Author Topic: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)  (Read 46242 times)

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Offline North Sask

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Hi everyone!

It is time for me to introduce myself and my project. I am planning to build a 16x24 cabin at a remote location in Northern Saskatchewan. It will be boat access only and it will be constructed on the rock of the Canadian shield. I will decline to give away the exact location of the cabin - the main reason for building it is to get away from it all.  ;)

My background: I have been on this planet for a little more than three decades and I was born and raised in rural SW Saskatchewan. I have lived in Saskatoon for the last 12 years. I am a civil engineer and I pay the bills by making sure that our highway bridges don't fall down.

Project background: My girlfriend and I love to go on backcountry canoe trips in Northern SK. On these trips, we would wax poetic about how incredible it would be to wake up to the call of the loon and watch the morning fog lift as we sip our coffee on the veranda of our own small cabin. This idle talk increased in frequency and eventually formed into an idea that could no longer be resisted. At first, I was planning to build a squatter's cabin. My practical side forced me to investigate what it would require to build a "legal" cabin. It turned out to be not so onerous...with one exception. The Ministry of Environment (MOE) has put a moratorium on all recreational cabin leases south of the 56th parallel (and south of the 57th, on the west side of the province), unless you want to develop a proper subdivision with roads, utilities, etc. They drew a line in the sand, so to speak. That magic line is well over 500 km from where I live! I forgive you in advance if you think I am crazy. I am sure there are number of forum members who know exactly why I am willing to go to great lengths for a bit of true solitude. This cabin is meant to be an occasional getaway, not a permanent home. This was one of the reasons that I did not pursue purchasing land closer to home. I also do not have any interest in going into debt for this project - one mortgage is enough. The recreational cabin lease allows an individual to build a cabin north of the magic line for a mere $275/year. You are given the right to use a 75' x 150' piece of Crown land (you do not own the land) for the purpose of building a recreational cabin. The lease term is 33 years and as long as you have paid your dues and you have not caused any problems, they will renew the lease for consecutive 33 year terms. There is also a small property tax fee based on the value of the improvement that you construct. They have a form you fill out, you provide photos, and they come up with a fee. The tax collector that I talked to felt that $200/year would be a good estimate for what I am planning to construct.

We made a number of trips over the past two years looking for suitable cabin locations. There are many fond memories from these trips. I used Google satellite imagery and government topo maps (1:50,000 scale) to identify desktop targets for exploration. It was a real learning experience to explore the thin blue lines on the map, only to find that the 20 year old topo maps and 3 or 4 year old satellite imagery did not identify dry, boulder filled creek beds and mega structures constructed by the local beaver population. This summer (2013), we settled on a location that we first came across last summer. I made one final trip this fall to make sure that the location still felt right. It did. So I submitted my lease application.

Current project status: I have submitted my recreational cabin lease application and I am expecting a response in early summer 2014. The MOE does a bit of public consultation with First Nations groups and the few local residents that live in the area. I am currently deep in the planning and design process. I have my heart set on a 16x24 footprint with a half loft and a cathedral ceiling. I am very familiar with the issues associated with those choices, but to me, that is the quintessential cabin design. I plan to support the cabin on a pier and beam foundation that will be anchored into the bedrock with concrete footings and grouted-in rebar anchors. I know this foundation is not ideal, but I cannot think of a better foundation for a boat access, off-grid cabin...unless all of you are going to come help me haul bags of Quickcrete to the site, and then stick around for the hand mixing. I also think a permanent wood foundation would be problematic on an irregular bedrock surface.

I am hoping to complete the preliminary site clearing and foundation prep during the first week of July 2014. I will continue site clearing and foundation prep in the first week of August. I will be taking the entire month of September away from work and I am hoping to complete a weather proof shell during this time. I chose September because of the more reasonable weather and reduced insect populations.

That should be enough information to get my thread started. Stay tuned for more details of the Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure. I will try to get some site photos up soon (after I read the thread on how to post photos).
It would be greatly appreciated if you stopped by my thread and left your two cents.
Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure...Round 2

Offline Kris

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2013, 02:48:57 PM »
Looking forward to seeing this project.....

