Our Tiny (10 x 12) Cabin

Started by Gary O, July 31, 2011, 09:19:24 PM

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Gary O

Glad ya did, John.
It was a great break in the action.
I'm enjoying all that I own, the moment.

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." Emerson


A winter wonderland, Gary. Nice to see you set fires and kept your eyebrows and beard intact. ;D
The personal dietary habits of people kill more frequently than firearms. Eat healthy and carry a gun.

Gary O

Thanx Carla.
Yeah, the brows are still able to pick up a good FM station and raise the garage door......
The was a lot of ice this time, and some unseasonably warm weather in the day, so some melting and wet wood, even under the tarps.
But we did get the major piles taken care of.
As always, a rich experience.

I'm enjoying all that I own, the moment.

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." Emerson


well all.here is my version.
we got packed up.i am all excited to get going.i wanted to leave friday nite but poor mister was so tired from working so hard all week.
so all is good.Sat.morning i am awake at five in the morning dressed and waiting for lite to come so i can get to loading up the jeep.
He is sort of funny about how things are loaded and was not too happy to see i had a small bookcase filled with books i was hauling to the cabin.and i always haul lots more canned foods.
then we had a big propane tank and two ice chests filled and 3-five gallon containers of water...plus lots of clothes and bags of this and that.Important thing like my huge tote bag of crocheting.
I was leary about going thru the mountains cause i heard there was gonna be bad weather up in the Williamette pass.
we are going along and the mister says he forgot the tire chains.we drove all over these silly strip malls where there is nothing anyone needs...we finally found a walmart and there is where he found them.yay.
so we get up into the mts...
funny man! i was never scared but I can sure say this fellow drove thru like a pro...but i was ready to jump out at the first slide off the mountain.every man for himself in those circumstances.
hee hee.
so we make it thru and its still snowing and after so many years of marriage-we both think the same thing at the same time.i said "what if it is snowing to beat the band and Burt has not plowed?"
Gar had been thinking the very same thing at the very same time...still! silly us,trusting Burt who has never come thru even once .
so we get to our road and sort of slip and slide thru to the road where our cabin is and sure enough...burt the poo poo head had not plowed.i could see why though....some trees were blocking our road.
Praise the lord that the snow was so hard and iced over that we could haul all our stuff.i was wishing i was not such a hard head and wish i had listened to gar about not taking all those books with us.
so we each hauled.i took an ice chest and got it to the cabin and emptied it out and headed back with an empty ice chest so i could fill all my books in the ice chest.
we did it.it was all good.got lots of exercise which is one of the many reasons we want to live out in the woods in the first place.
It was so pretty out there.
we had so much fun.
I have never been to our woods when there was actually alot of snow falling.So Gar said Baby-its snowing.we both were at the cabin door peeking out and sure enough.We woke up to such beauty.It was wonderful.
we put up some stick um l.e.d. lites in the outhouse.
we put some up in our kitchen.
we got alot of burning done.
and we both read two books each.it was so great.
Gar says this summer is the summer of building on our living room.whee.then the wood stove is next.
We packed up and left.Closed up the little cabin in the woods for a while

then we stopped at a little cafe i had wanted to go to for a long time.The fellow came to take our order.If there is biscuits and gravy anywhere,on any menu-i am getting that.
so there was the half order and the whole order.I asked how big.the fellow said...oh trucker size.well since i was not sure cause alot of times someone will say big and its not.so i did order the trucker size figuring i could take half home.oh mister..mister funny man says-WHEW!!WHAT A WOMAN.MORE MAN THAN ME..
well,snicker.i was mad at him for saying that and said thanks gar.
hee hee.so then i get my biscuits and it was two biscuits halfed with gravy.Gars still talking to the fellow about how i will probably not eat all of it and will only eat half.
i was like oh my word!! that was the only hic up we had...but after i was not mad anymore...it was pretty funny.
so we just dream and plan and talk of the woods and our cabin building adventure .
it was a wonderful time...except for the cafe thingy.lol
there is always hope


Sounds like you all had a good visit.
I got the last of my woods piles burned in a quick 8" snow we had this week. Having done the scorched beard, loose hair and toboggan melted to the head trick before I use a 20 lb propane cylinder with a weedburner torch to touch off my piles. Due to Glenn keeping homeland security interested I'll just say that in my youth we used to enjoy anything that employed fire. The pile was generally burning upon re entry.

