Author Topic: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design  (Read 26708 times)

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Offline John Raabe

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #25 on: June 19, 2010, 04:45:35 AM »
Neat machine. Neat lumber!

Always more the learn, ehh?
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #26 on: June 19, 2010, 04:56:56 AM »
It's amazing how much we don't know, isn't it. [ouch]
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Offline MountainDon

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #27 on: June 19, 2010, 05:14:53 AM »
That tree makes our trees look like weeds.    :(
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #28 on: June 19, 2010, 06:19:57 AM »
It's a little one, but it is about the biggest I can get on the mill, with a few modifications on bumps with the chainsaw.  We had to take a v cut on the top left corner a couple inches to get the blade support to pass by it before we turned it.  Whitlock said it was 85 years old appx and it was a victim of the fire 2 years ago.  Probably around 120 to 140 feet tall.

Actually most trees are a bit smaller than that one on the average but there are a lot that are bigger.  It measured 39 inches at the butt.  :)
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Offline PEG688

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #29 on: June 19, 2010, 07:25:02 AM »

  What type of trees are your logs? I read thru but didn't notice a species mentioned.

 Nice lookin timber 8)
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2010, 07:47:55 AM »
Thanks, PEG.

The log on the mill is Ponderosa Pine, and the other species I have a lot of and made a deal for more of is Sugar Pine.  The owner who needs the Sugar Pine bug damaged trees removed from near his house wanted half for firewood.  The trees were too good for firewood in my and Whitlock's opinion, so I offered him 2 cord of firewood for his half.  I will be getting 8 trees about 18 to 30 inches in diameter and about 100 to 120 feet tall.

Here is a pix of the 3 Ponderosas laying on top of the Sugar Pine on the log deck by my mill.

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Offline MountainDon

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #31 on: June 19, 2010, 09:38:54 AM »
Our 85 year old Ponderosa's are lucky to be over 10 inches in diamter. One 9 incher I cut and counted rings on was 86 years. What a difference more water and warmer temperatures make.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #32 on: June 19, 2010, 10:11:08 AM »
Wow - that is a difference.

I remember driving through the forest there in a volcanic area.  I recall that the trees were fairly small.  In Mexico the loggers in the Sierra Madre would cut the pines and roll the logs onto the truck by hand.

I estimate that that log weighed near 7000 to 8000 lbs.
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Offline MountainDon

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #33 on: June 19, 2010, 10:42:06 AM »
Wow - that is a difference.

I remember driving through the forest there in a volcanic area.  

That's us. A dormant volcano rests about 6 miles north. Front row seat.  ;D


And the rangers here refer to our stand as being mainly a young forest. There are a couple trees on our property (and more scattered around us) of approximately the same size as that one you pictured that are estimated to be 250+ years old. We also have one tree section that was left on the ground years ago and I note that the rings 100+ years ago are wider. Maybe a wetter climate back then.
Just because something has been done and has not failed, doesn’t mean it is good design.

Offline Whitlock

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #34 on: June 19, 2010, 02:02:36 PM »
Thought I might add a little history. Here is a picture of the tree and it surroundings in 1957. It's the big one in the center left. To bad the fire got it and the buildings.

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Offline Sassy

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #35 on: June 19, 2010, 07:23:27 PM »
Neat picture!  Glad I got a chance to explore the buildings & area before it burned down - it was a pretty neat piece of history...
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #36 on: June 19, 2010, 08:10:28 PM »
Cool pix, Whitlock.  Thanks for adding it. :)
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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Offline bayview

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2010, 08:49:31 AM »


   I’m jealous . . .    You have all the big boy toys!   Nice sawmill!

   You mentioned bobcat . . .    Will you be able to move most of the dirt with the skid-steer?

\
    . . . said the focus was safety, not filling town coffers with permit money . . .

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #38 on: June 20, 2010, 10:32:48 AM »
Thanks, Bayview

Yes - my Bobcat is excessively large... about 12000 lbs with 105hp turbocharged.  It is a 963 which they thought was too large so they quit making it.  It has about a 1  cubic yard bucket capacity and my grapple bucket is just under 8 feet wide.  3000 lbs working capacity and 6000 lbs tipping capacity.  I run steel tracks over the tires and they are around 500 lbs per side.  I have moved that much dirt in a day including excavating around 100 yards of it.

