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Thread: Advice from the experts (you).

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    Default Advice from the experts (you).

    I'm looking to build a very small cabin and was wondering what design you would recommend. This cabin will be used for a remote summer vacation retreat and will probably be under 300 sq.ft. I do not have the ambition to spend a long cold winter hunkered over a stove but would rather come up and spend the summer away from most people. All supplies will have to be flown in and I'm trying to keep the cost down as much as possible, so a small "trapper" style cabin is what I'm thinking of. I'm currrently looking at some properties in the Willow and Talkeetna areas. Any info on possible building locations and small cabin plans would be appreciated. The wife and I are wildlife lovers with Moose, Bears, and Wolves being our favorites. I've heard that these areas have a healthy population of them all. Thanks for your time. Steve.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sumpter Steve View Post
    I'm looking to build a very small cabin and was wondering what design you would recommend. This cabin will be used for a remote summer vacation retreat and will probably be under 300 sq.ft. I do not have the ambition to spend a long cold winter hunkered over a stove but would rather come up and spend the summer away from most people. All supplies will have to be flown in and I'm trying to keep the cost down as much as possible, so a small "trapper" style cabin is what I'm thinking of. I'm currrently looking at some properties in the Willow and Talkeetna areas. Any info on possible building locations and small cabin plans would be appreciated. The wife and I are wildlife lovers with Moose, Bears, and Wolves being our favorites. I've heard that these areas have a healthy population of them all. Thanks for your time. Steve.
    I'm no expert but I would build a small cabin about 10x12 to 12x16 ft.

    Gravel floor. Moss and plastic roof, build a door from lumber buy hinges, make latch, glass, and maybe a few nails. Maybe 100 dollars.

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    Supporting Member Amigo Will's Avatar
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    12x16 is always a handy number.Build it with a strong roof if snow is going to pile up on it all winter.Snow weights alot and if its up to the roof as it melts it can leak in through the windows and doors so seal them good. If its just summer liveing you might look at a good wall tent set up on a permenet floor that you can take down in the winter.

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Small is ok. Too small is not.

    Floors and roofs cost the most. Think about a sleeping loft. craigslist is a good place to get some used windows, etc....

    Flying in the materials is not cheap. Think about hauling them VIA snowmachine.

    Do you have the land yet? What about emergency/normal access? Communication? Supplies?

    Before buying, look at the land. Swamps/wetlands are everywhere.

    Mike

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    Member moose-head's Avatar
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    In addition to the rest of his post which is entirely accurate
    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    Flying in the materials is not cheap. Think about hauling them VIA snowmachine.

    Mike
    is something to concider.

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    Default 12x16

    This is 12x16. 8 in 12 pitch steel roof will shed the snow before it gets too heavy. 2x4 studs, 24" on center. "t1-11" OSB siding. Field made roof trusses. Not too bad size wise. I spend much of my waking time outside anyways.

    Ditto on the snowmachine vs. aircraft for moving the material.
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    Thanks for the info guys. I really like your cabin Nick. That looks like what I'm after. A 12x16 would do just fine. I have considered a wall tent and I like the idea of being able to take it down when I leave for the winter. The drawback is that I don't want to be on a Grizzly's menu and figure I would sleep a little more sound knowing that there is a couple of 2x4's between me and him. LOL. The properties that I'm considering are "lakefront" and located on a small un-named lake(floatplane access). Do you guys see any drawback to this type of land? I think it would be ideal to be on a lake but maybe I'm just stupid. BTW. I do have my pilots license. Thanks again. Please keep the ideas/opions coming i truely appreciate it. Have a Merry Christmas. Steve.

