Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Closing up for winter

I spent 3 days before Christmas, finishing the east gable end and taping the exterior seams. The goal was to get the house as weather tight as possible before the snow comes. This may be my last trip up until the spring.

Here is the interior of the east gable end. There will eventually be a window in the middle.

Here is the exterior view. I still need to cut a triangular piece at the peak, but that will probably wait until spring

I taped the joints on two sides and all 4 corners.

I added some sheathing on top of the rear wall to keep the snow out.

Here is an interior view looking toward the kitchen on the left and bathroom on the right.

Here is a view in the other direction of the living area.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sheathing walls

I drove up last weekend to put up more sheathing.

My excavator had brought in rock to form the base of my driveway. This will form a solid base so I can have access in mud season. Next year, after everything has settled, he will put down a layer of "ledge pack" as a finished surface.

He placed the black geotech fabric underneath the rocks, to hold them in place and keep them from working their way into the soil.

I finished putting the sheathing on the front. The 2 boards temporarily hold the plywood in place, while I nail them in.

I started framing one of the gable ends. I'm doing a test fit here; the clamp is temporarily holding the plywood in place. There will be a window in the center of the gable end.

Here is the view from the outside. The 2x4 provides a ledge to rest the plywood on to move it into position. Those sections of plywood are heavy when moving them by yourself !

Next time I hope to finish this gable end and do the other end.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A roof !

I got lucky and found a local, old time carpenter last weekend, who framed and sheathed my roof in 3 days. Jack did the work, and I was his helper ! This is what we started with before framing the roof.

Jack taught me how to use a spring board to straighten the wall.

Jack likes to take measurements in place. After we raised the first section of ridge board, I held a rafter in place, while Jack marked the location of the ridge board and top plate, on the rafter. He cut the rafter, we tested it in place and it became our master template. Luckily Jack brought his nail gun, compressor and generator, so nailing went a lot faster than with my framing hammer!
This is where we stopped at the end of the first day. The roof is a 12/12 pitch; the rafters are 2x8s.

We ran out of materials on Sunday. We needed another 7 rafters and more sheathing. We were able to get one row of roof sheathing on back of roof.

Monday morning we made a run to the lumber yard. By the end of the day, we had the entire roof framed, sheathed, and taped. Thank you Jack !

Here is the view inside the lofts. The view is misleading because I added some temporary loft joists in the middle of the house, in order to stand on when we framed the roof. Those joists will eventually be removed, leaving the middle open to the rafters.
My next step is to add some collar ties, in case we get some early snow. We actually had a 20 minute snow squall on Saturday!
The step ladder in the picture, belonged to my grandfather !

As you can see, my excavator likes working with rocks. He also made me some stone steps.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Installing loft joists

I drove up and worked for two and a half days on the house this past weekend. The weather was great.

I was excited when I arrive because the grass I planted last time, had started to grow.

I framed and squared up the final 8 foot section of wall along the back of the house.

installing joists for main loft

Here is the view looking down from main loft; I guess 8 feet is pretty high up!

This is where I finished up on Sunday afternoon. The small loft over kitchen is to the right; the larger loft over bedroom is to the left; The final 8 foot wall section is to the right.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Working building walls

I spent 5 days last week working on the cabin. I ended up getting 4 sections of wall built and stood up.

My new knee pads came in handy when marking the position of wall studs !

Most of my 10 foot wall studs are 10' 1", so I have had to trim them to the correct length.

I bought a new 8 foot fiberglass step ladder last week. It is nice and solid. I didn't feel secure putting nails in the top plates with my old rickety 6 foot wooden ladder.

This is the view of the driveway and parking area, from the future kitchen window.

I got the east wall up on Saturday. This area will be for the kitchen and bathroom.

When I finished on Saturday, I had one more 8 foot section of wall to build on the back side of the house.

I also planted some grass seed over the septic tank and leeching field. I want to try and keep the soil in place when the wet weather comes.

Playing around with my camera, I took a panorama from my well cover in the back yard.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Starting the walls

I spent 5 days this past week at the job site. My excavator had been busy building support walls with rocks from the property !

He finished installing the septic tank and leeching field the previous week.

The first day was spent aligning the tongue and groove floor and nailing it down. I am building the walls in 12 foot long sections. I found that I can lift this length of wall by myself if it contains 4 studs and one sheet of plywood. I then add studs to the standing wall and additional sheets of plywood to strengthen it.

First I cut the opening for the ledger board, which will hold up the loft joists. I clamped the wall studs together and made cuts with the circular saw. Then I went back with the wood chisel and removed the little blocks of wood. I was surprised that this was a fairly easy task to do.

