28 X 40 California Redwoods

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

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Deck braced so that we can still work from it once the ledger is removed:

She ain't pretty, but hopefully it keeps the riffraff out:


Sorry to hear of the breakin. That does dampen ones spirits.   >:(
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.


Quote from: MountainDon on August 08, 2017, 07:34:26 PMSorry to hear of the breakin. That does dampen ones spirits.   >:(

It does, but as my wife put it, we are safe and it's nothing I can't fix.


Well, fortunately everything was as we left it. But the weekend wasn't without incident...

I tried to spend 4-5 hours a day working on the grounds, as I've stated before our old caretaker was pretty much worthless, so I'm trying to get the place back to presentable.

Sunday I spent 2-3 hours on the Bobcat (yes it's fully operational again :)) moving around debris and regrading some low areas. When I was finishing up, I smelled something burning, and though maybe I got leaves stuck somewhere on the engine and they ignited. I hopped out and checked the whole thing over and there was nothing burning. False alarm. After that my wife and I were watching a movie and I had to get up and check on the Bobcat, I just had this weird feeling that the Bobcat was going to catch fire and burn the garage down. The garage is across the property from our cabin, so my fear was that by the time I noticed we would have a big fire on our hands. After checking, everything was fine, and the Bobcat had cooled down.

About an hour after that, we heard a fire truck, and I don't think I have ever heard or seen an emergency vehicle in all my time going to this property. What was more alarming is that after we heard the sirens, they stopped right around our property. I was putting my shoes on and my wife yelled out, "I see smoke through the sky light". I ran as fast as I could to the garage, and on my way there I quickly noticed it was not our property that was on fire. Our next door neighbor's property was engulfed in flames. Once the fire got to his propane tank (250 gallons) there was a massive explosion and flames must have been 50 feet high. I ran back to our cabin to tell my lady to pack our stuff, as we may have to cut out, then went back to make sure the neighbors were ok.

Everyone was fine but their four car garage with an apartment on top was almost gone, along with other structures on the property. All in all it took about three hours and eight engines to put the fire out. Fortunately for us there is a creek that runs between our properties, and that seemed to provide a natural fire break. Nevertheless, I had two hoses running making sure our property was well saturated. 

The neighbor thinks it was some rags he left in the garage after staining his deck. Scary stuff, and I spent most of the next day making sure our whole property had debris cleaned up, roofs cleared of leaves, decks clean, etc.

Here's a shot after they had been fighting the fire for about 45 minutes:

Here is the size of the embers that were falling on the opposite side of our property:


Got the call on Friday from the supplier I ordered our new door through that it's finally in and ready to be picked up. The plan is to head up on the 14th and grab the door on the way up. I took the 16th - 20th off of work to give myself two weekends and a full week. I want to make sure I take my time, especially when removing the existing shingles, I'm sure I'll crack a few but I'd like to reuse as many as possible. It's always tricky trying to plan your attack when you don't really know what you'll encounter once you start taking things apart. But I've learned to buy more than I think I'll need, extras can always be returned.

Hopefully I can setup my game camera again to do a time lapse, we'll see how it goes. Really looking forward to this project being in the rear view.


Headed up to the property in a few hours, the fires on the road up have been pretty brutal this past week, so hopefully I can get through. It's gut wrenching to see the amount of devestation these fires has caused, and they are only ~10% contained at this point.

I took all next week off of work so that I can take my time and hopefully mix in a little r&r.


Well something happened during my trip that I'm just not accustomed to... the dry rot wasn't as bad as I had thought  ;D. It had eaten through the sheathing, king and cripple studs, drywall, t&g pine, baseboard, three layers of sub-floor, and one floor joist. But I was able to fix everything fairly easily, started work Saturday morning and by Wednesday evening, everything was back together. Which worked out well for me because the rain came on Thursday.



I had to get creative when trimming out the inside, being the walls are close to 90 years old, they aren't as true as they could be. As a result the door jamb sits flush with the t&g on the interior at the top, but near the bottom the t&g is a bit proud of the jamb. To keep a consistent reveal on the jamb, I added a tampered notch to the backside of the molding. I know it's not the best approach, but I honestly don't think anyone will notice unless they're really looking for it. And you'd have to stand in the corner of the room to see it.

Here you can see I tried to keep the reveal as consistent as possible:

Here is the taper I had to cut out on the backside:

Tried to capture all of the colors that popped out when the rain started (not sure if I captured it or not, you might have to take my word that it was beautiful):

My pup wasn't a huge fan of me doing cleanup with the Bobcat, but she was a fan of the new door as a viewing spot:



Not sure if I mentioned previously, but that same friend of my dad's that hooked me up with the Grace ice and water shield has struck again. He owns a company that maintains cell sites in CA and OR and he is finally closing up shop and retiring. So that means a lot of the stuff he has in his warehouses are being sold off, or in this case given away...

