Author Topic: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua  (Read 69932 times)

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Offline alex trent

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #125 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.




Offline alex trent

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #126 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.





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

[

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


Offline Barry Broome

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #127 on: March 29, 2012, 06:10:36 PM »
I like the colors... has a Caribbean feel to it.
“The press, like fire, is an excellent servant, but a terrible master.”

Offline UK4X4

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #128 on: March 30, 2012, 06:48:26 AM »
looking really good Alex- I see the ridgeback already knows where the kitchen is !

Offline alex trent

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #129 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.

Offline Alan Gage

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #130 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

Offline alex trent

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #131 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.

Offline MountainDon

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #132 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.

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

Offline John Raabe

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #133 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.

« Last Edit: April 06, 2012, 03:02:35 PM by John Raabe »
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Offline alex trent

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #134 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.

Offline alex trent

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #135 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



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.



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.

\


Offline alex trent

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #136 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.


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





Offline alex trent

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #137 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.




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.



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.



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.


Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #138 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.
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Offline MNJon

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #139 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

Offline alex trent

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #140 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.

Offline alex trent

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #141 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.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2012, 07:56:02 PM by alextrent »

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #142 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. :)
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Offline alex trent

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #143 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.



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.





A banana tree close enough to the porch to snack on


Offline MountainDon

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #144 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
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline alex trent

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #145 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.

Offline alex trent

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #146 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.


Offline UK4X4

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #147 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

Offline aktundra

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #148 on: May 16, 2012, 06:48:38 PM »
Wow! I love all the wood! Really great place! Nice Land Cruiser too!

Offline alex trent

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Re: Mtn Cabin in Nicaragua
« Reply #149 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.

 

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