to either be 'pushed' in to fit or 'pulled' out etc. In one instance I had to use blocking to bridge a gap. Had I not done so the joist could well have snapped as a result of being over bent. Here's how I did it.

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Re: Building my Cabin Retreat

Post by Watch Ryder » Thu May 19, 2016 10:48 am

All three sets of Primary Joists have to be as level as possible. When people have houses built this is easy with concrete piers that are built up, its just a case of plonking the big joists onto them, tieing them into posts is a bit more challenging, the level has to be made 95-100% accurate either way though:

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Using the joist hangers helped in hanging the lattice joists (or secondary joists as I called them). But getting them the right height, when working solo was a bit tricky:

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When I went to the Home Depot place I had the guy cut them to my measurements. However, despite me telling him to cut to xx inches and fractions AFTER the cut (so the blade kerf was not taking any off) he seemed to measure it to the blade alas. This meant that for nearly all the joists I had to use shims and wedges to fill out the gap. It wasn't a big issue though, just added a bit of time.

The first secondary joist is hung! Only seven more on this section, with another section of double-joists to set up as well.

When tapping in wooden wedges a broad wooden mallet is handy, this one in particular is from post-WW2 era and belonged to my grandfather AFAIK!

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Meanwhile, at my other logs that I set out last year to dry, I have some unwelcome visitors:

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They look like carpenter ants. I watch them scurry about carefully, to my relief it seems they are living in the rotten logs I set in the ground to keep the nicer logs off it, nevertheless they seem to treat the big logs as ant highways.
I swoosh them a few times with my white vinegar spray to send them a message to keep on scurrying and not halt for any nibbling. ;)

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Re: Building my Cabin Retreat

Post by Watch Ryder » Thu May 19, 2016 10:55 am

The joists are going in quite rapidly, before long I'll have a floor, or at least half of the cabin living quarters ready for insulation and boards on top:

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I make sure to rough in the plumbing for my grey water system. It will go from the living quarters ground (shallow trench) to a deep trench about 6 feet from the garage area. I'll line it will gravel and sawdust / bark for breaking down the liquid etc.

On that note a 33 gallon RV water tank has been delivered, but no sign of my water pump, that must be on the slow boat from China it seems...

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Grey-water channel:

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Toeing in the secondary joists. Ideally I should go in from the side but the double-joist setup makes that too tricky alas. Nevertheless with shims and long screws the joist is going nowhere. I also have braced the middle double-joists with logs and rocks like the old-timers did too.

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Re: Building my Cabin Retreat

Post by doitnstyle1 » Thu May 19, 2016 10:56 am

Awesome to see this. I would love to see your progress. Can I recommend Rustoleum Copper sheild wood preservative. It does unfortunately stain the wood a little green but it does great at keeping the mold that causes dry rot plus other nasties from forming. I use it on fence posts before they go into the ground. It makes them last about 10 years as opposed to two. I personally think it is worth the color change to protect an investment like that.

I would even coat the floor joists with it to prevent any dry rot.
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Re: Building my Cabin Retreat

Post by Watch Ryder » Thu May 19, 2016 10:57 am

This morning at 0200 hrs the heavens opened and I was a wet Ryder in my tent. In my busy haste I had not set up my over-tarp and the relentless torrent of rain made its way through the roof to drip drip drip onto my head and pillow. I was so curled up in multiple sleeping bags and blankets, liners etc I could not be bothered to set it up and pulled the heavy sleeping back over my head so I wasn't getting dinked by the drips.

I waited out the big deluge to pass the mountain by. It did after about 2 1/2 hours and I decided to make an early morning of it. Now I need to get more materials!

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Re: Building my Cabin Retreat

Post by Watch Ryder » Thu May 19, 2016 10:59 am

doitnstyle1 wrote:Awesome to see this. I would love to see your progress. Can I recommend Rustoleum Copper sheild wood preservative. It does unfortunately stain the wood a little green but it does great at keeping the mold that causes dry rot plus other nasties from forming. I use it on fence posts before they go into the ground. It makes them last about 10 years as opposed to two. I personally think it is worth the color change to protect an investment like that.

I would even coat the floor joists with it to prevent any dry rot.
Thanks for the advice Doit.

I am coating the logs and joists with linseed oil. The logs I did last year mostly shrugged off the mold but the pine logs were a bit affected, despite the linseed oil, as were my bigger cabin logs (currently laying out drying).

I'll give it a look.

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Re: Building my Cabin Retreat

Post by Watch Ryder » Thu May 19, 2016 11:17 am

In other news, two of my resident Ravens - Huggin and Munin took on an Osprey and lived to tell the tale:

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The Osprey tried what looks to be a mid-air roll snatch move (flying upside down briefly with claws up), I've known this maneuver to snatch a crow on the wing and kill it. Thankfully the two Ravens were smart enough to avoid the defensive posting.

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The Osprey flew off, to no doubt look elsewhere...

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Re: Building my Cabin Retreat

Post by Watch Ryder » Sat May 21, 2016 11:27 am

The rainfall is helping keep the threat of future forest fires down. For now the priority is the floor, then the wall.

I got the last primary set of double-joists installed, along with a single-line of joist hangers.
Also made a massive a purchase of building materials for the floor. insulation, membrane, 6 x 4/8 pine plywood sheets 23/32 thick.
A massive pair of siding boards 14 feet long really extended the length of my truck on the way back from the city.

More on that later...

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