Offline North Sask

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2013, 03:30:11 PM »
I have assembled some of the photos from the cabin scouting trips over the past two years. Good times!

Here is a photo of yours truly during one of the first cabin scouting adventures in 2012.



Our trusty partners in crime, the Jeep and the old orange canoe.



This is the view from one of our base camps. This is what we are searching for...



The creek looked a lot more passable on Google Earth and the topo map. One of many dead ends (and lessons learned).



Here is a glimpse of the beach that is pretty close to the future cabin site. My better half was firm in her belief that any cabin must have a suitable beach nearby. That is a tall order in the Canadian shield but we made it happen.



The view from the site. A friend and I went on a late season kayak trip to the site before I applied for the lease (end of October 2013). It is on a small bay and is about 8 to 10 metres above the water level. It snowed more than one would hope for while on a kayak trip.




(the above photo is from back at base camp - an old mining exploration camp)
It would be greatly appreciated if you stopped by my thread and left your two cents.
Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure...Round 2

Offline North Sask

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2013, 03:45:22 PM »
Looking forward to seeing this project.....

Hi Kris. I have enjoyed reading about your icosa dome project. You have a great spot along the river!
It would be greatly appreciated if you stopped by my thread and left your two cents.
Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure...Round 2

Offline Knight9

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #4 on: December 07, 2013, 06:56:04 AM »
North Sask,

Looks like a great place!  I'll be interested in watching your project.  You've made me curious about how Alberta handles the lease request situation.  I'll have to look into it.  I assume your "lot" will be surrounded by crown land you will have access too.

Kevin (outside Edmonton)

Offline North Sask

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2013, 08:01:41 AM »
Hi Kevin,

My lot will be surrounded by crown land for hundreds of miles in all directions. I will definitely have access to an impressive amount of wilderness.

Out of curiosity, I did a quick Google search to see what I could find for options in Alberta. I was not able to come up with anything for leasing crown land. You have a lot more economic activity in northern AB so maybe there are very limited options for leasing crown land. The Public Lands Operational Handbook has a lot of good info, but it is for commercial/industrial activity. It seems like contacting someone at ESRD would be a good place for you to start. If nothing else, La Loche is only 800 km from Edmonton. Come on into SK and lease some land for a cabin.  ;D
It would be greatly appreciated if you stopped by my thread and left your two cents.
Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure...Round 2

Offline Don_P

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2013, 08:27:08 AM »
Beautiful country, I have a nephew moving up into that area.

Can you identify the trees we're seeing? Are you able to harvest and use some of them in the cabin?

Quote
I plan to support the cabin on a pier and beam foundation that will be anchored into the bedrock with concrete footings and grouted-in rebar anchors. I know this foundation is not ideal, but I cannot think of a better foundation for a boat access, off-grid cabin

Let's think harder. Posts extending out of the cabin would be braced by the walls, that's one way. Making a moment resisting connection between pier and beam would be another, doing the same between rock and pier would be a third. There appear to be a few rocks, it doesn't take that much mortar to build a wall. Calculate load and provide resistance, it doesn't have to be concrete.

Offline North Sask

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2013, 10:06:09 AM »
Beautiful country, I have a nephew moving up into that area.

Can you identify the trees we're seeing? Are you able to harvest and use some of them in the cabin?


I am curious to know what would bring your nephew to this part of the world. Is it for work?

I am pretty limited when it comes to identification of tree species. Down by the beach there are a lot of paper birch and poplar, maybe some aspen and cottonwood. I think the area is a former creek that fed into the lake. It is somewhat low lying and seems to be damp in the summer. This photo will give you an idea of the trees but it was taken in the fall on an overcast day:



The cabin site will be up in the background of the above photo. You can faintly see the rocky "cliffs" along the shoreline. At the immediate location of the cabin there are mainly small conifers. I'm thinking jack pine and black spruce. There is little soil cover over the bedrock and low solar radiation, so the trees don't seem to grow very large in that part of the world. Here is a different view at the cabin site:



The ground cover is mainly Labrador tea, lichen, moss and decaying organics. There is a 6 to 12 inch layer before you encounter the rock.

