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Small Cabin Forum / Cabin Construction / I'd like to come back home.
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OwenChristensen
Member
# Posted: 26 Feb 2017 11:15
Reply 


In the last couple years , I've been a rare visitor here. Being a contractor and building backwoods cabins for most of my long life , I fit right in here. About two years ago I went in a different direction. We started christensen saunas and that kept us three busy. However I still get calls about cabins, and I sure need mine more than ever before. I go there often. I have always helped anyone building a remote cabin with my ideas and I enjoy it. This is a free service, and always will be.
In fact, in the last two years I did end up building five more cabins in the MN north woods, for friends and relatives. I loved it. I guess I don't want to only build saunas. So I'm back if you'll let me join your conversations.
Thanks, Owen
Our wood fired saunas
Our wood fired saunas
Cabin
Cabin
Smallest
Smallest
Grand Marais
Grand Marais


Just
Member
# Posted: 26 Feb 2017 11:43
Reply 


great to hear from you owen,aways enjoy your practical
approach to building a cabin.I am building onefor a friend this spring in Ontario local builders bid was 14000$ mine was 3300$ √∑room and board for a week

mahaoi
Member
# Posted: 26 Feb 2017 14:13
Reply 


As a fellow carpenter, I appreciate your approach to cabin building. Common sense winning over architectural nightmares! Keep on building.

leonk
Member
# Posted: 26 Feb 2017 14:36
Reply 


Owen, welcome back.
I looked at your site. Craftmanship looks good.
1. 6" f-glass is not enough for sauna ceiling
2. vaulted ceiling is not a good option, IMO

OwenChristensen
Member
# Posted: 26 Feb 2017 15:59 - Edited by: OwenChristensen
Reply 


Thanks guys.
Leone, thanks for your opinion. We just built our 100th sauna in forty years, wrong , I guess. We now build and deliver forty per year to satisfied customers.
I used to build flat ceilings. The steam off the stove rolls directly to the diagonal corner. With vaulted it settles more centered and spread out and a low building is less claustrophobic with the vault. Plus given a choice all of our customer want the vaulted. Your thoughts about insulation are fine. The more the marrier, drawing the line at what works good with a short warm up time. We seem to have the nailed. Did you know all the original saunas were not insulated at all? Have a good day!

Steve_S
Member
# Posted: 26 Feb 2017 17:35
Reply 


Welcome Back Owen, looking forward to seeing more of your projects. The Dragon is an excellent touch ! The Garden Nome sure has a sweet nook there, I bet the chipmunks are jealous / envious. To have the right spot to build a full sized Hobbit Hole version.

OwenChristensen
Member
# Posted: 26 Feb 2017 18:01 - Edited by: OwenChristensen
Reply 


It's all fun. I've done this stuff for my whole life , almost seventy now. I never made enough to live that well, but good enough. Raised four kids and have nine grandchildren so far. I have the best customers anyone could have. A happy bunch that enjoy the outdoors as much as I do. Several came here to hear and tell stories about cabin life.
I've went fishing with some and lately went snowmobiling with one of the members here. They chose to get me to rough in their dream. An I get totally.
Thanks to this site for being here!

neb
Member
# Posted: 26 Feb 2017 21:50
Reply 


I don't post much any more but visit often. I was wondering where you been. Nice your back.

creeky
Member
# Posted: 26 Feb 2017 22:30
Reply 


Nothing like experience. Great to see you are back.

And looking forward to your builds.

Shadyacres
Member
# Posted: 26 Feb 2017 22:33
Reply 


Welcome back Owen. I always value your input.

upndown
Member
# Posted: 27 Feb 2017 08:59
Reply 


Welcome back Owen! I have totally enjoyed your builds since I joined this site. They just felt right and well executed! But more importantly I've admired your skills!

Unfortunately due to an unfavorable diagnosis, as I welcome you back, I am done with cabin life! Everything is for sale as I embark on the biggest challenge of my life.

Please continue posting! I will be enjoying the read.
God bless!

leonk
Member
# Posted: 27 Feb 2017 12:08
Reply 


Quoting: OwenChristensen
our 100th sauna in forty years


Owen, you're good guy, I don't want to fight with you, but
one can do something a 1000 times and still do it wrong.
Your customers don't know any better. Every single sauna I visited in the US and Canada had some serious functional issues. I guess because the builders have no real understanding of saunas and just build another structure the way they see fit.
I haven't been to a sauna with vaulted ceiling, but one of the functions of the level ceiling is to hold the layer of steam there, so it can be 'grabbed' with 'the broom' (vihta in Finnish) and directed at the 'sauners' but I bet no one gives a damn, since no one knows what I am blabbering about... and since your customers are happy, all the best!

Gary O
Member
# Posted: 27 Feb 2017 12:15
Reply 


So good to see yer doin' well, Owen

luv yer stuff

I'm very fond of this one

very fond


silverwaterlady
Member
# Posted: 27 Feb 2017 12:15
Reply 


Welcome back Owen, I've enjoyed your posts over the years....

upndown, I'm sorry to hear of your troubles and wish you the best.

NorthwoodsGuy
Member
# Posted: 27 Feb 2017 13:35
Reply 


Welcome back Owen, I've learned a bunch from your posts here.

We're not far from you, up on the shore...

