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General => Owner-Builder Projects => Topic started by: alex trent on November 24, 2011, 08:03:35 AM

Title: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on November 24, 2011, 08:03:35 AM
Here are a few shots of the main idea. Ground slopes about 3 feet back to front and 1 foot to the left side. Have not decided on roof type yet....one of these.  Will be 22x22 with 8 ' deck.   will post pics of the site soon.  Big room has a murphy bed...the blue rectangle

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Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: nathan.principe on November 24, 2011, 08:47:44 AM
I vote for the gable roof!  and if it faces west I would extend the roof line over the deck :)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: glenn kangiser on November 24, 2011, 08:55:23 AM
Looks very interesting.  Will you be using any solar power or no power?
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on November 24, 2011, 09:48:48 AM

I am also coming back around to the gable...jumped to the hip as wanted more clear space overhead inside, but I see I can do rafter ties every other one, so that will be OK for the look. Gable fits the scene better and the 4 foot overhang keeps the rain out of windows a bit. Roof is now out 3 feet over deck...how much more can I do without posts? Faces NW and sun is not a problem.  That is the "view' over a small valley to some farmland on the other side about 4 miles away.

Power...I would hope eventually to do solar. It is cloudy a lot up there. But, while I have not measured it, I think I can get enough for my needs with a reasonable amount of panels...at least in the dry season of seven months. Pretty much just some low wattage lights, a fan and small chest freezer used as a fridge (can manage that to make it very efficient). Back up with a small generator as needed to charge batteries. Right now the way will be to charge the batteries two at a time as I drive my jeep and have them hooked up to the alternator.  This will be a part time place so i drive about an hour a day and in two-three days can recharge batteries nicely. Means a bit of work to lug them about, but it's a free (almost) charge and the system is just about perfect for charge rates and moving the deep cycle batteries about helps maintain battery life...so i am told. I do this now to run power tools up there with a 2000 watt inverter (3500 surge) that powers a 1500 watt circular saw, drill, etc.  When they run out, we quit.

Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on November 24, 2011, 10:54:06 AM
My Jeep in a new life..was a city jeep two years ago..  my dog...loves it more than me...my neighbor after a day getting his bananas for the week...free. Note the leaf umbrella which works pretty good if the wind is not blowing

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Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: duncanshannon on November 25, 2011, 04:59:22 AM
cool!

whats your story in nicaragua all about? 
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: glenn kangiser on November 25, 2011, 06:53:35 AM
Wow.  that is cool.  Nice jeep.  Thanks for the extra pix of the surroundings.  We always enjoy them.  [cool]

I see you have a good understanding of the solar stuff and how to get a lot out of your batteries and inverter as well as the chest freezer conversion.

I am going to try to remember to check in here every so often and see what you are up to.

With the gable roof you could also have a loft, of course you could do that on the high side of a shed roof too.

You could go farther with the porch if you wanted to put some posts and another set of joists, though I think 3 feet would be OK unsupported except in high wind conditions, you could have problems with it getting blown off.  Just a thought - I'm not an engineer.

Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on November 25, 2011, 03:29:00 PM
Nicaragua is just another "frontier" place so to speak.  Poor but not bleak. Governments a bit hinky...but which one is not. I worked in agriculture and traveled there in the 80' and 90's and found an attachment for Latin America.  Lived in NJ for 22 years, but had enough of being too civilized, I guess.   Not a USA escapee...far from it.  Love to go back and do...I am 2 hour fro Miami and the gateway to USA.  Thought I would try it and it works for me.  Redid a house in Granada, colonial "city" 50,000 people and OK...bit still a big town. This is 30 minutes away and a different world and will share living in  both places.

Here are some more pics..I start to build in two weeks..Will put in piers and mid January will do the posts and then deck and off to the races.

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This is the water collector I built this late summer. Rain ends in November, so it got to be a rush to get it done.  Don't look too close or you will be forced to critique the construction.  I learned a lot ijn the process. will do me good on my house build. Got 6,000 gallons of pure water now.


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Will be the view from the porch...1700 feet up from the valley and the other side is about 4 miles.

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Looking at the property location from about a mile away.  Look to the left..just at the intersection of the ridge and the big volcano...it's top is obscured by mist.  That is where I am.

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The road into the property...up to here can get a truck in (if you lie a bit to the driver)...from here is just jeep wide, so a lot of humping to get stuff in.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: glenn kangiser on November 25, 2011, 05:35:52 PM
Really nice and volcanic heating nonetheless. 

Nice water collection system.  No complaints from me.   :)

How about people - Good neighbors? 
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on November 25, 2011, 06:20:29 PM
People are good. Not many close...nearest house is 1/2 mile and next one another 1/2 mile. Most of  the people I see are workers passing by from work up the mountain...coffee, mostly. They live on the bottom and go up and back...2,000 up/down feet and 2 miles each day.  Pass next to or sometimes through the property....I alway greet them and wave, and make sure the dawg behaves. My guys  work 6 AM to noon and then go home for lunch and the day.  All poor, so cannot leave anything loose.  They make 5-8 bucks a day, so a $10 hammer is a lot.  But they will not hold you up...mostly.

I pay the farm manager from the fica next to me $100 a month to just keep his eye on things and get me workers when I need them. He is a local guy and nows the folks, so if he thinks I am Ok, that works wonders.  he does so far.


Frankly, it is hard to know what the hell they think. Gringo comes up in a jeep (while they walk) and builds a house they cannot dream of. Treat them well and get dirty with them is all I can do. While doing this , you have to maintain your sense of humor and sanity...this is the land of NQR (not quite right) and you need to be right on things or they will go awry. Redoing stuff is a standard thing...but sometimes, like with the house, not EZ to fix stuff. For a lot of the stuff I want done, they think I am crazy, so it's OK.

I am proud of he collector.Out of sight on this shot is a first flow diverter that dumps the first 15 gallons of every rainfall, so what is collected is nice and clean. This is in a small clearing, so no monkeys or birds roosting above....but still lots of leafy stuff that blows in.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: glenn kangiser on November 25, 2011, 07:20:22 PM
All very interesting.  We traveled quite a few times to a clinic in Mexico so I understand what you are saying about the people. 

Mostly I find that if you respect them, do not look down on them and treat them like other humans rather than lesser beings they will also respect you.  Not that they will bring your hammer back, but they would understand if you took it back the next time you saw it, I think.

I find that most people just want to get along.... 95 to 99% of them  ...and it's only the bad 1% who would kill you as soon as look at you.

More power to you and your project.  :)

Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on November 26, 2011, 04:40:24 AM
Beautiful place!
I'd been slowly sketching. Just more grist for the mill.

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Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on November 26, 2011, 06:09:41 AM
Wow..looks like a great idea...please see my PM on this.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 08, 2011, 02:42:38 PM
Not quite yet driving nails and no build photos, but been busy as all get out. Some real accomplishments this week.

1. Found a young man who has some building construction background with wood.  Says architect on his card, but I think not.  But can do plan drawings (I will post some later) and best of all know some crews with experience. For a very small fee, he will make my life much easier. I will still have to directly supervise, but he will run the interference for me. We meet with a potential builder this week. Need to present the right face or the gringo price will come out and I cannot use him. I hate to negotiate. Rather pay a bit more for a good job. My challenge is to be sure he knows that he will not just go and start building and at the end turn it over to me, but have to put up with me on site every day and so things my way a lot of the times.  Their way is not bad, but they lack a certain attention to detail and style. The house will not meet MN code, but will be done right.

2. Brought back some HDG nails and other stuff from the States to get started...like galvanized J bolts of which none are to be found here. I had alternatives, but this is good. Also brought back various connectors that i think may be useful...like corner angle brackets in heavy duty galvanization. Also brought in my BoraCare and Timbor as checked baggage. TSA was nice, I attached a note and an MSDS. Was able to handle a pier post connector so now I have a feel for what it is and works in live action. Sorting out the nail situation and about have that done. Nails here are really bad...China at its worst. Not just no galvanized, let alone spiral, they are soft and thick. Sounds like a simple thing, but it is not.

4. Lumber is to be here tomorrow...will borate treat and then dry it under a shed for 6 weeks and build the post and deck. As soon as I see the current wood, I have the order for the upper frame in hand and will go with that. This will  also air dry for about 6 weeks before nailing. Need to find some plywood. In short supply here and virtually no exterior grade...so i guess the floor gets interior and I will treat with borate.

5. Have people coming down December 27 so I have a window for them to bring things in.  Now is nails and Simpson pier/post connectors and the required bolts (again, no well treated stuff here). This is my last chance before having to make a special trip to MIA, until February when more mules will come. But I want frame pretty much done by then.

6. Bad news is my concrete guys took another job while waiting for me to get started. Means the small block shed they were to build for tools, etc is not done and the piers will also be delayed.

7. But I will start to dig the pier holes Monday...that crew wants xmas money. Laid out the place today...only took an hour to square it up...OK two.  i got a "D" in geometry and while I know the way, the logic does not come easy.  Batter boards tomorrow. BTW..how square is square on 22x22 foot...to 1/2 inch?

8. The piers are to be 12' by 12' and  4 feet deep. At the bottom we will angle out so the bottom 8" is 20"-x20".....rebar columns and concrete in that and 8" above grade and J bolts in that. Later, Simpson ABUs and 6x6 posts.  For those of you who think this is still "not code", this is about all I can do here without being certified as CIA or just crazy.  So bear with me.

Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on December 08, 2011, 04:38:25 PM
Adhering to minimum standards here gets one labelled too. Just a note on the interior plywood. The main difference in interior and exterior grade is the adhesive used. Don't let interior ply get wet... so don't borate it.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: speedfunk on December 08, 2011, 05:51:50 PM
that is some awesome country side.  Looks like an adventure :) ;D
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 09, 2011, 06:05:26 AM
I likely was a bit compulsive about the need for exterior plywood...the subfloor is a full 2 feet off the ground minimum and will just be humid, not wet. Interior makes it a lot easier and the wood on top and below will be treated...but I have a feeling that is not a great help. Maybe I should use 1x10's as subfloor and lay on a diagonel for bracing. Cheaper. I would have some spaces with the shrink but the floor is to be T&G so I will not have see (or crawl) through.

I think most of the adventure is getting things (like this) done with limited resources (people and material) and having to do work arounds. Not the reason I came here, but makes it interesting and learning a lot.  I likely am doing a lot less of the actual building than most on this site. I have new respect for those on here doing this...even in the Sates, 20 miles from HD, it is its own adventure. Neat to see people doing it.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 09, 2011, 03:02:06 PM
Good day today.

Met with a guy who is highly recommended as a wood framer. Has done a lot and I will get to look at a few. We had the talk about you make suggestions, but in the end need to follow the way I want it done. This is one thing you learn here..."that's not the way we do it here", or that's the best way for Nicaragua"  is most often not true. Some is they lack the experience or the parts to do it that way. Other times is is just BS.  Need to learn to be nice but firm. And you got to be there and be hyper-vigilant!  He knew what a galvanized nail was, although none in this country and compared the spiral shank to the screws he uses because of green wood. I stared him down on the nails vs. screw issues...a good way to test the way we will work and seems OK.  Asked if I had plans...another good sign. He will cost me a bit more than I had in the budget, but a good craftsman is worth it. Of course, if he gives me a real gringo price, I am back two steps.

I got leads on two places that sell dry lumber for framing. My deck stuff (green)  is already on the way, but may get this for the rest of the house. Need to check out costs. The builder says he would not have any problem with framing after 6 weeks air drying with the "green".

Maze nails responded to my email  and said they would break 50's into 10's for a small charge, so I can get whatever nails I want for not much more. Hardened and HDG only go down to 3"....hardened no HDG have in 2 1/2". I think I opt for a bit bigger nails in some of the uses  and just do all HDG. For the siding I will just use the GripRite siding nails...not so worried about that.

I will finish laying out and double check the pier measurements tomorrow and Monday the young workers start digging the piers. Ground is like rock now with two dry weeks. So 18 12x12  piers four feet deep and wheel-barrowing in 4 yds of gravel, 2 of sand, rebar and cement 300 meters to the site from the off load point will help them earn their xmas money.  My concrete guys are still MIA, but that will get sorted out and not delay this.  Will likely not do that till after the new year. I now plan to start the deck on the 5th of January..or the 9th, as that is the 5th in NICA time.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Alan Gage on December 09, 2011, 03:18:39 PM
Exciting times. Looking forward to the build.

I've dreamt many times of moving to another country like you have. Fun to hear someone who's done it.

Alan
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: timkel on December 14, 2011, 07:25:46 AM
I don't want to send things off topic, but I have a few questions about your property.
What are land costs like?
Any taxes you have to pay?
How far from a town?
Can you own firearms?

I am looking forward to seeing pics?
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 15, 2011, 12:16:49 PM
I am about to post some pics...

Just digging holes and starting the little storage shed to keep tools and generator in. Now lugging tools and battery back and forth each day is wearing thin. Last 200 feet is by foot.

At three feet ground turn to gravely sort of mix...hard as a rock...so that is good news as the first three feet is lots of clay. going down four and expanding the base from 12 x 12" to 18 x18" last foot down.  Transport up is tough for the heavy stuff...gravel, sand etc. Big hill...but need small truck as the last 1/4 mile is narrow and do not want to excavate the road. so big truck means wheel it in.  As it is we have to carry 200 feet. The small truck I got to haul crapped out and could not make it up the hill after about 1/2 of the 2 miles...off loaded some stuff and towed it up with my jeep in low range. amazing little beast! So that got done in six trips, vs two with a biggie.

