Author Topic: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update  (Read 1586137 times)

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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #100 on: June 06, 2005, 11:38:15 PM »
I learned much of what I know about solar and wind from the Internet, the local solar guy, Bergey Wind power, and self experimentation, failure and success.  I got to the point of now having things working pretty good and knowing which way I want to go farther.  I also had 2 years of electronics in high school and was a Dodge dealer head mechanic and diesel mechanic for a few years.  Much of the electrical knowledge is transferable from one trade to another. ;D

I was totally busy for a bit then worn out then have to go back to real work to pay the bills :-/  The home tour was much better than I thought it would be- we met many people interested in alternative or innovative building and got to make contact with many more interesting knowledgable people who are willing to share their knowledge.
« Last Edit: June 07, 2005, 12:07:36 AM by glenn-k »
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Offline conohawk

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #101 on: June 11, 2005, 07:31:21 AM »
Quote
Mike is the real deal. No scam. I spent the day at his place in Idaho about 3 weeks ago. He is strictly a low tech home based operation working out of small cabin in the backwoods of North Idaho. Let me know if you dont  get your book or make contact and I will try to let him know their is disgruntled customer out there.


I ordered the video set from Mike.  Arrived within two or three days.  

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #102 on: June 11, 2005, 07:51:50 AM »
Mike's a great guy- he even visits houses other people have built from his plans once in a while.

We had 2 more visitors last night - a neighbors daughter and her friend were walking along our road- I told them to drop by- they were impressed before they got inside- they left with both saying they had been inspired.  I think she just graduated from college.  That's what this place is about- opening peoples eye's to the fact that things don't have to come from a factory to make usable shelter.

Quoting Baldasare Forestiere again, "To make something with lots of money that is easy— But to make something out of nothing... now that is something."
« Last Edit: June 11, 2005, 07:52:32 AM by glenn-k »
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #103 on: June 12, 2005, 12:56:12 AM »
We went to the hostel about 10 miles away for dinner last night and met a mate from Australia.  Knowing what a great guy Jonesy is, we got to talking and invited him to look at the Underground Cabin.  He is in the building trades over there.

My daughters boyfriend and he both were hoping to see a rattle snake while here. :-/  Not wanting to dissappoint them, one decided to show up at our barbecue.  That was a bad move on his part because our rules are no live rattle snakes near the house.  Two people have recently died from snake bites near here.



Well - to make a long story short, after knocking the tops off a few cold ones we decided to invite him to the barbecue - in fact we decided to let him be the barbecue.  ;D

Toss another snake on the barbie, anyone ???

Yes-- we really did eat him. :o
« Last Edit: June 12, 2005, 07:33:54 AM by glenn-k »
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Offline Mudball

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #104 on: June 12, 2005, 04:15:51 AM »
Quote
Those worked.

The more I look the more I like your house.

I'll second that.
I really wish I had the time, location, and most importantly the knowledge to build something like that.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2005, 04:18:44 AM by Mudball »

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #105 on: June 12, 2005, 06:49:40 AM »
I'm glad you both like it- everyone does - I don't know why - I tell everyone it's crude - put together with a chainsaw, sledge hammer and nail gun.  Most trim is done with a skill saw but somehow it still manages to come out looking pretty cool. :-/

3 1/2 years ago I didn't know how to do it.  Typed a question into a search engine on the net - "How do I build an underground house?"  Several stories and books came up.  I ordered them.  Mike Oehler's book made the most sense - a real reason for everything- how and why he did it, and most importantly for me- rule of thumb engineering tables.  I then ordered his videos and they answered a lot more questions.  He gave some advice somewhere - If you come to a problem you can't figure out a solution to, let it rest and go work on something else.  Soon the answer will come to you.  Seems like that always works.  He left a little out but not much.  One I found I made my own rule of thumb for- retaining wall spans - His post sizes are great - engineered and never a problem- for 8' spans I went to using 2x material or break it down to 4'spans by adding a light post, if wanting to use 1x material to keep walls from bowing - as he said - backfill gently - not with a heavy tamper  or mechanical tamper and things will be fine.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2005, 06:52:17 AM by glenn-k »
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Offline Mudball

