28 X 40 California Redwoods

Started by pmichelsen, March 01, 2011, 12:29:03 PM

Previous topic - Next topic

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.


Sorry to hear about being broken into.   I hope the perpetrators do get caught eventually.  The 2 guys that broke into our cabin were caught, we got lucky. One is serving time in a state pen while the other got off drugs and is working and making an attempt at restitution.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.

Adam Roby

Sorry to hear about the break ins... its a topic that angers me to no end.

Has anyone ever build good hiding places to store stuff when you are away?
I was just thinking when I redo my cabin to add a fake wall, maybe 2' offset that is accessible by some hidden door, like move a sofa and press the wall and a hidden panel opens.  Keep all the expensive tool there.  If someone does break in, they might think you bring stuff in every time and not dig around too much.  Maybe lock the door but leave the curtains open, so when they look they see nothing, no electronics or tools, maybe make them think twice about breaking in if there is nothing worth while to steal. 

I have a small car port, planning on parking the tractor there.  Currently there is a huge pile of old wood.  I was thinking to build in a hiding place for the generator in there, and make it look like a big pile of old wood, but lift up on a specific plank and the lid opens to reveal the hidden genny.  Some of you must have implemented some of these techniques before?


The new basement that I'm adding will be my secure storage, and where I keep all of my tools.

But I'm doing a hidden wall like you're suggesting at my home, behind it is where I will store my gun safe and other valuables. I have a built in bookcase designed that will open with a small room behind it.


Spent the weekend up at the cabin and finally had a chance to go through everything and really see what was taken. Looks like it was about as I expected:

Blower, line trimmer, battery charger, gas cans, 2 cycle mix, tree pruning equipment, etc.

They also took random stuff like a roll of big contractor debris bags.

It seems like one of the main targets in the garage was my Yamaha Zuma. I didn't feel like insuring it anymore so I've kept it up there to mess around and do stupid stuff with. I had a cable running through the rear tire that was locked to the frame and I parked it with the steering locked to one side. They cut through the cable but weren't able to break out the ignition to free the steering. Looks like they used a jigsaw we had in the garage to try and cut the ignition. Never ceases to amaze me what thieves will do. Oh and they stole the shroud that covers the battery for the Zuma.

They messed with my Bobcat a little bit, but I have a lock especially designed for skid steers on it, so they really couldn't do much there.

After my buddy's son was up there it looks as though they came back as the latch that locks the garage was so mangled I could barely get the padlock out. I'm guessing they were coming back for the Zuma.

I replaced the latch and added a second one to the other side of the door.  I also added a bunch of blocking to reinforce the door, at the end of the day if they really want to get in they're gonna get in, hopefully this is a big enough deterrent.

When I'm up there for NYE, I'll bring the Zuma home, repair it and sell it.

They didn't steal either of our plug in electric blowers so I used one of them to clean off my roof, let me tell you that will be the last time I use one of those. A little too dangerous with the cord being a trip hazard, I had to watch myself very carefully so that i didn't end up over the side, with the deck gone it's a lot farther to fall.

All in all it wasn't too bad, and we still had a good trip. My daughter did great on her first long car ride (was about four hours) and seemed to acclimate to cabin life quickly.


So sorry about your break ins. I'm lucky that I haven't had that problem, at least not yet. I do keep a couple of trail cams there - one in plain sight, one more hidden. At least that way I know when I've had visitors. We're off-grid with no cell coverage, but at our new place and eventual retirement home, I have a couple Blink cams installed and I get alerts with video whenever there's motion detected. Definitely worth the couple hundred bucks.


Spent Memorial Day weekend up at the cabin, I switched jobs a few months back and went from unlimited PTO to five days a year. So my cabin work time will be greatly reduced, but I was able to start digging out for the new foundation/basement. Still have about 2/3 of the way to go and I'll need to dig the perimeter another foot deeper for a footing, but it's a start. The plan is to head up again in a few weeks and dig the rest.

All in all it wasn't too bad digging. I started out at the edge and dug a trench to my final depth for the slab floor, and then just started digging my way under the cabin. When my buddies saw these photos the light bulb clicked on as to what I did last year. They all had trouble grasping why I had installed the temporary posts so deep.


Work has been slow on the new foundation, with the new little one it's not quite as easy to just go away for the weekend and work. I was able to sneak up one weekend in July and my father came up to lend a hand. I had him man the Bobcat while I dug, it worked out pretty well, and I think we were able to get about 90% of the digging complete. I didn't want to remove too much dirt before I'm ready to pour, starts to get a little sketchy working under there.

