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Author Topic: New guy planning for far north  (Read 893 times)

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Offline Kainkelly

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New guy planning for far north
« on: October 11, 2019, 12:27:02 AM »
Hi I am Kain Kelly

I have lurked on and off here for many years mainly regarding saw mills. I have been for many years looking at moving up to Alaska. Even though I am two years or so away I am getting serious about it now, starting to gear up and hone in my skills as a wood/metal worker. (More wood working then metalworking building a cabin, but still worth knowing how to weld and make own tools very tempted to actually make some of my own tools.) I am looking at building a timber frame cabin on a lot that is boat/float plane only or up in the mountains. (Waters edge makes more sense to me.) Following that logic every tool I want to bring must be taken out there someway, because of that I am looking to keep the tools to a middle of the road minimum. While not the bare bare bones leaving out tools that may or may not see use. (I hope that makes sense)

So things like a chain mortiser, ax, hatchet, adze, chainsaw, chainsaw mill (one saw or two chain saws?), beam chainsaw (chainsaw attachment?), big al (247, for a square, any other suppliers? If not will buy one when time comes looks too useful to pass up.), rafter and carpenter squares, level (Ideally one made of aluminum and that will hopefully not freeze in the vial.), glass cutter, skill saw, pull saw, crosscut saw, drill, bigger drill, hammer drill, hammers (claw, sledge, and dead blow.), draw knife, sharpening stones, pry bars, (24 & 36in), protractor, plumb bob, hammer stapler, nail gun, air compressor, flash light, head lamp, wire strippers, screw drivers (basic kit), chain saw file, spare chainsaw chains, extension cords, extra batteries and chargers for any cordless tools, generator, pex plumbing tools with spare fittings and tubing, gas or electric winch, log arch, felling wedges, cant hook, chainsaw chaps, Kevlar jacket, hard hat, safety glasses, bugeye mesh goggles (I reserve the right to be paranoid about chainsaw safety, more so that when I am that isolated....), first aid kit, inclinometer, chalk line, timber crayons (multiple colors), carpenters pencils (bulk), shellac, extra chalk, shovel, snow shovel, steel toes, and one spud for debarking, caulking gun (pneumatic). (should I add duck tape?)

I mean of course those are only tools no building material is included in that. In all honesty I am still short a fair bit in terms of finishing tools there, mainly for things like doors and railing. Even that I could do if I took the time….. All that considered should I knock that list back a bit? Trying to not over pack.... (That really puts into perspective, the question of how much is too much.) I found a very old book in the library of congress about timber frame construction, aside from that is there anymore recommended reading on design and construction of timber frame homes?

I am hoping to gather as much of the wood from my own land as possible, when the time comes. Fell, mill, shellac the ends, then leave them to season for say a season or two. While they will not be perfect, it's better than nothing, more so when you factor in some of these beams will be in walls of insulation, or in a climate controlled environment. I may see about a way to kiln dry on the property. I have seen several kilns that seem simple enough to build. Depending on how much it really matters upon more research. Also on how much it could actually matters in such a high humidity environment. (A bit north of Juneau to the southernmost tip of the state ideally not past Ketchikan. Ideally I would be close to one of those two cities.)

For the actual home I would be building, almost completely up in the air…. While I haven't ever taken on a project this big. I am debating about a cabin 18*24 to 24*36 vs something like a geodesic dome. While the dome would be quick and easy to build its a little out there for my taste you know? I also feel like it is worth asking how often is it for people here just to build off there own plans? Building code kinda takes care of structural engineering issues assuming you don’t get to crazy, I also found this. Sadly they don't seem to have plans publicly posted.The big thing I like about it is all the edges and non continuous surfaces.
Link:
https://www.ana-white.com/blog/2015/04/designing-our-remote-alaska-lake-cabin

I also have looked at the plans on timber frame HQ but it is unclear to me if getting plans from a different source may be better, given that they state heavy snowfall as requiring further engineering. (So could it cost more in the end then a specialty architect, my gut feeling is this is a can of worms.) Alternatively could that just be a redraw based off of local building code? Plus if that cabin had some big bay windows I would call it perfect. (Linked to above on that blog.)

