Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Shovel Ready

We had not planned to begin building until the Spring of 2009 but impatience, opportunity and enthusiasm propelled the project forward. We paid for the permit and began excavating for the Post & Pier foundation. Once the concrete piers were set the framing began - pressure treated posts anchored to infloor beams, joists hung in hangers and the floor sheathed - tangible progress.

Following the inspection our plan was to tarp off the floor for the winter and be that much further ahead next Spring. In October a gap in my employment and some use it or lose it vacation time offered us yet another chance to continue the progress. Predictably, our enthusiasm got the better of us.

I quickly made a materials list, estimated the construction time and sourced the materials. We were on the cusp of Winter - it would be better to leave it as it was than come up short of being "dried in."

Committed, but not without trepidation we loaded up all the gear, supplies and materials we could - the truck squated under the weight. We had an uneventful trip though we did encounter snow at the higher elevations.

The next morning we were underway. The simple design sped the progress. My wife, despite her lack of construction experience proved to be an excellent helper allowing me to focus on layout, cutting and assembly.

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The weather cooperated - the night time temperature would drop into the teens and the days were sunny. We made steady progress each day and stayed on schedule. I had hoped to get a little ahead but a few material omissions required a trip to a nearby down to source materials.

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After a week of dedicated labor the cabin was dried in. It took us a total 10 days of labor to get from digging the foundation holes to installing the door knob. Fortune smiled on us - it went as well as we could reasonably expect.

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There is still plenty to do. Windows, soffits, siding, window wraps, trim, decking and rail on the exterior. My goal is to accomplish that by this summer.

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I've built dozens of houses and been involved in hundreds of other construction projects as a designer or a carpenter - the experience of building this simple little structure has been one of the most enjoyable and satisfying of my life. The environment, the challenge, the partnership with my wife, the accomplishment of a dream... all greatly enrich the experience.


  1. Excellent progress. The cabin looks really good. I have a large 2BR mobile home on mine but am planning to build a more permanent structure in the near future. That cabin ROCKS!
    If you need more practice, I can give you directions to my place.LOL Great blog. Keep up the good work. Maybe a materials list and dimensions is available?


  2. Good idea Riverwalker. I'll post a materials list in the near future. For those interested I can email a list to you,

    Thanks for stopping by, -Mo

  3. I am always reading about people building small off-grid cabins, which must mean I want to do it myself. Very inspiring post, and the look of this cabin is really good, it fits into the surroundings well.