NE Oregon 20 x 30+ 1.5 story

Started by CabinNick, June 01, 2015, 11:16:39 PM

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Well it has been about 25 days since we started our build.  Oh my gosh has it gone fast and am I tired!  We are getting close to being dried in (roof sheathing going on tomorrow) but I want to go back and post pictures in stages of what we did for the benefit of folks on the forum. 

So after we got the walls up and the first 8' of sheathing on, it was time to put up the big beams that support the second floor.  Last year we hired a mobile sawmill to come in and mill our own trees into 6"x12"x20' beams - Douglas Fir. 

First we had to wrestle the 350-400 pound beams up onto a friends flat bed trailer and drive them up the hill to our building site. 

We left a 4' hole in the wall without framing so we could just back the trailer right up to the cabin and slide the beams off as they were ready.  We didn't want perfectly smooth and sanded beams but we wanted to nock some of the roughness off; so we hit them with a quick belt sander before we brought them into the cabin.  The beams were all milled to 6x12 and perfectly square, but after a year of drying the widths varied by about 1/2" and had some twists in them.  Luckily we milled 12 beams and only needed 9.  We had to notch them a bit to get them all the same depth while siting on the top plate of the wall. 

We rented a hand operated genie lift to lift the beams into place.  This lift worked great; all the kids took turns lifting a beam into place. 

We used decorative simpson brackets to support the beams around the opening for the stairs.  They worked out great because they make brackets specifically for rough cut dimensions. 

We then framed small walls between each of the beams and along the entire gable ends to support the 2nd floor decking and then the pony wall that the trusses will sit on.  I must add.....not sure if this was the correct way to do this; had to kind of make it up on the fly that day. 

When I get a chance I will post some pics of the 2x6 T&G floor going down.  The beams and floor look great!


Looking great!  Also looking forward to seeing the T&G decking.

That hand-powered lift seems perfect for a lot of applications, particularly for someone off grid.  Yet another item to add to my Xmas list...  :)
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story


That lift was the best $120 rental fee I ever spent.  It is really heavy (close to 350 pounds I think), but it is built to collapse and tilt into the bed of a pickup truck for easy transportation and potentially can be moved/unloaded by only one person.  It made quick work of lifting the beams. 


Looks awesome. That ceiling is going to add a lot of character to the house. Best part is that it's done - no drywall to hang and mud!  :D

Is all that extra blocking in the walls a seismic thing?


Quote from: CabinNick on July 10, 2019, 08:14:57 PM
We then framed small walls between each of the beams and along the entire gable ends to support the 2nd floor decking and then the pony wall that the trusses will sit on.  I must add.....not sure if this was the correct way to do this; had to kind of make it up on the fly that day.

Just so this doesn't get copied in the future. The correct way to do that is to frame the walls to the height of the top of the beams and frame in pockets that the beams drop into. That avoids the weak hinge in the walls created by the short pony walls.


Yes, good to capture that in this thread Don.  That was one of my mistakes/regrets - sure wish I would have just framed in pockets to put the beams in.  Not only would it have been structurally better but it would have also made it easier to manage the slight differences in depths of the beams and saved me about half a day of work.  Will add that to the ever growing list of lessons learned.....


For our 1st floor ceiling/2nd level flooring, we used 2x6 tongue and groove Douglas fir.  We used construction adhesive to glue the boards to the beams and used 3 1/2" nails with a nail gun - face nailed at the ends where walls would cover the nails and in the center we nailed into the tongue to hide the nails.  At the beginning we used a bar clamp for stubborn boards and as the distance got longer we switched to using large ratchet straps to pull the boards together; they worked well. 

It was slow getting started but once we got into the groove (no pun intended!) it went relatively quickly.  I am really pleased with the final product; especially how the ceiling looks.  I think the beams and ceiling will be the highlight of the cabin. 

There were two lessons learned on this step in our project:

1) Have a dedicated "glue person" to hand you the glue when you need it and then make sure the glue does not get on everything else.  Doing this really sped up our process.

2) Even though you buy "kiln dried" boards; you still need to let them dry.  We had our boards delivered about 10 days before installing them.  They set in pile outside in our very dry, 85 degree weather during those 10 days.  We were working sun up to sundown without stopping and I didn't take the time to put stickers between the rows in the stack and let them dry more.  We put the floor down and the joints were nice and tight.  Two days later the boards had dried in the sun and have opened up pretty large.  This was one of those things were I knew I was making a mistake as I was doing it, but I had all the people there to help and I only have so much time off of work. Oh will add to the rustic charm of the cabin. 


