Archive for September, 2011

Framing the roof

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

The builders started early this morning by using a chainsaw to neatly trim the logs along the roofline on both side walls. Then they started hoisting the roof beams into place, attaching them to the ridgepole with log cabin screws and roofing plates, and to the top of the walls with lag bolts. Sept2011-5755.jpg

Along with the ridgepole, all of the ceiling beams will be visible inside the cabin.


The gable dormers on the face of the house aren’t fully framed out, but other than that, by the end of the day, the framing of the cabin was substantially complete. Hopefully we’ll have a roof by the end of the day tomorrow.


The bad news is that rain is expected tonight and tomorrow. Although it didn’t rain today, the ground is still mucky from the rain earlier this week and month, and from the unseasonal rain in August, July, June, May, April, March, February, and January.

[The first entry for Building the Cabin was July 18, 2011.  The next entry is Front Porch and Gable Dormers]

Second Story Part 2

Wednesday, September 21st, 2011

Ridgepole.jpg2 days of contstruction took place while I spent 3 days in London on a business trip. My parents have been here to watch and take photos. The photo above (click on it to enlarge it) shows the Lull Telehandler lifting the middle of 3 sections of ridgepole into place. In additions to the notches in the logs on the side of the host, the ridgepole sits on top of 2 post. The upper floor will have visible ceiling joists, too, which should get installed tomorrow or Friday.

As far as I can tell, the side and back walls are fully stacked at this point. The face of the cabin will have a pair of gable dormers, which will probably be completed this week, too–weather permitting. My folks reported that it rained several times today, and it started raining again soon after I arrived. The ground is very mucky around the building site, and I’m convinced that the driveway has continued to sink.


[The first entry for Building the Cabin was July 18, 2011.  The next entry is Framing the Roof]

Starting the Second Story

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

Our Amish building crew made rapid progress during the 3.5 days they were on site this week.


The living room will have visible wooden floor joists, shown above early Friday with the fireplace located in the center of the far wall. Below is a detail of one of the mortise joints cut by the builders on Thursday.


By the end of Friday, subfloor was laid on the rest of the second story (the part that is not above the visible joists), and several courses of logs were started on the back and south walls. Sept2011-5657.jpg

I had been curious about how they laid the logs and how they handled the seal and caulking between the logs and in the joints, and Friday was my first chance to see the process, and probably the last. I’m leaving today for a business trip, and won’t return until Wednesday.


The photo above shows the south wall of the second story. The upright 2×4 indicates the eventual peak of the roof, with the orange string to the left showing the eventual roof line. This will be the spare room upstairs, and it will have the side window already roughly laid, and another window on the front in a gabled dormer.


The photo above is close to the view from that gable window. There will be a porch and roof along the front of the house, but it shouldn’t block the pond, which is visible in the background.


At this rate, the walls should be complete by the end of next week, along with most, and maybe all, of the roof.

[The first entry for Building the Cabin was July 18, 2011.  The next entry is Second Story Part 2]

The First Story

Thursday, September 15th, 2011

On Monday and Tuesday this week, our builder started constructing the cabin. By Monday noon, they’d attached the sill to the foundation, put the beam and posts in place, installed the floor joists, and installed the subfloor. After lunch, they started stacking logs.


Every joint between every log, including butt joints, and corners, are carefully sealed. The base of the logs has a channel machined it at Hochstetter, and the builders use a router to cut a channel in the ends of logs that are butted together. A strip of foam rubber fits inside the channel.


Our logs are 6 inches wide, and 12 inches high, rough cut on the outside, and machined smooth on the inside. As seen in the detail view to the left, each log has a 2″ groove machined along its length. This will be filled with chink after the wall has been finished and stained. The dovetail joints were also cut at the mill, but the builders cut the logs to length, using an electrical circular saw with a blade only slightly smaller than a garbage can lid.

We chose rectangular logs and dovetails for two reasons. First, we didn’t want to build a house that looked like it was made out of Lincoln Logs (unlike those toy building sets, we believe that we actually have enough logs to finish our building). Second, we wanted a cabin that was somewhat evocative of the style of the cabins that could still be found in this part of the country when my parents bought the Hollow in 1972. At the time, our property did have a small two-level cabin, and my parents brought in Coshocton celebrity Mad Marshall Jacobs to evaluate the potential for restoration (it turned out not to have much potential).


By the time I arrived yesterday morning, the first floor walls were complete. Wednesday was an off day. It started raining last night and continued this morning (another .4 inches), so the builders didn’t return until after lunch today. Today they cut notches in both side walls to put a wooden beam across the length of the cabin, along with large wooden posts. They also cut a series of notches along half of the front wall, installing some additional beams above the living room, where they will be visible. The rest of the cabin will have a different style of ceiling with hidden joists.

[The first entry for Building the Cabin was July 18, 2011.  The next entry is Starting the Second Story.]

The Logs Arrive

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Just before the 3-day weekend, Elizabeth and I decided to drive up to Loudonville to visit our wood.

On Friday, a large lift truck mysteriously arrived, spending the weekend parked at the foot of our driveway. The day after Labor Day, the logs started to arrive on our property. First came a large gooseneck trailer.

Sam quickly unloaded it, and then a semi-tractor rig arrived with the bulk of the logs stacked on top of the trailer. After inspecting the lay of the land, the driver decided that he could back up the driveway as far as the first turn, and Sam decided that he’d be able to unload it there.

We had one exciting moment when, after unstrapping all the pallets, the driver backed across a dip that turned out to be deeper and more tilted than expected. All the logs rocked back and forth, and a couple of the bundles loosened up a bit, without breaking their packaging. The driver strapped the load back down, pulled forward six feet, and then Sam gingerly unloaded the trailer, trying to keep as much weight as possible on the near side. The operation continued without further incident. Later in the day, the gooseneck trailer came back, stacked high with foam panels for the roof.

The rest of last week was quiet, punctuated only by the delivery of the subfloor material, a laminated beam, and 4 metal posts, unceremoniously dumped at the back of the cabin site by a tipping truck from a lumber yard. I had to return to Virginia over the weekend, but Elizabeth stayed on to watch Sam’s brother, nephew, and two other guys put wooden sills across the top of the concrete walls, install the beam, posts, and subfloor, and then install the first several courses of logs, all of which took place today.

[The first entry for Building the Cabin was July 18, 2011.  The next entry is The First Story.]