The plan is to head up for Labor Day and finish digging, form the footing, and pour the footing the Tuesday following Labor Day. After that I'll be able to set forms for the stem walls and then get those poured. I probably won't pour the floor until next year, but as long as I get everything framed in this year I'll be happy. We've been working on getting all of the rebar cut and bent ahead of time, so hopefully getting the footing ready will go quickly.

I was also able to finally get my posts for the gazebo welded up, I'm hoping to pour the footings for those when I do one of my foundation pours.


I can sympathize with slow progress.  I'm planning on getting back out to finish the roof next week.  It's like watching a glacier flow...
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story


Well it was another productive work weekend up at the cabin, got up there Friday night around 11:00, took a bit longer since I was towing the trailer and I saw many people towing being pulled over so I set the cruise control at 55 and parked in the slow lane the whole drive.

I spent Saturday and Sunday digging out more to prep for my footings, the goal this trip was to pour the footings that my stem wall will sit on. Monday I had to do a bit of final trimming to fit the forms in just right, but we got all of the forms and rebar in place. I was ready for my concrete Tuesday morning, or so I thought. Before dinner we spent time getting everything cleaned up so that the next morning our focus would just be pouring concrete. After we got everything cleaned up I noticed one of the forms seemed off a bit. Pops and I talked about it a bit and he shrugged it off saying our footing was 18" and the stem wall is 8" so we had some wiggle room. I was tired and hungry so I brushed it off and made dinner.

After dinner I went back out to take final measurements so that I could confirm the amount of concrete I needed in the morning with the yard. Once out there with a clean head I looked at the form I felt was off again. It was way off. I grabbed my plumb bob and took some measurements, immediately I realized what had happened. When we were setting one of the forms we measured 13" the wrong way, so one of my footings was out 8" the wrong way which put all of my vertical rebar way out of line. So all Monday night I couldn't sleep thinking I might have to call off the concrete to fix this mistake. Which would have made this a wasted trip really, as I took a day off specifically to pour concrete (I only get 5 vacation days a year and the concrete company is only open on weekdays).

Tuesday morning as soon as their was enough light to see I said **** it, I'm fixing this. Concrete was due to arrive at 8:15am, I started working around 6:45am. With 20 minutes to spare I got everything dialed in and back in line. Also lucked out and had an amazing driver that was willing to think outside the box and we were able to chute everything in. I thought I was going to have to wheel barrow some of the concrete to the back footings.

Now on my next trip I will extend my verticals up add in horizontals and then build forms to pour the walls. For the walls I will be hiring a pumper so it will be a whole lot easier. All that I will have to do is run the vibrator and screed/edge the top of the walls. This project is getting closer.

I'll post some more pictures after I visit my parents this weekend. My mom took a bunch of photos, and she was also a huge help looking after our daughter with my wife.

Onto the photos:

I'm not shrinking I just keep digging deeper:

A foredog's job isn't easy:

Concrete (the piece embedded behind the verticals is a keyway that will act as a water stop when I pour the stem walls):


Heading up the first weekend in October on the list of things to accomplish:

- Strip the forms from my footings
- Get my horizontal and vertical rebar in place for the walls
- Form three of the walls
- Move one of my temporary posts that ended up being right in the way
- Setup a game plan to form the last wall

If I get all of that done in two days I'll be one happy camper. After that I will shoot to get back up there at the end of October to dig out the dirt against the existing cabin foundation, form the last wall against the existing foundation, and then pour the walls. It's amazing how fast the money seems to disappear as I'm buying materials for this "little" project. It's going to feel real good to have this one wrapped up, though I'm not going to pour the floor until sometime next year.


Another successful weekend working at the cabin, unfortunately I wasn't able to get away as early as I had anticipated on Friday so I didn't get up there until 9:30pm Friday night. However my dad had gone up Thursday afternoon, so he was able to get things prepped for us (stripped the forms on the footing, got batter boards in place, etc). So Saturday morning we were able to hit the ground running. The first thing we did was to move one of my temporary posts so that it was more out of the way. Then my dad started tying rebar while I built the forms.

I'm using snap ties coupled with Jahn A brackets to hold the walers, so far I'm liking this method. It makes putting a wall together go pretty quick. Especially since I had predrilled all of the holes in my plywood, so all I had to do was cut the plywood to the height I want my wall, oil, and set into place. What made it even better was that my wall is five feet on one side and three on the other. So one cut and I have to halves of the form ready to go.