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #106 on: June 12, 2005, 08:27:56 AM »
As far as the rattlesnake goes I seriously would like to get one and save the rattles and eat it also. We have some here in TN . but I haven't found one yet.
Besides that if I was to eat one I've always been afraid that I'll get drunk and bite somebody ;D

Offline Daddymem

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« Reply #107 on: July 19, 2005, 12:50:56 PM »
Watch your head and IE only unless you wanna crash Mozilla:

http://veepers.wingateinns.com/card/Yf0Ma3J42rgi5BEHo4oBMW

Enjoy  :)
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Aide-moi à les retrouver.
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Offline Okie_Bob

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #108 on: July 21, 2005, 04:18:49 AM »
In Oklahoma and Texas, some of the smaller towns have annual 'Rattlesnake Hunts'. These are usually three day affairs when people come from all over to go out and catch as many as they can. They then bring them into town and collect the venom then skin and cook them for everyone to eat. And yep, it tastes like chicken! (So does gator!) The skin is used for a lot of differnt things like boots, belts, wallets, etc. Not sure where the rattles go and don't care, I hate snakes. My father-in-law goes to about one a year, camps out and loves rattleshake meat! (I knew he was strang before I married his daughter!)
Okie Bob

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #109 on: July 21, 2005, 06:31:40 AM »
I hope his daughter loves snakes, Bob. ;D
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #110 on: July 24, 2005, 09:43:43 PM »
I was hungry tonight to I went up on the roof of the cabin and dug some All Blue potatoes- purple inside and out-- nuked them a few minutes in the underground solar powered microwave, slathered them with butter and salt and now I'm gonna eatem.  Grrrrrrrrr.  Boy are those good.  Photo courtesy of the nearly usable phone camera. ;D

« Last Edit: July 24, 2005, 09:44:09 PM by glenn-k »
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Offline Amanda_931

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #111 on: July 26, 2005, 05:50:14 AM »
Yum, on the blue potatoes.

I need to get a good vegetable garden going!

And I agree with you on the phone camera.   Seems like I sometimes see--slightly--better looking photos from the phone camera on Weather Underground's picture page, but mostly they are best viewed as expressionist or watercolor pictures.  Maybe to the extent of running them through somebody's expressionist or watercolor filter.

(That's what I decided on my first digital camera--1 big megapixel--so of course I had to push its limits all the time.  A quarter or a tenth of the frame needed badly not to be considered a photograph.)

Offline Jimmy C.

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #112 on: July 26, 2005, 12:07:58 PM »
I  just found out this week that my camera phone(Toshiba-VM4050 ) has a setting adjustment for resolution of 480x640 or 240x320 and a quality of normal or fine.
It will only hold 3 or 4 pictures on the fine resolution setting and will hold 15-19 on normal.

Much better pictures by changing the settings!
It is still a little fuzzy the further away you get from the  from the object.
I use my phone every time I go to Home Depot or Lowes. Snap a picture of the things I like and the price. It sure beats trying to remember things!

« Last Edit: July 26, 2005, 12:23:23 PM by Jimmy_Cason »
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Offline John Raabe

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #113 on: July 26, 2005, 12:32:03 PM »
Glenn - great roof spuds. Just another benefit of the living roof!

Jimmy - what a great use of the camera phone. Quick, easy, unobtrusive and easy to review.
None of us are as smart as all of us.

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #114 on: July 26, 2005, 11:09:07 PM »
My picture was in low light -no flash so probably pretty good all things considered.  Soon will have to try out it's video feature.  

Another reason I wanted to try it is that I can take photo's of job problems and email them directly to the fabrication shop as soon as I take them- right off the phone.