Prices all over the board. Was a boom here 2005-08 and crashed , but lost of the owners did not get the "prices are lower" message yet and are awaiting a come back. Still some good deals.I bought mine from a gringo who gave up on registering the property. took some risk, but got it done. Need patience and got to get the right people involved. So for the risk, I got a deal..$12.5 K for 8 acres up on the mtn.. He paid 48K in 2007...too much even in the boom. You can get land like this for somewhere in between the prices up on this mtn. No tax to speak of...maybe 200 a year. I am 30 minutes from Granada...plenty of town for me....where I live now 45 from the airport. You can own firearms.  Have to be a resident..can get that several ways.  basically need proof of some minimum outside income
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: timkel on December 15, 2011, 01:42:10 PM
Thanks for the information.

What size / type generator do you plan to use?
Do you plan a garden?
How are the bugs?
Is there a rainy season?
Do you have a fresh water supply? I see the water collection system. Is a well practical?
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 15, 2011, 02:23:21 PM
Will have 2500 watts...plenty for me. Reefer, few lights, fans  and computer. Just to charge a couple of batteries need to run it little more than hour a day.  Solar panels eventually...maybe.

Garden is tough here. Veggies are  cheap enough and we have banana growing on property and mangos and avacodoes here and there on property we walk on.

Bugs are not all that bad on the mtn...or even in Granada for that matter.  Not the usual picture one paints of the jungle and bug.  But we do have them.

Rains may november than almost totally dry.

No real possibility of a well up on this mtn for a private person. At the base there are wells and not too deep...150 to 400 feet deep from what i can tell..
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 15, 2011, 05:30:06 PM
A few pics of the start...well not the very start. That was getting things up the hill and down the narrow road.

We dug most all the holes for piers in 3 days.....4 feet deep and 12 inches square. will widenen to 18x18 at bottom.  Will have rebar and concrete.  Top 3 feet was not great stuff...silt and clay...then we hit a clay/gravel band which makes me feel better about support. 18 columns should be enough in any case, even at the worst bearing capacity.

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The truck we can fit into the property is small.....this is a load..150 blocks and 10 piedras.....a cut stone, about half the compression strength of concrete. Used for a lot of misc purposes. More guys than horsepower in the truck...first day the sister to this truck stalled on the hill up and I needed to tow it up and off tot he property with the jeep. No pics as not a lot of time as the road is one wide lane and has some traffic on it.

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My guys building the small bodega to store tools and materials and the genset.  will be about 100 feet from house. Genset noise muffled by concrete house and distance.  Very secure build as this will have  two years wages of stuff for a local in it.


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Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: NM_Shooter on December 15, 2011, 05:40:20 PM
Amazing.  How the heck are you getting internet access?  I'll be watching this one with interest.  Do you mind telling us why you are in Nicaragua?  Retirement?
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 16, 2011, 06:24:02 AM
I am living in Granada now...30 minutes from the site and have cable internet.   Up on the mtn I have line of sight to a tower and get full phone bars.  Not all towers have 3G, so do not know what happens  when I get that there.

I moved for a little adventure and something different. I am consultant in Ag Marketing mainly and soon as I moved got a big assignment done mostly in Canada...so I do go back 6-8 times a year a couple of days each time.  Most of my work done here on the phone (Skype is great) and the computer. So the net is critical.

I have to say, more than just the work part, the internet has pretty much allowed me to start to build a house that is built right and deal with the very different issues I have here.  This site is the mainstay and the people who advise me on here have a great way of dealing with a host of things, from the very basic to the fairly complex. My knowledge base has gone from a 2 to a 6 from being on here and following up on other sites with the foundation info I get on here.  It is important and fun too to really know this stuff and why it works....or does not. This is the land of concrete houses, so knowing all this stuff is not just nice, it is really important to getting a place that is strong and will last. So, thanks to those who are helping...cannot tell you have much I appreciate it. Hopefully you will see the fruits of your labor as I post my build.  i am sure I will ask for more help..I am using what I learned on this first part.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: glenn kangiser on December 16, 2011, 06:38:04 AM
What nice words for the site John has provided for us all to learn from, alex.

I was early here from when it was a mostly text only with picture attachments through what it is now.  It has progressed, improved and great people have aggregated here like flies on flypaper.  Yup ... that's right.  Once they land here they are stuck here and we like it that way.  :)

Glad we have all made a site that is available so that we all can benefit from it.  Thanks to all who contribute or learn here.

 
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: John Raabe on December 16, 2011, 06:58:13 AM
Thanks to Glenn, the Dons, and many, many others who have shared their experience and ideas on this site! They have made this the valuable show, tell and ask place that it has become.

Best wishes to Alex and all the Santas out there.

Great house project you have going on down there. I will be visiting my brother in Costa Rica in January - Looking forward to the dry (and warm) season!
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 16, 2011, 09:06:43 AM
A thought occurs to me as I read the kudos and "amazement" about my small place. Yep it does present some difficulties that many do not have. But, I see lots of builds on here that are every bit as challenging and adventuresome  as mine. Not sure 3 hours from HD or Lowes is much worse than here. I just needed a bit more in scourcing...which can be fun and rewarding. I see the same type roads. Guys (and gals) living on site in the wild while they build alone. Rookies building bigger, more complex things.  It is those things that have given me confidence to move ahead and just do it. so, I guess the point is just because you may be in W. (By God) Va, does not make it less of an adventure.  Some snow and freeze and likely more. Everyone deserves credit.

Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 16, 2011, 05:05:55 PM
Advice on doing things in the soil..

I want to bury a water tank under the house..between two rows of piers.  Tank is designed to be buried.

My piers are 5'4" in rows 11' apart. Concrete and rebar.

Tank is 7'7' diameter, so if placed right in the middle of the rows and between the piers in a row will clear each of the surrounding piers by about 28 inches.

Is this OK, or will it measurable affect the pier stability?  Just one tank, so at most 4 of the 18 piers would be affected.

Seems OK to me as the tank is hard in the ground..filling the dug hole completely.

I have looked a lot online and cannot seem to uncover an answer.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on December 16, 2011, 05:58:19 PM
Just some real crude rules of thumb. The inverted cone of soil that the pier influences is sometimes drawn with 45degree sides. From the edge of the bottom of the excavation go out on the surface as far as the pier is deep. I'll bet those cones overlap or almost so. Dr Bonhoff has a paper on the net that has some heavy math for calculating the forces. I'm not really sure if it was a formula or an invitation to a Greek fraternity hazing.

This is assuming you are counting on the soil to stabilize the piers laterally, but other ways require more concrete. Block corners on the 4 corners of the building, running ~4' out each side of the corner, would go a long way to taking any lateral load from above and transmitting it to the ground without risking tipping piers over.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 17, 2011, 02:05:23 PM
Before I get started with the beams...

This is what I plan to do on the splices

Right side (E., I guess)  between the two posts on the E. is open deck..to the left of that is the house...5' 41/2" OC...6x6 inch posts. On the deck end, the beams will cantilever 2 feet.

The two 2x10s for the beams are shown above the posts as they are laid out with the splices (vertical lines in the rectangles.... representing the beams).

Beams will be 2 2x10's..nailed together with 4" spirals ....two rows top and bottom...12 inches apart.  Plus a few in the middle as feels good to have a few more. 2x10's are are rough..so actually real  2x10 inch . SYP #2 grade equivalant

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2FScreenshot2011-12-17at45625PM.png&hash=b4f3833cbfbd0f2ffe6cc267f7c05eff6c56fb23)

Set into posts notched  to accept them (10 x4" notch ) and nailed into posts with 5' spirals...5 per post.

Other topic from earlier...

On digging into the soil under the house between the piers for a water cistern...will not. Will dig outside the boundary of the house. Lets me put in bigger cistern and not worries about compromising piers.

I worked though the IRC formula for lateral movement of piers.  I did take remedial algebra (twice).  I came up with the number that all my columns together would cope with 12,600 pounds of lateral force.  Not knowing the real numbers for the moment arms of the posts and if my calculations are correct, hard to say what this means.  Looks low. Means my Jeep could pull it all over by attaching at the ground, not to mention 5 feet up on a post. Yes, this is bait for a smarter person to tell me what it means..
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on December 19, 2011, 03:00:26 AM
5'post?  25' tall building. But the post/ pier connection has zero moment capacity. The posts will just tip over and dump the building unless you take measures to prevent that, bracing.

Now you're back to the original problem, how much lateral overturning force are the bottoms of the posts putting on the piers. Just throwing numbers around, if the building is 20' tall and 30' long and the wind is putting out 12 lbs per square foot you'd be at 7,200 lbs positive pressure. The other side of the building has a suction pressure,  call it 15 psf, 9,000 lbs. Total 16,200 lbs. Divide by number of piers. This is also the force the bracing needs to resist. Long braces well attached to the building and low on the post will do the most good. Too short a brace that holds actually jacks the building up and puts large bending stress on the post.

I've pulled out tractor trailers, concrete trucks and delivery trucks, but they have wheels and are helping. The jeep is good for maybe a couple of K at best before it loses traction, I'll bet Mtn Don knows better. I used to keep the glovebox of my log skidding truck full of U joints, the guys at the driveshaft and transmission shop know me. There are times when you wish it hadn't hooked up  :D.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 19, 2011, 05:06:44 AM
I see what you mean about the pier/post connection..the tie of the pier and post does not inspire confidence except on uplift and some straight lateral movement to keep post from sliding off the pier. Sure does not look like it will keep anything from tipping.

I am then assuming the building itself will do that when braced properly...and I plan to brace it strongly.  So the issue is will braces do it?

Here is a view of the building and post/piers.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2F1.jpg&hash=7015e2d8a94a008e7a56e4c6dffa101fb9a61825)

Most forward posts under deck are 4'6" from ground..next set (first under house) 4 feet.

Building is 12 feet high at rooftop.

22x22 square

Wind is variable but seems to be mostly from west (left)

I plan to brace with 4x4 from post to post or post to beam both ways...trying to figure out which is best...sounds like longer (post to post) is better. So I go from top of one post to close to bottom of the other. Or from beam to post?

My only other option here is to run the concrete piers on the front two rows all the way up and skip the posts with those...so there is no connector to bend over.  Seems a better as with those the soil would help prevent tipping.   But my logic is off a lot on this stuff.

Or as I think about it...maybe I am better off doing it on the two back rows, which are shorter and easier to pour all the way up? Plus no moment arm to speak of to leverage it over N or S and to some degree E or W (but less)..  By my reckoning, not much could move N or S as the beams are hard tied to all the posts....so no matter how hard the wind blows N or S, the beams tie to the full concrete piers...they have to have lots of resistance to push back and not connectors....4 feet deep x 1 foot wide  on six piers. Not rock, but decent soil.

The question is must I do that if braced correctly as I would much rather not do that.

PS..He was helping me tow him up...all .8 liters of his engine. I though the first number had rubbed out and it was 2.8 or at least 1.8. Low range and second gear...about 3MPH but got there.

Was good PR for the jeep...very rare here and if it's not a Toyota they just smile.

We gotta prove ourselves. A lot of dumb gringos here. On the same note, I showed my builder guy the spiral nails and he was impressed....got it.  Was a bit of a test for him and he passed.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on December 19, 2011, 05:36:46 PM
Quote
I see what you mean about the pier/post connection..the tie of the pier and post does not inspire confidence except on uplift and some straight lateral movement to keep post from sliding off the pier. Sure does not look like it will keep anything from tipping.

I am then assuming the building itself will do that when braced properly...and I plan to brace it strongly.  So the issue is will braces do it?

This is the part most people have a hard time wrapping their head around and the reason why the prescriptive code calls for a continuous footing and perimeter wall. The lateral forces on the building need to be safely transmitted to the ground. You are trying to replicate the bracing of those perimeter walls with a few diagonal braces. Trains do run across timber braced trestles, it can be done. You understand the force involved in a high wind is potentially in the thousands of pounds range, a couple of nails holding the braces aren't going to do much. Forced fits in compression do well.
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi180.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fx109%2Fwindyhilll%2Fpostbrace.jpg&hash=53f7c3ac150c920d655ea38e40c92270bb786b3b)

 The style among folks here has largely been to put a post on the pier and run that up to the floor girders. This introduces another hinge where the post is connected to the pier. The post to pier connection is just keeping space aliens (or wind uplift) from stealing your house and keeping it from sliding off the piers. That connector cannot keep the post upright but you will brace the posts. The connector also cannot help keep the pier under the post upright if the building is dragging the pier sideways. The pier is unbraced by anything other than the soil.
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi180.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fx109%2Fwindyhilll%2Fpost.jpg&hash=0941cc6d333ece02f939cd9e176b7cdd41dd40d7)
 So yes, for a couple of reasons a full height concrete pier is better than a post connected to a pier.  A full height pier still needs bracing and it is harder to connect bracing to a concrete pier. Harder but certainly quite possible.  None of this is meant to alarm you, just to try to walk through my logic.

If the first 3 piers topped out at the same height you could half lap a couple of bays of pleasing X bracing that would run from pier to beam. Can't find the pic of my shop bracing, this is close;
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi180.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fx109%2Fwindyhilll%2Fbracedpnb.jpg&hash=12c269bda60388127288e6b0dceef54fe51f1d6c)
edit, found it:
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi180.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fx109%2Fwindyhilll%2Fxbracing.jpg&hash=00f9487504fe81940fe864ecf79ff4e9463b3dbf)
 From there back maybe switch to Y braces. I have nailed boards horizontally across Y braces and the post to help lock all the members together better.

PS ran across a scan of the wet service nail page from the NDS;
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi180.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fx109%2Fwindyhilll%2FnailWetService.jpg&hash=838ff4475453556d8c56e29a08960c7ea2fe9e32)

And just for fun, we talked about a hip roof on this awhile back. I've been working on some irregular hips lately, hips of dissimilar pitches. I worked on this calc some more to help with the trig (I took trig 3 times before they gave up  ;D). It also works for regular hips. This covers some of the angles and lengths but not all.
http://www.timbertoolbox.com/Calcs/irreghip.html
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 20, 2011, 02:56:10 AM
Pretty slick calculator.