I'm planning one more trip at the end of the month to dig out along the existing cabin foundation and form the final wall. Then I will pour the walls, but as I mentioned I'm hiring a pumper for that, so I'll just be running the vibrator.

Here are some pictures from the weekend...

Half of the forms in place with snap ties, and the rebar for the tall part of the wall:

My dad tying rebar on the lower sections of wall:

Starting to set the forms on the inside:

Forms for the three walls pretty much complete:

A look at the snap ties and rebar:


Another successful trip and pour up at the cabin.

The goal for the weekend was to dig out the fourth wall (against the existing foundation) epoxy rebar into the existing foundation, build my grid, form, and then pour all of the walls. Well my dad was concerned that I was too ambitious and we wouldn't be able to do all of that in two days. So he went up a few days early and knocked out what he could by himself. He even spent his 72nd birthday up there by himself working.

We got everything knocked out and I even had time to clean up the grounds and do other maintenance I've been putting off the last few months.

Monday morning the pumper showed up at 8:15 and the concrete truck got there around 8:40. By 9:30 both the pumper and the truck were doing there washouts and heading down the road. Couldn't have gone better, all I had to do was run the vibrator and then screed/trowel the top. Feels good to have this one done. Still to do will be to pour the floor and frame the walls the rest of the way up.

Some pics of the process:


 :)   Doing good.

Any fires near you?
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


Quote from: MountainDon on November 06, 2019, 09:10:05 PM
:)   Doing good.

Any fires near you?

Closest fires were about an hour and a half south of me. Spent part of the weekend cleaning all of the roofs and doing some defensible space clearing. I'll do a bit more over Thanksgiving, but CalFire knows us and knows that I keep the area clear so they've told me if there is a fire they will do their best to defend it. It also helps that we're on the river.


I had planned to go up to the property over Thanksgiving to strip the forms; however the week before Thanksgiving I got a call from my dad asking if he could go up and strip the forms. Apparently he was bored at home, truthfully I think he was dying to see how the pour turned out.

All in all I'm pretty happy with the pour, yes I had one void where I didn't vibrate enough and while it is a bummer, if that's the worst of it, I'll take it. The void will be under the threshold of my door, and I'll form and fix that spot when it's a little warmer up there. In the spring the punch list is:

-   Start framing the walls to the bottom of the floor,
-   Pour the basement floor,
-   Patch the snap-tie holes, and fix my void,
-   Finish the framing and the shingle to match the rest of the cabin,
-   Plumb/wire an area for my washer and dryer,
-   Coat the exterior concrete walls in HLM 5000 (or similar),
-   Install dimple board on the exterior walls,
-   Run my French drain,
-   Backfill with ¾" crushed

Still a decent amount of work, but I'll chip away at it. Here are the pictures...


It looks like pretty good concrete work.  The void under the door sill does not appear to be too big a deal, a nuisance to have to work with, but not a deal-breaker.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


Thanks, I think the void is really only hurting my pride.  ;)

Forgot to mention, I'm leaving the all-thread in case I want to bolt some shelves to the wall or something else. Worst case I'll cut them flush, but I figured might as well leave them for now in case I can utilize them in the future.


Looks awesome. Bag of rapid set and that little spot will be done within an hour of your next visit.


Heading up in a few weeks to get my rebar and pea gravel in place for the basement floor. While there I'll also measure for the lumber to frame up the walls and hopefully fill in my void.


Did a quick weekend trip up to the cabin, I'm definitely still acclimating to working with a toddler. Our daughter is now 17 months old and I'm finally starting to realize and accept the fact that I won't get nearly as much done during our weekend trips when it's just my wife, daughter, and I.

But nonetheless I was able to go to the quarry on Friday and get a load of pea gravel and form/pour my one void. Saturday I got my floor drain roughed in, spread the pea gravel, and got my rebar dowelled and tied.

On our next trip I'll get the front wall framed so that my temporary beam/posts can come out, and dig/form my generator pad. Assuming I'm able to tackle that I'll pour the floor and generator pad the last day of our next trip. Slowly but surely.