Oh, and I forgot to answer Nathan's question about why we have all the horizontal blocking in our walls.  After pondering it for the last year, I decided to put those in to nail our board and batten siding into so there would be more to hold the nails in place when the board try to cup.  They were a PAIN to put in; took me most of one day to put them in however I think it will be worth it when the siding boards don't pull out. 


This is how I like to do the bottom of B&B. a horizontal board with a 15 degree bevel to block the gaps between boards. The boards have a 15 degree cut on their bottoms, this is to direct any water that might get in the joint out. The battens run over all this down to the bottom of that horizontal board.

When nailing B&B boards nail in their centers, if 2 nails are used put them in the center area spaced no wider than 4 or 5 inches apart to avoid splitting the boards as they shrink. Nail the battens through the gap between boards, again to avoid splitting the boards.

It's looking good, I wish we had Dougfir on this coast.


Looking good!

On 'Kiln Dried' wood:  Kiln's often dry to a specific target but that does not mean in your drier climate in the sun, the wood won't lose more moisture.  It's just the way wood is.  I have pine that is down to 5% and yet, it will still absorb and lose MC (moisture content) no matter what anyone says ;)  Wood Moves :D

It should be fine once you get a roof over it.


Thanks Oljarhead.  Luckily we got our roof done last week; one day before our first major rain since we started building - planned that perfectly.....

Don - thank you for the advice on the bottom board of the siding; hand't thought of that but I plan on doing that now. 

I have a handful of questions:

I am using 1x12 boards and 1x3 battens; rough cut ponderosa pine that has been stickers and drying since last June.  My plan is to use two nails in the boards spaced about 4" apart, every 24" vertically.  For the battens I will just use one nail centered on the board every 24".  I plan on having about a 3/4" space between the boards.  Does that sounds like a good plan or any recommendations on changes? 

What type of nails should I use for the siding?  3 1/2" exterior galvanized ring shank?  That would give me 2" penetration for the boards and 1" for the battens.

My gable ends are 26' tall from ground to peak of the roof.  On those ends, at the start of the roof pitch, I want to put a horizontal board and then start a second level of board and batten above that.  Should I use a 2x board for the horizontal piece and then put flashing on top of that? 

Thank you for the help!


This is my second post today; so don't miss the one above this where I have a few questions on siding. 

Finally have some down time to catch up on building progress photos.  After were got the 2nd floor decking on, I hired a contractor to put the trusses on and do the entire roof.  Hiring someone to do this was a hard pill for me to swallow, but in the end am glad I did. 

We have a 111 snow load and wanted a vaulted ceiling upstairs, so we had to use some hefty trusses.  We used parallel chord trusses with a 12/12 pitch.  They span the 20' width of the cabin and have 2' overhangs on each side.  The trusses are almost 13' wide when laying flat on the truck, so they took two pilot cars to transport.  I stressed out for a month on whether or not the truck would be able to deliver them down several miles of small logging roads, but luckily we had an experience and adventurous driver who didn't mind the challenge.  In a few places we only had 2" of clearance between 120 year old pine trees.

The trusses were delivered mid-morning and our contractors showed up shortly after.  I let them build the 2 1/2' pony walls so they could correct any errors in my dimensions (my walls may have been 20 1/2" wide.........).  They spent a lot of time getting the walls perfect and then started rolling trusses.  From start to finish it took them 70 minutes to put all the trusses up! 

The next day they framed the gable end walls and started working on the gable end overhangs.  We ordered our gable end trusses with a 5 1/2" drop to make it easier to frame the gable end overhangs. 

My design includes a 6x14' bump out that will be a mudroom/utility room.  It has always bugged me that the pitch of this roof will be slightly less than the main roof.  Once we got the trusses up, we started looking at the pitch and decided we could chop 7 1/2" off the mudroom wall and match the pitch of the trusses.  This will also allow us to use continuous sheets of metal on the roof.  It took a lot of time to make this modification but I am glad we did. 

