NE Oregon 20 x 30+ 1.5 story

Started by CabinNick, June 01, 2015, 11:16:39 PM

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Very beautiful! You should get about 4 alaskan huskys and get into dog sledding. I did when I lived
in NH and it's an awesome hobby.
Click here to see our 20x30 and here to see our 14x24.


Quote from: CabinNick on May 06, 2016, 09:41:04 PM

We also cleared our first regulatory hurdle this week towards building - the soils in our septic test pits were approved for a standard septic system.  :)

Gotta be loving that! [cool]
My cabin build thread: Alaskan remote 16x28 1.5 story


We ordered our plans from John this week  ;D

We are still over a year out from starting construction, but I wanted to start solidifying our plans so I know what size/length of lumber to cut when we hire a mobile sawmill next spring. 

I have spent most of the summer thinning the forest around our cabin site to reduce fire danger; so far have completed about 8 acres.  Once fire season is over I will start clearing the trees from the cabin site.  We have about 25, 12-17" diameter ponderosa pine, douglas fir and larch that have to come down to make way for the cabin and road.  Plan is to have those milled into siding and trim for the cabin. 

I got a new toy last month that has been very useful.  Got a log arch to skid logs with my ATV.  So far I have not tried anything huge but am pretty impressed with what I have towed.  I have been mostly hauling 8" diameter douglas fir up to 35' long - with barely any strain on the ATV.   Purchased it from - really like the self lifting design. 


Exciting weekend.  We cleared all the trees from the cabin site - about 20 overstory trees that were 12-18" diameter and over 100' tall.  Was sad to see them all go but I skidded them all to a landing with my ATV/log arch and will hire a mobile sawmill to turn them all into lumber for the cabin.  The contractor we hired to level the cabin site and build our road says he might be able to get it done before the snow comes this year, otherwise will have to wait until next summer. 


For some strange reason that is a relaxing day even though physically demanding. Sawing them sooner rather than later would be a good thing.


Yes!  Saw those logs green if at all possible.  If I were closer I'd be happy to do it but NE Oregon is likely somewhere from 4 to 6 hours from me (I'm in Moses Lake WA).

That's a LOT of lumber!  If those logs give you at least two 16 footers that are 8" to 12" in diameter at the small end (You can saw logs that are under 8" in diameter at the small end but it really isn't very economical to do so if paying someone else) you'd have ~140bf per two logs (32 feet) x 100 logs = 14k bf of lumber.

I milled up about 200 doug firs that were 8 to 10 inches at the small ends and 16 feet long for a customer up in Republic and because I was working alone it took me 8 days to get that one done.  If you work with the sawyer you can cut that time just about in half (thereby saving you money unless he mills by the board foot instead of by the hour).  If by the hour you should be paying around 35c/bf -- unless there aren't many around and they only work alone in which case they often charge more but I don't think they should ;)


How exciting! Looking foward to seeing your progress.


Here are a couple pictures of the starting of my log deck.  This picture was taken before I added another 10-15 logs.  I also still have a handful of trees that died this summer from the drought to cut down - a 24" doug fir, 19" white fir, and four 14-18" pines. 

I have been researching mobile sawmills for the last year and really want to get one, but in the end I finally decided that I probably don't have enough free time to do much sawing. But I am still watching craigslist for any deals that I just can't pass up.....

It is too late in the year for me to get the logs milled before the snow flies so my plan was to have them sit under the snow all winter and then have them milled next spring.  Should that work out fine as far as sawing them green?  I found a local sawyer that mills by the hour - says it typically works out to about .25/bf. 


I've milled plenty that sat over the winter so no problem.  One thing you can do is to deck them on top of a couple smaller logs to lift them off the wet ground when the thaw begins.

Ask the sawyer what type of mill he has and what his hourly rate is.  25c/bf is a good rate (very good) and at $85/hr I can often do that but it depends on the logs and the help.  Big logs, but not too big, produce more for your money and are better priced milling by the hour IMO.  Smaller logs produce less.

For example, I've milled some big logs that I was able to get more than 500bf out of in an hour.  That works out to 17c/bf.  On the other hand I've also milled only 1000bf in 8 hrs (when I milled for $75/hr) and that was 60c/bf but I was working alone with small logs.  I mill by the hour because it gives a great incentive to the customer to help me produce and get the job done sooner which saves them money (often a lot) and gets me on the road sooner ;)  But not all customers can help so sometimes I have to do it all alone.  Typical prices for people who mill alone out here run around 50c/bf but again, I mill by the hour.


Best log deck I've had to date :)

If you can reproduce that your costs will go down ;)


Another piece of advice:  If you have logs that have big sweeps in them, cut them down to take out the sweep.  The sawyer will have to do it anyway or won't be able to produce much out of the log and usually, like me, charges by the hour to do so.

Also, cut logs 6" longer than desired lumber and don't cut 20 foot logs when you want 8 foot boards ;)  Cut them 16 or even 8 foot lengths instead.

I find I can often do two 8 footers in less time than one 16 footer and the off-bearing is a lot easier on the shorter logs.

Plan to have lots of room around the mill and to end up with a lot of slabs (4 per log) and sawdust :)

Get end sealer (Bailey's has it for around $60/5 gallons) and paint the end of the logs now to cut down on checks.


OK.  One more ;)

Keep like lengths together.  Example:  all 8 footers together, then 10 footers, 12 footers, so on (or reverse).

It really helps the sawyer out in the end.

