20x30 in NE Wisconsin

Started by Nate R, September 16, 2020, 10:02:23 AM

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Nate R

Quote from: NathanS on October 02, 2021, 10:00:23 AM
Your cabin looks top notch, Nate. Really nice design choices with window/door/entry placements. And those windows look top notch.

A cabin that size will heat up so quickly, especially with some attention to air sealing.

Thanks for the feedback!
I hope so on the heat-up time... I know the slab isn't helping that, it will take some BTUs to heat up all that concrete....but it DOES mean that the inside won't be as cold as a raised structure to start with since it's more connected to the ground temp.....So it will be interesting to see how that does.   

I'll be recording some data on all that, so I'll have some fun graphs, eventually. Recording outside temp and humidity, inside temp and humidity, outside soil temp at 6" depth, slab temp at about 2" depth (2 feet in from the edge), and I'll probably have some wood stove temp data, and even the weight of wood burned over time.  I may or may not be nerding out on data a bit too much.   ;D


Oh that will be cool on all the temp stuff. We have a weather station that also allows us to keep track of indoor temp while we're not home. It's also really cool to watch the temp spike and decay from making a fire in the woodstove.

I read some Canadian research a few years ago that soil typically "freeze locks" at only a little below freezing, which interestingly ties in with how acorns, chestnuts and other nuts that only survive to ~26F manage to germinate in areas where winter air temperatures reach -20F or colder. (One of my hobbies)

Nate R

Quote from: NathanS on October 04, 2021, 03:10:27 PM
Oh that will be cool on all the temp stuff. We have a weather station that also allows us to keep track of indoor temp while we're not home. It's also really cool to watch the temp spike and decay from making a fire in the woodstove.

I read some Canadian research a few years ago that soil typically "freeze locks" at only a little below freezing, which interestingly ties in with how acorns, chestnuts and other nuts that only survive to ~26F manage to germinate in areas where winter air temperatures reach -20F or colder. (One of my hobbies)

Yeah, I've been intrigued by the data so far.   

The last 2 winters here, soil didn't really drop below 31 degrees at 6" depth.

Nate R

I've been so swamped with working on things this fall that I've been behind on keeping track of what I get done when, and taking pictures, etc. Just trucking along whenever I can. A short list of what's been done:

Got the exterior T&G soffits stained and installed.

T&G porch ceiling stained and installed. (After exchanging bad material for good.)

Framed interior wall for bedroom separation. Decided to NOT frame a separate enclosed entry area.

Electrical wiring cleaned up/added onto a bit for more lights, moved some receptacles, etc.

Wood stove hearth tile installed and grouted.

Wood stove and chimney installed and in use.

Installed a 3000W electric wall heater.

Soffit baffles installed.

Skylight tunnel framed out and foamed.

Got rid of the camper, started sleeping IN the cabin! :)

Started installing insulation.

Rented a Uhaul truck and brought up some furniture, fridge, etc.

Bought 2 dual-sport motorcycles, one for the wife and guests, and one for me. :)

More later! Hoping to complete the main insulation this weekend, and start on the R4 XPS foam that will go on the ceiling between the trusses and the drywall. Once I finish the wall insulation this weekend, I should be able to keep it quite warm, and  get some more work done this winter. :)

Nate R

Continuing on that 11 day marathon, after the BIG window was in, I moved onto the chimney.

Previously had quite a time figuring out how to get the double wall stove pipe to adapt to my particular wood stove. (Jotul F100.)  With some help from the hearth.com forums, got a solution eventually that worked. 

Painted the exterior chimney parts black using special paint for stainless, and then special paint for galvanized. We'll see how it holds up.

Chimney is TALL....but has to be to get above the ridge enough for the 2-3-10 rule. So support legs were added to the top section.  I used Selkirk DSP for the stovepipe, and SuperVent for the chimney.

Also added the long leg kit on our Jotul F100....so the stove is a little over 2 inches higher.  So the chimney was in, but stovepipe wasn't set up yet. I wanted to get the hearth tile done first.

Nate R

Getting too far behind real time to keep track, figured I'd just do some photo dumps and updates.

Since I used 2x4 rafter tails on the trusses (should've asked for 2x6 there....) and because I used 2x6s for subfascia.. that would've meant a LOT of shimming out. We decided to paint the subfascia instead and leave it exposed, nailing the soffit material to the 2x4 truss tails. This was WAY easier than the alternative. First added Cor-a-vent's soffit vent strips in black, which blend right in! For the soffit, used 1x4 beaded T&G, stained with a timber oil.