Thanks on the "bracing and piers" stuff.  I am not alarmed...but certainly have a degree of caution. I am giving this lots of thought as to bracing and doing the piers right. It is a pretty small house...any bigger and not sure i would do it this way.

I take it X bracing top to bottom of beam/post is better than Y bracing.  Which ever one, I will be sure to set them in "tension" as shown..makes sense. As you may already know, there is a real dearth of information on bracing. Most has to do with decks and is sketchy.  A lot of it looks erroneous...or close to it.

I am going to set my beams on the  back row right on the piers with no posts, as those posts are very short anyway and posts for the rest.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on December 20, 2011, 04:39:28 AM
I think you understand but just a point of semantics for others reading. Braces work in compression, when the building moves and the angle between post and beam tries to close up the brace is wedged into its bearings tighter and prevents the angle from closing. Braces in tension are trying to resist that angle from opening... connectors will fail and the brace falls out, generally. Wood is a great compression member, steel is a better tension member, steel rods, straps, etc.

Most of the old pier and beam houses I've worked on tend to have one end very close to grade (often too close and rotting). This served as the "anchor" and was the primary bracing.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 20, 2011, 06:56:28 AM
I do get it and semantics is important...compression it is.  Even seems logical, which you have to admit, not all of this is.

The nails chart is interesting to say the least...I have an assortment of MAZE spiral hardened nails coming.

Plus, now I have found a place to get dried wood. Going to visit today. Prices are about 20% higher than the green. and that means a lot here as the wood is expensive to start with...but seems a lot less trouble in the upper frame...the base up to joists is still to be green, air dried 6-7 weeks which my builder says is OK.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 21, 2011, 02:36:30 PM
Lot of work done, but not much to show for it.

Got all the gravel, sand and concrete up the hill and wheeled into the site.  Finally found a guy with a truck that could take 6,000 lbs up the hill and make it in the narrow road.  Last guy could only take 3,000 and that was a strain. 

Checked out my "green" lumber I will use for the deck. Been at this mill 1 week, but sat in the forest rough chunks for a bit, so my mill lady says she thinks it is about 30-40 %. She seems to have her stuff together, so I think she may be right. I went around the yard and
hand weighed" other 2x6's to compare.  It is well stickered and in a great spot..out of sun but in the breeze.  Has about 3,000 lbs of chunks of wood on top so that should help.  In 3 weeks she give it a final trim and them I get it.  She has almost 2 feet on the long boards to cut off, so that will take care of most of the splits I see so far.

Got my upper frame lumber ordered and paying the freight for dry stuff...expensive!

Decided to add one 5 foot section (one row of piers) to the back of the house so now 27x22. Makes it a really different place with just the extra 5 feet.  I did this because I am feeling good about progress on wood and help...and not the least, figuring how to keep it all together.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: MountainDon on December 21, 2011, 03:51:58 PM
Quote
The jeep is good for maybe a couple of K at best before it loses traction, I'll bet Mtn Don knows better. I used to keep the glovebox of my log skidding truck full of U joints, the guys at the driveshaft and transmission shop know me. There are times when you wish it hadn't hooked up

The front driving axle u-joints are often the first to pop, especially when the front wheels are turned a fair amount one way or the other. An offroader with stock axles and a desire to get into the gnarly (or maybe out of the gnarly  ;D) is advised to carry a spare axle shaft or two (one for each side). That's easier than changing the u-joint in the field.

Dead pulling really tests your traction. Plain dirt doesn't offer much whereas Moab sandstone offers more than enough to break parts.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 21, 2011, 04:48:19 PM
Question..

I was going to notch my 6x6 post to accept my 4x10 beam (rough so these are actual sizes). Hold in/on with small bolts. I read on here in a couple of places that the 2 inches on the post was marginal.

If I go back to on top, my choices are limited because of the rough lumber size.  Looks like AC6R does it. Price not too bad. But I see lateral load is (looks) low...about 1,000 lbs. To me that load seems important to deal with.  And to me this means that on a 5 pier unit, it only takes 5,000 lbs to push the beam back off the posts.

Not sure about straps...some heavy duty "T" ones available.  But says they only work (are rated) in pairs and with a 4 inch beam and a 6 inch post can't get that to work, unless I cut the top of the post back to 4 inches wide so the beam rest on this and not on 6 inches.

If I toe in 6 16d hardened nails per post/beam connection that gives me over 5,000 lbs shear. So maybe I am overthinking the connector use?
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on December 22, 2011, 03:10:51 AM
You're understanding why the prescriptive code on foundations is what it is. I suspect the nail values you are using are the shear values for the nail itself, clamped in a steel vise. The true design value for the fastener in wood also factors in the density of the wood, checks the nail against multiple typical failure modes, chooses the weakest possibility, multiplies that by the toenail reduction factor and then arrives at a result that is probably alot closer to 100 lbs/nail... the awc connections calc, plug in SYP. I've usually notched out the 6x6 by the full 4x10 in your case, leaving a 2x6 "tenon" sticking up on the inside face that I nail or bolt to. The plies are face nailed one at a time as I build the beam in place.  You can put a T strap over the outside and large washers on the inside. The corner ends up with a 2x2 sticking up, not much. I've used a custom welded saddle on top of the post for a porch carry beam in hurricane country on one house, it carried the beam in a U shaped channel and had legs that went down the sides of the post, everything was bolted through, fairly spendy.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 22, 2011, 03:32:31 AM
I am getting a practical feel for the concept of the "weakest link".

Thanks..notches it is. No readily available fastener looks like the right thing for this.  My ends will not have double beams, so that helps on corners.  Just double 2x8 (rough) joists there on 11 foot span over a single 2x10..
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 22, 2011, 02:40:18 PM
Getting close to having a place to store tools securely. Be a great help as loading and unloading is a pain..plus this will let me have a genset so will not have to lug the battery to the jeep.
Hopefully done next week...we have had a lot of rain for the start of the dry season.

As you see, rebar will keep them out even if they take the roof off. Strap hinges are secured with all- thread into the concrete and the door is tough stuff.  Blocks have rebar top to bottom, so tough to break through.  If they want to get in I guess they can, but if they have the tools to do it, likely will not want to.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2FIMG_1694-1.jpg&hash=c8edc0ea8cdfd3569e80f83f7f86718ca06f8718)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on December 22, 2011, 06:24:19 PM
Shoot! Ships passing in the night.
The designer of this plan I built a year or so ago used the root cellar as a large brace to resist the lateral loads then masonry piers for the rest.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi180.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fx109%2Fwindyhilll%2FPicture8.jpg&hash=cbe69d6189a83222d9cbe66efe5bdd9ef4d19396)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 25, 2011, 10:07:10 AM


Top plates supposed to be two 2x6s. I can get a 4x6 and am considering for the look.

Any reason not to use one piece as opposed to stacking two?
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: MountainDon on December 25, 2011, 10:19:52 AM
Double 2x top plates form an overlapping interlock at the corners when installed properly and help tie the corners together.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.sweethaven02.com%2FBldgConst%2FBldg02%2Ffig0846.jpg&hash=5655b902d471d1f9654d1dcbe7317779836ea5ab)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 25, 2011, 11:16:40 AM


Makes sense.

If I notch end of the 4x6s where they meet seems that does same thing.

But then I see another problem...splices for top plate will be over a single stud because there is no overlap as with 2x's.

I guess have to forgo the look for utility.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on December 25, 2011, 02:24:00 PM
You could use a steel strap across the top of the 4x6's.

You were asking about bracing the foundation. A perimeter foundation does the best job there. Prescriptively, code also recognizes masonry piers with 4" or thicker "curtain walls" tied between them, the masonry curtain walls act as bracing for the piers. A Permanent Wood Foundation, is made up of treated plywood covering treated wall framing, the plywood is the lateral bracing in those foundations. In the above examples large areas of bracing planes do a very effective job. Many hands make light work, the large areas the lateral force is distributed over means the load per unit area in any one spot is fairly low.

When you start doing post and beam the framing is collecting load, transmitting it to a few discrete members and loading them more heavily. The loads on any one area, member, and connection become critical. First that connection must be capable of handling the loads imposed on it, when fewer hands are carrying the load each one becomes more critical. If one connection overloads and fails do all connections then overload or is there some redundancy?

Plywood makes good bracing, treated ply near the ground. It gives the opportunity to spread the load out over a bunch of nails. The plywood needs enough framing backing it up to prevent it's buckling under lateral load. At that point you're better with a PWF.

I've wondered about whether a block wall 5' horizontally, up the side, across the back and back down the first bay of the opposite side would work. The shortest wall and end is braced and also protects the underside from water.

If the bottom plate on top of the floor is a 4x6, running threaded rod from the foundation, through the floor and then the 4x6 and clamping all of that to the foundation would be a pretty rigid connection.

Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on December 30, 2011, 11:07:59 AM
Small part of the whole thing got done today, but it will be a real time and work saver. Be able to securely store the tools at the site and not have to pack up every morning and pm.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2FBodega.jpg&hash=c317b1023db2d231a81b64e802780fc814b2ce6c)

And lug the batteries back to the house to charge...generator Monday.  This litgtle system works amazingly well but has limits that we need to get by before we start on the house.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2FInverter.jpg&hash=23064276b516769ab6f1b7016ab0445de42b3f1d)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on January 06, 2012, 05:48:28 PM
Just about ready to start pouring piers...

Got J bolts but when opened the package have 1/2 inch not the 5/8 as specified for the ABU66 by Simpson. The 1/2 nut just covers the plate washer but I have room to add another washer on top so that can be fixed.

I have done a lot of looking on the web and looks like 1/2 is not all that far off strength wise from the 5/8...surprising to me.

Is it better to use the 1/2 inch J bolts or substitute 1) 5/8 all thread either bent into a J or 2) 6 inch 5/8 machine bolts with washers down in the concrete. 6 inch bolts is all I can get here right now.  Both are zinc treated but not HDG.  I have 18 piers for a 27x 22 cabin.

Advice is appreciated as I would like to get cracking on this and waiting for the 5/8 J bolts will throw a real curve in a lot of things.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on January 07, 2012, 02:44:21 AM
I'm no engineer, especially not for simpson, but I've installed way more 1/2" anchor bolts than 5/8".
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on January 11, 2012, 04:22:18 AM
My rafter ties were to be a built up of two 2x6's sandwiching a 2x4 and running 22 feet across the cabin.  Cannot get the wood I want in 22 feet. If I splice the outside 2x6's with another 2x6 in the middle, say running 8 feet in between the outside ones and plenty of nails, will that hold the splice joint?

The alternative is a steel U purlin in between running across the 22 feet and holding the 2x6's and the splice together.  I am assuming that with the steel, the 2x6' are mostly decorative as the steel will hold the wall together by itself and should also hold the splices on the 2x6's. Rather use the wood option above.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on January 11, 2012, 12:01:33 PM
Some updates....slow going with pouring the piers...but they seem to be coming out OK..got to keep on the guys about not adding water as they go along and using enough cement in the mix.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2FSitepiers.jpg&hash=0a304c9e3cf8a2e5376cdf452003beda830d1737)

Some wood from another project I treated and saved, now drying......the stuff is as hard as nails green, hate to see it dry.  But it is tough and insect resistant. Call it "arana" here

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2FWoodstack.jpg&hash=6539c357de084f59dc9f943b1cd38cadb1578e49)

My septic system going in...two tanks and a third pit for the final effuent

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2FFosa.jpg&hash=56a28a2531da6c78d9fa7ee08076b90d588e0e3f)

My "new" truck. 1987, but runs good and tough as nails.  Not as nice as the jeep but needed a bed to carry stuff.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2FTruck1.jpg&hash=050084ab39a3629b67f71738517d51d4f6053e08)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: MountainDon on January 11, 2012, 12:49:28 PM

My "new" truck. 1987, but runs good and tough as nails.  Not as nice as the jeep but needed a bed to carry stuff.


But what is it?
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on January 11, 2012, 01:10:04 PM
Toyota...shows you I been here too long as if not specified, everything here is a Toyota and they have 80% of the truck market.  My Jeep is likely one of 20 in the country.

This one is a throwback..big leaf springs, the simplest of dashboards and instruments, decently powered diesel and 4x4.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: UK4X4 on January 11, 2012, 01:33:58 PM
FJ 70 series toyota

an extremely robust pickup for 3rd world use

I saw them regularly in the desert in the middle east going over dunes with a 1000ltr tank in the back

we have them here in Colombia too in many guises hardtop- soft top pickups and the larger troopies
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on January 11, 2012, 05:41:20 PM
On the spliced tie, yes it will work. The tension the nails are resisting is the same as the nailed connection between tie and rafter, specified in the last table of the rafter tables in the codebook.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: glenn kangiser on January 14, 2012, 06:45:35 AM
Looking good, Alex.  The truck looks like a good one too.  Is it diesel or gas?  I keep hoping they will come out with a small diesel here again.  Mileage, reliability and life of engine is too good though so I don't expect it.  Mahindra was supposed to get one here but too much fighting going on for that to happen I think.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on January 14, 2012, 12:38:43 PM


It's a diesel..6 cylinder. Not great power, but reliable and simple.

Question..

I am getting hinky about using plywood for the subfloor. People here roll their eyes at the "quality"  This will be the only untreated wood in the place and since it is interior grade (only one available here) I cannot treat with borate.