At this point in the build my dad and I had about 18-19 full days of building in and 2 days of 5 contractors working.  During our 18 days of building, there were two days when we had a handful of other helpers to lift walls and beams.  These days do not count another weeks work of "logistics" days that it takes to buy supplies, food shop, move travel trailers around, and everything else it takes to build off grid.  Sometimes it feels like we spend half our time just preparing to sleep out there for a few days and make sure we have all the tools and supplies we need. 

The contractors worked for a total of 4 days and have the roof total done except for the metal and sheathed, wrapped and installed windows in the gable end walls.  Once our roof metal comes in they will come back and spend two days finishing the metal and soffits.  I will post pictures of the completed roof in the next few days. 


Looking good!  I'm enjoying the updates. 


I agree, the pictures are awesome.  Thanks for sharing.

Quote from: CabinNick on July 16, 2019, 02:59:40 PM
Once our roof metal comes in they will come back and spend two days finishing the metal and soffits.  I will post pictures of the completed roof in the next few days.
After my efforts to put standing seam metal on our 12x16 cabin wth a 12:12 pitch, I'm enthusuastically behind your decision to let the pros do that install.  Working on a roof that steep presents a lot of challenges, best left to those who have lots of experience working efficiently and safely.

As to what to finish your siding with, have you checked out the Forestry Forum?  A couple of products that get frequent mention in the Timber Frame board are:

My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story


That all sounds good on the siding. We're prepping red and white oak for B&B siding on a barn, I'm going to use deck screws for greater withdrawal strength, although it has been drying in the barn for almost 2 years oak has bodacious pulling strength. Dense woods move more with moisture cycling. We're just using borate on everything, they want the old weathered look but I want to at least keep the bugs at bay. One note on linseed oil, raw linseed oil never really dries. In my humid climate it attracts pollen and dirt then molds and turns black and gummy. Boiled linseed oil is either boiled, or has chemical driers added to it that polymerize it. It doesn't have those issues. It is probably less durable than the other finishes mentioned but is easily applied, labor is the big cost though rather than materials. Wood is always trying to reach equilibrium with the relative humidity of its surroundings, which is why we try to acclimate wood to its final environment for as long as possible, whenever possible. That is obviously a constantly moving target and moisture change is what causes dimensional change which is part of why finishes fail, the sun also drives moisture change by heating the wood and UV is another finish killer. A water repellant finish helps keep the moisture cycling band narrower than unfinished wood which helps preserve the wood, I don't win all discussions with clients obviously. If a moisture meter is hitting 5% on air dried material in the US its probably time for a better meter.


Thanks for the help Don. 

Yes, I have not once regretted my decision to hire a contractor for the roof.  Those guys do this for a living and they were still not comfortable working on that roof; the 90+ temps that day did not help either. 

Ok, so here are my latest pictures to finally catch up with where we are now with our cabin build.

We used ice and snow shield along the lower edge of the roof and then Safeguard roof felt.  Our contractor specifically requested the Safeguard to make it easier/safer to work on the 12/12 pitch. 

After the roof sheathing and underlayment went on, they finished sheathing the upper walls, put the house wrap up and installed the three 2nd floor windows. 

We are putting standing seam metal roofing on but it will not be delivered for another week or two.  Using charcoal gray color for the roof.  The trim will fully enclose the trim board and the soffits will be vented SmartSoffit (24"x8' sheets of pre-primed OSB). 

We have 13 windows in the cabin; with 8 of them being 15 sqft or larger.  I found a smoking deal on Milgard and Jeld-Wen windows at our local lumber yard during their annual warehouse clean out sale.  Paid $25-40 per window for 15 windows.  I was only able to use 9 of them but I should be able to sell the windows I have left at enough profit to pay the difference for the windows I am buying new.  The only down side is I have been storing them in my shop for the last two years.  By the time I put the windows in I will have probably moved them 20+ times. 

Now I am taking a couple weeks off of building.  Had to go back to work after taking 4 weeks vacation (have been saving up for 3 years...), let the body rest, and try to maintain my marriage/family!  Later this summer I will put the rest of the windows in, get the siding up and finish the interior stairs.  After that, I will be out of funds for the year and put the rest off until next summer. 


Your place looks great.

For what it's worth, I used TWP stain which is a penetrating stain. From when I did my homework it seemed very highly regarded by the pros, of course there is some regional availability that plays into it. We ordered it online. I am happy with it, and when recoating just a light bleach solution spray down that takes maybe 30 minutes for the whole house, and then recoat. I dipped every board and coated every cut.

