Can you use this wood to build a cabin

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by sancraft, May 20, 2005.

  1. sancraft

    sancraft Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,961
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2002
    Location:
    Georgia
    Can you build a cabin using Georgia pine and poplar? That's mostly what I have on my land. I'd call it a barn so I don't have to get permits. But my daughters and I would need to live in it until we got something else going. It will be very, very simple. Logs as rafters, tin roof, right now, just screens for windows (nailed to the inside wall) and pull down shutters (like a camp cabin). Also, how do you do the floor and do you think it can be done in 5 days? Could I use a wood sealer on the logs to help them last longer?
     
  2. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

    Messages:
    1,658
    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2003
    Location:
    Central NY
    Yes, you could do it, if you had some basic tools and a good book.
    It would be really, really rough and primitive.
    Can you try to find a really cheap travel trailer? That would at least give you a few amenities....
    You could build the cabin at a reasonable pace and move the appliances from the trailer to the cabin when it's finished...

    Even a screen tent might give you more comfort, esp in summer...
     

  3. to live free

    to live free Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    130
    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2005
    Location:
    maine
    yeah build it like a pole barn the floor could be old palets or similar save wood and time, thro down some plywood to create a floor on top of the palets
     
  4. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,838
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    Remember that green logs shrink. If you want an 8' ceiling, build it with a 9' to 10' ceiling.The window openings will shrink, also, which is why people used to NOT put the glass in immediately.

    ALSO, when we were kids we camped with tarps, pillows, and blankets. The tarps go BELOW the blankets to keep the dampness of the earth from soaking through. A tarp over the top keeps the dew from making the TOP of the blanket cool.
     
  5. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,838
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    What will you be cutting the logs with? I GUARENTEE you that he will have sold it ALSO, if he has access to it. If it IS where he can get it, rescue it NOW!

    Also, do you know what a come-along is? In "Handy Farm Devices" or a book with a SIMILAR title, you put a chain around a log. Then, you fasten a metal rod (or did they just thread it through the chain? :confused: and use it as a lever to scoot the log forward a few inches.

    It is supposed to be slow, but not difficult. It was used to get logs off of hillsides too steep for tractors.
     
  6. Highground

    Highground Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    529
    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2003
    Location:
    WV
    Sancraft, google "vertical log building", it's far easier to build this way with green logs.
    HOOP built one and it looks great, if he is still on HT maybe he could give you some advice.
     
  7. Hermit

    Hermit Active Member

    Messages:
    44
    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2004
    Location:
    Eastern United States
    I understand that your needs are pretty urgent. I sure wish I were close by to lend a hand - I'm at least 1,000 miles away.

    Be very careful cutting the trees down. If you can, pick logs of similar sizes, saving the bigges diameter logs for the lowest levels of the cabin.

    If at all possible, see if you can find someone locally to help you - barter for their services. This type of project is a lot of very hard work. Maybe you could spend $25 at McMurray hatchery and have some chickens sent to you, and promise to keep someone supplied with fresh eggs in return for help. Just a thought.

    You'll need some tools - hopefully you have a lot of those already. A good hand saw large enough to trim up the ends and start the notches (more precise fits this way). A good axe for rough work. A good pair of gloves. A good winch or "come along." Plenty of short logs of small diameter (4 feet long, 5 inches around) to build cribs to slowly raise the logs into position. Some strong rope. Fresh water. Toilet paper. A hand saw for cutting a few logs lengthwise for framing windows and the doorway.

    There are differing opinions on this, but I suggest peeling the logs before you start building with them. This will allow a more snug fit between logs and require less chinking. Get those logs as close together as possible.

    The floor is easy to start with. Pick a good site that won't have water flowing over it or get soggy when it rains. Just build the cabin on the site, and as you move around inside the finished cabin, the floor will get packed down hard and turn to pure dirt. You can take a thick pole (5 inch diameter) and use it to pound the ground hard if you have the extra time and energy. Sweeping it with a broom made of grass or light twigs will eventually rip up all plant material and leave only the dirt, which gets packed with time.