The idea of using the trees that are on-site is logistically appealing. I have never worked with logs so I am not familiar with the tricks of the trade. I am not interested in building a log cabin, but using some of the on-site timber for columns/posts might work. It might be tricky to find large enough trees to use in the build. How long do you need to wait to use a tree after you fell it? Do you peel of the bark and store it up off the ground?
It would be greatly appreciated if you stopped by my thread and left your two cents.
Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure...Round 2

Offline North Sask

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #8 on: December 07, 2013, 10:12:51 AM »

Let's think harder. Posts extending out of the cabin would be braced by the walls, that's one way. Making a moment resisting connection between pier and beam would be another, doing the same between rock and pier would be a third. There appear to be a few rocks, it doesn't take that much mortar to build a wall. Calculate load and provide resistance, it doesn't have to be concrete.

I was planning to cross brace the posts in both x and y direction. I like the sounds of all three of your options. Extending the foundation posts up into the cabin walls would be easy enough. Can you provide more details of the moment resisting connection between pier and beam, and pier and rock? Would well connected plywood gussets at the post be an option, or are you referring to some type of metal connection (Simpson Strong-tie)?

The stone wall is not an idea that I would rule out, and not something that I had really considered.
It would be greatly appreciated if you stopped by my thread and left your two cents.
Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure...Round 2

Offline Don_P

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #9 on: December 07, 2013, 11:13:05 AM »
My nephew is heading up there to oversee a large construction project, probably for a few years.
Kind of what I figured on tree species, your poplar is probably popple, a common name for aspen rather than our unrelated tulip poplar which doesn't make it that far north. I've seen those names get alot of folks mixed up in trade mags and on the net. Sounds like mostly relatively low strength woods in the northern species group. The jack pine is in the SPF group, a good bit better, you can pull 2-4" thick dimensional design values off the awc.org span calc. I have heavy timber values in the NDS if you need them for posts and timbers. An alaskan chainsaw mill is one way you could convert trees to timbers with something you can pack in. It is probably too labor intensive to make boards that way...but then a remote gang rip saw was a gang of guys over a pit pulling on misery whips, it's all relative. Do remove the bark immediately, the inner bark is the tasty part for bugs to get a foothold, break it down to rough size as soon as possible, wood is anisotropic, it shrinks different amounts in all 3 dimensions. The closer to finish dimension before it starts drying the less it is trying to tear itself apart in the drying process. Large timbers and full logs will check as they dry where smaller dimensions still shrink and distort while drying but check less. How dry is a matter of finish expectations. For rustic I've kicked the birds out and framed the next day, for finish work get it as dry as possible. Dry wood is about twice the strength of green.

Extending posts out of the wall is pretty self explanatory, post frame construction. For moment resisting piers, you're in bridge work, I was thinking of galvy square tube with plates top and bottom. Either a strut from high on the post down to an anchor in the rock in each direction or one from low on the post to out on the beam...get sufficient connection to the wood. Or on top of the post plate have a length of flat platewelded or bolted securely to the post that is sandwiched inside the wood girder, long enough to develop the resistance when bolted to the girder, the plate would run both X and Y in the corners... if you can design something cost effective and easy to produce these folks would be in your eternal debt, and we can talk about going into business. Assuming the steel is too heavy to haul and if you have rocks that can be reasonbly tightly fitted then it won't take too much mortar, I'd just haul the portland and lime and find sharp sand there. Some amount of reinforcing steel to help tie it together would help but if the stone is angular and lays this is optional. With the same portland you can add gravel and sharp sand and make concrete to reinforce sections if you want. Don't haul aggregate if it is that big a pain and if it's local, again how remote is the key, scouting, digging, screening takes time as well. At least make rubblestone corner walls as wide as tall in each direction, anchor to the parent rock and to the girder.

And another thing  ;D Setting a floor on top of an unbraced girder is dumb, the girder becomes the next thing that can overturn. Attach the joists inside of a well built, well connected girder, the joists then brace the girder. It does require joist hangers but the advantages outweigh the cost there IMO.

Offline North Sask

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2013, 03:30:09 PM »
Don_P, I have a sneaking suspicion your nephew will be involved in something like this:


We noticed the choppers buzzing around all summer and we drive past one of their camps on our way up north.

