Friday, December 30, 2011

Furniture you can put your feet on

That went together better than I thought.

And the stretcher and wedges went as well.

With the top on we are ready for lunch!

I'll be the first to admit that not all the joints fit together on the first try. Being solid Oak they were heavy and a handful to move fit and re-fit. It makes you wonder how they did it with the barn we are recycling into a log cabin.

Makes you think doesn't it.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The things people throw away!

Here is a picture of what has been serving as a table in the cabin while I am building the Lamont Recycle Cabin. Two 3"x10" planks on a couple of nail kegs. Now this was doing the job just fine until someone threw away this...
 A fine Sears Craftsman 10" Radial Arm saw. Believe it or not, this was in the dumpster! Thanks to friend John for giving me a heads up on this last Saturday. John, a cabin builder and like minded thinker just hates to see things like this go to waste. Since John already had one he thought of me. So my son-in-law and I went over and picked it out of the dumpster. Now the news only gets better. Come to find out there has been a safety recall ( of these saws by the manufacturer, Emerson Tool Company and they are offering a free safety kit up grade! The kit consists of a lower guard, new handle with guard lift lever, upper blade guard with rear exhaust and new table. Wow.

So how could I apply my "new" tool? A table up grade for the cabin would do the trick. Something with Mortise and Tenon joints where the "new" saw could be set to make the shoulder cuts.

Made out of home sawn 4"x 6" Oak it would be a solid, rustic, heavy brute. Furniture you can put your feet on!

Should finish up the other leg and stretcher with tapered wedges to lock them together in a few days. I'll post the finished table when I get it done.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Square Pegs in Round Holes?

Real progress is being made now and I will have to change gears in my thinking as I plan and layout the half dovetail joints for the cabin.
You can see we have set the first round of logs for the cabin. Now comes the tricky part, the half dove tail layout. My goal will be to cut the notch so that there will be no more than 1" of space between the logs. This will allow for the chinking and a more traditional looking log cabin. The main floor of the cabin is 14' wide and 12' deep with a 5' porch.  Door frames are 31" wide and 6' - 4" tall (inside dimensions). The 9' - 4" high log walls will go up three to four logs above the top of the door frames. This will allow for an 8' deep sleeping loft above one half of the cabin. The ridge of the roof will run parallel with the porch. The rafters run from the roof ridge and extend over the porch. That was the reason to drop the porch level by 8" and keep a 6' + head clearance along the eave edge.
In the floor plan drawing above you can see the layout and location of the doors and windows. The cabin is designed to have the porch and roof facing South to catch the sun and for possible solar shingles if the buyer desires electricity. The double windows on the right end will face the East for good early morning lighting. No windows on the back or North side.

Square Pegs in Round holes? Glad you asked.
Most often a cabin like this is built as a "blank" using "full length" logs and then the door and window openings are cut in with a chainsaw after the cabin is rough built. With the doors and windows being in place during construction I can make better use of logs but must secure the log ends at the door and window openings. For a cabin built on site this is done with wooden pegs, called trunnels (tree nails).

Since we are building the cabin on "spec" and hope that a buyer can be found when it is finished I needed to come up with a solution that will secure the log ends but allow for easier removal than actual 7/8" Oak pegs. Trust me when I tell you that you don't just drive out a 7/8" Oak trunnel from an Oak log! These babies really hold once they are driven in.

So I figured, drilling a 7/8" (.875") diameter hole and then calculated (.875" x .707) that a .618" square peg would fit! I ripped some scrap pine making 5/8" square pegs to fit my round holes! They hold nicely and can be easily sawn off and driven out when I dis-assemble the finished cabin for delivery and re-assembly.

Maybe this is where the saying about square pegs and round holes comes from?    

Friday, December 9, 2011

All decked out...