I made the mistake of ordering the loggers breakfast one morning on the way to the job. First she brought out a couple of plates with eggs, bacon, sausage, hash browns and a couple of biscuits. It was a healthy meal but I was up to the task. I was winning and on my 3rd or 4th cup of coffee when the waitress comes out with a plate completely smothered in biscuits and gravy, I dunno, logger's dessert. I was raised right and am respectful of all those biscuits who gave up their lives and it is just too far to send them to Biafrica. It was about fourteen oclock before work began that day.


Don...hee hee.those are some pretty funny stories.hee hee.
there is always hope

Gary O

There is never enough water or gastrointestinal space after a 'good' breakfast

'burning upon re entry'... ;D  rofl...n-i-c-e
I'm enjoying all that I own, the moment.

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." Emerson


I really enjoyed reading your thread. It was cool to see everything that you have been working on up to this point. Quite a few funny guys on here as well. I dont know what its all about but burning slash piles is so fun to do. Even when someone else is doing the burning. Good to see you had a successful trip.

Gary O

 Thanks Brian
Yeah, there's a ton of funny, crazy and quite talented people here.

Slash burning; Making old men into little boys since strike anywhere matches.
Chain saws; Mechanized running with scissors

Welcome to the fray. w*
I'm enjoying all that I own, the moment.

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." Emerson

Mountain gator

Gary I always enjoy reading your commentary and I really like the looks of your cabin. I'm actually pondering bilding something similar myself in the near future. I looked back at your in progress pictures and tried to see what kind of foundation you used, but could not find what I was looking for. Could you enlighten me?

Gary O

Hi MG, and welcome to the finest little forum I've ever known. w*

OK, foundation
You really need to chat with the Mountain Don's of the world.

I've built a few cabins and sheds, and mostly without convention.

My foundations have been a bit prehistoric.
I consol myself that the pioneers did what I did, and that's level the site as much as possible and place either rocks or concrete blocks where they need to go. Placing treated skids on top. Then planks across them.

The key is leveling the ground, which involves lots of grubbing around digging and tamping and digging and tamping until my back knots up into one tight ball of spasming muscle, declaring levelness to be quite acceptable.
Curse words have been summa my best tools.

Give me a few hours and I'll go home and root thru my files for pics and grins.

I'm enjoying all that I own, the moment.

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." Emerson

Gary O

OK MG, I'm gonna do what I swore I wouldn't.
I put a little book on the shelves a year or so ago, but I won't tell you the name of it without permission of the wonderful folks that have kept this site pure.
It's a journal about our cabin building experience.
And since it hasn't flourished, but rather has suffered some sorta incurable Irish book blight along with a rapidly degenerative advertising disorder, I suppose an excerpt or two won't cause me much of a financial set back since the publishers should be quite disenchanted with me by now anyway......

Here goes;

The foundation is, as always, critical. If you don't start out with a square, true base, you'll fight angles all the way thru your building endeavor.
In my opinion, a small cabin, shed, shop is somewhat forgiving when it comes to authentic foundation construction. This opinion, coupled with my inexperience with actual foundation fundamentals, brings me to my next journal entry.
There are many books, pamphlets, and magazines that help with very detailed info and illustrations, showing how to pour the cement, true the pilings for post and beam, and build your foundation the correct way.
I build mine bass ackwards. I'd like to think the early pioneers built theirs as mine. I determine how many cement blocks I'll need, then find the four corners of my structure. I then commence to level the ground (not the piling or post). It saves me some time, but is very tedious, as I place a straight board on the exterior blocks and find level with (what else) a level (a long one), tamp, dig, tamp, add soil, tamp, dig, etc..... until all blocks are even with each other.
To square the layout, I measure the diagonal corners. They've got to measure the same. Use your imagination as to how you get there. The inside blocks also need to be square, true and level. It's a bit easier, but grunt work just the same. Some may argue that tamped dirt is not stable enough.
That might be right, but of the six small buildings I've built, none have had problems with level over time. Things will and can settle, but a well placed shim can correct any of these issues. I've never had to shim, and doors still shut/open without ado.

The cement blocks I use are nothing fancy, just 12 x 6 x 4 inches deep.

Saving expense while yielding a solid structure is the goal.

Now you can lay the floor boards.

Some insist on tongue and groove. Its unnecessary expense if you buy kiln dried #2 or better.