What about using 1 x 8 boards (5/8 finished)...same wood as the frame (Cedro macho)  which has some natural resistance and I can treat? I can get this kiln dried.  Why not?  Also, I am told that installing on a diagonal will help brace the place.  Will it brace better than plywood?
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on January 14, 2012, 01:04:50 PM
Sure, that would be fine. Diagonal is correct and if it is well nailed and the joints are randomized throughout the floor it is braced better than ply.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: nathan.principe on January 16, 2012, 11:09:22 AM
What brand septic tanks did you use? and where do you find them?  Thx in advance!
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on January 16, 2012, 03:20:20 PM
First batch of wood got to the site in good order, as promised.  Posts,  beam timber,bracing and joists.

Treating it now...has about a week to go before we start the real build.  I measured moisture with my mid level  meter and registered between 13% and 19 %.  Have no code for the wood type, but was within 3% on each of the settings.  It air dried for a month under a shed in a good breeze and about 75% humidity. My sawmill lady said it got there decently dry for the start.

My Maze spiral 14d hardened nails hammer in just fine.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fwoodtreat.jpg&hash=04a8cd630d50f0cd26cf55a9a19f32941c8c385b)

I am running some "perc" tests...for lack of a better word..in my septic pit which will get the water after it passes through the two tanks. Shallow, but big in area (6x9)...about 1500 gallons. Three days at 40 gallons a day and at the end of day three...5 hours after the last water dump...all gone.  We are about a month out of the rainy season, so this also looks good.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2FFosa1.jpg&hash=ca33c731f520445b9cfbd6559bc28f0725dbbd07)

As far as the septic...

Made in NICA and seems peculier to LA and maybe Europe.  I have not seen any info on a system like this in USA. Two tanks and a pit or a drainage field. Tank one holds solids and tank two liquid is sent to bottom and filters through pumice stone. From there goes to pit for absorption back into the earth. Tanks are various sizes.  I have 300 gal primary and 200 gal secondary and then 1500 gal pit which is oversized for this.  The system is supposed to be good for 4 people and no grey water. Estimate 3-4 year pump out on tank one with that size and load.  I know people who have had with two people (and some guests) for five years and no pumping. which is good, because we don't have pump trucks here.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on January 17, 2012, 01:06:16 PM
If I use interior plywood for the subfloor (it is less than 1/2 $$ of any other suitable wood I can get) should I paint or varnish or polyurathane it before nailing it down.  I bought a sheet an gave it a borate treatment...powder and water not the glycol..... and a week later see nothing happening to the lams.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on January 17, 2012, 05:36:57 PM
I typically paint floors with cheap oil based paint. Often old mismixed colors from a paint store or a garage or porch floor paint. Try soaking a small sample of ply to see if the glue can handle high moisture.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on January 24, 2012, 05:37:05 PM
Progress..
Carpenters showed and a good group...know how to work with it and best of all listen.

Posts are up and nice and straight and notched precisley

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fsiteposts.jpg&hash=3ac98844e3948a391eaf5802a3bca8a2c6a78e25)

Beams going uo..

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Fbeams1.jpg&hash=13028326c130f4ed34a8feb1b04157abd0e47ee4)

A couple of the Simpson connectors had slightly bent base plates and had to work some to get the rocking fixed.   No HD close for a quick fix. Took us a while to  figure it out. Likely the weight on it all when done would have fixed it...but who knows.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Fsimpson.jpg&hash=d1f45825968e9f6b18d895316bab586f7f80a685)

Power planer is worth its weight in gold...lost of planing on the rough cut wood and this makes it EZ

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Fplaner.jpg&hash=611400c44c444e5f3eca001316ccb59a0a630dc4)

It is really running along. wood taking big nails w.o drilling. Good crew.

Bad news is my framing wood seems to be in limbo as 3 weeks after the order and deposit they now say they cannot deliver some key pieces...like 15 foot rafters and say "well we will just send 8 and 7 and you can join them. So, I am on the hunt for a new supplier...have some but cannot just walk in and get it.  So in a week my good crew has a 2 week rest...or maybe 3...hope I get them back.



Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: muldoon on January 24, 2012, 07:53:18 PM
This is a really great project.  My wife is from Central America and we are going back in a few weeks to El Salvadore to see her Dad who is not doing well health wise.  I would love the idea of building in the jungle.  Hell, I would love the idea of just driving that diesel toyota in the jungle. 
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on January 26, 2012, 12:02:47 PM
I am still hunting for a decent subfloor at a reasonable price. Today I cam across plywood they called  "Phenolic"..actually two sheets. One has  a hard slick covering and the other looked like regular plywood. I got info on the hard covered one. Is the other one...regular plywood looking... moisture resistant...phenolic glue? That seems to be what online info indicates.  The info at the shop was non-existant and no stamps on the plywood...from Brasil.

i guess, alll thing considered I will have to go with this as the time for it is near. Started the joists today
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on January 27, 2012, 07:43:03 AM


Finishing the beams..went well and nice and level

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2FBeams2.jpg&hash=62a580fd5fa3e3f764bc3bda4974b56125e0fc79)

One day and the joists are about done...wood turned out to be really straight, even though we just finished drying it on site. Had only 2 of the 60 boards we really could not use for joists. We do the blocking and bracing monday and then the plywood deck.

We have had some detours...one wood supplier called two days before his order due (been on his books for 5 weeks) and informed me that no rafter size lengths available and I should just piece 8s and 7s for my rafters.  Another one said she remembered I told her the 5th but she wrote down the 12th...no further explanation was forthcoming and I did not ask

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fjoists1.jpg&hash=b5abedbf5d15724c848c08f8a787258ae8f997bd)

My night watchman (qiudor) arrives...too bad he is afraid of the dark, but his cousin lends him his dogs and I let him borrow my zenon light and zulu spear.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2FWatchman.jpg&hash=cfb9425cd3c9fae0afa1cd4d8578d63099ab356b)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: pmichelsen on January 27, 2012, 08:11:19 AM
From the pictures that wood looks beautiful. Looks like a great start.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: UK4X4 on January 27, 2012, 09:25:40 AM
"From the pictures that wood looks beautiful"

2 for that one - that will make an awsome floor - sanded oil'ed and polished

 Just use the plywood as a barrier from insects- use the hard coated one- plastic side down.

In the middle east they use it every where for making concrete forms as it gives a smooth surface and releases easily
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: rick91351 on January 27, 2012, 02:12:26 PM
Thanks I am really enjoying this build. 
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Barry Broome on January 27, 2012, 04:33:05 PM
I too am enjoying watching this home come together. Perhaps you can get Qiudor some solar powered night lights  :) 

What is interesting about this thread is that most of us have not lived in the tropics where white faces are rare. Not only do we get to see the home coming together but we also get a feel for the culture and living conditions.

Very educational.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on January 27, 2012, 05:57:39 PM
The wood is nice looking.  A shame to cover this up. It is Cedro macho, for those of you who missed the early discussions on tropical wood. Called royal mahogany or bastard mahogany and is related to that family. Kind of a premium wood for framing but I used it for the look and also because it is strong ( about 30% across the board more than SYP) and moderately insect resistant. Everything got borate treatment and we also retreat anything that has been cut.

Inside I will not have interior walls, so the back of the cedro siding will show. That side is finished and the outside is rustico...just skip planed. My top plate and rafter ties will be guapinol..harder and takes on a real reddish color with sun and age.  Be a real "wood" house.

I am gratified that you like the non building stuff...I sometimes hesitate to do that so as not to bore people who come to see buildings.  My crew is really good. That was a big relief and I could see it the first day. They listen and appreciate my thoughts on nails vs. screws and what nails to use.  I know that they think some of it is crazy, but I do see some understanding. I have the guy I hired who is a decent carpenter, a master carpenter (who also is very fussy about things...GOOD!  He is the big guy in the pics. )  his assistant who is also very good and an apprentice who came with the boss. The apprentice got a tool belt yesterday and today got instruction on planing the joists and did it himself after a while.  That is nice to see.

It's pretty nice to work up on the mountain,in spite of me being a pain in the ass. Cool this time of year.  They come to the base of the mt. after a 40 minute bus ride (old USA school bus) and I take them up at 7:15 and they change clothes and are at it by 7:45. They laugh and joke as they work. Of course, I pay well and work, even for good people, is hard to find here. $600 a week for all four. Yep, that is a lot and they can do real well on that...but they been out of work for the past 6 weeks.

Not all that much to worry about for the night guard. No violent criminals..although in my storage shed is three years worth of salary in tools for a local farmer. Or a couple of 6x6 posts that are a weeks pay. Be gone if no one there. Just the presence is deterrent and their dogs are nothing to screw with. Most of all, their uncle, who is like my shop steward and gets me workers is a local jefe.  Knows people and has clout. And, best of all the SOB is always around.  I'll be up at he water collector at 4 in the PM and feel "eyes"...look up and there he is in the woods, watching. Makes you jump at first, now I come to expect it.  I pay him $100 a month for all this... and helping me with my Spanish comes included.

Saturday e have off. They usually work 1/2 day, but not us as I need that to catch up. tomorrow I get plywood in Managua.....2 hour round trip plus an hour screwing around at the store.

Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: glenn kangiser on January 28, 2012, 07:47:43 AM
First batch of wood got to the site in good order, as promised.  Posts,  beam timber,bracing and joists.

Treating it now...has about a week to go before we start the real build.  I measured moisture with my mid level  meter and registered between 13% and 19 %.  Have no code for the wood type, but was within 3% on each of the settings.  It air dried for a month under a shed in a good breeze and about 75% humidity. My sawmill lady said it got there decently dry for the start.

My Maze spiral 14d hardened nails hammer in just fine.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fwoodtreat.jpg&hash=04a8cd630d50f0cd26cf55a9a19f32941c8c385b)

I am running some "perc" tests...for lack of a better word..in my septic pit which will get the water after it passes through the two tanks. Shallow, but big in area (6x9)...about 1500 gallons. Three days at 40 gallons a day and at the end of day three...5 hours after the last water dump...all gone.  We are about a month out of the rainy season, so this also looks good.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2FFosa1.jpg&hash=ca33c731f520445b9cfbd6559bc28f0725dbbd07)

As far as the septic...

Made in NICA and seems peculier to LA and maybe Europe.  I have not seen any info on a system like this in USA. Two tanks and a pit or a drainage field. Tank one holds solids and tank two liquid is sent to bottom and filters through pumice stone. From there goes to pit for absorption back into the earth. Tanks are various sizes.  I have 300 gal primary and 200 gal secondary and then 1500 gal pit which is oversized for this.  The system is supposed to be good for 4 people and no grey water. Estimate 3-4 year pump out on tank one with that size and load.  I know people who have had with two people (and some guests) for five years and no pumping. which is good, because we don't have pump trucks here.

Not a pleasant task but in the old days my dad used to dig the solids out from the top at least with a shovel.  That got the solids that float.  The old single tank septic has been in service on the old homestead for at least 60 years or so that I know of.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: glenn kangiser on January 28, 2012, 07:55:02 AM
Great build and side info, Alex.  We have so many international friends and made 15 trips to Mexico so we enjoy all of the side topics too. 

I once paid a guard to watch my plane in Batopilas, Chih?,  MX.  A storm came in the night - he disappeared and I never did see him again.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on January 30, 2012, 03:54:10 PM
Good Monday...

Plywood on the deck.....got exterior after being told by half a dozen people including two local gringo builder types..."just do not have it here and if you get it it is phony".  This is stamped, etc. Just got to persevere...and not listen to all the old hands down here. Borated it and glued and nailed it down. A good feeling to stand on it and the view is even better. Dis not take a shot of a level, but it is dead level both ways. And just 1/2 inch out of true square.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fplywood.jpg&hash=eaa3dbd2b4eb14dcb3475d7d2386154ba0f5f0b6)

An hour after we got the plywood down my framing lumber arrived...looks great.  This is kiln dried and planed a second time but no sanded. A upper class mill and a pain to deal with...but they delivered most of what they promised.  This is the wood that will show inside.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fwood2.jpg&hash=11fd140255c7b913e485ace69c71e6ac4e911cc4)

Bracing..lots of it and using compression and not fasteners (thanks Don P..I know you don't like piers and post, but this should hold).  Will put some in though..as soon as I get some 6 inch HDG ring nails in a couple of weeks.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fbraceing1.jpg&hash=20ff9a3dcbde46b2ee0852be5c3ffcb9b69d9bf9)

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fbracing2.jpg&hash=fbb5f6d95d67a859362f31eccaec4b53f157d111)

Walls tomorrow.  Gets a bit more complicated with that, but gaining some confidence and the crew is good and listens.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: MountainDon on January 30, 2012, 04:40:51 PM
Those are some nice looking connections Alex.   :)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on January 30, 2012, 05:45:57 PM
Early on, I was introduced to the house in KY...about 2/3 way done that tilted on its posts and I quickly became a believer.  I happened across it by accident last week and must say I am amazed that it got that far without thought to stability.  I know I started on here with little thought as to that, but now I fear I am becoming compulsive about it. Noting bad about that though...having your house stand up is right important as a first step.. If the flooring is nailed poorly that is a shame, but not a disaster..  I got all of that on here, so it is a good deal you guys bring to amateurs.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: MountainDon on January 30, 2012, 05:56:34 PM
Alex, I just have to say I'm impressed; you saw, you listened/learned, you "did".  And right when it should be done, before the walls, etc are built. Excellent, excellent....  :) :)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on January 31, 2012, 02:28:31 PM

Do I need a top plate here in the front over the header which is 4x8..by 10 feet?

This is a ridge board and seems to me whatever needs supporting above this can be done by the header.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2FScreenshot2012-01-31at52426PM.png&hash=57ee235a2454b7ee773f7434a5b3030da71bdba3)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on January 31, 2012, 03:39:59 PM
The horizontal plate creating a break all the way across the wall at the 8' level is incorrect, this is a weak hinge. Unless there is a level ceiling to support the horizontal break the studs should run uninterrupted from sole plate to roof.