It's a 65kW propane generator, he is also tossing in as many transfer switches I want as well as a 250 gallon propane tank. The generator was dropped at my buddy's warehouse yesterday, I told him it was on it's way but didn't tell him how big it was. He sent me that picture when it arrived asking if I was trying to power the cabin or the whole town.

Now I just need to figure out where I want to put it and get a pad poured.


Wow, 65kW is a monster!  Good luck with the installation.
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story


The wife, pup, and I are headed to the cabin over Easter. Haven't been up there since New Years, hoping the place is still in one piece. One thing I've been considering doing is adding a electronic lock with a keypad to our community laundry room (has laundry and full bath), putting a coffee maker in there, and then giving the code to all of the local law enforcement and offering it to them as a place to take their breaks when they're in the area. I know the sheriff stops in every once in a while, in January I met our local game warden and I gave him the code for our gate and permission to enter our property. I figure the more people like that I can get stopping by the better.

Just a thought. The lan for next weekend is to take down the section of our deck that faces the river. This is the section that is in the worst shape and removing it will also give me access to where I will be redoing part of the foundation. The previous owner added an addition out over the old deck, and I've never ben a fan of the post and beam foundation they installed to support it. My plan is to suspend the addition with an i-beam or two, dig down a couple feet, pour a stem wall, and a slab for a nice little basement workshop. Only going to have seven feet of headroom, but for a little workshop, that's all I need. With the deck removed, that will allow me to get the Bobcat in there, I don't think I'll dig with the Bobcat, but it will make moving the dirt a lot easier.

I'll be sure to post some pictures when I return.


Sounds like a fun project.  Is it feasible to raise the deck by 14"?  You could have a couple steps leading up to the "viewing platform" and get some decent headroom in the shop below.
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story


Another good weekend at the cabin in the books, sadly as you all know all to well, there are always issues you don't expect. This trip that unknown issue was showing up to find we didn't have running water. We got in around 11:00pm, so I decided to dive into our water issues the next day. After a night's rest I went to work on the water system, and fortunately it was a relatively easy fix. I quickly found that our pump had given up the ghost, unfortunately when shutting down the system to remove the pump I broke the ball valve. In its defense it was probably 25+ years old. With essential items, like the water system, I have tried to ensure that we have spares on hand to minimize downtime. So I have a large supply of schedule 80 fittings, valves, and pipe as well as a backup pump.

Once that was taken care of I spent time cleaning the grounds and took advantage of a burn day to clean up debris. After the chores were done I got to work taking off the old deck, this took a couple days but I made sure all nails and screws were removed and the old wood was stacked in an orderly manner. Overall I was happy with the progress, kind of wish I had been able to take down the wall I built to support the deck back in 2013, but it won't be in the way when bringing the Bobcat in to haul the dirt that I dig out from under that room.

Pretty scary looking at just how bad the deck was, even though I knew it was really bad, it's really eye opening to see just how dangerous it was.

Adam Roby

Woah, that's a lot of damage.  Was it due to not using pressure treated lumber?

My deck at home (porch I guess) has a very heavy roof over it.  Its probably 12'x16', 4' high roof in the center with asphalt shingles.
The girder is completely rott, floor boards 1/2 rott, and 4 corner posts botton 1' are rotten.  I need to try to secure the existing joists with a new girder and those foundation screws, then somehow replace each of the posts and hope the roof doesn't come down at the same time.  Might just be easier to replace and start over but it'll cost be a few extra grand to do so.  The previous owner who build this deck used standard lumber, no pressure treated, and not done very well.  Sigh... 


Quote from: Adam Roby on April 03, 2018, 09:51:34 PMWoah, that's a lot of damage.  Was it due to not using pressure treated lumber?

I would say it's a combination of things, not being PT lumber, gaps between boards being too tight, and no maintenance. I knew the deck was trashed when I bought the place, I have just been trying to limp it along for as long as I could. However it has gotten to the point where I know I'm only asking for someone to get hurt. So the deck will come off, and I will build a small deck to access the cabin to hold me over until I have the finances in place. My top priority is redoing the foundation under that room that the deck was attached to. It's a post and beam foundation, no disrespect to people that use them, but I just don't trust them.

