Saturday, February 4, 2012

Work Day on the Cabin

This post covers a period of four days spent working on the roof of the cabin.  We will begin with the first day which was a Sunday morning after I had worked a 24 hour shift.

Day 1 of Cabin Roofing
We made a goal to work on the cabin Sunday no matter what.  Usually I would not so readily agree after working a 24 hour shift.  I never know how much or even if I will get any sleep but we have to get the roof raised.  We have been lucky so far with the weather and have managed to keep the floor somewhat dry with the use of tarps.  I had  managed to get a full nights sleep at work and I was ready to go.  I got the generator, air compressor, and other tools loaded onto the trailer.  

Jenn scored big time on a picnic table this week.  It is round with three benches and is in really good shape.  She managed to get it for $35 off the local radio stations trading post.  The guy also had two casement windows in great shape which we paid $15 for.  You can come across some real bargains on these type of programs.  We decided to go ahead and take the picnic table to the cabin so we would finally have a place to sit down and eat when we are out there.

The weather forecast was for it to be in the 50's and windy.  It actually got up into the 60's and was quite nice for the end of January in the Ozarks.


We made it out to the land around 11:30, set up the tools and ate a quick lunch.  I had already set the beam so we first braced the walls level and then got to work on the rafters. 

The results of a full day work, half the rafters set
It has been years, since high school construction trades class and have had to fabricated rafters.  I was frustrated trying to figure out the proper angles.  We finally got the angles right and started cutting the rafters.

We managed to get most of them cut and about half installed.  We plan on going back out tomorrow to place the remaining rafters and install the hurricane straps.


A coworker has some used plywood he is selling me real cheap.  I will use that as the roof deck and as sheathing for the front of the cabin as we plan on siding it with rough sewn cedar.  We decided to go with a metal roof as we plan to harvest rain water for irrigation for the berries.

We have to cut a 30 foot wide swath across the creek so we can have our electric brought in from the road.  We are splitting the cost with our neighbors who plan on building their homes after moving up this spring.
After I get this roof finished I have to get the finishing touches done on our house so we can get it on the market.

We managed to make it thru the day without any major mishaps.  We wrapped it up around four and started a bonfire to roast some marshmallows which is always a nice treat.

With luck the cabin roof will be ready for decking tomorrow afternoon.




Day 2


We managed to get around fairly early and get back out to the land.  We had to cut the remaining rafters prior to installing them.  I had borrowed some proper step ladders from a co-worker, my old wooden 8 foot ladder just wasn't cutting it and if I continue its use an injury is sure to occur.

See the cabin yet? 
Across the front of the cabin will be a 6 foot wide porch running the entire 16 foot length.  We are planning to frame in the porch once the cabin is dried in.  I managed to get very lucky thus far with the weather and with the below average rain and snow haven't had to deal with any rot or mold as we have managed to keep everything covered with tarps.

The cabin sits near the middle of our property overlooking our berry farm site and backs up to the woods.  Where it is sitting was actually all wooded and took quite a bit of work to clear.

You can see the cabin from the road as of now but when spring comes it will be nearly invisible due to the wood growth and foliage.  We also plan on using natural colors for stain.  The tree line in the front of this picture is actually a small stream.

Installing another rafter
Have you wondered why the front is framed the way it is?  My wife was unable to decide which side she wanted the front door and window to sit on, she better decide soon!

The use of proper tools for the job is essential for safety and effective use of time, especially when only one or two people are working on a project.

We would actually use a tie down strap to secure the ladder whenever we were working at height to avoid a possible tip over to prevent injury.

We used a generator to power our nail guns and saws.  I have a new battery powered saw but it doesn't seem to have the life to last a full day work even with two batteries.  I should have spent the extra money and bought the new lithium ion batteries.  We use them at work for ECG monitors and I am very impressed with their performance.




The result of a second full day of work
  We managed to complete the installation of the remaining rafters and a portion of the ties  My next day off we have to take a trip to pick up the plywood I scored.  In case you are new to the blog all the wood I have used with the exception of some studs and the siding has been cull lumber or used lumber.  So far we have about $500 total in the cabin.  In the area we are in we have no building code.  Despite this I am building it to all applicable codes.  We live in tornado alley and all the rafters will be strapped and secured with brackets.