As with all good equipment, I am fully capable of tearing it up or wearing it out, and am currently waiting on drive motor seals, but it should be repaired by next week.  We do our own repairs.  Our renter is a good mechanic so we trade some rent for repairs.  

I also have a pretty large hydraulic jackhammer for it if the going gets tougher than expected.  I may be cramped for dirt storage room at the site since it is a ridge though. We will just have to see how that works out.  [waiting]

Here is my sister trying out out when she visited last year.

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Offline bayview

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #39 on: June 20, 2010, 02:48:22 PM »
Thanks, Bayview

Yes - my Bobcat is excessively large... about 12000 lbs with 105hp turbocharged.  It is a 963 which they thought was too large so they quit making it.  It has about a 1  cubic yard bucket capacity and my grapple bucket is just under 8 feet wide.  3000 lbs working capacity and 6000 lbs tipping capacity.  I run steel tracks over the tires and they are around 500 lbs per side.  I have moved that much dirt in a day including excavating around 100 yards of it.

Here is my sister trying out out when she visited last year.


   I certainly could have used your bobcat . . .    We have a 753, with 43 hp and bucket capacity of 1300 lbs.

   Did you have to do anything special to your bobcat when you installed the tracks?

   Looks like your sister can git the job done!   

/
    . . . said the focus was safety, not filling town coffers with permit money . . .

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #40 on: June 20, 2010, 05:56:24 PM »
She was game to try it and likely would have gotten better with some practice. 

That is some of the rock and dirt dug out with just the digging bucket on the Bobcat.  I widen my roads, flat spots and fire trails a bit each year.  Just found out the parts came in also, so fixing it in the morning.

Yes on the track installation.  The tracks are McClaren and they take a bit of extra room on the sides requiring spacers of some sort to be added or they will scrape.  The good thing is that it becomes more stable as it is widened also.  I found that Junkyard Boss tires work much better with the tracks as they are flat with about 2 inch thick rubber blocks around the tire.  The tractor tread type tires cause the tracks to rock on the edges a lot more.

This Bobcat uses 8 or 10 hole Budd type wheels and was set up with large holes and heavy nuts.  I took those nuts off and put dual wheel type aluminum wheel thimbles with a couple washers over each stud and an extra nut on the thimble before the wheel went on then a normal dual wheel nut on the outside after the wheel.  It gave me about 1 1/2 inches each side - enough to clear the tracks and works well.
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Offline mtman

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #41 on: June 24, 2010, 02:25:20 PM »
 This is going to be an interesting project, got so interested in it that I did something I've been going to do for years. I ordered a copy of Mike Oehler's book $50 and up underground houses.
 I got to build something in next couple years, and always wanted to build underground, and I'm sure his book is good reading and I'll learn alot reading it!

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #42 on: June 24, 2010, 03:07:54 PM »
I hundred percent agree with you, mtman.

When I first got the book, I could not believe it would work, even though Mike said it would.  I figured I was not going to be out much if it didn't work, but - here it is - over 8 years later, and mine is not near to falling in on me.

It is a skill I think everyone should learn even if they don't put it to use immediately.

At the rate our politicians, elite  and bankers are destroying the country, I think a lot more will need the knowledge soon.... [waiting]

I talked more with the owner and we are now looking at passive solar into much of the house as well as working a few glass blocks into there somewhere.  Still everything must remain rather out of sight.  I presented the interference hill and natural landscaping idea to the owner and that went over well.  That will ease up a bit on how hard it is to keep things out of sight.
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Offline ben2go

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #43 on: July 09, 2010, 09:19:22 PM »
I stay away from the computer and help my friend for a while,an I come back to this.I am never around when the good stuff starts.I am always the last one to the party.  :-\

Glenn,

If you can tell me, without stepping on Mike's toes,are the post and beams set up and locked together the same way under ground miners did back in the day?PM me if you want.My thoughts were to use that method or large dove tails.I've seen this on square logged log cabins,but they aren't being pushed in by the weight of the ground around it.

