12 x 16 House

Started by Beavers, June 27, 2009, 09:15:45 PM

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glenn kangiser

Ain't it quaint, what you can make out of a few logs. d*
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

Glenn's Underground Cabin  http://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?topic=151.0

Please put your area in your sig line so we can assist with location specific answers.


Quote from: glenn kangiser on July 11, 2009, 11:32:17 PM
Ain't it quaint, what you can make out of a few logs. d*

...and only 4.5 million dollars!  [shocked]

It is VERY cool looking though Glenn!  [cool]


Raised the east wall tonight!
It's even plumb and square.  ;D

This is the first framing I've done, so I took the time to draw it all out on paper first.  I figure it's a lot cheaper to screw it up on paper than it is to mess up with the wood.
It actually worked out pretty good when it came to to frame.  I didn't have to think at all, just look at the plans.

I'm using 10' sidewalls...they look a lot taller than I thought they would.  The top plate is 15' off the ground now.

I'm hoping to have the rest of the walls up by the end of the weekend.


I had help this weekend and was able to get a lot done.  [cool]

Using the router to cut the notches for the 1x6 that will hold the loft floor joists.

Raising the south wall.

All the walls are up!  I still have to add the fire blocking on the rake walls, and put in the ledger board on the west wall.  Also debating on adding a window to the south wall. 
It's exciting to have the walls up...starting to actually feel like a house!  ;D


Glad to see your moving along Beavers  [cool], I enjoy watching your updates....  It's nice having help!  I like how you framed your gable ends with a notch for your ridge beam...good job -good idea..
"Whether You Think You Can or Can't, You're Right"--Henry Ford       Just call me grasshopper Master Po.


Thanks for the compliments secordpd!

Here's a cost update on the house so far. 
I've saved every reciept so I can get my 10% tax credit this year. [cool]

Total so far- $1343.70

Would be really great to keep the total cost of the house under 5k...have to see how it goes.
I gave up on trying to estimate future costs, I'm always way low!  d*


I've decided I want to use timber frame construction for the covered front porch.  I wanted to try making a joint to see how difficult it would be, and if timber framing would be fun.

I don't have a large framing chisel, so I cheated and used a router to hog out most of the wood then finished up with my small chisel.
Turns out, that you've got to have pretty tight tolerances for this kind of work.  I think the most I'm off is a 1/8" making the joint very loose.  d*

I got a chunk of nice straight grained ash from the firewood pile to make the peg.  I split off a section and rounded it down using a drawknife and spokeshave. 

I ended up with a sloppy loose fitting joint, but it was fun and let me know what I need to work on.
I've got a bunch of scrap 4x6 from the house foundation, so I'm going to keep on practicing.

I promised my wife that I'll get the house done before I start working on the porch.  I'd end up getting side tracked, and by fall would have a great looking timber framed porch, but no house to go with it.  ;D


That joint is a little deep there Beavers, but hey it's just practice.

I'm glad to see that you have been inspired to do some timber framing.  It is not a lost art yet. [cool]


Quote from: poppy on July 25, 2009, 12:51:42 PM
That joint is a little deep there Beavers, but hey it's just practice.

I'm glad to see that you have been inspired to do some timber framing.  It is not a lost art yet. [cool]

I'm just flying blind on the timber framing right now...got to order a couple of those books that you recommended, so I can figure out what the hell I'm doing.  ;D

Just got myself a 2" framing chisel off Ebay, it's an Ohio Tool Company one.  The little info I could find on the company says they were in business from 1823-1920, and in the early days used inmate labor from the Ohio State Pen.  Most of my hand tools are were made when my Grandpa was a boy.  I've actually been using my 1930's Disston D-8 for most of my framing.  I like using the old tools and wondering about all the history they have.  Now with the framing chisel I can put the noisy router away!  ;D

I ended up getting more work done today than I thought.  It was hot out and I wasn't too motivated to do much.  I framed the bathroom, and got the loft floor joists installed.

I didn't bother to draw out a paper plan for the bathroom framing like I did for the rest of the house.  It's just a bathroom, and the walls aren't load bearing...I can't screw this up.
You can see the result... I cut the studs on the one wall 5 1/2" short.  d*

I decided to enlarge the bathroom a little.  I figured that a couple of extra inches in the living room wouldn't make much difference, It's still tiny.
On the other hand a couple extra inches in the bathroom pushed it from tiny, to a decent size.

I threw some temporary planks down on the loft floor, It's going to have 2x6 T&G flooring, but I want to wait until it's dried in to put that down.  Walking around up there, the head room isn't as bad as I thought it would be.  With the dormers on each side it should feel pretty open.

