Author Topic: 12x16 guest cabin at remote Alaska property  (Read 1936 times)

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Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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12x16 guest cabin at remote Alaska property
« on: April 13, 2017, 02:34:54 PM »
I've noted in my main build thread that I'm currently working on a 12x16 cabin that will serve as a guest cabin when all is said and done.  I thought I should document it separately from the "big house" cabin that is yet to be built, hence this thread.

As a recap, our property is on a small lake in Alaska, near Lake Louise in the Copper River basin.  The lake is roughly a mile across and accessible by float plane.  In the winter we access the property via snowmachine.  Here's a picture from the property looking east towards the Wrangell Mountains.  The cabin will be in the center of the pic, this side of the spruce trees.




I'm building in a full loft to provide extra sleep space and/or storage space.  Walls are framed with 2x6 with a 10' top plate.  Loft joists will be balloon framed in, resting on a let-in 2x8.  The joists will extend 24" beyond the walls to tie in to the rafters, as shown below:



With a 12:12 pitch roof, there won't be a lot of head room in the loft.  I can live with that, as it is essentially meant to be the same as the cabover portion in a pickup camper.  If there are lots of guests, throw the kids in the loft and the parents can enjoy a proper bed downstairs.  Rafters are 2x10, with R30 insulation and plastic attic vents to allow air flow from the soffit to the ridge.  Roofing will be standing seam on top of complete ice&water shield.  Siding is undecided, either home-milled board and batten or something very low maintenance.
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story

Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: 12x16 guest cabin at remote Alaska property
« Reply #1 on: April 13, 2017, 02:50:59 PM »
Because we are in an area of discontinuous permafrost, I am building the cabin on pads that will sit on top of the ground.  Cribbing made of railroad ties is a popular way of raising cabins above the ground.  It facilitates adjustment by leveling and shimming if the ground moves due to frost heaves or permafrost thawing.  Here's a shot of one of the footings:



My beams are built-up pressure-treated 2x8s.  I tied them together with a few 2x8 to help reduce the chance of the beams rolling due to shear forces.  The floor joists are 2x8 at 11' 9" long on 16" center.  I put blocking in at 4' spacing.  I insulated the floor space as I was building the floor.  The process was to attach 1x4 furring strips on the underside of the joists.  I then dropped a 2" thick of blue foam cut to fit.  It rests on top of the furring strips, even with the bottom of the joist.  I followed with a batt of R21 fiberglass, then topped it with 3/4" plywood.  Here's my sister helping in the floor-building process.  You can see the furring strips on the underside of the joists.




My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story

Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: 12x16 guest cabin at remote Alaska property
« Reply #2 on: April 13, 2017, 02:56:42 PM »
We were busting our butts trying to get things done with the floor last weekend.  Just as I was nailing down the last row of plywood my generator shut down.  Thankfully I have a backup generator and was able to get it fire up in short order and finish the job.  The sun was close to setting when I performed my floor completion jig.



The plan this weekend is to get the walls and the roof up.  I am a little anxious because the trail into the property is starting to melt away.  Hopefully I'll have more pics to share come Monday.
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story

Offline new land owner

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Re: 12x16 guest cabin at remote Alaska property
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2017, 06:46:14 PM »
This spring I will be building a 12 x 16 guest cottage at my camp in the Adirondacks. Ill be looking forward to more pictures.

Offline Starvin

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Re: 12x16 guest cabin at remote Alaska property
« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2017, 12:03:18 PM »
REALLY interested, as this is the same thing my wife and I plan to do on our property. Build the guest shed first. Similar dimensions, though I was thinking 12x18 and I plan to build on skids on top of a crushed stone base for future relocation.

Post lots of pics! Good luck!

Offline NathanS

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Re: 12x16 guest cabin at remote Alaska property
« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2017, 03:10:50 PM »
Looks good, beautiful property too.

Good call on the standing seam, at 12-12 it would require miraculous conditions for any snow to ever accumulate on it.

Love seeing all that insulation, you'll be able to warm that place up nice and quick.

Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: 12x16 guest cabin at remote Alaska property
« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2017, 09:55:55 AM »
We made it to the property Easter weekend.  Normally it's about an hour +/- to ride from the end of the road to our place.  With much of the snow gone, the trails are very rough and overheating of the machine is a concern.  We stopped often and shoveled snow onto the tracks to keep the hifax cool.  The idea was to get in early on Saturday morning when the ground was still frozen.  Didn't quite happen that way.  :)  The journey took almost three hours to travel 10 miles.  Almost walking pace!  We made it to property by 1:45 pm.

I have a friend with a cabin in the area and came by Saturday afternoon to help.  We banged out the side walls in four hours and called it a night.



My buddy had to get back to town for a little office work on Sunday so it was myself, my wife, my sister, and my chief of security working on Easter Sunday.  Here he is inspecting the lumber pile.

My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story

Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: 12x16 guest cabin at remote Alaska property
« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2017, 10:06:12 AM »
I neglected to mention that the ride in on Saturday was pretty brutal.  At one point my wife was navigating some tussocks and the snowmachine rolled on her.  In a gentle way, sort of.  Except that that she was gripping the handlebar at the time of impact and suffered a jammed thumb.  She got to spend the weekend icing it and looking like a bird with a broken wing.

We framed up the two gable walls on Sunday. 