When you say this is a ridge board, there are adequate rafter ties inside. In that case the header is supporting the glass and a bit of wall and overhang above.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on January 31, 2012, 04:31:13 PM
You have any reference to how to attach stud to roof/rafter...looked hard but cannot find one.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on January 31, 2012, 06:30:08 PM
The way you have drawn is one way, an angled top plate under the rafter that the studs are nailed to.
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi180.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fx109%2Fwindyhilll%2Fgablewall1.jpg&hash=acb0c9945ae9e1289752cc58c53e78c2b652ac90)
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi180.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fx109%2Fwindyhilll%2Fgable3.jpg&hash=152631624591e5d80b7d9548064e83104cddfee6)
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi180.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fx109%2Fwindyhilll%2Flookout.jpg&hash=965f1e6e46b32b9f075015ec5a47b20bad74e876)

this is another method, the horizontal top plates shown in these drawings are depicted here because those roofs did have a flat ceiling bracing that hinge;
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi180.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fx109%2Fwindyhilll%2Fgable2.jpg&hash=8cdc6b9b97497d0e34af00b66db487c864c87251)

...
But actually,  I wanted to back up before we go too far from the bracing yesterday. It is some of the best i've seen here, and your guys do nice work. This is mainly to keep refining that method since we are not only showing our projects we are trying to also keep evolving techniques. first the braces are probably strongest going from post to beam but that is probably quibbling. what caught my eye was the sharp point of the brace inserted into an acute cornered pocket in the post. Instead of the wood in that post pocket corner resisting the shove of the brace by taking the force in shear, that point is trying to split a chunk off the post. Don't fret, but for them that's doing in the future I took a couple of pics today.

This brace has a tennon on it, just mentally saw it off. Notice the 1/2" wide flat where I removed the point.
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi180.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fx109%2Fwindyhilll%2Fbrace001.jpg&hash=839b894b49c708d5fd0b87d82e0f7719f8d8f270)
 
Here it is with the brace in pocket, squared end meeting square cornered notch in the post. It looks the same but this is taking the load in shear rather than in a splitting wedge type action.
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi180.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fx109%2Fwindyhilll%2Fbrace004.jpg&hash=317194ead85ca474a31056e1f9b4d94f08a08840)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on January 31, 2012, 07:25:59 PM
Thanks for all the info on rafters, etc. i will likely have more questions after i read then and alsoin going over my plans it looks like we have an anomoly and I am trying to sort it out.

Boy...do you have sharp eyes. On the sharp edges on the braces.  Believe it or not, I saw the same thing as I was pondering notching to the post or butting to the beam. What happened was one of the guys took out all the wood above the notch (heaven knows why) so the brace was essentially just flat against wood. That being on a critically tall post, after a small rant,  I had them recut the brace and but it to the beam because we had no wood left. At that point it became obvious to me that is the way to go so the rest are done that way.  So, I have 4 of the first braces with the pointy ends and on close examination I too saw that could act like a chisel.  But even at that it is only 1 inch below the beam so movement will be limited.  I also plan on a 6 inch ring shank in each one. I am bracing all 3 rows across and 3 back (4 on the "tall" side).  I do not know if you can see from the pics but the back row of piers is connected directly to the beam so there is no post/moment arm above the pier.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 01, 2012, 03:34:31 AM


Two things hit me on the lack of a plate in the front and back. 

One is the lack of any tie in of the walls that the top plates provide in the corners. That seems so important in reading about that particular part of the puzzle.

The other isn that in the front, that header is now supporting the weight of the front rafter  ( whatever is not picked up by the ridge board) and associated load across it, not just some incidental stuff.  Mine is a 4x 8 of guapinol which is a pretty stiff wood.  I guess the ridge is supposed to take all the load, but with the front rafter being short to accomodate the outriggers for the gable end overhang, not sure how that pans out and how to attach that "low" rafter, which will essentiall be a 2x6 on its side to the ridgeboard.

As you can tell, I am quickly over my head here and not too sure my guys have any answers.  Have asked my "designer" for some answers and be interesting to see what he says.  i don't have a lot of faith in his structural answers based on some of his suggestions.  I spent a lot of time on the deck and am now just catching up to this.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on February 01, 2012, 06:37:08 PM
You do lose that nice top plate corner weave with a cathedral ceiling, our eye candy comes at a price. If you are concerned wrap a metal strap around the corner and tie well to both walls.

A ridgeboard should not deliver any vertical load. The vertical load on the rafters should flow axially, down the length of the rafter, to the wall. The ridgeboard could be eliminated and the rafter top ends should be able to be simply butted together with no ridgeboard between them. If correctly built you could take a chainsaw and cut through the ridgeboard between every rafter pair and nothing would move A ridgeboard is simply there to give you something to nail the rafters to and space them correctly. Not to be confured with a ridgebeam, which does support the rafters, is sized to bear the load and delivers that roof load to the ridgebeam supports.

If the rafter is oriented the same way as all the others and simply dropped to allow lookouts to sit on top then the roof load is on the walls and the weight of the gable wall is all that is being supported by the header. If the end rafter is eliminated and there are just sloping plates atop the gable walls that the lookouts then sit on, then the header is taking the overhang plus half the way to the next inboard rafter plus the weight of the gable wall.

For a lightweight purlin roof with a relatively small overhang, ~1', on the gable ends I run a typical common rafter and run the purlins out to form the overhang. I use boards to fill between the purlins from the first inboard rafter out past the edge of the overhang. When the entire overhang is boarded solid I snap the line for overhang edge and saw it all straight at once. I then screw thru each board from the top into a board below that forms the underside outer edge of the overhang.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 02, 2012, 03:44:16 AM
Thanks. Your info and what you do on the overhang tops me off in that regard and I will now think about the options.  I lean towards your last one with the boards overhanging, especially since i have a light roof.  Something always seem a bit amiss about hanging that big heavy rafter on the end for what seems to be little purpose. I will use a cut down rafter for the end to minimize the weight on the header below, although I believe it is strong enough to take it.

i have to smile when I read you explanation on the ridgeboard. The board vs. beam thing was new to me as little as 4 months ago and was explained on here.  A lo tof the people I talk to who know at least something about building kind of do not believe it abput the board...this include a gringo guy who comes by to "help" ( and really disrupts the routine). He does know a lot about building...has done it in real life for money, but just purses his lips and gives small shakes of his head when i tell him this. Scary...but a good warning sign not to listen to his advice without vetting it very well.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 03, 2012, 05:01:45 AM
We had some time today as a few critical pieces of wood for the top plate not delivered and so we had to wait (still waiting...you may not know it, but here, "manana" does not mean tomorrow...it means not today)

Tried a few sample of the overhang. For one we nailed 1x6 rough cuts to 1 inch boards set at the position of the end and first inside rafters to simulate overhang just with the boards overhanging like the purlin extensions as Don described in his last post (last para). At 2 feet seemed OK, but at 3 is a bit floppy.  I think we will use five 2 x 4s (mine are actually 21/2 x 41/2) as outriggers and attach the 1x 6s across them rather than just have them stick out like an extension of the purlins. at three feet, that seems to be sturdy even at three feet. Means notching the end rafter two inches..it is a 2x10 for the 2x4s.  May also run the top plate out three feet and then we can attach the  lower end of the overhang to that. Need to see how that looks and how much we need it when this is assembled.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: UK4X4 on February 03, 2012, 05:09:28 AM
add some posts to the outer edges and cover the deck for those tropical rainy afternoons !
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 03, 2012, 07:47:58 AM
My header in the front is 10' to cover the opening in the 22' wall. So I have enough area to sit under cover and still be pretty close to outside. The deck is only 8 feet and 5 of that is uncovered to let me gaze ta the stars.

On that note...do I need two vs. a single jack stud per side to support the 4 x 8 x10 header or is one safe?

Also, I am rethinking my big overhang. Was three feet, now at two. Overhangs are parallel to the prevailing and storm winds but still catch some. I's rather go to 12 than have trouble. Thoughts?
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on February 03, 2012, 03:58:21 PM
I like 2'. Good thought, yes the header at that length needs double jacks.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 09, 2012, 03:02:55 PM
No new pics up yet  but here is an update.

Wall went up fine. After some trauma with one of my wood suppliers (the expensive one) where they could not supply most of what  ordered and the hardest stuff to replace and would delay the project three weeks with the crew sitting on their hands, I got it.  Had to make some compromises. But will work around them.

My crew is doing a good job but has some shortcomings on the knowledge front...but maybe not much worse than many others in USA as well.  They are aghast that I do not use screws, they want to put four nails where you need two and if it ain't 16d it is suspect.

They also do some really dumb things that they know better about and so need to by with them and watching all the time. They put the sill plate in back of the double joist (caught that), but they knew to put the double in, and asked specific questions about where, etc. That kind of puts you to sleep on watching.

Come roofing time, I was nervous. Read up on the rafter stuff a lot and asked questions here. good thing...they could do it if left to their own devices but would be a mess. We spent one whole day getting the two back rafters up.  Granted they rare complicated by the fact that they run up from the floor and the joists lay on them and are cut into a few.  Next day e checked all the work and was fine and after another 2 hours with the third rafter, and some desperation lessons from me based on my online "learning" over the past 3 nights, it clicked and got almost all done today.

Their two biggest revelations were that the way to calculate and mark a rafter actually works.

The other is that he ridgeboard does not need support when the rafter are in place.  My crew leader had the light come on when we place about the fifth rafter on the wall and naied it...then he dropped the ridgeboard end down and it wedged in tight against the other side. He said...this does not even need a nail!

Been a long three days, but working out OK...and they are happy to learn.

I'll post pics tomorrow.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Alan Gage on February 09, 2012, 06:24:41 PM
I'm impressed with how well you seem to be handling the crew. I'm in awe of anyone that can teach a bunch of people a new way to do something and keep them happy. Let alone show them how to measure and cut rafters when you've never done if before yourself. I think that would be a bit nerve racking.

Alan
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: MountainDon on February 09, 2012, 06:26:46 PM
 [cool]  alex.

Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 10, 2012, 03:16:18 AM
It helps that they are willing to learn....and I think they saw themselves in some trouble. People here re a bit different in that regard...if you show them you "know" they will listen.  I have been doing small stuff along with them to get their confidence.

I likely looked at every rafter cutting video on the web and read a dozen articles over the three preceeding days and the night after the first attempts..  We screwed up three at first but I have uses for them. The instructions were great...and while demanding, there are harder things. When we got the first one right we were home  free. These guys are also good enough carpenters that they now see how it works and can make small adjustments.

I am not a patient man, but this helps gain that.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on February 10, 2012, 03:38:37 AM
Oh but so worthwhile, you are dropping a mighty big pebble in the surrounding pond. This carpenter will become the "go to man", local carpenters will grab him to help them put a roof on and that knowledge will ripple. Good show  [cool]
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 10, 2012, 04:29:57 PM
Yep, that is part of the reason for doing all this. Jobs and some better pay and some upgrading of skilled people.  We have a ton of NGOs here and some do a lot of good. On all the overhead is tremendous and I think this is a better way. The people are people..and this crew is kind of cool too.

On to the photo record.

The back wall...as you see the rafters on this are a bit more complicated by the studs .  I should have started them one in.  But it is strong and we got it done...half a day.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fhouseback.jpg&hash=6adfda15cdeda7526aeb99eecd16a13ccffd457c)

My local "boss" who watchs over stuff and gets me general labor, counseling one of my long time employees, Juan,  (also his Nephew). This is the second rafter day and you can see where we are. collar ties and all.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fbackwallluis.jpg&hash=7d7b58b944a988f0106bdcf12b82ccfdf640ae72)

Stairs...good sturdy job,  and not too big a jump for the first and last step...I could swear we talked about calculating that in. No big deal.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fstairs.jpg&hash=4245b029da1b0f4f6b61681d55223ac0f9e53488)

This planer is worth its worth in gold and has made stuff look sooo much better.   Finished wood here is a relative term. We do every other board and then sand a bit on all. Really not all that much trouble...they like doing it.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fplaner.jpg&hash=fe8bf7892afbc07056c3424a82d3011b179f6449)

Monday I get wood for rafter ties which I have to make from four 2x8s and a 2x4 sandwiched in between to make my span. I cannot believe it will not sag.  11 foot 2x8s with a 8 foot 2x4 to help sister them.  If that does not work I will use a steel purlin instead of the 2x4.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on February 10, 2012, 06:19:56 PM
You've just encountered the next problems that early roof builders ran into. What to do to keep the bottom chord from sagging. What to do if you cannot make a one piece bottom chord.


You know the ridge is locked in place by the triangle formed but the bottom chord is long and sagging. If you throw a rope over the ridge, drop it to the center of the bottom chord and cinch it up it would take care of sagging. The rope is showing that this is a tension member. You can nail a 2x to the ridge, drop it to the ties, lift them to a stringline and nail that kingpost to the bottom chord.

For a discontinuous bottom chord you would calculate the rafter thrust and use enough nails on either side of the joint to counter that. If it'll sag, drop a kingpost (an old and more correct name was a kingrod truss).

This is a sketch of a kingpost truss with a discontinuous bottom chord;
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi180.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fx109%2Fwindyhilll%2Ftiedim.jpg&hash=f38e91204b05d548d4370e248bc115c883ea3ab2)
The spline in this case went through the kingpost and then is pegged with an appropriate number of pegs on each side to resist the tension load.