Lots of vegetables from the rooftop garden now.  The garden has expanded onto the shop also.  It really looks better than 25 year comp roofing I think. ;D

The place is looking good, Jimmy.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2005, 11:10:05 PM by glenn-k »
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Offline PEG688

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #115 on: July 26, 2005, 11:19:23 PM »
So essentailly your now eating your house  :o 8) :D Pick your icon LOL
  Just don't get to hungry ;) HTBH  ;)PEG
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #116 on: July 26, 2005, 11:33:43 PM »
You got it Peg-- eating the living roof-- and you can't even taste the horse manure. ;D

Overgrown veggies go to seed or to the sheep/garbage disposal/fertilizer manufacturing plant. ;D
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #117 on: August 22, 2005, 11:43:35 PM »
The latest thing from the Underground Cabin Control Center -- a crappy little website---- ;D

But now that I finally got off my duff and started it maybe it will get better. :-/

http://members.sti.net/glennk/index.htm
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #118 on: September 23, 2005, 10:49:37 AM »
A little more information about my floors in reply to an e-mail question from a friend.

Quikrete Concrete cure and seal is available at Home Depot and other places - near the additives- colors etc. section in the concrete area.  About 18.00 gallon as I remember.  A sponge mop with extra heads for replacement after wear are great.  Clean good with water or prepare to throw them away - they will harden.  A plastic bag over the mop will prevent hardening for a few days or more to give you a break if necessary.  Works for latex paint brushes and rollers too.

I have dirt floors and use concrete cure and seal on some of my mud furniture - conversation pit etc.  It also seems to be good as the expensive stuff which runs near 40 per gallon.  

The floors are cob or various experimental soil cement mixes varying in quality.  The best is 30% clay 70% sand 5 handfuls chainsaw chopped straw per 10 shovels full - water - let dry and grout the cracks with clay-fine sand and acrylic (concrete additive or cure and seal) mix -- seal top with 4 coats linseed oil thinned with thinner then Concrete Cure and Seal over that after dry.  Adding cement about 10% stabilizes the mix- not soluble in water- but the linseed oil doesn’t soak in as well leaving a less durable surface subject to more chipping or surface scratching.

Note that the threshold is actually nailed through the vapor barrier into the hard mineral clay below.  I actually had to jack hammer out rock to make room for the threshold.  Large rock is mixed in with the natural clay.  The pink object -lower right is actually a 3' or so boulder in the clay to the side of the door.
« Last Edit: September 23, 2005, 12:19:48 PM by glenn-k »
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #119 on: September 23, 2005, 10:06:48 PM »
I am currently working on the entrance to the lower area so it can be closed in before winter.

The entrance roof is supported by a tree that is 24' long -2' in diameter at the trunk.


To the west is a recycled window, a "seconds" vinyl window and there will be 2 tempered glass salvage door windows also, making most of the corner glass.  I am going to build my hypocaust inside in front of the window hopefully incorporating a Roman bath (hot tub) for heat storage also.   Water can be pumped from there to the hydronic heating tubes in the other area of the house or to radiators as necessary.  (Yeah -right-- when will that be complete ??? )
« Last Edit: September 23, 2005, 10:08:20 PM by glenn-k »
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #120 on: October 11, 2005, 02:42:08 PM »
I received an E-mail from Sharon and am posting it and responses with permission.

----- Original Message -----
From: Sharon
To: glenn-k@msn.com
Sent: Monday, October 10, 2005 10:19 PM
Subject: Your Home


Glenn,

I just logged onto Cottage Plans for the first time in a LONG time (it was the old forum then) and found the pics of your home.  Totally awsome!  I have been researching Earthships and Cob building for the last 4 years (or so) and can't seem to decide which is for me.  I like the concept of the earthship--underground, self-sufficient, the indoor planters using greywater, solar power--but don't like the idea of pounding all those tires!!!!  I love cob because of it's greater design ability--and I love the idea of glass colored bottles in the walls to let the light in--but it lacks any insulation for this Minnesota climate.  

I loved what I saw of your home.  The use of cob, timbers, underground, solar, the large room with windows (sorry, forgot what you called it and yet I have no idea what it is) I was wondering if you could tell me a little about your home--where did you get your ideas? did you build one room and then keep adding? is your climate warm and arid? would it work here with the snow loads and cold weather? ETC....I would love to know all you can offer for knowledge.

I will next investigate the $50 and Under book you recommended. I have read all the Earthship books and the major Cob books, already.

