No going back on the project creep now.
In the late 90s I had a dream of building a small log getaway, maybe a 16’x24’ structure on a slab or on peers - on land in Northern Idaho I’d found in 1987. I lived in the Panhandle in the 70s and fell in love with the NW country. When I bought the land I still had a brother living there and we hoped to do something with it together. Well, as things will happen, my dream evolved and while I wondered away from the basic idea of “small” (I suppose it still is small by some people’s calculation) it was a project that was dear to my heart for 7 years.
After reading what Wet Dog, Pine Cone, Wind, Eaglesnest and some other’s have given us here, I was inspired to ‘chronicle’ my own project. I spent a lot of hours picking some representative pictures and scanning them for posting here. This will take me a while to complete but thought I'd get started anyway.
It started in 2002 and for three years was done on long distant (mostly 2 wk) vacations. I stayed with my best friend and his wife during those vacations for those three years, until I moved into the structure in 2005 when I semi-retired. That year, in October, after getting the “heat” settled I began living there roughly half the year, mostly in three chunks, 6 wks in the winter, 4 months in the summer and another 6 wk trip in the fall. Summer and fall were my working trips while the winter saw little accomplished for too much ice fishing and otherwise fun endeavors with ol John Robert, or Johnny Bob, as his mother used to call him.
I had about abandoned the idea of a log structure for the cost of a package from a bona fide log-crafter (I didn’t want a precut package and distance, time and experience precluded me doing that myself – 1800 miles does have its drawbacks) but a planned trip in February of 2002 had me across the table from a local fellah who was venturing out on his own and who offered a price for a custom package I couldn’t ignore. The first project-creep had already occurred with the addition of a basement. In our discussions with the log crafter the second creep occurred with an expansion of the floor plan - which had already undergone stretching once I’d turned to conventional framing and thought I’d be framing walls myself.
I’d saved a boat-load of leave at work and May found me in Idaho for the first of two 2-week vacations that summer. We broke ground in May, while the two log crafters were stacking logs they’d skinned during March and April just 11 miles north of our site. Somewhere around July the logs and foundation would come together and I’d return to dry the place in. These first few pictures represent some long hours over that first two weeks, mostly spent with my best friend, John Wells, who was my brother’s concrete partner before his death in 99. Only this year John succumbed to ALS, so these are good memories for me. Hope you enjoy.
No going back on the project creep now.
I returned at the end of July with tools and a plan for bucking in the windows.
I worked construction for almost 15 years after I got out of the service and before becoming a desk jockeys so had an idea about how much I could get done before and after my wife arrived.
In the next two weeks we had there I wanted to buck out the windows, stain the cabin, deck the balcony, set the windows and doors and do some miscellaneous prep work inside.
While I’ve set hundreds of windows and doors I’d never bucked out windows in a log cabin before and that was obvious right off. I thought I’d probably be moved on to staining by the time my wife arrived several days later. Wrong. I was still ripping material for windows and wading through large piles of saw dust.
In every window frame there were eleven pieces of wood if I recall correctly, several needing custom fit. And angle iron had to be led-in to the back side of each outside vertical piece so logs could settle without crushing your windows… and room for that settling had to be accounted for. It essentially amounts to building two frames with the inside fastened to an outside floating frame. I did not calculate the time spend for all that very well.
I did figure out a decent scaffolding plan for some of the hard to reach spots and I did buy an airless spray rig, which I’d never had or operated before for the staining but it speeded that process up considerably… and had spent the first bit of time obtaining a good table saw and a generator to run the power tools I’d sent up by mail. My sister came up for a family reunion of sorts during that two weeks and was sorely disappointed that I couldn’t pull off the project till 8pm each evening.
We were able to accomplish all we hoped. It was dried in and stained before we left but my wife was getting the idea that vacations in Idaho might be more than I claimed. Substantially more!!! We pulled out the last evening at 2am, after hanging the last door by the headlights of my old beater truck (which I still have). We had to leave for the Spokane Airport at 6 am the next morning. Vacation over!!
Last edited by SgtDog0311; 04-30-2013 at 08:19 AM.
Trying to post these in order...
Have to go scan some more but this is definitely the end of THAT vacation :-)
“Only the mountain has lived long enough to listen objectively to the howl of the wolf.” Aldo Leopold
Team Shotgun #6
Marlin League #56
Team 30-30 #366
Team Old Pharts #42
Team 35 #298
Team 39 #230
Team 60 #166
Team 1894 #366
Team 444 #648
Team .45-70 #1332
There have been a lot of trips by now, mostly running power to the cabin and barn, digging lines from the well to the house, pulling wire to receptacles, plumbing, working on the hydronics and pouring a 2” floor upstairs. I poured a five inch floor downstairs over 2” of firm-board insulation and insulated the footings and walls - to ground level outside with the same two inch insulation. My concrete is bone dry inside and four and six foot overhangs keep moisture away anyhow. But the temp differences are what I was concerned with for condensation. So far everything working well in that regard. The hydronics are great but natural gas seems to leave a boiler run cleaner than propane. Could have done that part cheaper but it was a fast and furious learning curve there. Ordered my control panel from back East and had a plumber help me install that and the boiler. I’d have been as lost on that as I would have been on doing a Canadian scribe on Spruce logs or knowing where to get them in Canada. I didn’t allow for wood heat as I thought insurance on a sometimes unattended cabin would be a killer. Might change my mind on that one some time in the future.
That's a stack of walls in the middle of the floor in the second picture... to be a freestanding closet and corner shower which seperates the space between bed and bath. I designed the plan to be 'open' but obviously wanted some seperation. I don't even have a door on the arch leading to the vaulted front living space. An indian blanket hangs there now in place of that fabulous sheet you see rolled up above the arch.
I didn't mention the Easter Red Cedar Trim but you see it in the tub and window trim. That was all harvested in Oklahoma where I had it milled and then hauled it up to with me to trim out the windows and doors. I had not thought yet about the basement but you'll see I eventually did.
As you can see with the before and after shots of the tub you can see I’ve kind of abandoned the chronology in order to take each area up to how it looks today.
For two years I trudged downstairs to use the bathroom because the Master Bath had not been completely plumbed. For a guy with prostate problems that will give your nights sleep a few jolts before morning.
SgtDog0311 are you running them through a wood stove.
And I got to know... looks like potential for a long range from the front porch
"I think myself that we have more machinery of government than is necessary, too many parasites living on the labor of the industrious." - Thomas Jefferson, Letter to William Ludlow, September 6, 1824
team 45/70 #244, team Browning #40
Hey All... do the right thing and read the rules
My first log picture frame and it’s a big one… only it's a mirror frame, floor to ceiling (nearly) Amazing how it opens up the space. When looking through the arched doorway from out by the kitchen you don’t even know you are looking at a mirror.
The picture of the window sash in the bedroom is my favorite one of the Eastern Red Cedar trim features. The blond and red wood is God’s Work but the varnish brings it out. Like I said, there will be more of that as I get to the rest of the house but this is a decision I was and am really happy with.
I wish I could say I made the bed. I did make a desk upstairs in the loft but nothing so elaborate. Might need to find a picture of that before this thread is over with.
Last edited by SgtDog0311; 04-30-2013 at 08:26 AM.