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Small Cabin Forum / Cabin Construction / New to forum had a few questions
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vetryan15
Member
# Posted: 23 Dec 2017 22:51
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I have been a lurker for a couple months now, this site has a ton of information. I was curious if anyone has had any experience building larger cabins. I am looking to relocate to the northern part of Maine in a few months, hopefully within 6 months at the latest. I have talked to the town municipality, and there are NO restrictions on building in the area I am looking at. Except for a septic. Which I wasn't really interested in at the moment. Just going to do a out house. Now I don't have much building experience, but will be having help with my dad most likely. Maybe a couple other helpers. I am coming from NJ, so it's a bit of a trip. I was looking for tips on.how to build a larger cabin. Currently it's just me, my gf, dog, cat and a few other smaller animals. I am looking to start a family when we get up there, after a cabin is built. How would I go by adding additions to the cabin, abd which way would be the best way? 2 story, or out on the 1st floor?
Thank you
Ryan

vetryan15
Member
# Posted: 24 Dec 2017 06:47 - Edited by: vetryan15
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I have been planning on using locally sourced wood, I had looked st the 'buttel and pass' method, buy was thinki n g of going a different route.as I wasn't too sure. I was going to go up and spend the time in a tent, build a small trapline cabin for practice, then move on to the larger permanent residence cabin.
Ryan

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 24 Dec 2017 08:52
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Welcome to the Forum and the Adventure !

Well it is a good idea to see what happens on the land, as in where the snow flies, where do the snow drifts happen, in spring where does the melt go to and where are the soft / wet spots etc... people often do not look at what & how the land does what it does through the seasons and then complain they put the "house" in the wrong place.

Building a small Bunkie is also a very good idea. It will help sharpen your handy-skills and TBH, if your gonna screw up (and we all do) better to do it on a Bunkie, shed or something like that. Keep it simple, build it on "6x6 PT skids" placed on 16"x16"x6" cottage blocks so you can drag it off if need be later. Putting the PT skids on blocks keeps them in better condition and easier for leveling up later if needed. I would suggest more KISS applied, stick to dimensions in 4' / 8' increments (width / length of a sheet of plywood). Simple 8'x12' Bunkie will do for a SHORT PERIOD and makes it easier to move later if you want to. (Never know the future so plan ahead).

As for main cabin later... Log Cabins can be great or not. Butt & Pass is one of the easier & faster methods compared to notches or cordwood even. There is a whole discussion on that but you really need to do research on not only the building method but foundation to use depending on type of build and more. I myself am a big fan of Frost Protected Slab Foundations (FPSF) and LOVE Radiant Floor Heating !, in Maine that would not be a bad idea ! You'll also need to have walls which isolate the "logs" from moisture including splash back from rain etc....

Single story vs 2 story.
Single Story = more foundation, more lumber, more roofing to cover, more expensive to heat / cool. No stairs, easier access, good for open spaces.
2 Story = Less foundation (going up instead of out), little less lumber & less roofing. Heating & cooling needs good air circulation. Stairs come into play. ** With Log Construction many other variables come into play with a 2nd story.

Additions to a Log Building can be a nightmare because of connecting new to existing and getting that right. Forward planning for potential additions can resolve much of that and IMO Butt & Pass can lend itself to that much easier in some ways. There are more consideration & planning when dealing with log.

Additions to standard Stick Frame are easier without a doubt because it's all straight, flat & level (well ought to be anyways) and if built in 4'/8' sections you have some advantages.

Asking Questions is the best start... BTW: There is no such thing as a stupid question, except for the one that is not asked. IF you don't know something, ask, not everyone knows everything, no one should make assumptions that people know a thing... A Medical Dr would have no clue how to change the oil in his car, just like his mechanic couldn't do a liver transplant, plumbers don't know framing and a roofer knows little about foundations. Many of us have experiences doing bits of it, some of us have done most of it & learned along the way (and hopefully share lessons learned & screw ups - how to avoid them)

I myself have added a pile to my "Lessons Learned dept", screwed up a few things, learned to screw up in other ways too and eventually got it right... Many Shouldve's, Couldve's & Wouldve's.

Have Fun, Good Luck and post your questions. BTW: If you make up an outline of your plan - intentions, ideas your seriously considering and possibilities you'd like to incorporate. Some indication on the finance aspect too... are you an Upcycler / Recycler doing it frugally VS everything has to be perfect and budget is open.

Borrego
Member
# Posted: 24 Dec 2017 10:03
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Quoting: Steve_S
Building a small Bunkie is also a very good idea. It will help sharpen your handy-skills and TBH, if your gonna screw up (and we all do) better to do it on a Bunkie, shed or something like that.