    Once you have the time and money, you can poor a cement floor (mixing batches in a wheelbarrow with a shovel or hoe) or set out cement blocks properly spaced and build a "real" floor out of logs and plit logs or dimension lumber.

    There is no substitute for experienced help. A 3x5 card at the local gas stations, home depot, feed store, lumber yard saying "Single mother with children - needs help building small cabin / barn - will barter for help" isn't a terrible idea, but be prepared to graciously decline help from weirdos.

    Just some thoughts. Hope they help.
     
  8. hollym

    hollym Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,314
    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2005
    Location:
    TX
    Sancraft, I have this really cool old book called 'Your Cabin in the Woods' that has about a dozen plans for all sizes of cabins. It also has a way to do the logs that you don't have to notch them. You spike a 2X8 and a 2X6 together in an L shape, use them on corners, and you can cut your logs to fit in between them, and nail through them into the ends of the logs. Hopefully that makes sense!

    hollym
     
  9. Jan Doling

    Jan Doling Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,898
    Joined:
    May 21, 2004
    Location:
    Zone 9b
    Pallets for the floor with tarps over that and thrift store area rugs for now. Save fancy for the permanent home. If you call it a barn, keep props handy to convince inspectors if they arrive for a surprise visit: "See, sir, here's the goat...we're just staying close by to keep an eye on it until it recuperates" (roll up the rug...goats don't need those!)
     
  10. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,838
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    Folks, it occurs to me that she might need advice on an instant foundation. Would concrete blocks be good enough?

    As for a TEMPORARY roof, perhaps a tarp would do for a little bit. You could move the tarp back, work on the roof, and put the tarp back on for the night.

    And, last but FAR from least, you have the use of a bedroom right now. Get EVERYTHING you own and put it in there! Stack it high!

    He has already sold the tent, hi might be in the process of selling the rest even as we sit!
    :soap:
     
  11. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

    Messages:
    7,102
    Joined:
    May 12, 2002
    Location:
    In beautiful downtown Sticks, near Belleview, Fl.
    5 days is what it would take for a couple of work hardened experienced people to build a cabin with mechanical equipment. A big blue tarp and saplings will get you into a teepee in about one day, at least its rain proof. And should last all the summer without problems.

    As far as the wood shrinking, yes it shrinks, but only in diameter, not length.

    What county is your land located within? Maybe some posters here are close enought to give you a hand.
     
  12. clovis

    clovis Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,511
    Joined:
    May 13, 2002
    To my understanding, most of the old log cabins in Indiana were built using poplar. Most of the cabin kits you buy today are of a pine species.
    I too would debark the trees before starting.
    Use boiled linseed oil and turpentine in a 50/50 mix, brushed on with a paint brush, as a moisture and water repellent, especially on the bottom log and any surface that will touch the ground.
    Make sure you are going to use solid slabs of stone or solid concrete blocks if you are just laying a foundation on the four corners.
    clove
     
  13. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    799
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2003
    Location:
    Northern Wisconsin
    You can use nearly any species of wood as long as you make sure there is sufficient roof overhang and your logs are at least 20" or so above the ground (so they won't rot from rain backsplash).

    Log homes take a lot of work and a lot of time. I've built lots of them and I respectfully disagree with moopups assertion that 2 experienced hardened people can build one in 5 days with mechanical equipment.

    I'm of the opinion that a conventionally framed stick built house can be erected & dried in far far quicker than a nonkit type log home.

    Green logs are perfectly suitable for use in some building styles. Thousands of log home building professionals build with green logs on a daily basis. The trick is to allow for shrinkage and settling. Logs butting up to door & window openings need to be slotted. Additional room over door & window openings MUST be incorporated into the building method. A piece of trim with a slip joint "settles" in conjuction with the building. It all works great.
    By the way, green logs will shrink UP TO 3/4" per foot of log. Air dried logs generally take 3 - 5 years to dry.