Just want to build a home that is a part of the earth, not on it.  I do have land in MO where there are no building restrictions I could build on when we retire, but family is here in MN.  Any suggestions of what/how to build for our extreme climate?

I truly appreciate  you taking the time to help me.  I look forward to your updates also.

Thank you,
Sharon



glenn kangiser <glenn-k@msn.com> wrote:
Hi Sharon.  I checked several different methods out and the one that made the most sense was the cheapest and has the engineering in the book-- log sizes etc.  "The $50 and up underground house" by Mike Oehler.  $50 and Up Underground House  This will get you safely into the ground without pounding tires.  Most of the ideas came from Mike with modifications for my conditions by me.

You are probably talking of the Conversation Pit-- Has the clay oven in the shape of a cat.  It was my woodshed the first year.  Large rock caused me to make the clay oven to use the space.  Needed a roof to protect the cob - cob seating fit well into the woodshed hole that was there.  Windows allow a view of the trees and valley below.  There is still dirt banked up to the window level and on the roof.

Heathers place and her parents are for sale and in heavy snow country - a link was added today - it was also built from Mike's methods.  Peace and Carrots Underground Home  Mike recommends the heavier liner over the roof now rather than plastic as I am using- a good change but expensive - defeats part of his purpose.

I am purposely experimenting with different alternative building methods.  Adding a suspended tree room for an entrance now.  Maybe some pictures soon.  My cabin now measures 57' x 57' in a kind of a T shape.  It is hot here in the summer - avg 90 to 100 or more sometimes- winters as low as a little below freezing occasionally - valley 1/2 mile below gets much colder.  Avg 25" of rain per year but 55"  last year.

Snow loads should not be a problem - rated for 2' of dirt and 1 foot of water -Mike has since recommended cutting dirt down to 18". Attention to drainage is an important part of making this work.  For your Minnesota climate I think I would insulate from the frost level or more up with a foam board.  My porch is done that way on the roof- entrance will be also- cuts down on weight -I used 2" of soil over that roof -milled  4x4's for roof beams.

Glad to help with what I can.  Do you mind if I post this to the forum so others may benefit also?

Glenn

----- Original Message -----
From: Sharon
To: glenn kangiser
Sent: Tuesday, October 11, 2005 12:03 PM
Subject: Re: Your Home


Glenn,

Please do post my messages.  I will post future posts to the group.  Thank you for the info.  I am sure I will have more questions once I read the book.

Do you use any type "thermal mass" to help heat in the winter?  Any suggestions on how to incorporate thermal mass into a design such as yours?

Thanks again,
Sharon
 
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #121 on: October 11, 2005, 02:42:38 PM »


I will post them in the Underground Cabin Update-- thanks - saves me typing and increases available information available to all.  The entire cabin uses thermal mass as part of its design.  Being covered with and in the earth, you have a thermal flywheel effect evening out daytime and night time temps as well as annual temps to a point.  Using cob in the conversation pit is more of the type of thermal mass you are referring to.  It has large windows facing south and about a 3 foot overhang above.  Winter sun warms the seating area -Summer sun can't get in due to the higher angle.  The ground itself remains fairly constant in temperature  -probably 50 to 60F so a fan in summer or fairly small to medium fire in the winter will suffice to keep things comfortable.

In the new section I am going to incorporate a fireplace into a hypocaust system (Roman heated floor-fire underneath-)with a Roman bath above it to store heat in the water.  Water stores much more heat than rock or soil.  The water will be able to be pumped to the hydronic heating tubes in the floor of the existing apartment section which is semi-finished (I try to never completely finish anything).  The floor with the tube is soil cement -similar to cob without straw so will store heat also.  It would probably be better to have crushed rock under the soil cement floor to break the heat from traveling to the ground but John hadn't told me that before I got into the forum .