I see you are using pines.We have loblolly pines here in the SE.Have you had any experience with them?Opinions on using them as posts?A lot of land we have look at have them.Some land is loblolly plantations.I have had a hard time finding land with larger trees to cut 8x8 or larger posts and beams from.Most of the land around here was logged clean after WWI.Everything else is protected by our gooberment.

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #44 on: July 09, 2010, 09:53:21 PM »
Hey Ben,

Ideally there would be some good joinery going on but in general the joints are cut to resist the push of the earth at the edges then any upgrade from that in neatness and craftsmanship is great.  Everything is then pinned together with your choice of re-bar spikes 1/2 dia or larger by around 16 inches long.  Holes must be pre-drilled near full depth with the same size drill as the nominal size of the re-bar.  It will be tight.

Rather than worrying about species of wood, I decided to just reduce loading and use about anything I wanted.  I kept it to 18 inches or less.  6 inches would be a good minimum depending on your conditions.  I also like the idea of some soil for fire protection then compost - mulch etc on top of that for better insulating qualities.

Square set would not quite work for everything as I recall but most of the principles would work for good quality joinery on the cabin.  I looked it over briefly and will likely head a bit more in that direction or timber framing joints on this project.

My original joints were a bit sloppy but functional.

Progress on this project is a bit slow right now as I am working out of town a lot and soon it will be time to go logging again.
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Offline fardarrigger

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #45 on: July 19, 2010, 07:26:08 PM »
Hi Glenn,

It's been a while since I checked on you here, so it's great to see you building again!  I'll be following this thread with interest, as I still plan to do my own Oehler Castle...someday.  As it has been said before, it could be tricky in Washington State. 

Good news is, I am employed again!  It's been a while, but I found a local job that pays well, and is work I enjoy, metal work and welding.  I could get paid more in the Seattle area, but it would really take a LOT more to make up for for the commuting, time and money.  I have done that, and would rather not.

Thank you VERY much for documenting the process of your new build.  Looking forward to following your updates, and getting even more inspiration for my own home, someday...and seeing how it all develops...

Good luck, and keep the lumber off of yourself! 

Lauren

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #46 on: July 19, 2010, 08:00:32 PM »
Getting ready to get started on this again, Lauren as I also have been out doing metal work and welding myself, building shopping centers for the masses... Now - if they only had money to spend there....  anyway - as you may know - that is my real job....

Hopefully this heat will break soon and my Bobcat won't, so soon I can get after this project.

We have about 8 logs to mill then it is time to go logging to get enough to finish it or at least get us a lot farther along.  Guess I better keep the logs off myself too. :)
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Offline fardarrigger

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #47 on: July 20, 2010, 08:48:09 PM »
I remember seeing pictures of some of your work, Glenn.  My work (now) is building office furniture.  I was welding assemblies together for hours today, and enjoying it.  I like to work, and love to weld.  And I love to fabricate stuff.  It would be fun to work on some stuff with you one of these days.

One of the things I have been thinking about (someday) is to make my own masonry stove, the type that has a lot of thermal mass, and making that the focal part of the great room/center of the house.  Kind of like a Frank Lloyd Wright design I have seen before, but incorporating it into the house, making it an integral part of the structure, being in effect a superpost to help support the roof.  In the winter, it would provide some nice steady, even heat into the living room/kitchen areas. 

Lots of time to think and dream.  And the site I build on will have a lot to do with determining the final design. 

Incorporating a turret into an invisible home should be interesting.  Good luck, Glenn. 

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #48 on: July 20, 2010, 08:57:20 PM »
Yeah, I think it will be a challenge but it will be interesting if they decide that that is not too much exposure and we do it..  As you mention, a lot has to do with the conditions, resources and the limitations we place on it ourselves. 
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin - Techniques - Thoughts - Methods - Design
« Reply #49 on: July 25, 2010, 09:45:50 AM »
Worked up a simple sketch of what the basic framing is here - subject to modification of course.



The sawmill work continues with the piles of timbers and boards getting bigger.



Some are pretty wide - room is tight - the planks are heavy so this pile is what we get.





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