Thanks for all the timber info. At the very least, I hope to incorporate some timber as a decorative feature. The majority of it will be used for keeping me warm.

You've definitely got me thinking about how I could construct a much more solid pier foundation. I want to stay away from using a lot of steel because I am trying to keep it simple and within my (limited) skill set. Having said that, I am starting to visualize some HSS posts with tee or angle braces that would be connected to a plate bolted to the beams. Anyway, using steel as bracing to achieve some moment resistance in the piers is a good option.

The stone option is intriguing. Building reinforced stone columns with some type of beam saddle at the top seems like something I could pull off. It would also look great (I am not planning to skirt the cabin). I don't think you would want stone columns without rebar. It seems to me that a lateral load (wind) would create tension on one side of the column and the mortar would crack, no? Repetitive cycles could eventually jeopardize the column.

Here is what I had been thinking for a foundation: chip a somewhat flat surface in the bedrock at each pier location (Hilti), drill two or three holes in the rock (again Hilti), blow out the dust, insert rebar into the holes and epoxy in place, set an 8" or 12" diameter x 12" high piece of sonotube (would result in a reasonable volume of concrete that could be hauled in by boat), place concrete into the forms, set a 6x6 post saddle into the concrete, install the 6x6 foundation grade posts, trim posts to correct height, connect beams to posts using something from Simpson (probably two LPC6Z). I was then planning to use 2x lumber as cross bracing (an X in each bay, in both x and y direction). I thought that would give me some pretty good resistance and it would be constructable at my location. Replacing the 2x cross bracing with a steel bracing system would be even better but I am failing to visualize anything simple at the moment (I can think of a few options that could be created in a fab shop). I am assuming that I would have minimal issues with chipping and drilling into the bedrock, but maybe I am being a little optimistic. The 10,000 or more cycles of -40 to +30 degrees Celsius since the last ice age should have at least weathered the first few inches of rock. Any thoughts from the gallery?

Lastly, I was definitely planning to set my floor joists on top of my beams.  d* It just seemed so simple. Your comment about it being the next weak point is well taken (and seems so obvious now).
It would be greatly appreciated if you stopped by my thread and left your two cents.
Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure...Round 2

Offline North Sask

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2013, 03:32:57 PM »

And another thing  ;D Setting a floor on top of an unbraced girder is dumb, the girder becomes the next thing that can overturn.

No one can accuse you of sugar coating it!   :)
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Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure...Round 2

Offline Don_P

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2013, 04:20:54 PM »
LOL, I don't pretend to be anything other than a highly opinionated carpenter  ;D

Nephew will be part of a mining operation I'm not sure exactly where in the province but it sounded like it's well north.  The shield has seen 3-4 billion cycles and is still harder than the hubs. I'm on the next oldest granite and it doesn't seem to have softened appreciably, it's either rotten or as good as day 1. Quite doable but it's not a picnic. 

If you have access to good steel suppliers and fabricators they can solve this easily. The resistance is to lateral loading but that is why I'm saying in masonry don't think about columns, think about wall sections, don't think about tension in unreinforced masonry, follow the load in compression at a 45 to ground... make the wall sections from connection above to connection below at least as long as tall, longer is better but it doesn't have to be continuous, and the rock is forming a continuous footing so there is no differential settling to cause a problem. And then add reinforcement, treat it as unreinforced compression only masonry when dealing with rocks and site mixed mud but back it up and hold it together with some tensile capacity.

A short wooden post is pinned at top and bottom, that is a very common scenario here when folks talk of pier and beam and there is no lateral stability in that. Pinning a brace to triangularize it will work if done well, that rarely happens but you have a better understanding of the forces and thus the connections required than most I'd imagine. Running the post from top of wall down to the rock with the wall bracing it has just one pinned connection, design that post as a cantilevered beam and it solves some problems, the issue then is hanging the floor between those posts but there are inturned hangers that will attach to the posts.

Offline North Sask

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #13 on: December 09, 2013, 06:18:26 PM »

Nephew will be part of a mining operation I'm not sure exactly where in the province but it sounded like it's well north. 