The splined bottom chord from above is the rear one in this photo. The forward truss also has a discontinuous bottom chord but I bolted fish plates across the center in this one instead of using the spline.
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi180.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fx109%2Fwindyhilll%2Fpurlinsbay1.jpg&hash=41f9943930e07c015f12ceede6e2c71931232779)

Don't be afraid to experiment with ways to slide some hidden sheet metal across the joint and nail through it.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 11, 2012, 04:30:13 AM
When you say sheet metal....what gauge would work?  I have space to hide it in between the 2x8s for that .  I could also bolt a metal plate across on the inside, but have resisted the bolts so far. If I do use a plate, or a metal purlin in there, how far on each side of the joint need it be. I have some extra big Simpson T's from the posts, and could cut the top off the leg.  Sturdy and holes already there on each side. But only 16 inches long  so 8  inches per side of the joint.

I have someone coming down next week. Will some kind of a connection strap that can be found at HD  work so i can nail it in across the splice? I saw reference to a joist hanger being used. My big lack of knowledge here is on how think it needs to be...the straps look thin to hold across the splice.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on February 11, 2012, 06:12:31 AM
This is another good link to bookmark, the AWC connections calc;
http://www.awc.org/calculators/connections/ccstyle.asp
It gives design values down to 20 guage steel.

Mainly where I was thinking of using it was if you do install a kingpost. It sounds like the ties will be 3 ply built up. if the kingpost is also a 3 ply assembly there are a couple of opportunities to reinforce the connection with some sheet metal T's slipped between plies and nailed into the joint.

Are all the ties just supporting their own weight or is there going to be some other load on them? Functionally they are another member that can be replaced by a rope, a tension member. To a large extent sag is a aesthetic issue rather than a functional one if there are no other loads being supported. The splice simply needs to be strong enough to restrain the thrust, this can all be done in wood, the rest is gravy.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 11, 2012, 02:52:19 PM
Be a while before I can get that AWC info figured out...but looks like a good reference as I always wonder about "how much will this hold".

My rafter ties are just that.  No other load.  I got the idea from the 20x30 little house plans I bought a while ago. Not to build that, but to see how stuff was done and what plans looked like.  A good investment.

I liked the look of this for my "woody' place and originally was going to do it also to not need collar ties as this looked like it did both.  as it turns out, I decided on the collar ties (lots of wind here coming in the front) and likely overbuilt them with 2x8s...but they look cool and cannot hurt.

The rafter ties are a different wood...Guapinol...with a dark red cast.  So will set off the other wood. Strong and hard and heavy. About 1.5x the cedro macho I am using for the other framing stuff.  I was promised 22 footers to go across and figured they would not sag. Now with a splice, I figure the weight of them adds to sag possibilities.  In between the two guapinol pieces will be an 8 foot 2x4 (2.5 x 4.5), nailed with 5 16ds on each side of the splice. I plan on putting them a 18 inches above the top plate just for "headroom".

If it sags I will experiment and I am a lot less worried about this than my other "urgent" requests for info as this can be fixed without a lot of mess, and as you say this will not affect structural intgerity.  It might even pull the walls together!! How long will I have to wait for the sag...a day or a month.

Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on February 11, 2012, 04:02:47 PM
I'd nail one together across the room and measure at midspan compared to at the walls. If that deflection is acceptable, pull down on it, if you have a problem with that even a piece of wire or rod from the ridge down will do the trick. If it was easy to deflect it will creep down faster than if it was stiffer. How long? Its dependent on the strength and stiffness... gravity wins when the ridge is on the ground  :).

Let's get an idea on the thrust load you're restraining if you haven't. What is the pitch and is it 20' wide?
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 11, 2012, 04:15:47 PM
4/12

21 feet inside of wall to inside of wall (22 feet on outside of wall).

2x8s are 12 feet long so have a 1 foot angle cut there..she usually give me and extra 6 inches so likely have 18 inches to angle...which is marginal for any good.

Occurs to me as I am typing that the plan is to move up the rafter 18 inches up from the top plate so the anchor point is about 20 feet not 21 which in turn gives me more than a 2 foot angle cut...that seems like it will help. Makes me wonder if instead of the 2x4 in the center I should put a 2x8 piece  just 3 feet long across that angle. I do not have more than that to spare right now.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on February 11, 2012, 06:29:32 PM
this is what I'm visualizing
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi180.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fx109%2Fwindyhilll%2Ftrentroof.jpg&hash=4eabe54ad046b5cf0953fb1a8c641dc56a3ec021)

I'm coming up with around 1750 lbs of tension in the tie, try not to raise the bottom of it more than ~14" above the plate. I'd guess that in that wood the nails are good for 150 lbs each so a dozen or more on each tension connection... rafter to tie, tie to block, block to tie, tie to rafter. There is so much lap length this thing ain't sagging.

Edit; just checked the codebook on a raised tie, 20' wide bldg, 30 lb/sf roof load... 14 nails per connection. In our woods.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 12, 2012, 07:39:59 AM
Thanks....

Your white areas, if meant to be one of the 2x8s,is about half way in real life...you show it about 1/4. Or maybe I am just misreading he perspective. Here is a rough look

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2FScreenshot2012-02-12at103355AM.png&hash=a0b6bc927e6e4fd432f2b46fb560c4e609ed5142)

I will likely just set the tie on the top plate..no real need to lift it. Maybe when we get it in place might be a visual thing to move it up a foot, but not that likely.  Means i can nail it right to the plate as well as the rafter, which I like. Lowering it shortens the overlap area in the splice a bit, but I may also get close to 13 footers as they are not consistent in how much extra long they cut and she know I need length.

I will have some 6 inch nails...any benefit to using them to go through all three members in the tie along with the 16ds in each side?
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on February 12, 2012, 08:56:14 AM
Sure, the 6's will make a double shear connection which is stronger and of course the lower the tie the stronger it is.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 13, 2012, 03:40:41 PM
Lots got done over the past few days and finally got some pics.

Decided to change the rafter tie design after all that discussion.  The wood was heavy..KD a 1x8"x12' was 130 lbs. Hard as a rock, which I take equates to strength.  So spliced one together...had enough for an 18 inch "translappe', and then put a 6 foot piece on each side. 36 naild total and will do a few more 20ds when they get here. No sag.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Fraftertietest.jpg&hash=c76372341340417ea668fe4d84dc7ed69531b312)

Rafters are a pain..came as 12 footers and  needed (and was promised) 13' for my overhang , but had to use these,.  Maybe just as well as the wind will be kinder to these. Going to use 2x8 for fascia so that will help a bit.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Frafterends.jpg&hash=3fdb2e8fffe5645cb831dc94e699ade6f4e95658)

We had to apply borate when the wood was up...on the deck we managed to treat all before. Works OK. OIf this works as advertised we will not have any insect problems. Using the high rate and ,y applier likes to see it run. The deck is now treated too!

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FBorateapp.jpg&hash=31942985441619d3821330ca4c5baae0d65ab6df)

Grade this wood for me.
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Fwoodgrade.jpg&hash=31848c75ea6d5ea934f61e7c647fa0e08cf762e3)

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Fwoodgrade2.jpg&hash=3cdef4902c30100368ae407029e78709d79250bb)

Outlier up for the overhand....notched the front and back end rafters..2.5 inches in an 8" rafter...and the rafter is supported not just be the ridge board but studs every 2 feet.  Looks OK.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Foutliers.jpg&hash=6722c28b36ddbf4cf763aefe55c1b7db1f8276a1)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on February 13, 2012, 05:01:23 PM
Looking good!

Most of your wood looks to be select structural  ;D. The only thing that I see is there is a fair amount of figure. How does it split? In other words is it relatively straight grained? That is beautiful framing lumber. A few years ago I was repairing a 160 year old house. At the homeowners suggestion I had milled lumber from the same stand the original lumber had come from. The nice young man from the town came to tell me that I wouldn't be able to do that, Lord only knows what kind of lumber it might be... as I sat there on a pile of #1 and better  ::).

I suspect you could pull engines off those ties.

The gable overhangs look good, they are ok for low snow and moderate wind. I'd be tempted to scab on cantilevered rafter tails, that isn't much to keep the walls dry.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 13, 2012, 06:37:59 PM
Yeah, I been contemplating extending the rafters.  We do have a lot of rain. Plus the look is better with some more overhang. Not much to be seen on that online. I do not want to sister as that will be seen on the inside. A lot of work. Still thinking on it.

Two things come to mind for about 18 inches additional. Got to support the rain gutter..seems like not too much..

1. Butt a piece onto the end using a dowel or all thread and some toe nails.  I tried this and seemed sturdy, but not very elegant

2. Notching  (not sure of the term) the existing 2x rafter overhang  so it is 1 inch wide  back to about 1" from the bird's mouth and fitting the addition to that with a corresponding "notch"so it overlaps the cut on the existing rafter.  Be an easy join with nails through each of the 1 inch parts  to join the pieces and maybe glue. Limitation is that I only have about 4 inches for the notch to work with.

As for the wood..if you recall, was not too long ago I was hunting for decent wood suppliers.  Finally hunted  some down. The wood in the upright shot is the Cedro macho..about same specs as SYP.  The other is the Guapinol   (Courbaril )  and it is about 50% more than SYP across the board. Dries and weathers to a rich reddish color.  Using it in a few places..top layer on the top plate, header and the rafter ties. Mostly planned it for looks, but now turns out the strength is a plus in those areas. Got to drill it when dried.

We also talked a lot about nails and I looked at a lot of test data.  Here they are lousy..so brought some in. 16d ring shank will not pull out after being driven 1/3 of the way with the Guapinol using a 2 foot crowbar.  I can attest to withdrawal strength on them.  Spirals, just barely pull out in the same "test".
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 14, 2012, 02:08:54 PM
Decided to sister the rafters. 18 inches out Easiest. I looked and need an overhang. This is sound construction simply done. And quick as I need to keep it moving and this takes only half a day. Outside cannot see the sisters unless almost below.  Inside cannot see much.  Not the greatest visual option, but works here fine.

See my post in general setcion for another weird problem that cropped up today
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 21, 2012, 05:24:16 PM
Update..

Things moving along..just the usual  (I guess) glitches here and there and working around them.

Front porch is decked and here are some shots and the wood decking which will turn deep red in about  a month. 

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fpoarch2.jpg&hash=5d611f235b7eacf047289459ef683b99761e7df7)

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fporch1.jpg&hash=d09e3640e66e6eac27c7818c1d325ab840e7e567)

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fdeckwood.jpg&hash=3094e87f5ff2de67879886a69ca7a4b26f3da88d)

Makes me want to sit on it and have the morning coffee...will be ready for that is about a month.

Just got some good nails in so we are going around filling in places that we left a bit short initially.

We are ready to put up the roof tomorrow..purlins all up and all seems straight and square...last check on that in the AM before we start to put up the galvanized sheets. Going to screw in on the flats...man what a difference of opinion on that topic.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: UK4X4 on February 21, 2012, 06:53:25 PM
thats an awsome looking deck - when its fully dry add some oil and it will have a lovely deep shine,,,

how does you finish floor level look -alongside the deck level ?

tropical rains are thick- heavy and often horizontal !

shut the door and your humid city- leave open you need some vertical transition
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 22, 2012, 02:29:34 AM
Floor inside is not down yet...will be a different wood/color.  There is no door!  Just a gate/screen and a drop down wood "blind" to cut wind and rain as needed.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 24, 2012, 03:36:40 PM
Got the roof on today.  Big step...been raining here in the "dry" season and my plywood subfloor is about shot.  Going to lay another layer on top..Anyway, that is no longer a problem.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Froofinside.jpg&hash=09e9e7a26fdee8c3f57d9f06f4cf236cc1bd0e6e)

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2FHouse1.jpg&hash=ede322d0137c7aa1739ed290baa12ca5a9da03d3)

Making th roof cap...no one sells the real thing so after much looking and exhporbitant quaotes from machine shops we bent some tin.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Froofcap.jpg&hash=3d3c604d47e6b88b88742cb04d8309af9304d430)

I have been stressed about the corners since we ballon  framed the front and back and took away the ties of the corner overlaps.  Added some straps on top to help (I guess)...cannot hurt anything.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2FHurricanetie.jpg&hash=accf908f92d1130ebd6870de435edf1173edd2ad)

Got my bathroom layied out..a bit unconventional, but it works with the guys to show them.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fbathlayout.jpg&hash=00c81aa519ad1ee5184df3d6fe1035da9ba14e65)

Some place else on this site people list their favorite tool  This is mine. Indispensable, as if a pic is worth 1,000 words...when you are short on nthe language, it is worth 10,000.
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FHouse%2520Uploads1%2Fwhiteboard.jpg&hash=cc5cffd2821af223ade13cb1d6830faac0fe94b8)

Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Alan Gage on February 25, 2012, 03:42:03 PM
Roofs are great.

Looking good!

Alan
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on February 25, 2012, 06:00:35 PM
Thanks for the vote of confidence.

I will let you know after we get the first heavy rain. I was on the roof and the workers about screwing in straight and not to tight or too loose.  Lucky they did not throw me off...although they did bump the ladder pretty hard once.  They never screwed in on the flat, so thought another crazy gringo idea.

At least there is nothing below the steel for now, so if it leaks will be really apparent quickly and not do a lot of damage below.  Funny, I just threw the screws into my water collector (kind of) which is a 1/12 pitch an not a drop comes through.

Maybe I did too much research for this roof, because now I am crazed about all the possibilities for leaks. Or maybe I am just crazed, period!
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on March 06, 2012, 05:13:56 PM
Can't upload to PB, so here is a verbal update.

Getting into the finish work inside and as we get further away from framing my guys shortcoming start to show.....lack of experience with doing stuff and sadly, most of all quality. Since we are working on a couple of things at a time, I have to dart around to observe all day. I am really not sure the work is or would be all that bad...maybe I am just not cut out to be a builder.

We are having some real winds from the NE (50 MPH gusts all day)..at the front of the house. It is not all closed in yet, but at least still standing...don't feel a thing.

