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Author Topic: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started  (Read 2513 times)

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Offline dgrover13

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Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« on: November 21, 2017, 11:33:15 PM »
My name is Darren and my family and I are starting our first build from the ground up, and for some reason we chose to do a log cabin. 

Welcome to the start of what hopefully becomes a fairly interesting thread on this forum.  I plan to post and document the progress on this forum.  From time to time I may even solicit advice to solve a problem or two.

After deciding on a log cabin - I spent much time researching.  Buying books, finding relevant content online, talking to anyone who would listen to me ramble about log size, diameter, and moisture content. 

After a ton of research, and soul searching on many log related forums - I found this particular forum (the Forestry Forum of course!) to be of the most help.  Mainly it gave me the confidence that there is an online community from which I could refer to for problem solving, garner support, and selfishly gain praise from minor life accomplishments such as peeling my first log by hand, or finally deciding on a meter site.

The purpose of this thread is to contribute to the forestry forum and community and document the work along the way.  Much more to come

Offline sawguy21

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2017, 11:41:37 PM »
This should be interesting. What area of the state are you in?
old age and treachery will always overcome youth and enthusiasm

Offline dgrover13

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2017, 11:55:32 PM »
I started this journey a few years ago so we can start there. 

We purchased a 4.5 acre parcel, less than a mile from my best friends 80 acre hunting land.  The parcel we purchased also had 300 feet of shoreline on a great clean little lake in northern Wisconsin - only about an hour or so from our home.  Because it is so close, we felt it provided an opportunity to build ourselves.  The property quickly became sentimental.

See picture -

We both work full time, and at the time we had a baby on the way (now almost a three year old) - so we were going to be busy.

Fast forward to the spring (we purchased in the winter) - and it turns out the neighboring parcel was going up for sale.  Then I started to see site markings on that parcel - it looked like a potenial buyer was scoping a build site.   >:( >:( >:( >:( >:(

Now... I knew I would have to potentially deal with that parcel someday - I just wasn't expecting so soon.  We did not just go through the effort of buying a 4.5 acre parcel on a lake to have someone build right next to us.  (there are other lots/buildings nearby, but the potential buyer was looking to build right near our property line)

So next thing we knew we were putting in an offer on the neighboring parcel as well.  So we added another 4.5 acres and 700 feet of shoreline. 

So now we had a total of 1000 feet of shoreline and 9 acres.  Not at all what we were planning.

Sometimes you run away with an idea...

-Darren

Offline dgrover13

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2017, 12:04:10 AM »
Here is a winter shot of the timber.  Mostly mature poplar that is falling down.  Second is white oak and maple.  The rest are a few spruce and pine.

I knew when I purchased I would not be using the logs on the parcel to build my cabin. 

Although it is possible to use poplar - to me not the best idea in northern Wisconsin.


-Darren

Offline Banjo picker

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #4 on: November 22, 2017, 04:43:06 AM »
Nice move picking up that other parcel of land.  Looking forward to seeing your progress forward.  Banjo
Cooks AC 36--Prentice 210C--Morgan edger--Kubota M7040 with loader--Case 580 K with extendahoe--Case 850C dozer--Int 1700 series twin cylinder dump/log/flatbed truck--logging arch--2 Logrite mill sp.--Cat claw sharpening system--And a bulldog to make sure it all stays here.

Offline thecfarm

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2017, 07:31:36 AM »
This will be a nice thread to follow.
Model 6020-20hp Manual Thomas bandsaw,TC40A 4wd 40 hp New Holland tractor, 450 Norse Winch, Heatmor 400 OWB,YCC 1978-79

Offline Hilltop366

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2017, 08:16:54 AM »
 popcorn_smiley

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2017, 10:44:58 AM »
:popcorn:
I knew what I thought I meant.

Offline dgrover13

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2017, 01:51:39 PM »
Now that we had both parcels (I really just consider it one 9 acre parcel) - I started to feel pressure to do something with land.  The pressure came from nowhere other than myself - an itch to start molding the dream into reality.

We financed both parcels on the short term - so my plan was to do some sort of building and put it all under a single long term mortgage.  I have a few years to figure it out. 

Regardless, at that time it was important to just get something started.  So the focus was to get the land ready for logs to be delivered.  My build requires full length 35 ft logs - so I needed to make room to store them safe and sound on the land. 

Here is an image of a previous survey done.  It shows the low land spots (in Wisconsin I cannot disturb low land areas for construction).  It also shows the setback line for code.  Notice the little puddle on south east end.  The DNR considers that navigable waterway - so I have to follow setback from there as well.