I made a run to the lumber yard today, and got all the wood for the rafters as well.  Hope to have the roof framed by the end of next weekend.


Nice job on the cabin. I myself have been living in a 12x 16 log cabin without any running water for about 6 years now and for the last five, I've been sharing it with my beau, my dog and our two cats. It absolutly doable. Its cozy but will get you motivated to work on the 16x26.  :D We are actually in the process of building a 16x26 two story house.

Keep up the good work.


Quote from: mountainmomma on July 29, 2009, 01:15:13 PM
Nice job on the cabin. I myself have been living in a 12x 16 log cabin without any running water for about 6 years now and for the last five, I've been sharing it with my beau, my dog and our two cats. It absolutly doable. Its cozy but will get you motivated to work on the 16x26.  :D We are actually in the process of building a 16x26 two story house.

Keep up the good work.

Thanks mountainmama.

It's nice to hear that others have found that small of space livable.  Also nice to know I'm not the only "crazy" one out there!  ;D


Nice find on the chisel, Beavers.  I like the old tools also.  Being an Ohio guy, I appreciate the history story.

I have bought some decent chisels at auctions, but I missed the last auction that specialized in old tools.  I still need a better/bigger broad ax.


There's alot of good info on the TF Guild's website.


Download "Historic American Timber Joinery" first, then the Truss and Steeple pdf's. The red and green books are good if you want to go further in that direction. Jim Rogers who posts there frequently is a purveyor of old tools, I've dealt with him several times and have always been very pleased.


Managed to get the ridge beam hoisted into place the with some help from my wife.  The beam is three 16 foot 2x12's, even lifting one 2x12 at a time is was still tricky getting it 21 feet off the ground.

After getting the ridge beam into place I had to start on fixing my big mistake...

I've planned on having a cathedral ceilling in the house from the start.  I've been reading up on each stage of building as I get to it, and haven't really worried about what's down the road until I get to that stage.  Anyway...I got to the roof framing stage, and discovered that using a ridge beam, my gable walls would be load bearing.  With my snow load here in Nebraska my ridge beam would need to be able to support over 5000 lbs., so each end of the beam would have over 2500 lbs. pushing down on it.  I over built and used 2x12's for the floor joists, but they don't even come close to being able to support that kind of load.  d*

I only ran two rows of piers and don't have anything to take the load of the ridge beam underneath the gable walls.  I got a lot of great advise in another thread on how to fix the problem.  I didn't want to mess around with trying to add a pier under the center of each gable wall.  (what I should of done to begin with)

I decided to do a variation on DonP's "plant shelf" that stiffens the balloon framed gable wall, and combine it with a beam that would take the roof load from the ridge beam and trasnfer it out to the walls and down to the piers.

The beam is made of three 2x12's laminated together.  The ends of the beam rest on the let-in 1x6 ledger that also supports the loft joists.  I also added jack studs under the ends.

Overbuilt...maybe???  All I know is that it will make me sleep better at night, plus framing lumber is cheap...the extra lumber adds up to less than $100.  Cheap insurance IMO!

The red lines show how I envision the load path will go.  Does that look right?

Here's a view from the inside.  I'll cover the post with some 1x to make it look a little nicer, since it will be exposed.


You're plenty good there, I must have overstated, just didn't want a wider house getting into trouble. Another thing to be conscious of when putting a heavy load on a post or beam or ledger, check to see that it won't crush into one or the other. SPF is good for 425 psi in side grain compression, it looks like you've stuck adequate support under it.



I've got a full 3 1/2" of wood under each end of the 2x12 beam. 
Thanks for the tip on the Timber Framers Guild...ton of great info there! 


I've been working the last few days on the roof, and it's been kicking my ass!  d*

I'm a surveyor, and I'm usually pretty good at using math to figure out angles and distances, but figuring out this roof has been tough.
I spend a lot of my time standing there... ??? ??? ???...usually followed by... d* d* d*...after I screw up a measurement.

Anyway, here is what I've managed to get done so far.  

Here is the view from the west dormer.  I'm glad I decided to put in the dormers, it's going to open the loft up a bunch, and give some very  needed headroom.

Here is a shot of one of the rafters on the dormer.  It looks like it fits right, but I'm not sure if birdsmouth should extend inside the top plate like that?
Do I have something screwed up?


Ruh Roh,
No the birdsmouth cannot extend in past the inside of the plate. Lowering the sidewalls would be one solution. At that span it isn't going to fail though. Also typically the rafters bear fully against the ridgebeam or sit fully on it.