Had a few nice days and got all the floor joists notched into the center beam and rim joists. Using 4x6's two feet on center for floor joists is over kill but made good use of the salvaged timber.
Five down and five to go. The pockets have been cut and next the joists will be cut to length and notched to fit.  The center beam was placed 8' from the edge so full length sheets of plywood flooring would fit.
And there you have it. The porch in front will be decked with 2x6 Oak so the spacing there for joists will be 1/3 of the 14' span and only require 2 joists. Next will be placing the door frames and then I can get down to the real business of log cutting.
Can't say it is all work. Here is the view from inside the cabin out on the work site. Pretty relaxed pace and plenty of time to warm up, drink coffee and think. Maybe even an afternoon nap!

Monday, December 5, 2011

What do you think?

I will have to say that cutting the joint by hand with no power tools was a lot easier than I thought. Much to my surprise! The 2" hand auger did a nice job on the four holes (about 5 minutes each).
Getting into a nice rhythm and steady pace the drill advanced about 1/8" per turn. I appreciated the cool weather!
Although I did not have to stop and back out the auger to clear the chips I did have to use a needle nose pliers to pick out the chips that spilled out into the adjacent holes and would bind from time to time.
A little work on the tenon with the handsaw and the joint would be finished. Overall time for the hand cut joint 45 minutes. Note: in the background you can see the first log cabin I built in 2004. This time I have a great place to warm up and drink coffee ("think") between log joints. Should keep me busy all winter!
So there you have it. A 2" hand auger, 2"framing chisel, corner chisel, hammer and hand saw, plus a little will power and you have one nice floor beam joint.

Compare that to making the same joint with modern day power tools.
A chainsaw was used to cut the sides of the mortis after holes were drilled and the tenon end.
Here you can see all the tools (and cost) that modern technology requires - Chainsaw ($400), 2" Milwaukee self-feeding bit ($40) Milwaukee Hole Hawg ($300) 3500 Watt Generator ($300) 2" Framing chisel, Corner chisel, Hammer! 

Although the power tools got the job done in 1/3 of the time (15 minutes) the hand tool experience has given me a lot to think about. How the actual builders of the original barn worked and spent their day making joint after joint with only chisels, hammer and handsaw.

Actually by using power tools I will have about 30 minutes after each joint to just "think"! What do you think?

Friday, December 2, 2011

Would the pioneers have used chainsaws?

I bet they would have, had they had one! The oak timbers are extremely dry and hard.
Making this first 4"x4"x6" notch for the porch sill in this 8"x8" piece was a real workout even with drilling 2" diameter holes first with the Milwaukee Hole Hawg! As I chiseled away what a difference from the green pine I was used to.
I did the first one by hand but used the carving chainsaw to rough out the second one and then cleaned it up with the 2" framing chisel. Cutting the time for a single notch in half to 15 minutes.  I think I will bore the 2" holes for one by hand (out of respect to the barn builder) and to get a real feel for the amount of work (and time) that was involved in building the original barn.
Just imagine cutting and fitting all the pieces for this barn - by hand! Think about getting one of the top pieces up in place and having it not fit!

I will be working on calculating the weight of the Oak beams that I am using.  Anyone want to take a guess at the weight of the 12' - 8"x8"  piece sitting on the floor sill in the middle picture above?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Layout for the Recycle Cabin

Working on what will be the sills for the cabin. 8x8' Oak beams from the barn are half-lapped for the 12' by 14' sides. There will be a porch off the front of the cabin and there will be a step up from it to the cabin floor.

Here is a drawing of the cabin. There will be a half-loft with a window for sleeping overhead. Since there were a limited number of 14' logs from the barn I will be framing in the front and back doors and running the logs to the frames rather than cutting in the door openings. Although this is more work doing this will allow me to save the 14 footers for the top rounds of logs.

If the weather holds I should be able to get the rest of the floor joists notched in.

The wood for Bridge #6 has arrived so now I can split my days between both projects! Should be an interesting winter.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Good Exersize...

No need to go too (hello Luke) the gym and lift weights after loading and racking the first half of the log floor joists! 12' and 14' Oak logs flattened on two sides to 6" thickness. At the top of the picture you can see the rack of 2x6's that will be used for rafters and floor joists. All Oak! Should make for some interesting nailing.

Then on the "brighter side" I took the power washer to the barn boards and cleaned them up. Should make some nice roof boards for a fine recycle cabin project this winter.