Wendigolake
Member
# Posted: 27 Feb 2017 21:10
Reply 


We always have room for another good source of information on here...Welcome back Owen!!

OwenChristensen
Member
# Posted: 27 Feb 2017 21:27
Reply 


You guys make me happy. Glad to be back. We spend a lot of time at our cabin this last year watching sunsets. oh yeah and mowing, mowing a lot.
Gary O , that's one of our members.

OwenChristensen
Member
# Posted: 28 Feb 2017 08:47 - Edited by: OwenChristensen
Reply 


leonk, I'm sure you are right. In a non insulated sauna with a frozen concrete floor the steam roll maybe restricted. This was what many of the original finish saunas were built like. I know because I repaired many in Northern MN. thirty years ago. What I strive for is a warm floor, a uniform steamy room with less temperature variance from top to bottom. In my observations, I don't see steam lingering near the ceiling, but rather revolving and the more uniform the movement the better. of course there will always be some people who like more heat and others less, and that's why the two levels and even sometimes a window above a lower bench for an even cooler area. The one thing that I have heard from other family members of my customers is they fear how hot dad will make it. If we can keep the whole family happy, we sell more buildings.
Anyway, I'm not telling anyone how to build a sauna, just building My way.
Owen

Sustainusfarm
Member
# Posted: 28 Feb 2017 12:16
Reply 


Owen...great to see you on again! I just started posting again in the last week as well...Is Trollridge on here anymore under a new name??

leonk
Member
# Posted: 28 Feb 2017 13:38
Reply 


Thanks for the explanations Owen.

Anna
Moderator
# Posted: 28 Feb 2017 16:07
Reply 


Welcome Back Owen!

gsreimers
Member
# Posted: 28 Feb 2017 18:38
Reply 


And then there's this one Owen built, personally, my favorite. Thanks Owen
cabin_photo_from_Chr.jpeg
cabin_photo_from_Chr.jpeg


rockies
Member
# Posted: 28 Feb 2017 19:47 - Edited by: rockies
Reply 


Have you seen cylindrical saunas? I saw one installed on a TV show called "Colin and Justin's Cabin Pressure".

http://www.trendhunter.com/trends/steam-room
Hot tub and Sauna
Hot tub and Sauna
Construction
Construction


OwenChristensen
Member
# Posted: 28 Feb 2017 20:07
Reply 


Nice picture Gary!
Yes, there seems to be a lot of builders around the country building the barrel saunas. No room for me to get into that market.

carr0406
Member
# Posted: 23 Mar 2017 14:54
Reply 


Welcome back Owen, any chance you might venture back into building cabins? I lost my 16x32 cabin last month in Castle Danger due to fire and am working with Ins now. Not sure I have the energy/time to start over myself but I can't imagine not having a cabin after being so close.

Julie2Oregon
Member
# Posted: 24 Mar 2017 21:45
Reply 


upndown
Seems to be going around. Thinking of you, friend. Hey, at least we did it. Some people only wonder if they can, and never do.

Hi Owen! Good to "see" you!

LoonWhisperer
Member
# Posted: 27 Mar 2017 17:31
Reply 


Good to have you back Owen! Always enjoyed your posts.

@upndown... all the best in whatever challenge lies before you.

OwenChristensen
Member
# Posted: 30 Mar 2017 08:58 - Edited by: OwenChristensen
Reply 


Well I never had a shop big enough to build in, so since the sauna business seems to be with me to stay, I've invested in a shop to build them in. Yesterday we set 28' , 5/12 trusses on top of 16'-6" high walls. When the show is done, our projects will be built on casters and can be moved from side to side for more space to work. The rolled out onto a concrete apron until loaded, so another one can be started. Good lighting, drop cords for tools and compressed air plumbing with many couplers are quite an advantage. We now also have a three ton folklift to handle wholesale lumber deliveries. We're going to still be a family business. And yes we still have snow.
Gable end
Gable end
Other end
Other end
All trusses up
All trusses up


Osceola
Member
# Posted: 3 Apr 2017 16:09
Reply 


Hi Owen,

I stumbled onto this site a while back, but never registered. I've read some of your posts and was disappointed you were gone, so I'm happy to see you back! This is good timing for me as 2017 is the year we will finally build a rustic cabin on our Michigan property.

There are many decisions to be made and the first is foundation. The county building inspector requires footings below frost line. My excavator, who will be doing some site prep, recommends a concrete block/crawl space foundation for our 14 x 24 cabin. I know you've advocated for a simple double skid, but I'm not sure the building inspector will go for it. What are your thoughts about a concrete block crawl space? Site is sandy loam with slight slope.

OwenChristensen
Member
# Posted: 5 Apr 2017 08:59 - Edited by: OwenChristensen
Reply 


Yes, the size of your cabin is a bit long for simple skids. I did just build that size on skids , even in bad soil, but first we put down a layer of gravel about a foot deep. Then we let it set through several hard rains to compact it. We built the beams with four layers of treated 2x12's tied together with four cross 2x10's the beams set totally on the gravel with no gaps. The beams were in about a foot from the edge. I have not had any problem with this set up before and trust it more the other types of unheated foundations. Just spending more doesn't always work like you hope.
Owen
Cabin on gravel with skids
Cabin on gravel with skids


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