Got a decent electrician to do the work. He is a bit fussy and wants me to look at every plug, but with the little I know about electricity he look OK. Since I have no real power it is kind of  an odd thing. Trying to get that figured out.  Solar is going to be a tough deal because of lots of clouds and tough position with trees. I have pared my power needs to a low level. Hoping I can stay with that...but even so, be a lot of battery charging with the small generator.  I got a 2600 watt Yamaha and works great for the build, but later on max 20 amps to recharge will be tough. I am doing the numbers now. Depends on how much time I am there and from the looks of things, may be more than I planned. Thought it was a 2 day/night a week thing, but now looks like 4 or so.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: MountainDon on March 06, 2012, 05:55:47 PM
Quote
I got a 2600 watt Yamaha ....

That would be sufficient to run a 12 VDC 75 amp output Iota, like this one. (http://www.iotaengineering.com/dls75.htm)    That could recharge 12 VDC batteries with up to a total amp-hour capacity of 750. Rule of thumb is max charge rate of C/10, where C= capacity of battery(s).  Strictly speaking you can go to C/5 until the battery is 85% charged. The Iota chargers have a three stage charge when used with their IQ4 optional accessory.  Iota chargers of the same model can also be stacked with another one of their accessories to enable doubling the charge. Can be handy at times.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on March 07, 2012, 03:52:57 AM
Thanks...I did the calcs wrong. This info is a big relief as I do not want to get real big on the power or genset stuff.  i really want to keep this simple. This is all that I need to charge. I am starting with 12 v ...4 120 AH batteries.  Eveready Marine. I know not the best for this but here I can get them for $90 and given the cost/quality of other available batteries here...real deep cell... it makes sense. May go to six batteries.  But if I can use power discipline (ha..when have you heard that before)...I can do it nicely ..especially with this charger/gen set up.  I figured at that charge rate (max C/10, or maybe a bit more) I will have to run the generator 3-4 hours or so every two days. Likely will have to run it more, but that is my low power target to start.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: glenn kangiser on March 07, 2012, 06:48:39 AM
I have used Marine "Deep Cycle" batteries before .  Better than auto but worse than golf cart, but I understand working with limited availability so as you say - it's a good start.  :)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on March 07, 2012, 09:28:39 AM
Yeah, we got some no name 6v 120 AH batts here for 140 bucks vs the 12 v 120's for $90.  Hardly a comparison unless the no names are 3x as good which is  unlikely. I figure if I treat these good they might outlast me.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on March 17, 2012, 05:16:53 AM
Getting close to the finish! Got the siding on..except for about 20 pieces that I am short...be a couple of weeks to get that...bad math.  Electric is about done and I am really glad I lucked into a good guy to do it..slow, but knows his stuff and doing a neat job.  Fired the plumber after 3 hours and he had to wait four hours for a ride down the mtn. Dangerous...wanted to drill blocking and joists and floor and then make pipe fit or drill some more. Will do it myself next week and have the builder help on a few things I have questions about.

Be about another two weeks to complete the inside..tile and floor.

Here are some pics of the outside.  I had the siding finished on the inside and left rough on the outside. Siding shows on the inside as there is no inside wall in most of the house. Looks great on inside  Pics to come. On the outside, I had second thoughts about the rough look, but now I am happy I stuck with that.  There is quite a bit of variation in the boards and when putting them up, look not so hot...but when up, the overall effect is what I wanted.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Foutsidedone.jpg&hash=4a9b26c169065868ecbce2043e23b253864f9e4e)

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Foutside2.jpg&hash=b39de7aea88901b91e6591ded30ab36b4907eaa3)

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Fhousefront.jpg&hash=39eb08d0fd921a3d2c247dae377f8f8925493ad5)


Panel box is in the back corner and will be in a small closet. Right below and outside will be battery box under the house.  I can get it inside with a 3 foot run to the inverter in the house and the charger will be there too. Pretty simple set up and I hope I can get by with it.  Power management will be the key.  We ran the line to the shed where then genset will be...about 70 feet and used 8 gauge wire and a plug into the 240 V generator outlet..... wire running to house inside PVC pipe. Powered up the house...next week we will try it on the inverter.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Felec1.jpg&hash=ecd65753973d8270032ca6200dd1a0143ceb9978)

The two batteries I have used on the build got rough treatment...discharged way down many time  and charged with a poor charger, so I will use these in town to run the fans when the poser is off and get new ones that all match for the cabin, and a good charger...the Iota that Don pointed me to, looks like the ticket.

We had to fit in room for a small fridge. Was tough finding space but this works. Bumps into the shower and sticks out a bit off one back kitchen wall.  The corner here was a project for them to build...took half a day, but came out nice in both kitchen and shower sides. Helps define the kitchen space.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Ffridgenook.jpg&hash=88ef2c9600578310f3895c6147a22b534636e5b6)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Don_P on March 18, 2012, 04:10:56 PM
Very  [cool], that is a beautiful building.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: germanbird on March 23, 2012, 08:43:44 AM
I'm going to have to second Don_P.  Your place is turning out amazing.

You probably already covered this in earlier postings, but what is the climate like there?  Rainy season?  Colder spells?
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on March 23, 2012, 10:12:57 AM
Well, thank you both and my thanks again to Don.P and others who answered a LOT of questions and pretty much gave me a short course in building this.  We really concentrated on the structural integrity part of it early on and I went from building a rickety place to one that I have no doubt will stand up to what we have here.  been fun learning the background to stuff.

After I got through that, the rest of the process came on me pretty quick and I had a lot less time to get ready for things than I did for the basic frame.  But seems to have worked OK..learned a lot as I did it and while I do not want to build again, seems a waste not to use the experience.

A lot of what make this so pretty is the wood, which I worked on and planned about from the outset, and as you see, it is built into the design. Because of the climate I am able to have no inside walls, (except for the corners which are for bracing)..so I look at great siding on the inside. Actually had it finished inside and rough outside. That looks great!  I will post some pics of that soon.  The wood part has worked out great...but not without some real stops and starts as this is not a country where the wood is stocked...nor are some things done as you all do in the USA, so transferring that to here was a treat, with the language barrier and my lack of in-depth experience.  I guess If I had known how much there was to know..especially to get things done right, not just get them done..., I may not have started. Glad I did now, even though I am way over budget. When I saw how nice it was, i went for extra stuff.

Climate on the Mtn. is rainy 7 months...almost every day. Hard and then sun. Temp 75-95. Dry 5 months...may get some rain in 1 or 2 of those months, but not a lot....cpuple of inches. Temp...70-85. Good breeze...in town 15 miles away temps are 10 degrees hotter, so lots of unpleasent days/nights there but not many up here.



Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on March 27, 2012, 05:21:40 PM
Moving along..

Inside with the painted wall in the corner and the back of the  wood siding wall next to it....green looks better in person.  No inside wall to cover the siding.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FIMG_1974.jpg&hash=1ab59c71bcf7c2ae2f59904c00e0f260f3de266e)

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FIMG_1982.jpg&hash=e251fcfa655b47c03ea34b2724e633c199e0eed4)

Outside I made the back wall "louvered" above 8 feet. Nice ventilation...screened inside the louvers.

[(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FIMG_1958.jpg&hash=fd49d674bd56bc4d89160bc556f904f924a43c95)

Kitchen...got the cabinets for a big discount and set off the wood nicely. Not real cabiny, but cool.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FIMG_1968.jpg&hash=bb87fe318d28e45a322c6170f5957b3c9edcceeb)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Barry Broome on March 29, 2012, 06:10:36 PM
I like the colors... has a Caribbean feel to it.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: UK4X4 on March 30, 2012, 06:48:26 AM
looking really good Alex- I see the ridgeback already knows where the kitchen is !
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on March 30, 2012, 04:55:55 PM
Yeah, I need to stay away from blue as my other place is almost all shades of blue...and you are correct it does look Caribee.

The hound (Alli-Gator) is really a chow hound, so as you noted, she is practicing.  I can walk 30 feet with a cracker before opening the package and when I turn around...there she is, just looking at me. But in her favor she takes food very nicely, eats slowly, and has a soft mouth. She tells me that her eating my food is good for my weight control. NICAs are generally fearful of dogs and their dogs are smallish, so she...although not really aggressive...has staked out the property by just standing there and looking very hard at passers by. A great country dog.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Alan Gage on March 31, 2012, 03:27:26 PM
That wood is great. And I for one like the cabinets (and the dog).

Are bugs much of a worry there? Seems like they would be but with the vented gables they must not be awful.

Alan
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on April 06, 2012, 05:57:45 AM

About to nail down the floor..T&G 4". Same wood as the others on the walls.

This wood is generally very variable in color, and the floor is even more so.  Ranges from the typical reddish brown to a very light tan..almost white on some.  Real light boards do darken a bit with sun/age but seem to have stabilized in that after about two weeks.  The light wood is about 1/3 of the amount. Will install on the diagonal.

I have lots of thought (and a lot more advice) on how to handle the color difference. Just piece it so it looks pleasing and treat the color difference as natural is one way. I oiled some of the lightest pieces and that did darken them a bit...figuring that if I did the light pieces before and then all of it when installed, it would equalize them a bit as some would have two coats.  But the dark ones get a lot darker with just one coat, so not all that much help.....although the dark and the light (now darken a bit) look closer than the original non-oiled. 

I guess I could stain light boards with some light color and then oil the light ones. I assume just a stain does not interfere with the oiling process and the protection that gives. Or, I guess I could just be brave and let the color run natural. Not un-pleasing, just different.

I welcome thoughts from you woodworkers out there.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: MountainDon on April 06, 2012, 06:27:20 AM
I lean towards accepting the color variations as they are and just applying oil or whatever clear finish you like and call it done.  Personally, I don't like most oils, as many have a yellowing effect.  My favorite clear finish in MinWax polycrylic. It's water based, milky in the can, dries clear and colorless. Like other finishes the wood will darken but there is no yellowing.

These are all "exotic" wood leftovers I used to cover a section of wall. Finished with the MinWax product mentioned; satin.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi139.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fq305%2Fdjmbucket%2Fjemezmountainproperty2010-1%2Fmini-agwoodcoveredwall.jpg&hash=e1eb1d946b32bf84ac0e2ed04170e967751bffe0)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: John Raabe on April 06, 2012, 07:33:49 AM
Over the months and years the various woods age and darken into a generally quite compatible variation on a theme. My fir doors, beams and windows have hemlock trim and all have mellowed nicely. The bookcase is pine and all where rubbed with Danish oil.

(https://countryplans.com/saltbox/House-int.jpg)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on April 06, 2012, 02:15:43 PM
Yeah,  Good points..

I think I will worry less about variation...after all it is a wood cabin, not a tile house.  I was concerned when we started with the siding as there was a lot of variation as we started putting up the boards...but when done it looks less variable than it did going up, and pleasing. I will pick and choose boards to make a nice pattern, as best I can.

I'll post a pic next week...we should be done then.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on April 09, 2012, 09:53:34 AM
Things have been slow. Everything shuts down here Thursday before Easter...then my guys did not show this AM..I figured as much as that is kind of tradition.  Plus we are at the point where doing some finer work like installing windows and that is slower.

Last big thing remaining is the floor which we should have in this week. Then pretty much ready to live in...be another week to get the septic all connected as the tank hoes need some concrete work.

This is just in time too, as weather in town is HOT..92 and some more in the day. up here it is 85 on those days and always a breeze.

Got my gate installed today. need it for general security and to also keep bigger critters out. Still need a way to deal with bugs and I am figuring that out..just need it at night and I may just live with net on the bed if not too bad when the lights go on.

Had to bring it up in my truck as their pint size PU could not make the grade..gate is about 600 lbs and 5 guys and tools in the truck was just too much

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FGate.jpg&hash=3fb05989f44f662f3a8b517bb37d94bc960905c5)

Guy did a great job in following my instructions and the gate I showed him i wanted it to be like...installed it quickly and well. Had it spot welded together for the transpor. He gets another job...window bars.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FGate1.jpg&hash=8a2dc8679d4c404f79bb75231355c51084e5e585)

All folds back so the opening is...well open.  All of this is about $600...not bad. 10x 10 with lots of hinges and a lock and installed.

\(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Fgate3.jpg&hash=1bdec55ece27071c451ba212836eb7e08d771629)

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Fgate2.jpg&hash=2fd9b987df8cf6b19f9486799dac9d8c315f5cfb)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on April 13, 2012, 08:53:47 AM
Oiling the deck.  It has really taken a beating in the month since I put it down...mostly sun as little rain.  Was really dirty too so washed with soap and water...thought I might have to sand, but after one coat of oil is came back and with another two, I am ok.  Next time will not wait to oil.
(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Fdeckoil.jpg&hash=a293653a373fe666955574602ba06b9bff5a054f)

My foot trail becoming a narrow driveway.  Will be just wide enough for my jeep.  Just 300 feet from the main rail to the house and I do not mind woking, but likely better to remove temptation from the trail which get a bit of local coffee worker foot traffic. Pretty steep downhill, so I am putting some stones in to help with the mud ski slope in the rainy season

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Ftrail.jpg&hash=30020f6001e0fd684617e5d72097226f010e3850)


Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on April 22, 2012, 05:04:25 AM
Getting close..