Excellent idea! But if you've gotta go big right off the bat....
How is the terrain? Flat/hilly, how steep?
How larger do you want it? It makes a difference...
Maybe most importantly...what is your budget?

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 24 Dec 2017 10:31
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And to add to Borrego's reply questions:

- How fast do you want to build it and be in it ? (logs have to dry and be prepped), no cut, debark & build with green unless you want troubles.
- Do you want to go off-grid or on-grid,
- Do want to go as energy efficient as possible ? net Zero maybe ??
- Water - Well, Spring or ? What plans do you have for that ?
- What's the goal ? 3 Bedroom, 1200 sq feet ? or 2 bedroom 1000 square or ?
- What will you contract out ? ie concrete basement or slab ?, major excavations, well drilling ? *
- do you want to use a Grey Water System and composting Toilet, a full out nasty septic thing or a hybrid where a small septic handles toilet only and the rest to grey water ? Or ??

*on concrete: sure we all think we can whip it up and voila BUT it's quite a huge amount of labour and costs can easily be a shocker... when mixing 40-60 or 100 bags of premix, you learn some things quick like your back is NOT as forgiving as you wished and then there's the $ where is becomes cheaper to bring in a pro. Lesson Learned Dept: After I did my Pump/Powerhouse (72 sq feet, 6" thick) and mixed - poured far too many premixed concrete bags - realized it was more $ than I hoped and the work was nuts so I contracted out my slab for the cabin (20x24)

FYI: People that say they will help, sometimes do, often times don't and so you have to know WHO you can count on and who you can't... assume that it will just be you, your spouse and maybe one or two family members for spurts.

vetryan15
Member
# Posted: 24 Dec 2017 12:22
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Thank you for the replies, currently my budget for strictly building a cabin will be roughly $25k. It could go up. Not sure at the moment. I plan on going up in about 2 months to start looking at property. I have an area I am interested in, they all have some sort of water on the property. Brook, and streams. I was planning on getting a saw mill, and tryin to cut lumber from the property. The smallest acre size I have been looking at is 40 acres. I have been looking at just doing an outhouse, I don't want the headache of going through septic. The plan is to go completely off grid, and get a small solar power set up, abd slowly upgrade it as time goes on. I am currently not sure what would be the best foundation set up I would like. Plan was to do a 3 bedroom, I believe that would be the largest I would go, possibly do 4. But not sure at the moment.
I really appreciate the quick input.
Ryan

toyota_mdt_tech
Member
# Posted: 24 Dec 2017 14:38 - Edited by: toyota_mdt_tech
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Look for tree types, hardwoods may be wetter or cedars indicates wet too. Look for crown lots, or an area on the lot with a crown for the cabin build. You want to be away from water during heavy rains. Look at sun exposure, which way to face the front for good sunlight through windows in the winter when sun is low, helps heat and big eaves/overhang to keep sun out of windows in summer when its higher int he sky. Big overhand is a must on log homes, splash back is a concern.

But-n-pass method is a quick way to go. But there is lots more to it. Might consider attending a log home building class like the one in Las Vegas put on by the LHBA (log home builders association) and this will cover those areas of trouble everyone runs into, avoid them with knowledge in advance. I did attend a log home building course, it was semi local, put on buy a guy who is a member of the LHBA and it was very close to the same procedure.
https://www.buildloghomes.org/

A full footing/foundation would be the way to go IMHO if you can get a dozer and cement truck in there. Its easier to do, quicker, but will cost more $$$ overall. But its done and done right. Nothing worse than having foundation trouble with a full house on top of it plus the fact you can do crawlspace access inside so it will be varmint tight.

Round up a posse of good pals, feed them well, no beer till the days work is done. A group of good pals can get loads done.

rockies
Member
# Posted: 24 Dec 2017 18:32 - Edited by: rockies
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You might watch this series.

http://www.diynetwork.com/shows/maine-cabin-masters

http://www.diynetwork.com/shows/building-off-the-grid-coastal-maine/episodes/specials /building-off-the-grid-coastal-maine

There's also this award winning Maine cabin.

https://inhabitat.com/tiny-off-grid-cabin-in-maine-is-completely-self-sustaining/

https://www.dwell.com/article/a-tiny-cabin-is-this-writers-off-the-grid-getaway-308ad 0af

Shadyacres
Member
# Posted: 24 Dec 2017 21:45
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Don't plan on building too big of a cabin for 25 k.

DaveBell
Member
# Posted: 25 Dec 2017 07:20 - Edited by: DaveBell
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Instead of bouncing all over the place, it might be better to start a methodical approach (ordered structure).

"I plan on going up in about 2 months to start looking at property."