And (I know I know, but I love milling)....know what you want!  You can have your lumber milled to 'nominal' sizes (same size as you buy in the store) but have it milled 1/8" over for drying (so if you want a 2x6 it's really 1 1/2  x 5 1/2 and have it milled to 1 5/8 x 5 5/8) but if you would like thicker stuff (I do a lot of that) you can have it milled on the even's (2", 4" 6") which is fast and easy and leaves stuff (in my case with the WoodMizer LT40) that is slightly more than 1 7/8" thick or you can have it milled to 1/8 over FULL dimension (so a TRUE 2x6 plus 1/8th" for drying).

But remember, Simpson brackets are not made for full cut dimensions ;)

True full cut rough sawn lumber is 25% stronger than what you buy in the stores.


Thanks for all the advice OlJarhead.  I have been reading a bunch on the sawmill page on - really good info on there.  Getting my deck sorted and off the ground before winter is going to be a challenge without any equipment, but I have an excevator with a thumb coming in next spring that should be able to pretty up my deck for me.  The sawyer I am planning on using has the exact same set up as you and charges by the hour. 

Spent the day out at the property thinning pine today.  Added quite a few more ponderosa pine logs to the deck!   


Over the last two weekends we got all the trees cleared from the cabin site, all the logs skidded to the landing, piled and burned all the slash.  Winter is fast approaching so glad to get that all done!  We met with the excavation contractor last weekend.  It is too muddy now to do the road work and cabin leveling, so that will wait until next May. 

Picture of the cleared cabin site.  The cabin will go in the right half of the picture.  The left half of the picture will be the turn around for the driveway.  The site is on a 15-20% slope.  I have gone around and around on whether to level the site or dig a foundation into the hill for a walk out.  In the end (unless i change my mind again over the winter) I decided it would be cheaper and easier to have the cabin site leveled and I worry that a cement truck would not be able to get into our site.  It is only going to cost $750 to have the stumps removed and site leveled. 

This picture is taken standing in our future "driveway".  We have to put in about 1,000 feet of road and one culvert.  Luckily we have great fractured rock on the property so we should be able to rock the road with on-site rock.  Cost of road and culvert install $2,500. 

Culvert and road will go between the two pines in the center of the picture.
Log deck of trees removed from the cabin site.  Will have our contractor deck them nicer next spring for the sawmill.
Burned about 30 slash piles.  That is always fun but it is ironic that hundreds of hours of work go up in smoke in only a couple hours. 


I snowshoed into the property this weekend to shovel off the roof of our "tiny cabin".  Legs are a little sore today after 3 1/2 miles of snowshoeing through fluffy dry snow and about 700' elevation gain.  There was 4' of densely packed snow on the roof so good thing I went in there.  That will be a good incentive for me to get our cabin built so I don't have to keep walking in each year and shoveling the roof off our temporary cabin!


Glad it held up.  Did you at least spend the night?


I really wanted to spend the night but had to head out of town for work the next day so it was a quick trip in, shovel and hike out.  We keep getting hammered with snow, so will probably go back in at some point in Feb to shovel off again and spend the night. 

I have been spending my evenings working on Sketchup on cabin design - would love to do that sitting in the the tiny cabin instead of our living room.


Started looking into insurance for our future cabin.  Wow - that was an eye opening experience. 

From what I can tell so far, being outside of a fire protection district, only accessible seasonally, being owner built, and not being occupied full time basically makes our cabin un-insurable.  Farmer's Insurance said they are willing to look at it and possibly provide a quote, but only if we transfer all of our other insurance to them.  Getting a little worried that if we do find someone willing to insure the place it will be such a high annual payment that it is not worth it. 


Has been an exciting couple of weeks at the property.  Had a contractor come in with two excavators, a dozer and a dump truck to put culverts in, put about 1/4 mile driveway in, develop a hardened stream crossing, dig out the stumps and level the cabin site, and do some other projects here and there. 

They are about 95% done and it has turned out great.  We had to meet the state fire access standards for the road access and turn around - so you could drive a school bus in to the cabin site if you wanted to.  Kind of ridiculous but I guess it will pay off if we ever have a wildfire.  It is really nice to be able to drive to that part of our property now.  Next step - mobile sawmill coming in two weekends to mill about 100 logs into lumber. 

Dozer starting in on the new driveway.

Dozer cutting in the new road and ripping up some 30" Douglas Fir stumps.

Dozer rounding the corner on the new road to the cabin site.

Spreading new rock (from on site) over the new culvert at the stream crossing.

Middle of the new driveway.

Finished driveway.

Dozer starting to rip out stumps at the cabin site.

Finished leveled cabin site.  If you look close you can see the stakes for the corners of the cabin.

Another shot of the leveled cabin site. 


John Raabe

Very nice site and a good base for the road. You will likely be thankful many times for that wider road the county required.  :)
None of us are as smart as all of us.


Hired a mobile sawmill to come in and cut our logs into lumber this weekend.  Great fun!

We had mostly Ponderosa Pine and Douglas Fir.  Cut it all into 1x12's, 10's and 8's - most of it is 12' length.  Should have enough for the siding of the cabin. We only got about half of the logs done but the mill operator was not able to stay another day.  Now need to decide whether to have him come back out later in the summer or have a couple years of easy firewood. 

Now I really want a hydraulic Woodmizer.........just need to find $40,000 laying around in the couch cushions. 


Why is photobucket not working on most other threads but still working for the image links in my thread?


It took over 10 days for one of my PB accounts to go dark.
??? ???
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn't mean it is good design.

Adam Roby

It's just a question of time... I thought mine were immune... then one day mine were all dead.  :(