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    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    Thanks for the post, I have a similar plan, currently I'm thinking of a 12x16 with a 4 foot porch so 12x20 with the porch. I do have road access to my cabin though, I would like to keep costs down also but do plan on putting in a bathroom as I have spectic, a well (currently w/o pump) and electric. All said I want to use 2x6 for both the walls and the roof with 24in on center. This is probably over kill I guess, I would also like to put in a loft and place it on sonet tubes. It is all a dream as of now but hopefully I can get the tubes dug and poored, floor, roof and walls up this year (2009) and then work on the inside next (2010). I've been gathering some material already but have a lot to learn before I get started.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKFishOn View Post
    Thanks for the post, I have a similar plan, currently I'm thinking of a 12x16 with a 4 foot porch so 12x20 with the porch. I do have road access to my cabin though, I would like to keep costs down also but do plan on putting in a bathroom as I have spectic, a well (currently w/o pump) and electric. All said I want to use 2x6 for both the walls and the roof with 24in on center. This is probably over kill I guess, I would also like to put in a loft and place it on sonet tubes. It is all a dream as of now but hopefully I can get the tubes dug and poored, floor, roof and walls up this year (2009) and then work on the inside next (2010). I've been gathering some material already but have a lot to learn before I get started.

    I recomend the 2X6 for the walls, but the roof you will want to go with a deeper member for 2 reasons. It gives you more depth for insulation and it gives you more structural bearing for big snow loads. What ever design you go with having only 4 corners and working within a 4'X8' module will save you money.
    It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.

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    12X16 is a good choice. When ever building any number divisable by 4 is good. That is due to all your sheeting is usually 4x8. I tend to over build but 2x6 on 24 centers is my choice. Stout and you can use R-19 in walls to keep it cool on the summer warm in the winter. I like a 6/12 pitch on my roof or greater. 8/12 with a metal room will allow the snow to slide off and ease the load. I also would use a minimum of 2x8 rafters. 2x8 I would go 16 on center. 2X10 or greater 24 ince centers are fine. Plus with a 2X10 or better you can still insulate your roof and vent it proplerly. Just a few thoughts
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Member AKFishOn's Avatar
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    Question Roof Pitch

    If a person goes with a steeper pitch can they get away with less of a board. 2x6 verse 2x8 or 2x10? I'm thinking 2x8 with the recent info but want a steep pitch roof for easier snow slide and more of a loft.

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    Member alaskachuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKFishOn View Post
    If a person goes with a steeper pitch can they get away with less of a board. 2x6 verse 2x8 or 2x10? I'm thinking 2x8 with the recent info but want a steep pitch roof for easier snow slide and more of a loft.


    2x8 is fine on a steep pitch. It will carry the load no problem. The only decision then is how much the cabin is used. A roof vented properly is a huge deal in my book. If it is just a rec cabin to be used every so often 2x8 with limited venting is ok. If it is gonna be used, heated and moisture running thorugh the cabin it should be vented properly. Remind you though, I build things to last 100 years not 20. I over build but do it right is all. Just my thoughts and Merry christmas to all
    Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKFishOn View Post
    If a person goes with a steeper pitch can they get away with less of a board. 2x6 verse 2x8 or 2x10? I'm thinking 2x8 with the recent info but want a steep pitch roof for easier snow slide and more of a loft.
    If you are only building a 12' x 16' cabin with a 9/12 pitch or more, you should be more than safe with 2x8 rafters. My place is 16' x 24' and I used 2x8s (14') to get some extra overhang. Also my pitch is a more like 10/12. My place is 10 miles outside of Talkeetna. If I had to do it again, I would even go for a 12/12 pitch. There were years when the snow almost didn't want to slide. And if you end up on the Trapper Creek side of the Parks highway, the snow accumulation is much greater. Some of my neighbors used 2x6 for rafters in their 12x16 with a 12/12 pitch.

    Even if you are just building the place for the summer, I would try to get as much insulation as you can. Sometimes, in the summer the rain can really come down and make a racket on your metal roof if you don't have sufficient insulation.

    With regards to the walls, I used 2x4(16"O.C.) in my 8'x12' temporary cabin and found that was a mistake. Even if you are building a small cabin I would advise you to use 2x6 for walls.