We were going to use the same thing on the porch ceiling, but got a batch of defective T&G boards....the tongues weren't machined right. Returned them and got some 1x8 based T&G boards that were in stock.
Added 2x10  cedar on the front of our double LVL beam and 1x10 cedar on the back. The 2x10 was screwed in with proper bolts, so it can add a bit of extra load capacity.

Got the wood stove tile installed and grouted, and the finished the wood stove install.  The tile (tough to see in some of my pics) has an awesome embossed pattern in it.

Nate R

Installed soffit vent baffles. Made from 1" XPS so they are R5. Used 1 ½" spacers to make the airspace above. Also put R10 XPS against the sheathing that overhangs the top plates, and spray foamed the seams, so made a nice, airtight space for the fiberglass batts, and the first 2" over the top plates is solid XPS. We'll se how that does for preventing ice dams.

Nate R

For more than 20 years, I've wanted to get some more off road motorcycle skills. I had a garbage dirt bike for a bit when I was 14, but it barely ran, so never got to do much riding off-road. I've had plenty of on-road motorcycles, but never a functional dual-sport.

Over the course of the fall, we bought 2 dual sports for eventual cabin use. We bought a Suzuki DR200 for my wife to ride, and later shaved 2" off the seat so she could fit better, and put on smaller tires. (Someone had crammed some oversize ones in.) We bought a Yamaha XT250 for me. Fuel injected, but still air cooled, small, simple.

I didn't' want something overly expensive or overly complicated to maintain, or something I'd worry too much about dropping. Also wanted it new/nice enough that It didn't need a bunch of work right away! These both fit the bill.

I got a little time on the DR200 here and there this fall, but the XT isn't at the cabin yet. Next year, I suspect we'll be taking little jaunts out on forest roads and having lunch somewhere in the woods. 😊 Looking forward to learning how to ride off road with an engine (vs mountain biking)

Nate R

After a 2 month break from working on the cabin, got back up for a weekend. First I got a few more outlets installed so we have 4 inside instead of 1. :)

I had 4 sheets of drywall delivered before for testing a few things with 5/8 thickness, etc.... We got sick of moving them around, and instead decided to put them up. Had enough 1 5/8" screws on hand to hold the sheets to the walls.....I'll add more later.

Moved on to continuing to put R4 XPS foam on the ceiling in the main room. I completed the foam install in the bedroom previously. By Sunday afternoon, got the foam all up in the main room. So now the bottom of the trusses have R4 3/4" foam on them, which will later get the large gaps spray foamed, and then the seams taped. This will be my air and vapor barrier in the ceiling, and I'll drywall over the foam.

Next trip, foaming/taping the foam, and air sealing/foaming/caulking around windows, doors and bottom plates.

Oh, and got pretty cold up there that weekend! I saw -6 overnight. I set the electric heater to 61, and got up twice each night to restock the wood stove. We were able to stay comfortable, and the electric heater only kicked on before stove refills at night. Thermally, things are so far about as expected. Wood stove on it's own wouldn't be enough for a weekend where we want quick warmup (with the slab), nor would the 3KW electric heater. But together, they're doing great.

Went through about 118 lbs of wood this weekend at about a 15% MC. Keeping track, so I'm starting to get a better idea of how much wood I'll need in a year. (Wood is about the same BTU/lb, so that is easier to track vs space since I use different species, split sizes, etc)

Nate R

Now I notice I hadn't caught the thread up to where I was at..... So since the late fall, I finished up some wiring details and insulated as well. That didn't work out exactly as I'd planned.....Couldn't get R49 batts anywhere. R38s I could, but was going to stack R19s on top where I had room.....but then found that was too heavy, and the R38s wouldn't hold up.

So, walls are R21 Fiberglass batts with R23 Mineral Wool in the bottom 10" or so. (Outside, I ran treated ply on the bottom 1 foot, so there's blocking at that point creating a separate bottom channel.)

Ceiling ended up being mostly R38 batts with a couple areas (like an end wall) with R19s above in the middle 10 feet or so.... And then the R4 foam on the bottom of the trusses.

Total assembly R Values (including framing fraction, etc).... Right at R30 for the roof/ceiling, and about R18 for the walls.


Quote from: Nate R on February 15, 2022, 12:25:37 PM

Went through about 118 lbs of wood this weekend at about a 15% MC.

Looking good! Any idea roughly how many CF of wood you used to equate to 118lbs?  I never considered measuring wood consumption by weight, this is my first year burning wood full time and figuring out the best way to burn my catalytic stove. 

Nate R

Yeah, measuring by weight eliminates the stacking, air space, split size, species density variables, and easy to measure small increments (a couple splits can easily be weighed...)
I can measure moisture content fairly accurately, and I can back calculate roughly how much space I need for wood overall.

Right now, burning only red oak and red pine... MC is about 15%....