I'd also say more important than any finish is to never put siding tight up against a wall that has insulation in it. It's basically a simulated ground contact environment - people often mistakenly blame paint peeling/bubbling failures on the paint itself, when it is really the insulation causing the problem. If there are budget constraints, I would do a rain screen and then either let it weather naturally or stain the exposed side in a few years.

Rough sawn you will get a lot of absorbency once the wood is dry. The planed side on our siding needed 1-2 yrs of UV beating on it to really become absorbent, and I have started restaining with the hope that I will now get 5-7 years per coat, possibly only 3-4 on the south side which takes major UV beating.


Taking a couple weeks off from building to catch up with the rest of life.  That was not a hard decision when looking at the forecast in the high 90's.  I went out for a morning this weekend and moved all of our board and batten siding from where we had it milled to the cabin site.  I beat the heat and got there at sunrise - it was 37 when I started and 90 when I finished.  Our pine siding dried well; can't wait to see it up.  It is kind of like firewood, by the time I put it up I will have handled each piece about 20 times. 

The house wrap is all on and the second floor windows are in.  Heading out for a quick trip tomorrow evening to install all the hurricane ties.

I did take a little time to put some more of the finishing touches on the outhouse. Took this picture before I installed the vent pipe. Two years ago I salvaged a bunch of old boards out of a burn pile; have been waiting to find a good use for them.  I am going to do all the interior trim in white.  Looks pretty cool against the old barn wood. 


Well I have been very delinquent in posting updates on our build.  I took most of July off from working on the cabin build to catch up on work and life.  In early August we got back to it and put the house wrap on, windows/doors in and then started on the siding. 

We milled our own ponderosa pine logs last year for the board and batten siding - 1x12" and 1x3" boards.  We attached the boards with 3 1/4" galvanized nails, nailed into 2x6 horizontal nailers that we installed in the interior framing.  I used a palm sander to quickly take some of the roughness off the boards and clean off the sawdust from when they were milled.  It took a lot more time than I thought it would to get all of the siding and trim put up.  Putting up and leveling the boards while >20' up on an extension ladder was slow and cumbersome, but I really like how it turned out. 

While we were putting up the siding, the contractor we hired for the roof came back and finished the metal on the roof.  I decided to spend a little extra and use the raised seam, hidden fastener metal for the roof - it looks really nice and will shed snow well. 

After the siding was up, soffits were done and metal was on the roof, I started staining the siding.  I ended up using SuperDeck semi-transparent stain in the "Valley" color which has a brown tint to it.  After taping the windows, soffits/roof trim, and doors I sprayed the stain on with a pump herbicide sprayer. 

Here are some pictures of where I am at with the project now; I have one side left to stain this weekend. 

And finally, the view looking out our big picture window.  Looks a little odd but we limbed up the fir tree 35' to improve the view from the other windows.


Siding and all looks very nice. 
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


I am looking for some advice on how best to support the roof over my attached deck.  The roof and deck will be supported on one end by girders that I built into the side of the cabin (see photo below).  I plan on supporting the other end of the deck by pouring concrete footings and piers - probably using sonotubes.  I would like to use 6x6 Douglas fir post that we already have to support the roof over the deck. 

My question is - what is the best design for supporting the deck and the roof.  Should I build the deck first and then put the posts for the roof on top of that; similar to platform framing.  Or should I use a continuous post that goes all the way from the pier to the roof; and if so then how do I support the load of the deck. 


I want to start of with saying your place is looking great.  Love the board and batten and overall look.  Great job.

Here is what I came up with in the exact same situation for my place, not sure its the best approach but it made the most sense to me.   I used footers/sonotubes and set the top of the concrete pier at the bottom elevation of the joists beam.  Then I put my 6x6 post on top of the pier and ran that up to the roof, and set my outer girder/beam directly on the concrete and tied it into the post.  So I have the post bearing directly on the pier, along with the outer beam bearing directly on the concrete.  Let me know if that makes sense. 

Good luck and keep the pictures coming!


Beautiful setting and a great build!  Looking forward to seeing how you finish the inside.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy. (Red Green)


Thanks OlJarhead.  I skied into the cabin a couple weeks ago to see how the roof was shedding snow.  Can't wait for spring to come so I can get started on plumbing and electrical.