Two weeks later, Fourth of July weekend, we bought timbers and blocks, loaded up our tiny trailer with tools, building materials, and mosquito spray, and headed back to the property, both of us with set jaws that we'd get the site leveled and the blocks and beams laid. No camping. Too much stuff and prep just to get going. We were going to stay on task.
We'd seen some interesting A frame motel units 15 miles north of the property. So I looked 'em up on the web. Reasonable too ($42/night).
The people were very nice on the phone, so I reserved two nights.
On the way down, we talked about the movie 'Vacancy'...........got the creeps, and quit talking for awhile.
We dropped the trailer and contents at the property, fed the mosquitoes and went back to the motel. I studied their 'A' construction. Loved how they were made, but without any side walls they were not very efficient space wise and (I suppose) heat wise all going to the ceiling 20 some feet up.
OK the place was not clean, septic odor was present, and over all was lacking up keep. But the new managers were on task. Time will tell.
The kitchen and bathroom was designed as an afterthought. You had to move the tiny fridge to get into the silverware drawer, and you had to squat down to use the shower (of which they provided a plastic stool, nice touch).
The sunset shining thru the tiny bathroom window did give the knotty pine walls a golden cast.
I mentioned where we were staying to the guy at the mini mart, "Oh, yeah, crouching showers", he recalled. It was as though we were on the well known long abandoned set of a combined martial arts/gay western/porn movie..... "Crouching, Broke Back, Golden Showers".

The following morning we gulped down something (can't remember), swilled coffee, grabbed the water jug, and headed out, determined to complete our task of the day.
We grunted, thought, strained, and sat in 20 minute intervals (then we got out of the Jeep...just kidding). It took us a good part of the morning and a bit of the afternoon, but when we ceased toiling, the timbers and blocks were level, true and plum.

end of excerpt

Now that you've wasted a large portion of your youth reading this, please proceed to the pros here.
A gaggle of them are waiting to take your call.

cheers, and again, welcome

Gary O'

(Don, there's a cure for that minor Tourette facial tic you just now developed...I wrote a book about it)
I'm enjoying all that I own, the moment.

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." Emerson


I know the one you mean Gary. Go into your profile, on the forum profile sub page. Scroll down under the member map and insert a link to it in the Website URL field. Name the link something in the Website title field. That's a 100% fine and nobody can complain about "advertising" from there. Any member can view your profile after they have made at least 1 topic posting. I'm also pretty sure anyone, member or guest, can see and click on the    that appears in the sidebar under you avatar and personal info, beside any message you have posted.

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

Gary O

OK, 'went for it' and while there, finished the sports page, then woke my leg back up and did sumpm, and tested that by dragging my cursor over what I think might possibly be the 'URL' and pasted that to the empty rectangular space where I find things (no, not my brain, I never find anything worth finding there) and entered...it went to the sales site.
Howevah, I don't think that's what you were trying to show me, Don.....Geez I hate being old and ignorant...and technically lazy................where's my grandson when I need him?.......wait, the wife just made cookies

Care to try what I entered? Please?
I'm enjoying all that I own, the moment.

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." Emerson


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

Gary O

Wul ahll buee, shazam...a minor miracle.
Thanks big D
You da grandpappy
I'm enjoying all that I own, the moment.

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." Emerson

Gary O

   H'okay, we're gonna head down to the cabin in a couple weeks, and one'a the tasks will be puttin' on cedar shakes on the kitchen addition.
I've put on shakes once, and it turned out pretty good, but there was no power at that cabin, and vague recollection creates a vision of angst and colorful verbiage giving the aura around me a uniquely blue haze.
Anybody work with cedar shakes?
The bundles I have are of a thin nature, and they are mostly for aesthetics....and I s'pose weather protection, although it rains there at the same rate of the Mojave desert.....

Oh, and I have this pneumatic one inch crown stapler that I'm starin' at real hard for stapling on these tiny boards from hell., or is there a better way?

...and, no, there won't be any lath strips....unless someone chides me into it.

I love (hate) cedar shakes so.
I'm enjoying all that I own, the moment.

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." Emerson


Hi Gary O,
I have been lurking here for a little while and thought I'd come out of hiding to tell you how impressed I am with the model you built (pictured in reply #46 of this thread) for your next cabin.  Since you first posted that last fall, I am wondering if you've altered the design any or if you still feel this is what you'll build next.  I am a true beginner and I think I would have to simplify a bit from what you've designed but one of the things I love about it is the irregular roof line and the height.
I have a couple of questions for you if you don't mind:
1) Do you feel that 4x4s will support that 16' feet of height in the center or would you end up with 6x6s for the center posts?
2) Would you be thinking of a post and pier foundation for this, or what kind of foundation were you thinking of?