Glenn
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Offline harrybear_12001

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #122 on: October 16, 2005, 06:07:44 AM »
wow-quite the imagination-my building inspectors like everything by the book and have a difficult time accepting anything different-I'll build on the family ranch someday-into a hillside-have a great day-Annie

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #123 on: October 16, 2005, 08:25:21 AM »
Hi Annie.  You are right - the building inspectors would make this impossible.  Now that you mentioned it, it reminds me that I may have forgot to ask if it was OK.  It is not corporately correct.  It doesn't use enough manufactured materials.  The materials manufacturing corporations aided and abetted by the government and insurance companies would not approve.  It is not financially correct according to the money lenders.  I don't need them -I don't pay 20 times the cost in interest.  Actually, with a lot of time and a major investment with a phenominal increase in costs, and substituted approved -(read expensive) materials I think I could get this approved.  Not worth the trouble to me.  I'll try to stick with my rights.

I use the last few shreds of the Constitution to protect myself and reserve my rights to provide shelter for my family.  I noticed that Supreme Court Judges are still sworn to uphold the constitution. (However, I must note that they did install our current president in office for his first term, and they did rule that it is OK for the local government to take your property if it will increase their tax revenue.)  Laws that states make in conflict with the Constitution and Bill of Rights are null and void. Good luck on finding an un-corrupt official who will uphold the Constitution when it conflicts with local law, but you stand a better chance if you know your Constitutional rights.  The local Sheriff's tend to shy away from directly violating these signs as attested to by another friend who's neighbor posted them.  The Sheriff when, he saw the sign, left,  called in an unmarked car with an un-uniformed person to tear the sign down.  He then returned to check out the disturbance behind the posted area.  I'm not saying that building codes are not good.  There are unscrupulous contractors out there who would and do take advantage of of people who don't take care of themselves.  I'm saying I don't have a problem with them if I am building for someone else who is in agreement with the system and has surrendered their rights to the state.  The houses in New Orleans and the gulf coast were mostly built in compliance with the codes.  Everyone was saved and their reliance on the government assured them a prompt and speedy return to their homes along with the finest in Federal assistance so they did not have to endure hardship.  Write to any of them at their home address to verify that this is true.



Mike Oehler came up with this method of building for safe shelter at low cost.  This method of building has been checked and designed by a professional engineer.  It is not a public building.  It is built by me for me and my family.  It will no more fall on me than a historical building downtown that was built before the codes.  That is not the point though I realize.  The point is that the proper agencies and special interest groups are not being paid off.  Engineering departments do not make any money if they can't re-invent the wheel on each project.  Rule of thumb tables are not profitable.  You should all be happy that conventional framing with stud walls was grandfathered in because there is not one piece of wood that is uniform enough to stand up to a scientific structural quality standard test.  Not that I am saying it needs to, to be safe.

A friend of ours has tried to design an underground structure smaller than mine.  The banks and government will still not agree and allow her to do it for a reasonable cost.  She has tried to go through "proper channels" for over 15 years.  Her cost estimate through "proper channels" is over $1,000,000 .  She is being denied her rights through impossible economics.

Until our Constitutional rights are completely destroyed, I will keep trying to exercise mine.  There I go again -was that a rant ???  Why can't I learn to keep my big mouth shut ???

Note:  The opinions expressed by me on this site are mine only and are not meant in any way to reflect the views of the site owner, nor are they meant in any way to influence you to do things by other than proper methods and through proper channels.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2005, 02:52:53 PM by glenn-k »
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

Glenn's Underground Cabin  http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=151.0

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DS

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #124 on: October 16, 2005, 11:22:13 PM »
Hi Glenn,

My house is currently on the market, and as soon as it sells I intend to move out in the sticks and build my own underground house. I'm not letting the fact that I have no building experience or knowledge or tools or any idea what I'm doing get in my way either.

Anyhow, I have Mike's books and videos. I have studied them intently, and have a pretty good idea what I need to do. However, the one part that I need help with is how to correctly notch the posts.

His video only confused me more on the matter. Is there anyway you could post a pic or describe the correct way to notch the post? I appreciate your help.

On a side note, I have been in contact with the Discovery Channel who seems interested in filming me build this house (amongst other things) for a new show they have comming out next year. If my house sells in time, it seems pretty likely I'll end up doing it. I've been trying to get them to call Mike and see if he will come out and help, sort of as a guest expert, but they are not being all that helpfull with my request.

At any rate, I appreciate your help. Thanks alot.

DS