After putting up the south wall as shown above, we had to make a decision.  Either pack up and head out during the heat of the day, or stay another night in the Weatherport and ride out early the next morning.  We decided the latter option was the wisest choice and spent the rest of the day working on the cabin.  Here's what it looked like as the sun was rising on Monday:


My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story

Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: 12x16 guest cabin at remote Alaska property
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2017, 10:39:12 AM »
The last thing we did Sunday night was cover everything for an extended time away.  I covered the floor with a tarp to minimize any moisture getting into the floor and insulation.  It may be a while before I can get back out and get a roof up.  If I wait until I can get flown in, it won't be until June.  So I may try to blaze a summer trail with my ATV and get a head start on the summer construction.

Lifting up the gable walls was all that three 50-somethings could handle.  In the future I will use wall jacks.  It's too easy to get hurt when you're already tired and straining to get a wall upright.  For some odd reason, the things I could do at 21 are just a little more difficult now.  This was for a 2x6 wall 24" on center with two windows and a door, gable peak at about 16 feet.  My sister and I lifted the south wall okay, it just has two windows.  The framing on the north wall adds a lot more weight, and it was late in the day.  Note to self: invest in wall jacks for the next project.

I liked the suggestion I saw in another thread about using a grinder to smooth out the notch cut for letting in the stringers for the loft joists.  It's a great idea, and I wish I was smart enough to have brought my grinder out to the bush.  I wasn't smart enough for that.  But I was smart enough to have a new Stihl forestry axe.  It lacked the blazing speed of a high-RPM power tool but I was able to trim out the notched without too much effort.  It gave the illusion of living out Dick Proenekke's One Man's Wilderness.

A couple times during the framing I caught myself counting up my lumber inventory and worrying that I was going to come up short for a critical piece.  If I had followed my plan I would have been shy of a 2x8x16' for a loft joist.  This is because my plan was to use 16' 2x8 stringers for the balloon framing let-in stringer.  I realized I could use two 8' ones on each wall and save myself the dilemma of being short one loft joist.  Second note to self: when buying lumber add an extra one or two for each joist, rafter, etc.
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story

Offline Don_P

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Re: 12x16 guest cabin at remote Alaska property
« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2017, 03:07:43 PM »
Good progress  [cool] Michelle and I worked alone most of the time. One thing we often did with walls was leave out the window and door kings, jacks and headers and any really close by studs and the upper top plate. This allowed us to lift much larger sections of wall than we would have been able to otherwise. We would assemble the window or door framing flat on the floor then stand it and insert it into the upright wall.

Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: 12x16 guest cabin at remote Alaska property
« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2017, 09:02:01 PM »
That's some good thinking there Don.  Hopefully I'll have sense enough to recall it next time I frame a wall.   d*

My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story

Offline pmichelsen

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Re: 12x16 guest cabin at remote Alaska property
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2017, 07:37:18 AM »
It gave the illusion of living out Dick Proenekke's One Man's Wilderness.

I love this movie, Dick was a beast.

Great progress!

Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: 12x16 guest cabin at remote Alaska property
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2017, 06:01:47 PM »
I got out to the property this weekend and made some progress.  Took my teen daughter along, and she was assigned to take pictures.  I'll get a download from her, hopefully it won't be all selfies.  Got the loft framed up and almost all the 3/4 plywood sub-floor in.  Rain slowed us down yesterday so it will have to wait until I get out there again.  I want to get the roof on so bad, but man oh man there are so many things to do first.  I woke up early on Saturday and was enjoying a cup of coffee on the tent platform, listening to a trumpeter swan down on the lake.  I guess after seeing the new neighbors he decided to move on to a classier locale.  Must have had a full belly because it took half the lake for him to get airborne.  Swans are so graceful in flight, but getting to that state is bit of a struggle.  Wings and feet slapping the water with all his might, and only just barely getting signs of progress.  Kind of metaphorical for my progress on this cabin I guess.

The other bonus was seeing a brown bear on the little island about 1/2 mile from us.  Thankfully he had better places to be and we saw no further signs of him.
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story

Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: 12x16 guest cabin at remote Alaska property
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2017, 11:29:51 AM »
Still getting some work done and I'm still lousy at documenting my work with pictures.  I'll try to get something posted tonight.

I flew out to the property with my sister for the last weekend in June.  Got the loft floor completely done and started cutting a few rafters.  Started thinking about the visit that my folks will make and realized that a deck would be a good investment of time.  So we spent the rest of that weekend putting a 6'x12' deck on the front of the cabin.

As the weekend of July1 was approaching, I learned that my mother had some minor health issues that would preclude a trip to our property.  it was a bit of a disappointment to not have my parents come out for the 4-day weekend, but my wife and I decided it would provide an opportunity to put up the roof.  So we flew out to the lake with the dog and had a wonderful time.

The weather was not helpful though, as about 2/3 of the time it was raining or drizzling.  I set up a tarp over my tent platform to have a dry area to work and got busy cutting more rafters.  Got the ridge board up and started putting up the rafters.  The rake rafters proved to be a real challenge to get in place and nail in.  I got creative with using scrap wood to make a little shelf to hold the eave end in place while my wife used a rope and pulley to get the other end of the rake rafter in place.  Would have been a great thing to get a picture of, but that wasn't a priority at the time.  Still no plywood on the roof yet, so it's all still exposed to the weather.  At this point I can only hope the tarp on the floor is protecting things well enough from the rain.

My wife did claim the first known swim in our lake.  She enjoys open water swimming and gave our lake a thumbs up.
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story