Floor going in..hope to have it done this week. Trying to pick the boards that blend as there is a wide spectrum of colors.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2Ffloor1.jpg&hash=f2e72af3f78fc72b07d6bd917e45623b0d565e09)


My septic system turned out to be a much bigger project than anticipated...the two tanks are about 100 feet from the house and way downslope.  I could have left them above ground in the trees, but decided on a pit...and what a pit it is.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FFOSA1.jpg&hash=33dd00c42cbd3e22b7c6df4a083824fbeff2ec58)

Then the water from the Fosa comes into this seepage pit..got a bit carried away here too.  but done now and glad this is done right.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FSeepagepit.jpg&hash=181b4b02c6db69216deaddfd271db00d8e6ee106)

Geting staged to build my brick walk from my driveway (so to speak) to the house...this will be a mess for 6 months in the rain and the walk will be a great thing to have.  I am trying to leave things "undeveloped" as much as possible, but this walk is kind of a must have.  The red gravel on the left is volcanic and serves as a great base for the brick, under the sand.  We are about ready to lay brick.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FOrmogon.jpg&hash=a735fbf27d367bbb57a053e5d07551cf060f6631)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: glenn kangiser on April 26, 2012, 05:44:57 AM
Looking very good.  I noticed what looks like expanding clay soil in that last pix.  Probably why you need the walk.  :) Wonderful project.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: MNJon on April 26, 2012, 07:15:11 AM
Your place looks fantastic. As a native Minnesotan who served in Okinawa for a couple years I dream of a place like this every winter! Maybe someday when the kids are grown. I love the oiled wood, it gives it a deep rich cozy feel. Funny how what we would consider exotic and pay a premium for here in the states is used for framing down there!

Have you looked into a Thermacell for bugs? Even if you used it only at your bedside at night I think it would give some relief.

http://www.cabelas.com/product/ThermaCELL174-Mosquito-Repellent/1220217.uts?Ntk=AllProducts&searchPath=%2Fcatalog%2Fsearch.cmd%3Fform_state%3DsearchForm%26N%3D0%26fsch%3Dtrue%26Ntk%3DAllProducts%26Ntt%3Dthermacell%26x%3D0%26y%3D0%26WTz_l%3DHeader%253BSearch-All%2BProducts&Ntt=thermacell&WTz_l=Header%3BSearch-All+Products
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on April 26, 2012, 04:41:20 PM
Glen..

Yeah, it is expansive clay on top.  I did a jar test and looked like 50/40/10..clay, silt, sand (wish I had paid more attention in soils classes).  Down about 3 feet it gets a lot more sand and my pier base is 41/2 feet.  After talking to people on here, I increased my pier #s to 21 from 18 and went wider at the base, so each one is now 2.25 sq feet.  We appear to have very good drainiage, but I guess i will really find out soon..rains start May. Things change with all the disturbance.

I have a lot of French drains across the walk and other places to intercept water as the whole thing slope towards the house...my what we will not do for a view.

The wood was a challenge...I am about to post more of the floor.  Thank for the bug eater tio...i will check it out. Bugs not as bad a s you might expect.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on April 27, 2012, 10:17:16 AM
I hated to do the walk. The trail down to the site was nice and woodsy and this does away with that.  but I want to get my jeep down and although not all that steep, it's like ice in the rain and we have 6 months of really wet.  The the last 100 feet to walk was steeper and tough. It was all OK until we started to use the trail every day and that pretty much destroyed it and made it a runway for water.

Tropical soils are very fragile. People think of deep soils with a lot of organic matter. Little organic matter as heat and rain work on it.  And, like in the Arctic, but for some different reasons, one the solid is disturbed it is very fragile and never really comes back if the vegetation is altered. That was one reason for the piers, so I did not have to do a lot of excavation which would really have changed the character of the site.  I have done enough already.  I have "paths" to restrict workers from wandering all over so I knock the heck out of a bit of ground, but save the rest.

Rains start in three weeks and I am hustling to get stuff on the group to minimize damage.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: glenn kangiser on April 27, 2012, 01:01:46 PM
That is a lot of success on one of these projects, Alex. Becoming intimate with the soil.  It is great that you are aware of what you are working with and it gives you lots of ideas what you can and cannot do with it. :)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on May 06, 2012, 09:56:22 AM
A few more updates..

Will be move in ready this week and that is a relief. Rain starts soon...a blessing as my tanks are down to 150 gallons, but got to hustle to get path and other outside work done before it starts.

Doing a lot of finishing and oiling and lots of outside work as the site is a mess.  Found like what appears to be a good transparent sealer and mildew preventive. Makes wood just a bit darker.  Doing the entire outside siding with that and the piers and beams...although they are already treated with borate.

The walk to the house...this would be mud in the rain. More shots later on the drive and rest of walk...the project kind of got away from me and turned out to be more than we should have done, so trying to mitigate the impact on the trail a bit.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FWalk.jpg&hash=66133a6abe030dde5345aab9c00e826ca307ce29)

The floor finally done and came out nice...put two coats of oil on it and this is all I plan to do. Is this enough?? We did it on the diagonal and came out corner to corner!!  The variation in the wood looked like a lot before it all got down...took some pain to blend it so really light was not right next to darker.

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FFloor2.jpg&hash=2526703b2c31b3dc4b0bff6494a0f4756d4a74bb)

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FFloor.jpg&hash=20b3314a95709922e0dec65a6b02dc3d08762440)

A banana tree close enough to the porch to snack on

(https://countryplans.com/smf/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fi1185.photobucket.com%2Falbums%2Fz354%2Falextrent%2FPoarchbannas.jpg&hash=7f42fa42aee0fe6ce79e03766780bbb4e2c7308c)
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: MountainDon on May 07, 2012, 10:17:02 AM
Nice looking floor!

Quote
A banana tree close enough to the porch to snack on

I'd one of those.  ;D
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on May 08, 2012, 05:29:21 PM
Done...

At least as much as you ever are with a house...especially in the tropics.

But we can live there comfortably.

Last of the real work on the trail in and walk was done today.

After four months of no rain (2") two nights ago we got an inch and last night 2 inches and today another inch. I was down to 50 gallons pin the tank so had two way wishes.  Need water but need an couple of days to finish some water sensitive stuff on the land that is tough when it is wet. Worked out. Roof is sound...no leaks in the screws in two deluges..gutters fine and the land seems sloped the right way.  Kore to come on the land as we get saturated.

We now move into the first rainy season for 6 weeks or so with two downpours almost every day.  Then  slacks off to a regular rain summer like  pattern and then back to heavy stuff.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on May 14, 2012, 04:32:47 PM

I oiled the deck with two coats and it really looks good.

Question is do i need to use a waterproofer/sealer.  I have one here I used on the siding and went on good and did not change color. But two weeks after it still smells a ton.

Sooooo, will the oil  do it and protect...i can re-oil at will, but I do not want to risk the deck wood.

Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: UK4X4 on May 16, 2012, 06:12:47 PM
For me on a walked on surface I'd stick to oil

once you coat with a finish - when you wear it some areas have finish -some don't then you have to sand the whole lot to get an even finish

I had reclaimed timber floors in my old house and oiled maybe once a year with a mop before bed
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: aktundra on May 16, 2012, 06:48:38 PM
Wow! I love all the wood! Really great place! Nice Land Cruiser too!
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on May 19, 2012, 03:09:17 PM
Rains have started in earnest.

Two downpours of about 1 inch each (in less land 1 hour). After 4 months with less than 2 inches total. Now we have six months of rain...big hard downpours about every other day.

House is fine (yeah roof work, and riding herd on the workers to do it right).  Some work needs to be done outside where we banged up the ground building...but it all looks manageable.  The next 2-3 downpours will tell us for sure.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on May 29, 2012, 06:08:43 PM
Been raining pretty good. Had about 5 inches since May 15. Things still holding up and as the ground get saturated , the outside is draining pretty well too...we disrupted a lot of natural flow areas when we did the drive and the walk, so I worried about that. Put is a lot of drains under the walk and drive and in some places to intercept flows..as we are about 2/3 way down a pretty steep hill. The really heavy stuff is still to come but to now we look good and in a couple of places I have made some adjustments.

Mud is all around.  The deck looks pretty humble.  Did three coats of oil and then a transparent sealer.  Still tough to clean...really have to scrub the mud/footprints with some soap to get them off. Any suggestions? A bit of wax?

The floor inside is just two coats of oil and nothing else...has a nice patina and is  bait easier to deal with as we do a lot of feet wiping...I may try a bit of wax on it. Good idea?
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: rdzone on May 30, 2012, 01:48:21 PM
I wouldn't use wax on the floor if you plan to ever refinish it.  It really messes things up as any new finish will not adhere.  d*
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on June 20, 2012, 11:48:44 AM
Well, six months ago I could not find decent deep cell batteries. Two months ago I found some Trojan 105s, but they were old...almost two years, so waited.

Today went back and they had a bunch and different types. Decided on a AGM-31 as i know my predilection for letting maintenance things slip and theses will be indoors. will start with two..will be 200 AH, which is less than the two 105s at more money.  But this gives me some flexibility as I can add a third easier than I can add to the six volt string.

So tomorrow I will be in business....the Marine battery has about given up the ghost...dies inn 20 minutes from full charge. but it served a good life...about 100 recharges from a 60-70 discharge.  Went downhill all of a sudden.

I bought a good hygrometer, which I now do not need. Is there some other reasonably price way to test the batteries, or do i just rely on the charger to do its job automatically...
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: MountainDon on June 21, 2012, 10:32:51 AM
Voltage readings are the only way to gauge the charge of an AGM battery, but only after it has been sitting idle for a few hours, not under load or while being charged. That's the big thing I dislike about AGM's. A charging system with the bulk, absorb and float charge rates should keep the batteries at their best. The system should "float" every day. It should be adjustable to best suit the rates recommended by the battery mnaufacturer; frequently different when compared to a flooded lead acid battery.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Jens on July 09, 2012, 05:53:09 PM
what a beautiful build!  I'm sure it is said somewhere, though I couldn't find it, what kind of wood is it framed with?
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on July 10, 2012, 03:14:40 AM


Thanks, this site had a lot to do with making it possible and you will see on here that i did a lot of work trying to get to the right wood and ascertain the properties.

Local name is Cedro macho. Scientific name is Carapa guianensis...called most commonly crab wood. Works great, good strength and other properties....in my book pretty much the wood of choice for building, but not much wood building here in the land of blocks and concrete. Pine can be used but most is pretty poor stuff and not used in quality construction, although I am going to attempt a small building with it.

The reddish wood...rafter ties and deck for example...... is Hymenaea courbaril...locally called guapinol. Hard and durable. Turns dark red when dry.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on July 28, 2012, 05:06:47 AM
I separate my grey water from my sewerage. We are pretty frugal water users, having to collect it ourselves.  But this is the rainy season, so we dont watch it too much.

I was concerned that when we got in the heavy rains which we have and the ground got saturated i would have problems with the grey water, Over built to prevent that...have about a 600 gallon catchment, 4x4 feet lined with blocks with some spacing to drain out side and gravel on the bottom.  It is on a bit of a slope , so I was prepared to put a French drain above it to divert ground water.

Turns out that there is no water in the pit..none at all. The 300 or so gallons we have used is gone into the ground.  And nothing is coming in off the slope.

So, overbuilt it a bit, but no big deal. Am going to build another small cabin a bt away but in the same general area and this is good to know as will save work and materials.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on July 29, 2012, 10:59:20 AM
Stared today on a new smaller cabin not far away from the first one.

On pretty level ground...about 1 foot drop left to right.  Much more sheltered location. View is up the mountain in back of the original place, not across the valley.

This will be on individual cut stone footings (18 x24 x6) that are sitting on top of gravel...15 in all...3 rows of 5. 6x6 on top of them and cut to level the place. Double 2x10 beams  and then 2x8 joists at 16" spacing and on top of that 1" lumber.  All this lumber is rough cut so 1" is 1".  This is a prototype for a small ecolodge complex....maybe 6 or 8 of these scattered about with a central lodge.

Cabin is 22 x 16 including deck. Built in the lightweight style with no interior walls and rafters at 4 feet and studs the same.  Actually this will remain a deck for 4-5 months using a tent for shelter.

Sewerage is still to be determined. Water will be off the roof of the main lodge...20x30 feet or so.  In the meantime I am pumping water from my place up here...400 feet and a 40' rise to a 1500 gallon tank.

Should be a chinch compared to the first one...smaller and simpler.  But experience is the main thing.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: alex trent on August 04, 2012, 12:57:43 PM
Had a 4.2 tremblor yesterday, shallow and about 20 miles away.  Shook buildings in town. Not sure about up here, but people felt it as workers talked about it today. No apparent damage.

Had several very heavy rains....real worst is yet to come. Have one leaking screw in the roof. EZ place to get to and the leak is over the kitchen counter.

There is work to be done, but I am very poorly motivated . I come up, lay in the hammock and look out over th valley to the ridge on the other side. Not stunning, but peaceful and nice...good breeze.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: Huge29 on August 22, 2012, 08:18:13 PM
Very fun to watch the progress, thanks for sharing!
Having lived in Mexico, Yucatan Peninsula, for a couple of years it is cool to see somewhat similar climate.  I can see how it would be difficult to find materials that are not what they normally use, mainly concrete...where are the hamacas? 
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: duncanshannon on September 17, 2012, 05:37:42 AM
Just checking in... everything progressing down there?
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: lodestar on October 20, 2012, 08:01:53 AM
I worked with UNICEF in 88/89 based out of Matiguas and into the mountains along the border with Honduras...also spent a good deal of time in Pearl Lagoon north of Bluefields...interesting. 

Know anything more recent about those areas?

Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: BAdams on March 20, 2016, 09:33:11 AM
This post appears to be abandoned. I remember looking at it some time ago and found it quite interesting. I am considering building off grid in the usvi and was thinking of doing something similar to this. The pictures appear to be deleted. Does anyone know if it's possible to view them somewhere else?
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: MountainDon on March 20, 2016, 09:57:56 AM
The personal photo archive where the OP kept the images is no longer active, so no.
Title: Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
Post by: BAdams on March 20, 2016, 10:36:57 AM
Thank you MountainDon. I'm sure I'll find something similar. Thanks for the quick reply.
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