With the deck out of my way I can get under there and temporarily support that room while I dig out for a continuous concrete stem wall. I will also take advantage of the deck being off to install a complete french drain around the cabin, something I've been wanting to do for a few years now.


My house had a small deck on it when we bought it.  It was untreated and painted, and had started to rot.  I figured I probably should do some repairs so I started poking around with a screwdriver testing how bad the rot was.  Some boards were okay, with a few soft spots.  Then I came to the brace that was supporting the cantilever portion and the screwdriver sunk clean through until the handle hit the board with a thunk.  I think I looked like a cartoon character the way my eyes bugged out when I saw that.  The deck came down that weekend.

Edit: I meant to say I took it down, not that it collapsed.
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story


Heading up to the property on the 24th to finally finish the deck removal, I have a 20 yard dumpster being delivered, so I'll be able to get it torn off and do a general clean up. I also plan to dig out for my future workshop under the cabin. My wife and I are expecting our first child in October, so this is my last big push to get stuff done before the baby is here.


Congratudolances  :) Yup there will be a lapse but kids bounce pretty well, you'll be back to using it soon.


Congrats! They sure do change things... we have a 1 year old and I can tell you things go a LOT slower now.


Best wishes on both the ongoing repairs/renovations and the family addition.     :)
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.



Always great when I can spend a decent amount of time at the cabin; however I never get as much done as I want. Oh well, it's eating the elephant as they say.

I arrived at the cabin the evening of August 24th, upon arrival I assessed the situation with my dad, who was going to lend a hand for a few days. The plan was to entirely remove the old deck and get the wood staged to be placed in a dumpster I was having delivered on the 29th. Once that was complete we would build a new landing out the front door to suffice until I'm done with the foundation stuff and ready to build the new deck.

Saturday the 25th, we made quick work of removing the old deck, to ensure we maximized space in the dumpster all nails and screws were removed so that the old decking could be stacked neatly into the dumpster. By mid morning we had the old deck off and I jotted down a supply list and made my way to the lumber yard ~ 1.5 hours away. Upon my return we decided it was too late in the day to remove the last of the deck and put up the new deck before dark (so the pup could still get in and out) so we decided to focus on building a structure to hold the temporary beam we would be placing under the cabin to support it while completing the foundation work. We needed this structure to hold them beam up so that I could get posts under it (it was fairly heavy).

Sunday we removed the last bit of deck and built the new deck, nothing fancy and I reused as much material as possible to keep cost down. Once the new deck was wrapped up we switched gears to getting the temporary beam secured. The plan is to remove the post and beam foundation that the previous owner used for the addition and replace it with a poured continuous perimeter foundation with stem wall. To do this we are supporting the river side of the addition with a 4x10 and posts that are set at the depth of the new foundation. We welded up some simple brackets out of 1/2" plate that bolt to the posts and then use four concrete stakes to hold them in place. Before measuring for the new posts we jacked the room up about 3/8" off of the existing foundation and took our measurements. This way we know the new beam is supporting the load.

With this new beam in place I can now excavate for the river side of the new foundation. Ideally I'd like to pour the whole thing in one shot, but I'm not sure I can safely support the room to do that.

After we had this done I spent the rest of my time cleaning up my left over garbage from past projects and relaxing. The plan now is to excavate and pour the new foundation in the spring.

Here are some pics...

What the area looked like before starting (this picture is from the spring when I took off the river side of the deck):

Shot of the new temporary deck:

This is the post and pier foundation I'm replacing:

New beam in place:

A look at the posts (deepest hole was just under four feet deep):

Home made temporary brackets:

The area all cleaned up:


Headed up to the cabin Friday morning, this will be my daughter's first trip to the cabin. On Friday she will be six weeks old, gotta start them young!

Unfortunately sometime after I left Labor Day we had another break in, this time they did not touch our cabin but made their way into my buddy's cabin. Even more unfortunate is that my buddy had keys for our common garage in his cabin  >:(. They cleaned his cabin of all electronics and tools and we think they took all of our landscaping equipment (blower, line trimmer, chainsaws, etc) as well as our compressor. I won't know for sure what's gone until I get up there are look around, as my buddy's son is the one that discovered the break in and he doesn't really know what we had.

I think I've mentioned in the past but our property is an old resort that is roughly 10 acres and contains eight cabins, my wife and I own one cabin and other friends own the other cabins. However my wife and I are really the only ones that use property, everyone else maybe visits once or twice a year. However the compound is setup as a corporation and I'm the president so a lot of this stuff falls on me.

Over the next few months I will be building a way to secure the items in our garage and we have a number of game cameras we will be putting up all over.