Hmmm...I guessed wrong. There are two main reasons to be working in northern SK - the mines or the 300 km transmission line that is being constructed (3 year project).

Back to the cabin foundation. I am still not able to fully visualize the stone corner wall option. So I would build stone-mortar corner wall sections, but how do I connect the beams - beam saddles, create a pocket for the beam to rest? What about intermediate beam supports - build a tee wall (in plan view)?
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Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure...Round 2

Offline Don_P

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #14 on: December 10, 2013, 05:54:43 AM »

Use anchor bolts for the connection to the pier walls. Ideally these are tied to the rebar that is pinned to the rock. A mudsill on the top of the walls with the sill tied well to the floor perimeter beams. I'll often use joist hanger nails to nail straps to the underside of the mudsill leaving the strap hanging out to the outside. When the floor system is complete bend the straps up and tie to the floor rim.

The floor system acts as a diaphragm... a rigid horizontal plate. Push on one side and the force is resisted by the wall sections in alignment with the force. Think about that for a moment and you'll see why, althought there is nothing at all wrong with the intermediate piers being T shaped in plan, there is no need for them to be. For those following along, to bring a foundation like this into code compliance the area in between these heavy piers would be infilled with "curtain walls 4" thick, to help brace and transfer lateral load more effectively.

Offline North Sask

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #15 on: December 12, 2013, 07:56:02 PM »
Don_P, thanks for the great illustration and description. I can now picture the entire system. When you talk about straps, would something like the Simpson coiled straps (CS/CMST) fit the bill? For the wall reinforcing, would you do the following: grout the vertical bars into the bedrock, build up the wall to near the top of the verticals, the verticals would be bent at the top prior to installation, tie the L or J bolts to the bent vertical bar, and then finish building the wall to the desired elevation. That is how I imagine it happening. Another option might be to tie a horizontal bar near the top of the vertical bars and then tie the L or J bolt to the horizontal bar.

I'm picking up what you are putting down with the floor diaphragm and the lateral load resistance at the corners. Not all supports need to resist lateral loads.  d* This stone corner wall system seems to be a viable option. I am going to let it sink in for a while. It would also look great, provided the stonework was done well. I'm going to have to brush up on my mason skills. I would need to add a column in the centre of the footprint to support the post at the mid-span of the ridge beam.

Just one more question for you. That lady in the illustration, is she free on Friday night???  ;D
It would be greatly appreciated if you stopped by my thread and left your two cents.
Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure...Round 2

Offline Don_P

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2013, 04:00:42 AM »
LOL, I think her name is Susan, one of the sketchup development team. They are like the quarter in a photograph, good for scale but kind of 2 dimensional  :)

Bending a vertical bar to horizontal around the top with the bolt leg hooked under would be very good as far as tieing everything together.  Yes I was thinking about simpson straps, either the coil stock or the precuts. I've also used heavy band strapping from lumber deliveries as better than nothing for strapping things together but it is not galvy. For crude but effective there is also slip forming, Scott and Helen Nearing were big proponents of it. Kind of ugly and wasteful of cement but low skill required. It's really not that hard to make a passable stone wall, just keep an eye on plumb as you go.

Offline North Sask

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2013, 09:36:44 PM »
I thought it might be worthwhile to provide some further information on how the recreational cabin lease process works in Saskatchewan. It won't be of use to most everyone on here but it may eventually help some poor internet straggler (from SK). And others might just find it interesting. I mentioned some of the details earlier - you have to go north of the 56th parallel, lease size is 75' x 150' (0.25 ac), $275 annual fee, etc.

There are a number of conditions for the lease site. It has to be one mile from any highway, other cabins, and any other developments. If you are building near a body of water, you must observe a 30m (100 ft) setback from the shore. Pit toilets are an acceptable means of solid waste disposal. Once you have found a site that meets those requirements you submit an application to the government (Appl for Crown Land Disposition). The application must include a detailed site plan. I have been informed that the review will take anywhere from 3 to 6 months. If approved, a conservation officer will travel to the site with the applicant to verify the information on the application and to complete a metes and bounds (compass) survey. The application is officially approved after the site visit and then you are free to build.

