Wildcattin' a 26'x16' in Western Canada

Started by Bobcat Thompson, August 03, 2009, 12:09:35 AM

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Bobcat Thompson

We are building a 16x26 cabin in some deep woods. We got the idea a few months back and stumbled upon this forum, now we are convinced we can build a cabin on our weekends. We have a road through our neighbours property that we can use for now, and we are just starting the foundation. We have a piece of land cleared and holes dug for some concrete piers. I'll keep this thread updated with our progress hopefully it goes well!!!
If it ain't run on gasoline, I ain't much interested.


Are you serious about the $1000 for 50' of Sonotube? :o  I guess Canadian money doesn't go very far. ???

Good luck on your build.

Bobcat Thompson

Yeah Poppy we are going to back and check again because 20 dollars a foot seems a bit steep, hopefully they made a mistake! We got the first row of holes poured using 8x8 forms made out of 2x10s with some rebar stuck in there and we have the saddles leveled and set in there. We haven't gotten a generator in there yet so its all hand mixing on sheets of plywood for now.

First row of forms poured
If it ain't run on gasoline, I ain't much interested.


Hard way to go.  Nice if you could find a "Mortar Box".  I started out in a wheel borrow and found a Box and it simplified that chore considerably.  I was going to comment on the forms but ifigured you had already poured them by now. As far as putting a release agent on the inside to make it easier to get them off.

Do you own all the land that is between your house and the lake or will you be able to clear the view somewhat?


Hey there, theres an area around the lake that nobody owns but some trees may come down in a windstorm next weekend ;)!

Bobcat Thompson

Whew! Mixed up around 65 bags of quickcrete, pulled out a stump, and got the beams in! After being told 20 bucks a foot for sonotube we took a trip to a different store and got it at the proper price and finished up the last two rows pretty quick. We used BiggKidd's method for the piers ( http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=4113.20 ) and filled the hole up with concrete and then put the sonotube ontop, so we have some huge footings in there. The foundation was a ^@*$ to level but it turned out pretty well, the beams went in pretty smoothly and we ended up needing less shims than we expected. Happy to be past the lifting/mixing concrete and hole digging stages, and excited to get onto framing! ;D

The road in

Foundation done and level!!

Our clearing
If it ain't run on gasoline, I ain't much interested.


Those old cars are the fruit of a somewhat unwelcome but not totally rare growth in the deep woods.  The Latin name escapes me at the moment, but left to their own devices, they will spread...  I found a few of my own, now fully eradicated....I think.

Other than that, being a fan of that type of woods myself, I have to say you've got a beautiful piece of land there, congratulations!

Alberta Curt

Hey Bobcat.  Coming along nice.  Where in Western Canada are you.  I'm guessing somewhere in BC.

Alberta Curt


Thank you for the support Curt and Considerations. 

OK I'm just gonna lay out the next phase of my plan for some constructive criticism
I'm planning out the sublfoor that will sit on top of the beams.  I am thinking about framing the whole cabin 24 " on center including the joists for the subfloor and sheathing it with 3/4 inch OSB T and G. 

I have a very low res image of our plan. 

We have 3 beams 7 feet apart the floor is cantilevered 12" out from the centers of the far beams giving us 16 feet of depth and the beams span 26 feet in length there is a bay where joists cantilever an extra 2 feet.    there is a joist that runs down the center beam where all the joists will meet but  I am debating running 2X10 the full 16 feet and then blocking so there is something to nail/glue the sublfoor down to. 

Not sure if that all made sense but any suggestions (especially on where hurricane ties would be most effective or) changes or if you think we should go back to the drawing board I will appreciate your thoughts. 

thanks Bobmarlon d*
I will try to get a better image


Bob, it looks fine to me, all the beams are straight and apparently level.  Extending the walls out another foot over each side won't hurt a thing, I've done it before.  I wouldn't advise any more than a foot, eventually it could sag.  Your cabin idea is real similar to my pier & beam design that I'm currently building in Oklahoma.  We're running along at about the same speed too.  I also will have 3 beams and just today got all my piers poured.  Lumber will be here first part of next week so I can start building my beams.

As far as location of the hurricane ties, the stress points are anywhere wind can cause an upward lift, mainly the sides and ends.  But for stability, I'd put one down everywhere one wooden structure joins another.  ie; joists resting on beams, etc.. 

Its looking good Bob and I'll be watching your progress as you go on up!  Good luck! [cool]
Rule #1: "Don't sweat the small stuff"
Rule #2: "It's all small stuff"


"there is a bay where joists cantilever an extra 2 feet." 

I'm working on a 14 x 24 and:

My floor joists cantilever 2' beyond the floor beams the full 24' length of the cabin on both sides....however, there are diagonal braces that run from each foundation post up and out to the rim joist.   

"I am thinking about framing the whole cabin 24 " on center including the joists for the subfloor" 

I did this as well, the floor, walls and roof in 2 x 6's ...my floor is 2 x 6 T&G the roof rafters are 2 x 10's.  Some have recommended that my drywall be thicker than that used for 16" OC framing, so it doesn't (hopefully) "wow" between studs and rafters.

I have strapping and ties in every place I could think of, except where the bottom of the wall is attached to the floor. 

Additionally....because of using a post and pier foundation, I drilled 14 holes in the ground - 6 along each long wall and one at each end under the cantilever, filled them with cement, stuck a 1 x 3" bent steel strap in them and am bolting the strap to another strap that wraps around the floor beams, just another stabilizer, should the "big one" hit, being this is earthquake country.   I hope they are never tested.


