Bout that time to get ready for spring Building

Started by Kevin, February 04, 2005, 11:29:55 PM

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Its only early Feb. and its time to start thinking about whats next on the list to finish up the cabin.
I was wondering whats on eveyone else's list.


I made an appointment to talk to the septic tank guy--one of my few concessions to resale value.

Before that happens I need to stake out more or less where I'm going to want a driveway and a building.  

Supposed to get up to 60 tomorrow.  (I had the AC on in the car today--solar heating, even if it is a white car)

And I've been re-reading Laurie King's Folly (set mostly on a small island in Puget Sound).

glenn kangiser

Getting around to mill and add trim boards for one thing, then getting plants started for the spring garden planting and work on the greenhouse and hydroponics.  If the veggies are free it leaves more money to spend on the cabin.
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

Glenn's Underground Cabin

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


nice thread...experiencing the FEVER here too...going to get back on the exterior, gutters, etc...also going to get a gazillion packs of wildflower seeds and have them ready to toss all over the place when the time is right. My cabin is surrounded by woods and I want COLOR ! Thats a big problem here. I need to work on the cabin but as spring approaches, can't help but want to play in the dirt...also might devote a weekend or two building an outdoor b-b-q area...I have lots and lots of left-over red bricks from tearing out an old porch floor.

glenn kangiser

JB, I would suggest that while you're building your barbecue area you give some thought to adding a clay or brick oven.  We really enjoy having a smoke cooked turkey , bread or pizza etc. from our cat clay oven.  ;D
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

Glenn's Underground Cabin

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


glenn....I saw your cat oven in your the underground little place you have...

glenn kangiser

Thanks JB

Nice thing about the clay ovens is that you can build them in as little as one day.  Cost can be zero.  They can be used the first day.  I make it a habit to start a fire   in them the first night.  Plain site dug clay (or imported) can be used with straw and sand.  Un-stabilized cob (adobe)can be used with a simple roof above to prevent rain damage or the outside could be stabilized with a cement plaster coat.  Stabilizing stops water intake and damage.  Easily repaired with mud plaster.

Complete instructions:
1.  Build a rock -rubble or brick base- can be filled with gravel to prevent the ground from sucking heat out.

2.  Make mud - barefoot kids can help- ideally 30% local dug clay (bagged fire clay may work) 70% sand appx- can vary - a couple handfuls of straw per 10 shovels of sand.  Add water.  No sand = more shrinkage but is still possible -use clay and straw to make bricks - corbel them to form hive shaped or other shaped oven or just build it with clay and straw and fill the cracks later.  It's just mud- no rocket science.  Use mud plaster with short chopped straw for reinforcement.  Build it freeform with mud on the drier side for maximum height with minimum slump..  You could also build it with a sand pile to support it but not necessary.  More longer straw greatly helps hold things together if built freeform.   These ovens are fireproof and have even been built in configurations with blowers to melt cast iron :o  That's around 3000F.  The opening should be about 66% of the total height. Floor and walls about 4" thick - about 2' inside dia. and about 2' high will work.  Vary as desired.  Maintain opening ratio.  Some fire with the door open only.  Some use a small hole and plug for the top.  

Standard use is to build a hot fire for several hours then rake out ashes and swab out with a damp rag nailed on a stick.  Insert bread pans - Put clay or wet wood plug in door opening.  Cook required time and eat it.  An oven thermometer inside helps.

Bread cooks unevenly if coals are left in but turkey - chicken,tri-tip, roasts etc. can be foil covered and the  coals moved to the side left in to keep heat up.  The appx 4"thick walls retain heat for hours.  The door can be left off and and steaks can be grilled over the coals with a barbecue basket on a handle or grill or to use for a fire place although the smoke will come out the front or through the vent hole if used.  My cat oven has a stove pipe with a damper, although this causes it to cool faster than it should.

About 7% portland cement added will cause the clay to set up in about an hour in fair weather and should be enough to stabilize it although moisture and freezing could cause breakage.  It is not required though.  

 I'm getting hungry already. ::)
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

Glenn's Underground Cabin

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


let's see, what's on the list - put in the driveway, re-route the fences to keep the sheep, llama, & horses (none of them ours) off the building site, finish modifying our plans & get them approved by the county, decide where to put in the well & hire someone to do it, get the basement excavated, get the basement poured, get temp electrical put in, do the framing, rough in the electrical & the plumbing, put the roof on, get an inspection or 6, etc.  maybe not in that exact order.    that should take care of spring.     ;)
You can't have everything without having too much of something.

Jimmy C.

Hello from North Texas!

My list starts with the very first stages of building the 2 story Universal.

So far I have cleared the undergrowth and chose the locatiion for the house on the property.
I have a guy coming out to give me an estimate for cutting a path for the driveway to the house and leveling off the ground so I can begin setting the foundation forms.
I will be using a monopour slab with a 24 inch footing.

Any advice at this point would be appreciated.

                        Thanks, Jimmy;action=display;num=1102972274

The hardest part is getting past the mental blocks about what you are capable of doing.
Cason 2-Story Project MY PROGRESS PHOTOS


I'll always give advice! ;)

Make sure that your driveway guy thinks about the way water moves.   I've been pretty lucky that way.

Also I really hate long STRAIGHT driveways.

Yesterday, cutting blackberry canes for an hour and a half, I decided that a scythe with machete backup worked better than a weedeater.  One gets to stop and sharpen the thing occasionally, the swath you cut is pretty wide, and there's no continuous vibration and noise.

My carpal-tunnel problems wrists appreciated it.

But I need a brush blade for the scythe.


I have a septic tank permit now.

Need to talk to the Electric Utility's guy--If it's five poles to the proposed site I'm going PV!

Starting to get the feeling of being pulled down the tracks by a runaway train!

John Raabe

The hardest part about building is before you get out of the ground. All the money is flowing out and there is little to show for it but pieces of paper, mud and probably a big mess. And then, every time you turn around, there is someone else with their hand out or a new problem you have to solve.

It starts getting orderly later... and when you start smelling the cut wood you can start to believe it might really happen.
None of us are as smart as all of us.