I test fitted a piece of wood and it fit fine.

I marked out the location of the studs on the top and bottom plates. After nailing the studs to the top and bottom plates, I checked for squareness and then nailed down a piece of plywood to keep the wall square. I used some rope to keep the wall from moving too far in the wrong direction, and some scrap wood to keep the bottom plate from sliding off.

I wanted to get one end wall up to reinforce the long wall, while I am back at home.

I averaged one 12 foot wall section each day, working alone. This picture shows what I accomplished by the end of the week.

I added some support under my trap door, so I don't end up unexpectedly in the cellar.

I'm planning to head up in a few weeks to continue building the walls.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Capping the foundation

I headed up to the site last Monday and pitched my tent in the basement.

My lumber was delivered Monday morning. I bolted down the sill plates and measured and marked on the sills where each joist should be set. Next I put on the rim joists. Setting the floor joists was straightforward but time consuming. I had to walk from one side of the foundation to the other to put the joists in place and then walk back and forth to align them. Working alone slows things down.

The tricky part was framing the opening for the trap door to the cellar. I made jigs to hold various beams in place, while I nailed in the joist hangers. I'm glad I only needed to use a few hangers.

It rained Monday night and most of Tuesday. After the rain, I slid the well cover back to check the water level. It had gone up from 6" to about a foot with all the rain. This bodes well because there had been no rain for several weeks and there was still 6" of water in the well. I believe the water is flowing out of the well at the same rate that it flows in.

I have a new pet: Mr Daddy Long Legs. He kept following me around all week.

Here is a view of the basement with most of the plywood floor put down.

Here is the official picture of the decking in place.

I hope to head back in a few weeks and start the walls.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

Preparing for a week of work banging nails

I am on vacation next week and plan to head up and build the floor platform and hopefully a couple of walls. I ordered some lumber from the local lumberyard. They will deliver it Monday morning; I'll be heading up late Sunday.

I'm packing all my tools and supplies. I bought some 2x3 x 8 to use for window header spacers. I cut up some 2x10's to 14.5" length to use as joist blocking. This week will be a good test to see if my electrical power ideas work out. I have a 110 amp marine battery that I'm bringing up with me. I have a battery charger for the 18 V Ryobi batteries which runs off a 12 V battery. I'll use the marine battery to recharge the Ryobi batteries for the circular saw and drill. When the marine battery voltage drops, I'll hook some jumper cables to the car battery and start up the Jeep to recharge it. Hopefully this will work well enough so I don't have to get a generator.

In addition to tools, I need to get my camping gear in order. First was setting up a screen house / tent, which I bought a few weeks ago. It sets up in 5 minutes with one person. This will be vital for sleeping and my sanity by keeping the mosquitoes at bay. I'll set up the screen house in the cellar under the floor platform initially. That way I'll stay reasonably dry if it rains.  I bought a cot today to sleep on; I still need to test it out and see if it is easy to set up. I have to remember my sleeping bag and a pillow - it is starting to get cool at night now; good sleeping weather.  I got a bucket loo cover for a potty. I need to get my LED lantern and all it's pieces together next.

I keep thinking through things in my mind. Today I was thinking about what pattern to lay down the plywood decking to minimize waste. Tonight I was researching the correct size nails to use with joist hangers. I'll only have a couple of joist hangers around my trap door to the cellar. I still have to decide on window sizes and add the correct rough openings to my wall framing sketches.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Sills and a dug well

I drove up to the building site this past weekend to install the sill plates. My excavator was working back filling the foundation. He needed extra soil to build up the ground around the foundation, so he moved dirt from the gently sloping hillside behind the house. This gives me a relatively flat backyard and will improve water runoff in the spring.

This is a view behind the foundation, looking southeast. My garden will be close to the house, where it will get the most sunlight.

While my excavator was there, I asked if he could dig a couple of test holes to look for water. The first 2 holes hit ledge about 2 feet down. The third hole, he was able to get about 10 feet down. The ground was moist and water was slowly seeping out of the ledge.

My excavator put a bed of gravel in the hole, followed by a well tile and then surrounded it with gravel. 16 hours later there was 6 inches of water in the well tile. We will have to see how this turns out, but I was happy to get some water. There is a lot of runoff here in the spring, so I will have plenty of water then. I planned to put in a 300 gallon water storage tank all along, so finding water is just an extra blessing.

I finished up the sills on Saturday afternoon.

As an experiment, I built some Jefferson alternating tread stairs. I lowered them into the foundation and tried them out. They work fine. I just have to remember I am on stairs and not a ladder.

I hope to get back in a couple of weeks to frame the floor.