Thanks for the input guys,  Were going to be starting on the floor after next weekend  I think I secured  the T and G leftover from a movie set so that should save us some money.    Its surprising how much construction materials people get rid of.

Tex star Ill be looking forward to seeing your floor go in.  

Considerations your cabin is looking great I like the cutaways in the loft and the big window you made from a table.


I put the floor joists (2x10) on our 15.75 x 30 cabin on 16" centers. I did it to make the floor as stiff as possible without going to 2x12 joists. My joists are cantilevers about 10 - 12 inches.

We also went with 16" spacing on the ceiling joists (2x8) and the rafters (2x6).

I did 24" center wall studs. The drywall we used was 5/8" type X. It is heavy to work with but there are no waves in the walls. I have seen new construction here in town with 1/2" 'rock on 24" and they are wavy. The 1x T&G stock on one wall was no problem on 24" centers.

The 24" wall stud spacing does give a slightly better insulation R value to the wall as there are fewer studs. However, when I add up the extra studs for the windows I didn't really save all that much money going to 24" spacing. However, I also found that with 24 inch spacing the positions for electrical outlets and switches (secured to studs) is diminished.

If I was building the cabin again, I still go with 16" centers on the floor joists and ceiling but I'd go 16" on the 2x6 walls as well. If I was worried about heat transfer then I'd add a layer of foam over the exterior.

Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.

Bobcat Thompson

Well folks, It's bobcat here after a few weekends of no work. We went back at it an hauled in our first big load of lumber in, we have the floor framed and a temporary set of stairs up. We are in the process of hunting down some used doors/windows and are waiting for replies from a few folks.

We decided on 16'oc 2x10s for the joists and are happy with how it turned out, heres some pictures!


view as you drive in

Stairs from the leftover 2x10s off the pier forms
If it ain't run on gasoline, I ain't much interested.


Bobcat and I have been working hard, There has been a substantial amount of progress made from our last post.  I lost the chord for our digital camera so this post will be a bit of a jump.

We sheathed the floor with 3/4" fir T & G  and pinned it down with rink shank nails and  of lots of sub floor adhesive. We found one of the larger tubes would last about 2 and a 1/4 sheets.  We ended up using 7 tubes through 14 sheets. 

The first walls go up

and we learned to frame smaller sections at a time!

We pre fabbed our headers out of 2 pieces of 2 X and a piece of 2 1/2 " foam to fill in the gap

Alright Time for the notches

we didn't have any clamps so we used our tie downs

then we went crazy with the saw

after breaking out all of the pieces I cleaned it up with my block my plane. I'm sure a router would be more accurate but I don't have one and routers give me a head ache.

finished off the corners with a chisel a shoulder plane would have worked better though. 

fitted pretty snug with the Hampton premium

the final wall

and almost level

Time to sheathe the walls all tips are welcomed :)


Bob I don't want to sound critical but when you headed out the windows and doorways having the foam(filler) on the exterior of your inside wall will be difficult to attach your interior wall covering and trim.  An alternative would be to place the foam on the interior of the header.  If I were to go that particular route I would have used a solid block on each end of the header to bring it out to the depth of the wall and then used the foam in between(from left to right).  That way you get equal distribution of the weight transfer.

Yes it is easier to frame in smaller sections but a pain to get lined up.  Good job.


Red we almost did put the foam in the middle but we are inexperienced and I was worried it would change the headers structurally. its not to late to pop out the foam and ad blocking though.   

We gladly except criticism we don't want our house to fall down!


I am not sure what others will say but I have often used an open header with the blocking on the inside and out.  I would just cut blocks for the ends to put between the two header pieces.  I normally just build up the header to be full demension whether that be a layer of 1/2 ply and 3 layers of structural wood or what ever gives me the proper wall demension.  There is some area's in building that you can scrimp and save on but headers is not the place.  Non load bearings walls it is not as important as load bearing walls. 



Looks awesome!

I like the notch on the glued beam!  ;D


Wow finally got the whole thing sheathed the last row was a huge pain in the butt!! 

Heres whats going on now

From the front of the house

From the back

Lots of sheathing in the rain It paid off to dedicate an hour to setting up the tarp and making sure there was no pooling. 

We started putting up 30 minute paper but didnt feel like getting back up on a latter so we decided to quit here for the day. 

nothing to do after a hard days work but get are wood pile started

We picked up these windows and doors off of craigsist

These doors will lead to the deck in the back once its constructed

Smaller window will be in the kitchen and the larger will be in one of are loft dormers

these smaller windows will flank the french doors

The larger green tank will be used for water storage and the smaller tank will be used to transport water to the camp


Making good progress there.

What did you pay for the windows and doors from craigslist?


How much rain do you get there?  I used to live by the Canadian border near Bellingham Washington - next to British Columbia - could walk cross the border out behind our place...

Great progress - hard to get things done with all the rain, eh?

You will know the truth & the truth will set you free


Poppy the windows and doors were 600 dollars from craigslist,  we originally wanted to pick up some for free or dirt cheap but after spending all the money on our floor and deck we decided cheaping out on the windows would be pointless.  Theres actually 6 windows total and the the french doors the  2 not pictured are duplicates.   

There is some kind of special glass in these windows thats soposed to block the sun and keep it cool in the summer warm in the winter.  Anyway you can see more on that hrere if your interested http://www.gienow.com/pd-695.html

I believe sassy we probably get the same amount of rain which is quite a bit, if theres no traffic you can drive to bellingham in about an hour from vancouver.  Ive found though since I was a pool builder working outside all winter to get pools done for the summer it doesn't rain as much as you think.  Ounce your outside and your wet your just wet and you get used to it. 


Looks good!  Your tarp is working better than mine!