The wood database lists wood densities at 12% MC to be consistent.
Red Oak is avg at 44 lbs/CF @ 12%     https://www.wood-database.com/red-oak/
Red Pine avg is at 34 lbs/CF  @ 12%  https://www.wood-database.com/red-pine/

Some of my red pine is definitely NOT dense, so lets say I'm using wood about 36 lbs/CF on average at 12% MC, or about 37 lbs/cf at the 15% MC I'm at. 

So, 118 / 37 = about 3.2 CF of solid wood.
From what I read, a cord (128CF) of stacked wood is ABOUT 86 CF of solid wood, so figure 3.2 CF solid wood = 4.8CF of stored wood space, or .0375 cords.

Nate R

Up recently for another work weekend. Not the most exciting stuff, but needed to be done.... Did a bunch of air sealing.
Got the R4 ceiling foam seams spray foamed where needed and taped. Taped the top plate seams and foam to the top plates. My wife caulked the bottom plate to the slab and between the bottom plates. We foamed and caulked around some of the windows, too.

Ready for ceiling drywall! :)


Looking good. I bet you are looking forward to when the drywall is all done.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.

Nate R

Quote from: MountainDon on March 01, 2022, 09:24:53 PM
Looking good. I bet you are looking forward to when the drywall is all done.

Thanks Don! Definitely looking forward to that point! At the same time, far enough along now that I'm able to mentally slow down a notch and enjoy the work (and time up there) a bit more. :-)

Nate R

Another trip in. With spring road bans on, and a snow-filled driveway, deliveries are not an option currently. So, spent nearly all day Saturday driving to home center, buying some drywall and a lift, renting a truck, loading it, buying a used temporary couch, hauling it back to the cabin, unloading, returning truck, driving back. Then hauling drywall and couch down the snowy driveway into the cabin.

Sunday, assembled the drywall lift and moved things around inside the cabin to make room. Was able to get the first sheet of drywall hung on the ceiling, but then we had to wrap up.

Somewhat slow progress this weekend, but progress nonetheless! Next time up we'll be able to keep working on ceiling drywall in the bedroom, and looks likely a lot of the snow will be melted. :-)

Nate R

I need to update here, I've fallen behind a bit. Been "resting" more this year, to try and recover a bit from the huge amount of work on the cabin and house the last couple years. Also started a new position at my company in April that's kept me busier.... Haven't spent any long stretches at the cabin doing work, but getting things done about every other weekend.

Since March update:
Finished installing drywall on the bedroom ceiling and started on the bedroom walls.
Got rid of a bunch of construction debris and garbage.
Installed a ceiling fan on our porch outside.
Installed range hood fan in the wall.
Some various electrical work to get a few things working.
Put up a metal structure to be our firewood shed and outdoor shower area.
Prepped and finished some old barn beams we had (about 6x6 size), and installed blocking support and then the beams in the bedroom.
Got materials for and installed a roof structure ("portico") over our entry door.
Removed our broken and crappy foundation insulation covering and the old insulation. Installed new, prefinished foundation insulation around the slab.
Got exterior trim delivered, and started painting the band board/belly board.
Installed most of the band board.
Got some firewood delivered and stacked up. Cleaned the chimney for the season.

Ordered kitchen cabinets and soapstone countertop, but then the insurance company told me I needed to get the exterior done by the renewal date... That changed priorities! Wish they had said that BEFORE I put the money towards cabinets and countertop. 

Work on the exterior continues in earnest soon!

So that's what I've been up to, slower but steady progress.... I'll put a post together with pics soon.


I hear you on the 2nd/3rd year stall.....first year is nonstop work and life always seems to get in the way...

But it sounds like you've been progressing pretty nicely...

As for the insurance companies, in my experience it seems like they ignore you for a long time and then one day decide to throw a fit....but I've found it pretty easy to address their concerns and keep the policy active....

Nate R

So plans changed this Fall as I mentioned above. So, switched gears, and working on the exterior.

Manor color vinyl siding on the field, and Manor color shingle look vinyl on the gables. Boral TruExterior trim boards. (These are fantastic...made from plastic and coal ash, they don't rot, are rated for ground contact, and hold any color paint!) Cedar 5/4 trim in the covered porch, and I have yet to add cedar bevel lap siding on the porch walls.

I'll have to post more pics of other work we got done when I get more time later this Fall when the exterior is done. :)

Don't mind the brown on the roof, that's this fall's pine needle drop. ;-)

Nate R

Labor intenstive, but the wife and I  got the cedar siding up this weekend.  ;D

Next weekend, have this little triangle to tackle, and a few other details, but the exterior should be complete! Whew, a lot of work!


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