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    A lot of good advice here. If I might add, the size and spacing of you rafter members should be dictated by your ground snow load (weight of roof, snow and live loads) and span, and the GSL may vary quite a bit from place to place. Most building supply stores should be able to help you with calculate that. Around here in the valley, our GSL is about 34 lb/sqft and up in West Yellowstone it's a 150 lb/sqft, a huge difference. Also, snow can be very good insulation in itself. The advantages of building a roof to hold snow are added insulation and no huge slide off piles to deal with. Even in late spring and early summer you may have large piles of slide off snow that take a while to melt. I know you said you wanted it as a summer retreat only, but maybe some day you might want to take a winter break there or sell it. So from an investment point of view, insulation would be a good thing. Also, you might put your door on one of the gable ends so it wont be blocked by slide off snow.

    Have fun with your project.

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    Default The cabin..

    If it was me, I would use TJI's for floor and roof rafters(12").Using"Balloon" framing for the gable ends to support a ridge .If it's a summer cabin only, a loft would be nice,but winter, you won't want all that wood heat rising,I would forget the loft.No less than 2x8 walls.Can never have too much wall thickness.I also would put wire cloth under the floor, and cover with plywood to keep out the rodents...they will find a way in if you don't.Why I mentioned TJI's, they are reasonably priced, and super light to carry on a portage sled.And for a cabin that size,10 footers would be great for both...floor joists and rafters..GR

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    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    I prefer a loft. I realize the heat loss in the winter. I was told by a very reliable source on here that a couple ceiling fans really help out. Especially when first arriving in the winter. I plan to have 2 fans in my ceiling. Balloon framing with notched 2X6X10' walls. 12/12pitch metal roof.

    I carried my 20' TJIs in a 14' Sears v-hull pulled with my jetboat. Took 2 trips for 25 units. Not because of the weight. Because of the length and pulling with a jetboat. I didn't want a Darwin moment to ruin the day...

    Will 1/4 inch wire work under the floor?

    Mike

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    Quote Originally Posted by dirtofak View Post
    I prefer a loft. I realize the heat loss in the winter. I was told by a very reliable source on here that a couple ceiling fans really help out. Especially when first arriving in the winter. I plan to have 2 fans in my ceiling. Balloon framing with notched 2X6X10' walls. 12/12pitch metal roof.

    I carried my 20' TJIs in a 14' Sears v-hull pulled with my jetboat. Took 2 trips for 25 units. Not because of the weight. Because of the length and pulling with a jetboat. I didn't want a Darwin moment to ruin the day...

    Will 1/4 inch wire work under the floor?

    Mike

    I agree, the loft is the way to go especially if you are going to stay in it in the winter time. I use a regular oscillating fan that blows across the top of my wood stove when I first arrive. That really helps to heat the place up quickly downstairs.
    You might able to get away with 1/4 inch wire but I would try to seal off as best as you can. Those critters are awfully good at getting in. You may end up with a bee nest in there if you don't seal it off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by andrew cochran View Post
    I'm no expert but I would build a small cabin about 10x12 to 12x16 ft.

    Gravel floor. Moss and plastic roof, build a door from lumber buy hinges, make latch, glass, and maybe a few nails. Maybe 100 dollars.
    You know, just like Dick Proeneke did, back in the 60's, 'cept for the hinges. Hinges can be made from an old wooden log.

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    Default Fan?

    Sorry guys, didn't think he had power where he was building.I was talking off grid.I have a 12' ceiling in my 12/12 pitched living room, and at o degrees, I can feel the temp difference between my kitchen(8') ceiling and l/r. Yes, a ceiling fan would be the ticket if you have the power.1/4 mesh would work great.Lots of critters in those woods who would eat right through 1/2" ply wood for a warm place to live.GR

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    Default I forgot to mention....

    Forget anchoring the roofing metal with a million screws.Use as few as possible and go to standing seam.You'll be glad you did.Cold and heat do crazy things to screws.Just an opinion from someone who learned the hard way.Metal roofs have been part of my livelyhood, so I have been around the block a time or two.GR

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