And I guess one more question while I'm feeling brave: what do you or others think of using steel connectors to join the 4x4s?  I am thinking of ones like the Big Boy steel-timber connectors from a site I found by searching for "steel shed frames" because I guess I feel like they could give me some of the time and simplicity benefits of a kit without the price and lack of customization from a complete kit.

Anyway thanks so much for the inspiration and it's especially nice to know that someone who dislikes schematics as I do can build something nonetheless!
Absolute beginner in Black Mountain, NC

Gary O

Hey, shnnnh, hope you hang around a bit.
I'll answer your questions in the morn'.
Lotsa festivities today, and the pillowtop beckons.


Gary O'
I'm enjoying all that I own, the moment.

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." Emerson

Gary O

Okee Dokee

Coffee is hot, birds are chirpin', and the humans will be arriving here at the factory in a few minutes.



Nothing's changed in my mind, as far as style.
Essentially, it's two lean-tos put together. I like the thought of seeing the sun come up of a morning when waking from slumber in the loft.
Thing is, I also want to step out onto a deck from the loft, sip a cup of coffee, and perhaps nosh on a piece of raisin toast......and that's where my ethereal day dream ends.
Because I'll need more height and a bit more width to do that.
But, for sure (at present) I want to keep the roof design.

Center posts

6 x 6 center posts can't hurt, and would be better to look at instead of spindly 4 x 4s....and I s'pose would help to keep the snow load from making the ceiling a center piece.


Post and beam is pert near the only acceptable style of foundation in my neck of the woods.
Unstable 'soil'.


Steel brackets are good if used correctly.
I'm kinda big on aesthetics, so if I use them, they'll be painted black. However, I tend to go the total wood route and put 45° braces everywhere..........

Thing is, shnnnh, if you're building something smallish, like 200 sf or less, then building is quite forgivable with logic applied..
But....if you're considering something bigger, or taller than one floor, it's best to get input from the pros here.
Once provoked, they will offer up wonderful advice, much akin to a soft ice cream machine gone berserk.
Their input will keep your dream from becoming a nightmare.

Know this, you're chatting with an old gent that is given to much flailing of arms, out of context sputtering curses....in tongues of unknown origin, panic filled cat sailing across the shop making weird spitting sounds mid air, and splaying myself on the ground, pounding and licking with fists and feet.
It's not becoming, but it's become a large part of my repertoire.

When I get closer to the build, I'll be on this site like a plague, with a thousand questions.

Hope I answered some questions.

Oh, and don't be shy.
Welcome to the most wonderful thing you'll ever do, and the site that will get you there.

Keep a fire

Gary O'
I'm enjoying all that I own, the moment.

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." Emerson


Thanks so much for the replies and most of all for the encouragement!

I was thinking that if you wanted both the loft and a deck you could always flatten out the shorter roof in your model to make a flat deck and raise the roof line to match the taller side but cover it with corrugated Polycarbonate to let the light in.  You could roll right out of bed and onto the deck...just don't roll too far ;)
Absolute beginner in Black Mountain, NC

Gary O

 Hmmm, not bad thoughts.......
I'm enjoying all that I own, the moment.

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." Emerson


Where is the "like" button? This is greatly entertaining. Will your co-author be participating in your book? I will need to aquire a copy when you are done and put it next to 'Roughing It'.

Did you ever get your water tested Gary?

Gary O

Hey HP

Water test

Still on my to-do list

I did get one'a those kits from Home Dopey but it was mysteriously missing the bacteria test, so I've gotta restart my search for that.

So far, no weird diarrhea like symptoms...just yer normal every day type diarrhea. 


Yeah, I've been on a writing jag lately, bangin' out book number two.
I've been so filled with deeply profound thoughts of deep profundity that I've just gotta share...and, yeah, the term 'filled' is quite appropriate.
Actually book number two is somewhat of an appropriate description as I'm strongly considering the title 'Does a Boy Poop in the Woods'.
This winter I banged out several short stories of my childhood recollections.
I ran some excerpts by the kids (16-22 yrs) of today, and they thought it a bit of a hoot (reading about kids being outside...with no electronics), so my newly formed bulbous ego has prodded me forward.
Both fingers tappin' away
Stoppin', lookin' up (profound things are on the ceiling)
manically gigglin' my own ass off

The work is in the compilation dept.
Gawd I hate that.

Anyhoot, glad you enjoyed, HP.


Gary O'
I'm enjoying all that I own, the moment.

"Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air." Emerson