Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A log cabin post! A log cabin post!

Hello sportsfans and welcome back to biting off more than you can chew....

Well it's been a bit since the last post but there is news afoot that many of the followers have been patiently waiting for. So let's get into it then shall we?

As you know (or possibly not) we have begun an oddyssey the likes that is rarely seen these days but much more common 200 years ago, building your own house. As unlikely as it may seem it is very plausible, and the concept of building your own cabin has a good marketing department.

For us, at the moment, we have made it through a couple of critical phases:
1. Slab. I did make a post about this, hurray for that. This was a couple of steps involving rough-in plumbing, a conduit for the electrical and then the actual pouring of the slab. Thank you again to Jim and Barry for the expert long distance consulting that made these steps possible.

2. Delivery of the huge bundles of logs and house stuffs. Again big thanks goes to Sam, Bernie, Adam, Emiloo, and my Mom for making that go well.

3. Sill plate - for those that do not know the sill plate is what sits on the slab, and the logs are stacked on top of it. A simple 2x6 layer that was anchored to the j-bolts sunk into the slab. A roll of sill plate foam was rolled out, the 2x6s were cut and drilled and then placed on the foam. Nuts and washers installed on the bolts and this step is complete.

4. Anchor bolts for the first course of logs and subsequent securing of first course with anchor bolts. Ok this seems deceptively simple so I will run you through the steps for this:

4a. First we had to get logs to the site. All of the bundles are in the bottom front pasture and we have to transfer them up to our home site. These are oak logs weighing 20lbs/ft and we are hefting 6-10ft logs onto the truck and or tractor. It really (clap) pumps you up! Here is the momentous occasion of cutting the straps on the first bundle! You can see how happy I still am at that point...

The truck can handle about 10 8-10' logs, while the little tractor can only handle a total of 700lbs maximum with the pallet and forks taking up about 75lbs of that:

4b After we had some logs at the site we then start working the puzzle of lengths to achieve a 10" overhang on either end and nice tight butt joints between the rest of the logs. Moving them is either by carrying them, or putting them on the furniture dolly and rolling it into place.

4c We can now drill holes through the log and through the sill plate and into the slab where we will pound a concrete anchor in to secure the log. The anchors are sunk 3" into the slab, and have a nut on top of it that is securing the log. Drilling the holes is a 3 part process:

4c1 Drilling of the countersink in the log. Since the washer that goes on top of the anchor is about a 1 1/4" across we had a 1 1/2" Forstner bit that would make me a perfect hole 3.5" into the top of the log.

4c2 Then a 5/8" spade style drill bit is used to complete the hole through the log and to bore through the sill plate, all while the log is still in place.

4c3 Then a 14" Hammer drill affixed with a concrete drill bit finishes 3" into the slab and is ready for the anchor.

5 The anchors are 8" long 1/2" that are pounded into the drilled hole in the concrete. The bottom of the anchor has a weaker metal 'foot' so that when you bottom out while pounding it smooshes the 'foot' of the anchor distorting it in the bottom of the hole. A small sleeve just above the foot of the anchor prevents the distorted foot from sliding up the drilled hole and thus makes a nice tight anchor system.

When complete with nut and washer it looks like this:

6 Final cuts are made to each log if needed. Remember that most of these logs have a small 1x1 channel in their ends so that when they butt up against each other it creates a 1x2 airspace in which we install a closed foam 'spline' that seals that joint. So if I have to trim a log I have to re-router that channel at the end of the log. In addition, at every corner we have a log that 'passes' out over the edge of the slab, and we have a log that 'butts' into the side of that. This is called a butt-and-pass system so it looks like Linkin Logs type of cabin. So where we have the butt there is a routed channel, but not in the 'passing' log, so I have to route that as well and will for every corner on every course. For those of you playing at home that is 76 of those.

The corners look like this:

7 After all cuts are made, all holes drilled, all pieces dry-fitted the time to glue becomes the next step. This is applied with a silicon type gun, but a larger 5lb tube filled with 'Log Bond' as it is called, and comes out easily laying a 5/8" bead into two places on the Sill Plate sealing off all edges.

You can see the clear 'Log Bond' Placed between these two courses here at the end. The hole between the logs will be sealed later, this is a doorway you are seeing here. You can also see the bottom log was cut off and the vertical channel routed back into place. Can't tell? Aww thanks.

8 The log is dropped into place and adjusted to have a 3/4" overhang on the outside of the sill plate as well as the inside. Since I drilled the final portion of the log with a 5/8" bit I had 1/8" movement so I could adjust them perfectly. And for these huge logs that was pretty easy.

9 Washers and nuts are put on the anchor bolts and tightened down.

10 Splines are put into the butt joints.

Ta-dah, the first course is done. Yeah that took a week. Subsequent courses should go faster as they have less steps and we should be done by spring really it should go faster.

There it is, it has begun. In later posts I will outline the 2nd through 19th courses which will pretty much be the same as far as how the logs are put down. The differences will be the addition of doors, windows and electrical wiring and then the roof fun begins. I can't wait.

Thanks for stopping by, stay classy all you wonderful patient followers,

1 comment:

  1. Building your house. I'm beyond impressed. I have a doghouse I need to build, and I've been putting it off because it's so complicated.

    On a side note, is that a 3000 series John Deere? I did so much tractor shopping when we first moved, that I totally geek out on tractors now, so I'm curious.