    The vertical log building method, IMHO, is very suited to the owner builder. But even vertical logs don't jump into place.

    And, for what its worth, the house frame, is but one small part of the house. One also needs roof framing, roofing material, doors, subfloor, windows, trim, insulation, electrical service, circuit boxes, electrical outlets/fixtures, kitchen cabinets, interior walls, bathroom fixtures, floor coverings, stain, water delivery system, hot water heater, septic system, etc, etc, etc.
     
  14. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,223
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    OlyPen
    While scrounging around old buildings, I notice quite a few of them in my area use old tire rims for the foundation support blocks. Laid flat, the are very stable and can be scrounged up from anywhere at no cost.

    What I've done for a floor in a low budget cabin, is set bricks and blocks on the ground to hold the corners of pallets, place the pallets in, then nailed down cheap or free thin plywood.

    I sure wish we were closer to come down and help you!
     
  15. antiquestuff

    antiquestuff Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    752
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2004
    I'd have to disagree with Hoop on log cabins--I've read accounts that show log cabins were put up very quickly by experienced people. Often less than a week or so.

    Also, one doesn't need electrical stuff, water heater, septic system, plumbing, etc. Only if you really, really want modern conveniences.
     
  16. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    936
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2003
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    Are you planning on having electricity & indoor plumbing at some Point? It's easier to plan for those aspects before construction than trying to add it on later. If you just want a primitive structure, you could pour a concrete floor with redi-mix After the walls are up, but you have to realize that logs that are laid on the ground without a foundation Will Rot! I think your best bet for quick shelter at this time of year, using your own timber, would be a pole-barn type of structure. Get the Roof up & then go from there. Good luck! :)
     
  17. pointer_hunter

    pointer_hunter Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    381
    Joined:
    May 8, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan
    If you are looking for quick and easy....I believe it was here at HT that I read about someone who built a hoop-house with saplings, rope and plastic. The idea is that you cut saplings (probably about 2-3in dia.) at about 10ft pieces. Mark two straight lines on the ground and drill holes across from each other about every 4ft just big enough to slip the sapling into...about a foot or so deep. When you have them all sunk, go back and bend the saplings toward the middle and tie them with rope making a "hoop". When these are all done, unroll plastic or tarps and pull over the top. You can then make two ends with doors or windows with more plastic and saplings/rope. It's quick, easy, cheap and can be used for poultry/greenhouse when you build a better place later. As a safety plan, keep a sharp pocket knife next to each bed/cot. In case of a fire, you can make your own exit. I wouldn't think that you'd need a building permit for this and if anyone gives you hassel, just tell them you're camping.
     
  18. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

    Messages:
    19,568
    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2003
    sancraft girl I don't want to sound negative,and I am Praying for you.But as you know you got major problems.

    I'll try to help best I can.You could do like we did but if you don't have them trees processed this will only be temporary.If you can get some cheap Barn Metal,just put up a Leanto or Pole Shed,just one or two rooms,dirt floors.This will use little lumber and poles.

    But your going to have to get in gear and figure out something fast more permanet.

    I'll tell you a little what we did.We built just an open Leanto that we was going to use as a Garage,build the house over the Summer.We moved here June 12.Well with working in town,putting up with the Summer heat,the house was falling behind.Next thing we knew it was Winter.

    We knew we had to do something fast decided to put floors and a wall in,got wood stove.We about froze out that first Winter.

    Then we put in inside walls insulation,built on,kept building on,until what we have today.It is warm dry.But I'm wanting nicer for my wife,getting that taken care of.

    Like I say your in my Prayers girl.

    big rockpile
     
  19. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    14,838
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Kansas
    For those who may have missed it, Sancraft is talking to folks who build stick-built cabins and who take monthly payments. Foundation is included. This would help her get through her current cash crunch until she finds work in her new area, and she is going to be talking to them today.

    She will still be camping out for a few weeks, but she is interested and I hope that it works out for her.