There is an easement that provides access to both parcels (or the center of the one 9 acre parcel).  My plan was to extend that easement driveway about 75 yards to the potential build site.  I would also be connecting the driveway to the 'natural' old logging trail from a hundred years ago that circles on the property. 

The blue shows the easement and the red shows the extension I added.  The green square is where I am thinking the build site will be.

-Darren

Offline dgrover13

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2017, 02:42:12 PM »
In prepping for the driveway and logs, I had to down and move quite a few trees.  Some of them left some large stumps. 

I contemplated long and hard about what to do about theses stumps that were left.  Do I remove them?  Hire someone to remove?  Chemical stump remover?  Grind them down?

Ever since we had the idea of a log cabin, I have been on the lookout for logs.  I came across a gentlemen who had a stand of pines available for free for whoever wanted them.  He wasn't sure if they were red or white.  When I first started this adventure, I wasn't 100% confident in my ability to identify the difference. 

So I went out to take a look.  After some research - turns out they are red.  I am sure most on this forum would laugh at this silliness.

Here are some of the images




It turns out they were too small diameter and length for what I was looking for.  Free logs but no go. 
The search continued.  However he did have some inside knowledge on removing stumps and suggested a product that works -

I have used chemical stump remover in the past and I just never remembered the result.  I decided to use them on the stumps and applied in fall before winter came.

-Darren

Offline dgrover13

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2017, 02:58:43 PM »
So I applied the stump remover in fall and figured I would check in spring.

During the winter while I was patiently waiting for my stumps to accelerate decomposition - I had a hit on an online listing I had posted - a wanted ad for red and white pine logs. 

First - my online post was on craigslist.  You may have some opinions about craigslist, but to me its an invaluable tool.  Almost all projects I do, I usually need a specialist, tradesman, or simple labor help.  With a quick and easy craigslist ad, you can fill almost any void.  The work is in the screening, and you have to be wiling to strikeout once in a while. 

Over the years I have gotten fairly decent at initial screening and overall have had a ton of success finding quality people at a reasonable price.  Depends on the project.

Anyways - someone responded to my ad on craigslist.  He was a logger up in the Timbuktu WI - who had a client of his that was thinning some mature pine stands on his property.  I could come take a look and hand pick the trees I wanted. 

Zing!   8) 8) 8) I had my ad up for most of winter and nothing, then finally I had a solid lead on the logs I was looking for.  At this point my only other option was to buy bulk from a large log cabin builder operation northern minnesota.  They had the logs, quantity and size I needed, but were close to retail price. 

I can't afford retail price on logs (or choose not to) - so I was pretty excited about the logger who contacted me. 

I made my way up there that spring to meet the logger, hand pick, set price and details.  3.5 hours from my house.  Now- I am from northern Wisconsin.  There is not much going on up there.  But this logger was located way north, almost to the Upper Peninsula kind of north.  There is NOTHING up there. 

On my drive back I was hungry, but also kind of in a hurry.  I drove for 2 hours and didn't come across one food chain or convenience store that had more than Twinkies.  By the time I gave up, I was pretty much back home. 

I love peace and quiet and tell myself all the time I could live as a hermit on a mountain somewhere.  Then I realize how many comforts I'd prefer to not live without.  Reminds myself why we are building a cabin to begin with.  It's about finding that escape.  Or in this case, building that escape. 

I digress.

Offline dgrover13

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2017, 03:34:41 PM »
At this point I have logs ordered - we planned to cut in april. 

Back to the driveway.  Here are before and after pictures.  This is only rock fill, no class 5 yet.  I'll put that on once I am ready to dig.

Oh yea, the stump remover doesn't work.  I am sure you already knew that.  So in the spring I rented a stump grinder and brought them below ground level.  Turns out none of it matter because the rock fill I had them bring in for the driveway covered it all up anyways. 

Need to remind myself to not overthink this stuff.

Before:


After:


This one here is facing the road



I know - not the greatest pics.

Offline Autocar

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2017, 03:56:17 PM »
I look forward to the next adventure in this build  ;D.
Bill

Offline dgrover13

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2017, 04:17:14 PM »
Here is a quote from a private message I had with another individual - and we were discussing how to get logs and dealing with loggers.  Here was his description:

"Ive also found that several loggers may have the equipment and experience etc. but in general they tend to be an unreliable bunch, and not always good business men"

Wow - couldn't have been more true in my case.  This logger and I agreed to price, timeline, and logistics.  I gave a deposit up front - roughly half. 

When it came time in April to discuss logistics - there were multiple delays on his side.  We reschedule multiple times.  I get it, stuff happens.  However, I was lining up the transport.  To pick up and deliver twenty 35 foot logs with 14 inch tops - I need a telephone pole truck. 