The application form says that you must comply with Federal and Provincial building code regulations. The MOE indicated that they do not complete any inspections after the initial site visit and that there are no building inspectors in that neck of the woods. You can read between the lines. I will be complying with building codes as much as possible. The minimum cabin size is 37 sq. m. I am planning for a 16' x 24' cabin which is 35.7 sq. m. Close enough, if you ask me. Those are all the details that come to mind at the moment.
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Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure...Round 2

Offline MountainDon

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2013, 10:07:19 PM »
I like the fact that there must be a full mile between cabins.   :)

N of 56 is a long ways north!  ;D  I spent part of a winter driving a truck between Winnipeg and The Pas (53.something N) and that was a long cold distance.  !!!  No wonder they don't bother to come and inspect after the initial time.  They just want to GPS the spot.  :)

How close does the nearest road come to your spot? Sorry if you've already noted that and I missed/forget.
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Offline North Sask

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2013, 11:25:38 AM »
The lake I am on has no other cabins on it. We did find a dilapidated trapper's cabin during our exploration of the area. I have heard that there is a cabin on an adjoining lake to the south and I have seen a few cabins on the lake to the north. On the few trips that we have been up there, we have seen very little lake traffic.

It sure is a long way north. The Pas is a good start, but my location would be well north of Thompson, MB! We won't likely make more than 4 to 6 trips up there each year, for about a week or two each time. Most of the trips will be in the summer but I'd like to make it up there at least once each winter, once it is insulated.

I have already talked to the conservation officer that will be tasked with the site visit and survey. He said the site visits are something that they look forward to every year.

I had to fire up Google Earth to check the distance to the nearest road. It is about 10 or 11 km from the highway as the crow flies. The distance over the water is 10 km. There is a goat trail from the road to the "boat launch." That brings up the topic of logistics and cabin construction. I am hoping to get the lease approval in the early to mid summer and I want to have a weather proof shell by fall. I have a small fishing boat and I am thinking of building a temporary barge using 45 gal plastic drums with a wood deck on top. Six drums will give me enough capacity to haul one ton loads of building supplies. In future years, hauling material in over the winter will become a viable option. Or if things go sideways this summer and I don't get as far as planned, I will use the winter haul option.
It would be greatly appreciated if you stopped by my thread and left your two cents.
Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure...Round 2

Offline Sidhewoodsa

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #20 on: December 18, 2013, 08:28:28 PM »
cant wait to follow your progress. I'm planning an Algonquin cabin up in Ontario soon.  I'll be looking to your advances for tips on my own project.
Sidhewoodsa
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Offline North Sask

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #21 on: January 04, 2014, 09:45:34 AM »
It's -27 C outside, -40 C with the wind chill, so I think I will stay inside, stay warm, and do some cabin planning.  c*

I have some questions regarding tools and power. I was originally thinking that I would do as much cutting of lumber at home rather than on site. I had hoped that this would allow me to avoid needing a generator and power tools on site (remember, this is a boat access only project so less stuff = better). I am now moving away from that idea and I think I will be purchasing a generator and hauling the necessary tools to the site by boat. I am trying to determine what size of generator to purchase for the project. I do not plan to use the generator to power the cabin after construction. Electricity is not part of the plan for this cabin. I am only planning to power one tool at a time and I think my biggest power user will be my mitre saw (15A * 120 V = 1800W). I found a generator sizing chart that recommended multiplying the running amps by 1.0 to determine the starting amps, and then adding the starting amps and running amps to size the generator. I guess I would need a generator that could handle a peak of 3600 W. I was hoping to be able to use one of those small inverter generators because they are so portable and produce "clean" power. The small inverter generators don't seem to produce 3600 W, and I also realized I shouldn't really need clean power (do cordless tool battery chargers require clean power???). Am I on the right track with generator sizing? I can't find anything used online so it looks like I might need to take the plunge and buy new. Home Depot has a Generac 3250 W (3750 W max.) that gets good reviews and sells for $480 in Canada. I also saw a Champion 4500 W (5625 W) at Costco for $400. Anyone have experience with Champion? Generac seems like a better brand to me.

