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?