Turns out - there are not that many in operating in Wisconsin.  I looked up the Wisconsin State registry for loggers online.  I literally called all of them looking for a lead on a telephone pole trucker. I remember it was a list of at least 50 names.

The very last one I called knew a guy who knew a guy.  Turns out there is a telephone pole production plant middle of the state, and I found a northwoods trucker who runs timber to and from.  He was willing to do my delivery. 

To make matters worse, communication with the logger was lacking.  Obviously, quality cell phone service is hard to come by up there.  It probably would have been easier to use smoke signals to coordinate with this logger.  After multiple dates set come and gone - I had to force a final pickup date. 

I had to take PTO on delivery day and the day came and the logger was changing the tune and requiring full money before he would release the logs.  My only option was to show in person to hand deliver the cash.

At this point I wasn't going to allow a reschedule if I could help it. 

So I drove up there that morning to find not all the logs were in place ready for pickup.  Good thing I brought my trusty log arch (that is a side story on how I came across this log arch).  I got to work and pulled the last 6 logs to the road so the trucker could pick them up. 

Its one of those situations its better to bite your lip, bust ass and get the *DanG thing done - before you address the issues. 

Here are some pics from the pickup:

Logs ready for pickup:


Logger moving logs to side of road:


Me moving logs to road:


Trucker loading em up:



At this point - its 3pm in the afternoon.  I am already exhausted, not planned.  Time to drive 3 hours back to the land and unload the logs. 

So we zoom back to my land and start unloading about 6pm.  It does not start off on the right foot.

Here is our first attempt at getting into driveway.  Fail.  Too heavy and unsafe to try to make turn and the dip in the easement.

So... theres only one thing we can do.  Unload logs from roadside.   One at a time he unloads them to driveway, where I hook it up to my log arch, and drag it 200 yards to where I need to stack them.
Then use my cant hook to roll them out of the way.  Then reverse back to do another one.

Rinse and repeat. 

We got 10 done, it was about 830pm.  I was exhausted again, this time completely.  This was a Monday night, I had to drive home, get to bed, and get to work the next day.  I am also paying overtime for the trucker at this point.

The trucker had a brilliant idea to try to get the load down the driveway again.  This time, success!  He was able to unload the last 10 right onto my stack pile.  I wish I had taken pictures of how tight of spot the trucker got that trailer to.  Inches to spare.  Underappreciated skills.

The trucker saved my life with that idea.

Here are pics:






Large pile


I apologize for the novel.
-Darren

Offline Crusarius

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2017, 06:24:43 PM »
one thing I have learned is if you have 2 parcels of property but the house is on one of them that one gets taxed more than just the property. At least thats how it works in NY.

Just FYI. I dunno if it will help you or not.
I knew what I thought I meant.

Offline dgrover13

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2017, 08:27:05 PM »
Yes, the tax man.  I plan to keep the parcels separate.

Great point.
-Darren

Offline barbender

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2017, 12:36:17 AM »
It looks like you are willing to bust butt👍🏼 Log building requires a lot of that. On the 35' run on the logs, I take it you are writing this in retrospect perhaps, but I would advise against a 35' run without a log stub wall or something to break that up. I had a 36' wall, so 40' logs, in a log shell I built (I ended uo scrapping it, epic fail👎). Anyhow, you will think you have a straight log until you get it up there and try to scribe it. It takes a mighty nice log to make that 36'. I spent a lot of time finessing the logs on that wall, mostly fighting them, rotating them bit by bit, trying to get them positioned just right to minimize the amount of wood that would have to be removed in the scrubbing process. It's been a long time ago, but I remember telling myself "I should have put a stub wall in here".
Too many irons in the fire

Offline barbender

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2017, 12:40:38 AM »
Too many irons in the fire

Offline dgrover13

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #18 on: November 25, 2017, 09:36:07 AM »
You have quite the project(s) going on there barbender.

Did you weld that hoist yourself? 

(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
-Darren

Offline barbender

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Re: Wisconsin cabin build - just getting started
« Reply #19 on: November 25, 2017, 12:56:37 PM »
That project was in another lifetime. I never finished it, what a shame👎Yes, I welded that hoist up, it actually worked really well. I couldn't lift the big ones, obviously, but you could lift a good amount. I had a one ton chain hoist on it, and I made a reciever  hitch for the front of the wheeler that made positioning much easier. A little ballast on the base of the hoist would have increased capacity by keeping the front wheels of the wheeler on the ground😊 Also, a set of short forks to set the log on would add stability.
Too many irons in the fire


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