I think I've got my ridgebeam too high. I forgot to take into account that the rafters will be sitting on top of it, and that's throwing all my cuts off.

I've been able to find almost no info in using a ridge beam instead of a ridge board.  The only thing I was able to find shows notching the rafter to sit on the beam, and then using a plywood gusset to tie the opposing rafters to each other.

For future reference (when I build the bigger house) what is the correct way to frame this?

Do the rafters have to sit on top of the beam?


While working on the house today I noticed a problem.  One of the piers is now 1/2" out of plumb.  I took the time to make sure they were all dead nuts plumb when I started, so I know that it's shifted. 

I pulled a stringline using the original stakes and it looks like the bottom end of it has kicked in, the top of the pier looks like it's in the same spot.  Is my footing sinking and tilting to one side???

I went ahead and added an extra angle brace to the corner piers.  I though I had braced the hell out of this house, but I guess not.

If it stops leaning at this point I'll be fine with leaving it.  If it keeps on tilting...any ideas on how to fix it? 

I think I'm going to make a mark on all the piers, and shoot the elevation to them every week or two.  I'll be able to spot any other sinking or tilting piers then.

You can see in the pic the the string line and how far it's shifted.

John Raabe


Even if your pier was built on poor soil and was settling it would be much more likely to sink rather than tilt.

• What are the footings and the soil under the posts?
• Was this the same on all piers?
• Are any of the other piers leaning or tilting?
None of us are as smart as all of us.



The holes were all made with a 12" auger, and they are all around 36" deep.  I poured about 8" of concrete into the bottom of each of the holes, and then set my posts on top of that.  None of the other posts show any kind of movement.

The USDA says this area is a silty clay loam, or something like that.  I've noticed in my digging of the piers for the other house that there are very different types of soil at different depths.  One layer will be a more mucky sticky clay, and then you hit a more sandy clay that is MUCH harder.  The sandy clay stays very hard even when soaked with rain, the mucky clay just turn muckier.  The change in soil was around the 3-4' deep mark.

Think it's possible that the one footing is sitting half on the mucky clay and half on the sandy clay, and that the mucky side is sinking causing the footing to tilt, and the pier to move in at the bottom???  (Just a wild ass guess on my part)

John Raabe

That is a wild one... ???

It sounds like the platform is still square and level, yes? I don't think the footing could tilt as it would take a great deal of tilting AND SINKING to produce that much movement. Doing so would have to drop the post height and dip the platform.

I think it's more likely that you have a post that is going "Snuffy Smith" on you - bowing out in the middle but staying put at the top and bottom. I have one on my garage that bowed more than an inch out of plumb. No harm done, its been there for 25 years with no settling of floors or the roof above it.
None of us are as smart as all of us.


Thanks for the quick help John!

I didn't check for square, but the subfloor is still level.  They are only 4x6 posts, and the thin side is the one that's showing out of plumb.  The 5 1/2" axis is still perfectly plumb.  Would be great if it's only bowing out in the middle, maybe the extra brace I added today will keep from bowing more.

You are right it would take a lot of tilting of the footing, along with a sliding of the bottom of the post to get out of plumb like that.  A bowing post is really does make the most sense now that I think more about it.   d*

I'll keep checking the posts and see if anything else moves down the road. 


What does the post across from it look like? You do need to brace the building in both directions so it doesn't end up looking like the shed in the background. It can't go out of square with the floor diaphragm but it can be tipping the posts over, the post on the other side will tell you if that is going on.
Edit: Rereading I see the other posts are plumb, I'd agree, it would about have to be just that post bowing if the opposite one is plumb.

Back to the roof;
You can either bear against the ridgebeam or rest on it. If hanging off the face, some type of adequate connection or hanger is needed. I've normally hung off the face of ridgebeams, I can only recall sitting on top of one. Looking at the second and third pics in your previous set the rafter appears to be parallell to the dormer gable top plates, so the angle appears to be correct. It looks as though a 3-1/2" birdsmouth would sit the rafter on top of the ridge. You do need 1-1/2" bearing so if you do that it needs a plate bevelled for each side on top. Doesn't look like that would work with the main roof height though. I wouldn't notch more than 1/4 depth of the rafter if you notch to set up on the ridge.

This calc should give you the height to set the ridge if you want it to plane in on the bottom of the plumb cut, face hung. You can adjust from there, or just use it to check your math if you want. http://windyhilllogworks.com/Calcs/ridgehgtclc.htm