Thursday, October 27, 2011

There that was easy ...

You betcha it was. But now with a little luck we can get the use of a Bobcat to load them on to a trailer and pile them up in the work yard to be "de-nailed"!
It takes a bit of imagination to see it but what we have here are the makin's for a nice 12' be 16' log cabin with half-mitered dovetail corner joints. See it? Well if not just keep checking in to follow the progress.

Oh did I mention the spiders we ran into while working on the old barn?

Trick or treat !

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A game of Pick-Up Sticks...

Well after levering off the floor boards and doing the same to the log floor joists we rowing them into the lower level. Then it was time to start piling them up outside.
Just like a giant game of Pick-Up sticks. Half done and half to go.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

With a little imagination...

We finished the roof of the 150 year old cabin and will be taking a break from this project.

Maybe relax, sit back and enjoy the fall colors? Ya right.
Or squeeze in another little project while waiting for the wood for Cabin Bridge #6. I'll go for the "little" project.                               
                                                          I ask you, "What do you see?"
If you answered a mess or fallen down barn you are right but that is what this " is ". If you use your imagination then you too will be able to see much more...
If your imagination is strong then you will see the treasure below the surface. Getting to it however will require a bit more than just imagination. However a good imagination will serve as the fuel to get the job done.

So I ask again, "What do you see..?" and will keep you posted on the progress of this filler project until the Cabin Bridge #6 wood arrives in Darlington. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Cabin progress continues

Weather has cooperated and the progress continues on the 1860's cabin rebuild. Roof going on one shingle at a time.
Preparation for and chinking will be as laborious as the roof for sure. First a groove is cut on the underside of each log. Then wire lathe is placed in the groove and cut to fit the opening.
Mortar is then troweled into the wire lathe to fill and seal the opening between the logs. This will provide a nice surface and shed the water.
The cabin even looks pretty nice from the inside and there seems to be quite a bit of room. I suppose that it was a bit more crowded with the pioneers eight children and then there would be all their "stuff" (washer, drier, dinning room table and chairs, big screen TV, sofa, coffee tables, oven, refrigerator, microwave, dishwasher, beds and dressers). for daily living. Lucky the bathroom was outside!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Cabin re-construction progress

Things are going well on the cabin re-construction project. It was a good feeling to have the pins and holes in the top four logs mate locking together the walls.
From the four logs were replaced in the back wall shorter logs were cut to replace rotted logs by the doors and windows.
The history is that this 12' by 16' cabin was the 1860's home to a local family with 8 children!
Next up will be resizing the window openings and framing them to fit the new windows. Then it will be on to the roof rafters.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Skipping around on projects

While looking for a source of replacement logs for the cabin restoration project I had some time on my hands. Not wanting to waste it I went back to work on Cabin Bridge #6. My original plan was to use railroad ties for abutments for this bridge. With the bridge design change in width from 8 to 10 feet the railroad ties would be to short. You can see them piled up at the top of the picture. The solution would be four 2 foot diameter piers. How hard could that be?

Well considering that the site is off the roadway and in the woods there were plenty of "learning opportunities".

Lets reflect on them in reverse. How will we get 3 cubic yards of concrete into the 2 foot diameter fiber form tubes? Where is that darn Easy Button when you need it!

 How will one person, working alone support, locate and level the correct length of form tube in each of the pier holes?  This was tricky but a close study of the picture shows my helpers, vertical Z axis board, pivoting X and Y 2x2 attached to form and batter board strings above. With the addition of two staked parallel side boards and some screws into the tube the deed was done!

How deep below grade would the piers need to be (4 foot) and how would they be dug? That was easy!

The end results were 4 - 24 inch diameter piers from 5' to 7' long centered to support my 32' long, 10' wide, 12,000 pound Town Lattice Cabin Bridge #6.

Puzzler - What is the formula for calculating the volume of these tubes? How many cubic feet in one cubic yard?

Tech Vocab - Fiber Form, Batter Boards, Plumb Bob, Transit, X, Y, Z axis