You haven't selected or bought the land yet. That in itself will dictate how things are done and which materials to use. Locally sourced wood, saw mill, needs curing time to dry and shrink. It might take a year. So relocating in 6 months may not work.

It took me years to find the property I liked. I had created a prioritized list of land attributes (thread in here about that). The remoteness of my property was more important to me versus the capability to get factory trusses up a mountain. Low lying land may not provide the drainage to prevent you from living on a flooded bog.

After you purchase the land we can talk about size and foundations.
So lets work on land selection and purchase before we talk about things that may not apply.

deercula
Member
# Posted: 25 Dec 2017 22:02
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Quoting: Shadyacres
Don't plan on building too big of a cabin for 25 k.


Ryan, I'm not sure you are being realistic here. Things like this take time. Usually WAY more time than you hope. Many of us have spent YEARS just looking for a parcel of land. Planning and building will be much slower than you think. Considering what you have said in your first post, it seems you are being way too optimistic.

(1)Now I don't have much building experience,
(2) within 6 months at the latest,
(3) coming from NJ, so it's a bit of a trip,
(4) larger cabins

vetryan15
Member
# Posted: 26 Dec 2017 10:09
Reply 


Thanks for all the replies. I have been researching for a few years now. So. I should be taking the leap, soom. My plan is to move up there once I bought land. And live in a tent. I can do that, I have done that in the past. I also do get a small stipend from the military, and run a small online business. I do know what I am looking for, in regards to property. As stated in my earlier post, I plan on building a small trap line cabin, as practice before I jump onto the actual cabin. I am 31 yo, so I do have a partial youth on.my side. Been thinking about it, a concrete foundation might be my best bet, for that. Unless someone has other ideas.
Thanks
Ryan

vetryan15
Member
# Posted: 26 Dec 2017 10:11
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Quoting: Shadyacres
Don't plan on building too big of a cabin for 25 k.

U don't think I could build a larger cabin with that amount? I do plan on using locally sourced wood from the property itself, and using a portable saw mill to cut everything. I will do as much work as I can myself, if needed.
Ryan

NorthRick
Member
# Posted: 26 Dec 2017 16:36
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You could use up a good chunk of that budget just getting setup to mill your own wood. It's not just the cost of the mill. You need some way to get the logs from where they land on the ground over to the mill. And, a way to get the logs on the mill.

deercula
Member
# Posted: 27 Dec 2017 13:37
Reply 


"a concrete foundation might be my best bet"

"using a portable saw mill to cut everything"

OK, there goes your $25K, now what?

Can you really "run a small online business" from a tent?

"me, my gf, dog, cat and a few other smaller animals" are you all going to live in a tent, or a "small trapline cabin "?

My advice is keep saving. Maybe buy the land and look at building in a few years down the road when you can afford to do it properly. Sorry to be so blunt, but your plan has many holes.

vetryan15
Member
# Posted: 27 Dec 2017 15:26
Reply 


Quoting: deercula
a concrete foundation might be my best bet"

"using a portable saw mill to cut everything"

OK, there goes your $25K, now what?

Can you really "run a small online business" from a tent?

"me, my gf, dog, cat and a few other smaller animals" are you all going to live in a tent, or a "small trapline cabin "?

My advice is keep saving. Maybe buy the land and look at building in a few years down the road when you can afford to do it properly. Sorry to be so blunt, but your plan has many holes.

Ok I apologize for putting out my information in a confusing way. My animals would be taken care of. I breed 'ball python ' snakes, and my business partner would take them in, until I was settled in to move them. Also, my online business. I make primitive weapons. And blacksmithing. Forging knives from scratch. Portable saw mills I have seen down. To $4 k brand new, that I would probably go1/2, with my dad. If needed, my gf would stay in NJ, with all tge animals. Until I got something up and running. She is fine, staying in a small cabin if needed. All my animals would be taken care of, and moved when I thought would be the best time. I do thank you fir being blunt with me.
Ryan

deercula
Member
# Posted: 11 Jan 2018 08:35
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Can you do this?.............

http://myselfreliance.com/

Kamn
Member
# Posted: 11 Jan 2018 12:03
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I have seen lots of good review on the Harbor Freight saw mill for $2000, and reviews coming from sites like arboristsite.com.
With a saw mill you could really cut your building expenses down, but will have to slow the build down due to drying time on the wood. You could do a lot with that budget but need to shop slowly and grab deals when they come up and have a place to store stuff.
Keep things simple and it will keep your costs down.
Do your septic system yourself and it will keep costs down.
And if you need a backhoe to pull stumps, dig, and move materials around then maybe consider buying one in good used condition to get the work done and then resell it when your finished.

Just some thoughts

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