Some pics:

Void filled in:

Gravel, floor drain, and rebar in place (final drain height will be determined after I decide how thick I'm pouring the floor):


Went up to the cabin Friday night, worked Saturday, and came home Sunday morning. Wasn't able to get a whole lot done, but I did get the area prepped for the generator pad. In the first pic you can kind of see in the background where I started prepping for the pad up behind the bench. I liked that area because it was a little more tucked away, but the more I thought about it the more I realized it would be a pain in the butt to try and set the generator up there. So I decided to move it down a bit. Only down side to this location is that it will be in the line of fire for people that aren't that good at horseshoes...

I also started digging the trench for my conduit, but that will go much easier on my next trip when I bring up my rotohammer with a spade bit. There is A LOT of rock in the soil up there. I did have one mistake that I realized at the end of the day. My pad is supposed to be 5x10 and currently it's 4x10. Won't be a huge deal to add on that extra foot and that's a result of not looking at my drawing until the end  d*

The weather up there was perfect...


It looks gorgeous!

And take some satisfaction that you caught the mistake before pouring the concrete.   ;D
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story


Heading to the cabin tonight for a long weekend. While up there I will correct my generator pad mistake, add in the conduit, and install my rebar grid. On the basement I will frame my wall from the new foundation up to the cabin so that I can remove the temporary beam. Monday morning I have concrete scheduled for delivery, which I hope is my final pour for this project.

I'm also hoping to button up so misc stuff I have put off as well as mow the grounds to prep for Memorial Day weekend up there.


Quote from: pmichelsen on May 14, 2020, 09:05:59 AM
Heading to the cabin tonight for a long weekend. While up there I will correct my generator pad mistake, add in the conduit, and install my rebar grid. On the basement I will frame my wall from the new foundation up to the cabin so that I can remove the temporary beam. Monday morning I have concrete scheduled for delivery, which I hope is my final pour for this project.

I'm also hoping to button up so misc stuff I have put off as well as mow the grounds to prep for Memorial Day weekend up there.

How'd you make out?


Grab some popcorn, this is a lengthy one...

I had a productive weekend up at the cabin. Friday morning I unloaded all of my lumber, hitched up my trailer, and headed to the quarry to get some more pea gravel. Once back I jumped right into digging the trench for my conduit that will go from the generator to a back board I'll mount off to the side. After I had the conduit in I fixed my forms by adding the extra foot. With the forms fixed and conduit in I made sure my pad would have a consistent thickness using pea gravel to fill in the low spots. Then it was time for rebar, it's kind of a shame that no one will really ever know/see the time and effort one puts into make a nice grid. With that done and the weather being decent, I fired up the high brush mower and started mowing down the grounds and doing a general clean up in preparation for Memorial Day weekend.

After dinner I turned my attention to the cabin. At this time the cabin was still being supported by my temporary posts and beam. Before Monday I would need to remove the temporary stuff and actually frame my wall in so that I could pour the floor of the basement. The first step to framing the wall was to remove the blocking that was between the old deck joists to expose the cabin floor joists. By the time I had finished that it was a little after 8:30 so I called it a night.

Saturday morning the weather was still decent so I jumped right in and snapped a line so that I could cut all of the floor joists. The plan was to cut them back enough allowing me to nail a rim joist that would sit behind the sheathing. With the rim in place I attached my double top plate followed by my pressure treated sill, now I was ready to try and level her out. I used so blocking and three bottle jacks to slowly lift the cabin up off the temporary beam and as level as I could (this part is always nerve-racking for me, especially when up there all alone). Then it was just a matter of cutting studs to fill in the gap. After dinner I pulled out my temporary beam and posts, felt really good to hit that milestone. What didn't feel good was trying to maneuver the 20 foot long 4"x10" beam by myself.

Sunday the weather was pretty crummy so I spent most of the day just cleaning up. The big milestone for Sunday was my help showing up. I feel as though I can do a lot of stuff, and I'm willing to try mostly anything; however trowel finishing flat work is not something I feel comfortable doing, especially on something I have to look at for the rest of my life. So I placed an ad on Craigslist looking for a concrete finisher and I found someone, but you never know if that person is actually going to show up. So when my random helper from Craigslist pulled up in his RV I had a huge feeling of relief.

Monday morning as promised the rain came in hard and heavy, fortunately I had a canopy setup for the generator pad and the basement floor was obviously covered. Everything went off without a hitch and I had estimated my concrete so close it scared me. I'll upload some pictures tonight after my daughter goes to bed. But this last weekend was a huge milestone for me and I'm glad it's now in the past.

Oh yeah, of course the weekend couldn't go without any issues... my water heater went out on me Sunday night during my shower. I knew I was on borrowed time. So this weekend I'm bring up a new one.