Now for tools:

I have never tackled a construction project of this magnitude and I am wondering about my power tool requirements. I was planning to use mostly corded and hand tools rather than battery powered tools. All I currently have for battery powered tools is an 18 V drill. I have a corded 12" compound mitre saw and circular saw. I am also planning to purchase a used reciprocating saw (corded). What are some other bigger ticket tools that I should be considering? I want to avoid a compressor and an air nailer for a number of reasons: it would greatly increase the size of generator needed, it is another tool that can malfunction 6 hrs from home, and it is a dangerous tool when you are 2.5 or more hours to a hospital. I will likely rent a hilti hammer drill (electric or gas) when I am doing the foundation work and  I will be purchasing a chainsaw for site clearing. Are there any other tools I am overlooking?
It would be greatly appreciated if you stopped by my thread and left your two cents.
Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure...Round 2

Offline Don_P

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2014, 01:31:32 PM »
I'd get the Generac and yes ~3500 watts is minimum in my book.
A decent, sharp, handsaw for when the power is off and you just have a few cuts. I've run nicad chargers on dirty power, haven't had to with lithium ion's so don't know. I've already had to replace my Makita LIon charger when the fan died, I got their cheaper slow charge non fan unit that seems to be ok.
I like non box store Makita 7-1/4" skillsaws, good power to weight. I've been through 5 or 6, I reuse the parts when one dies and there is a difference inside the Lowes ones. From my experience stamped metal saw shoes warp and cast ones crack where I've never lost one of these aluminum plates.

A paslode cordless nailer would work without a generator but I'd agree you don't really need one, I predate air nailers... I was also the first kid on the block to tool up with them around here, they do speed you up a lot. Far and away the chainsaw is the most dangerous tool. I've lost count of the number of times I've shot myself or been shot, it can be bad no doubt but usually is minor. There are no minor chainsaw accidents. That far out especially, chaps, steel toes, helmet. If you are not thoroughly experienced with a chainsaw develop your skills closer to civilization. Bore cut everything that will take it and be very careful out there.

I prefer Milwaukee Ax blades for the recip saw, I use the 12" ones mostly. Expensive but good and strong, take a licking and keep on ticking, thick enough not to deflect around, same with their Torch line of blades for metal embedded cutting.

flatbar, crowbar, 8 lb sledge, framing hammer, framing square, 6&12" speed squares, 4' level... check it before you buy it and don't go cheap. I've been thru the entire rack at Lowes without finding an all bubbles completely true level before. chalklines (2) and a bottle of chalk. If you are prone to error (yes!) make the primary one blue and the correction one red. 2-25' tapes, 1-100' tape (metal not fiberglass). Multiple packs of pencils and several knives, they never seem to be in the safe place I meant to leave them.

Can you begin taking stuff in over the ice? we're looking forward to a blast from you all in a couple of days, they're predicting -8F which is darn cold for us, we usually don't venture below zero unless someone up there leaves a gate open  :).

Offline North Sask

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2014, 07:15:05 PM »
I'll definitely be getting a blue and a red chalk line!

We left the gate open and now it's too cold to go out and close it. Enjoy the cold weather.  ;D

I could start taking stuff over the ice but it will be a number of months before I know if I will be approved for the permit. Future phases of the project (interior finishing, etc) will involve hauling materials over the ice.
It would be greatly appreciated if you stopped by my thread and left your two cents.
Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure...Round 2

Offline hpinson

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Re: The Great Northern Saskatchewan Adventure (16x24 1.5 Story Cabin Project)
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2014, 07:45:10 PM »
I had the Costco Champion 4500 W (5625 W) gas generator, with the battery starter. It was a decent generator.

It was also big, heavy, and noisy and I sold it for a quiet Honda eu2000i, which has served us well to run 13-14 amp power tools one at a time, and charge batteries for tools, but may or may not be up to your power requirements.

There were some very minor problems with the new Champion generator. I have to say that I was VERY impressed with their phone customer service.  Very knowledgeable staff, and they walked me through a procedure on the phone, and had parts to me in no time.

I would not hesitate to buy a Champion, especially from Costco, which has a 100% money back guarantee if you are not satisfied for some reason, no questions asked. I believe they have an even bigger Champion from time to time, and also the little Champion eu2000 clones, which are decent as well.

 

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