Day 3

Recycled plywood
The day started with us having to drive 45 miles to pick up a load of used 1/2"  plywood.  It was removed from a barn that had a shingle roof.  The owner decided to go with metal when he re-roofed his barn and was left with 17 full sheets of plywood in excellent condition which I managed to get for $3 per sheet.  We got out to the land around noon and got to work unloading the plywood.  Once unloaded we ate a quick lunch and got to work installing the plywood as decking on the roof.  The old nail holes make no difference as we plan on using metal roofing.

Fixing the power cord I cut into two
After making essential repairs to a circular saw that I cut through the cord we were ready to get to work.




Wish my arms were a little longer.
I  framed the rafters every 24 inches on center.  It was a struggle to get the full sheets of plywood onto the roof with only myself and my wife but we managed to get it done.  I put plenty of nails into the plywood, I want it to stay on as we have high winds in this area regularly.  There are clips you can purchase to secure roof decking to keep it from coming up in high winds.  I didn't remember to buy them the last time we were at the lumber yard but I plan on using plenty of nails and backing it up with screws.  I don't think it will go anywhere when I am done.

It would have been ideal to have two people with nail guns, one securing from the top and the other from the bottom edge but we didn't have the luxury as we only have one set of guns.  I might mention that I purchased the guns from Amazon several years ago as a package kit.  It came with a compressor, finish gun, staple gun, and a brad gun.  The framing gun was purchased at the same time but is another brand.  When I first used the framing gun I had problems with it jamming.  It had set in my shop for over a year with me thinking I had a defective gun.  Come to find out I had purchased nails for the wrong brand of gun and they were not the proper angle thus causing the gun to jam.  Once I figured out my mistake I have not had any problems with it.

Amazon is a good place to find great deals on any item you can think of.

 I could have completed the entire decking in one day if I would've had additional help but as it was it worked out OK.  Notice the tie down straps securing the ladders to the cabin.  It is essential that you use all the safety precautions you can, especially when working in a very rural area where it takes a long time for an ambulance to reach you.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.



We began working as soon as we had finished lunch.  We are under a time crunch as I have one more day I can work on the cabin this week and the day after that they are forecasting a 100% chance of rain with the possibility of severe weather.

We worked until dark and managed to get one side of the roof sheathed and half the other side.

We have a problem with cell phone reception at our land.  Depending on which part you are on decides if you have service or not.  I had service on top of the roof but that does me no good on the ground.
















Day 4


This is the last chance I have to get a roof up and get it waterproofed as tomorrow they are calling for inches of rain. 

We had to stop at the lumber yard for underlayment. I wanted a synthetic self sealing type but had to settle for 30# roofing felt.



 The roofing felt will be temporary just to keep the decking dry while we order the metal for the roofing.  The installation is usually relatively easy but the day I was installing it the wind was blowing 30-45 mph.


There are many different methods for securing roofing felt.  Some use roofing nails, some use staples, and there are also nails with a round plastic disc around the top of the nail head which helps to keep the felt from ripping in the wind.

Whichever method you use, try to secure the felt in a W pattern.

Just about done securing the roofing felt.  I literally finished by headlight.  When I started the day I had the mistaken belief that I would be able to get the felt installed and the front and gable ends of the cabin sheathed.

I only managed to get the felt on.  We covered the flooring with a tarp to keep it dry because tomorrow the rain is coming!


Finishing up, I put in some extra nails just to make sure the felt is still on the roof when I get back out there to work again.

I have to work a 24 hour shift tomorrow and planned on taking the next day easy and then finish framing in the window and door on the front and installing the remaining sheathing on my next day off.

If the past has been any indication I will not complete everything I have planned for my next work day at the cabin.

I have been intrigued by the idea of solar chimneys.  For those who do not know they act as a heat escape in the summer.  Take a look at an old barn, notice almost all had cupolas?   They weren't there for looks but to actually used to ventilate the barn.

My idea is to build a 6X6 tower on one end of the cabin over the area with the loft.  If you look at the picture to the right it would be in this area.  It would rise about 6 feet above the peak of the roof and have windows on all sides.  I will build a ladder from the loft to access it and across from the ladder will be a padded "couch" to lie on and read.  It will be surrounded by book shelves.  In the summer the windows can be opened in the tower and on the main floor and the cabin will be cooled by the heat rising into the tower and going out the window with fresh air coming in from the window in the bottom of the cabin.  It will be an experiment to see if it would be feasible and worth incorporating into our house when we start building it.



The Next Day......






















The storm front moved in later than was forecasted but we did get plenty of rain.  I hope to find all the roofing felt still on the roof and the floor dry when I get back out there....

1 comment:

  1. Congrats to you two on the progress!

    ReplyDelete