That's all for now, or at least till I buy and start building. Truth be told, I have other questions regarding the extreme cold weather. Just not sure what to be asking yet. (Note I will be going from Texas to Alaska. Yes I have seen snow and I have camped with snow on the ground, but that's about all I know about snow and cold weather first hand.) Namely what are realistic limits for working below zero, my main concern is ice and trapping moisture in the mortise tenon joint, or am I just overthinking this? Cold weather gear I was thinking a parka, snow bib, then fleece and wool for my base layers. Plus proper snow boots and shoes. I am well aware my first big challenge will be the cold, I welcome it…. I also promise most other things I post will not be this long.

Thanks for the time and advice,
Kain Kelly

Offline KEC

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2019, 12:49:35 AM »
I'm no authority on all this, but after reading your post, I think that RAINY weather may be more of a concern in that area than extreme cold. My 2 cents.

Offline Kainkelly

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2019, 12:57:23 AM »
I'm no authority on all this, but after reading your post, I think that RAINY weather may be more of a concern in that area than extreme cold. My 2 cents.
Ah had not thought of that, I bet covering wood not in use and getting a roof up and finished asap would help protect the beams maybe?

Offline swmn

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2019, 01:42:58 AM »
So you are a cheechako, the eskimo word for tenderfoot.  

Where in Alaska?  You might overlay a same scale map of AK on the lower 48 just to get some idea of what you are up against.  If you put Adak near Los Angeles and Juneau near Jacksonville, Florida - I live in southern Iowa. 

My advice would be to pick a floorplan, a blueprint that will work for you and get to know it inside and out.

Extreme cold temps is a highly variable thing.  I haven't seen -50dF in Fairbanks since the winter of 2008/09, but I am equipped for it to happen tomorrow.  Coastal areas like Anchorage, Valdez and Cordova will be a lot milder most of the time.

Are you planning to fly in or boat in?  I have heard of a guy who talked his smoke jumping buddies into parachuting his bulldozer onto his remote property as a training exercise with the airplane/firetruck - but you will need some amazing people skills to pull that off.  Once the dozer was on site the guy put in an airstrip and started flying his tools to his property with his airplane.  Do you have amazing people skills, a bulldozer and an airplane?

If you are boating plan on $30k for a 24 foot jet boat with a 200 hp inline six that could carry not quite one ton at a time in four inches of water with really really crappy fuel consumption.  You could  drop 50-75k dollars on a similar boat with dual V8s, higher cargo capacity and notably worse fuel economy.   If you don't have much experience running braided rivers a $5k training boat to beat on might be a good idea before you start running materials out to your remote property. 

If your property is going to be fly in I encourage you to get familiar with adze and broadaxe.  You could alternatively bolt some bits onto a chainsaw.  If you are planning on a thing that looks like a trailer with a sliding band or chainsaw mill on it you are going to need an expensive boat and a boat accessible property instead of an expensive airplane and an annual flight physical.

Once you have the thing built, what are you going to eat and how are you going to get it to the property?  What if you need emergent medical care?  I am not trying to be a Richard, but these two often get overlooked.  You are probably going to have to go to "town" at least once a year and then deal with transportation on whatever it is you cannot grow or field dress on your property.  For anything harder than a C section or appendix there are operating rooms in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Seattle.   Actually, we do total joints like knees and hips in FAI and ANC.

My personal plan is to retire to the lower 48.  Maybe visit something like Copper Center in January just for planning purposes? 

Offline Kainkelly

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2019, 02:24:16 AM »
So you are a cheechako, the eskimo word for tenderfoot.  

Where in Alaska?  You might overlay a same scale map of AK on the lower 48 just to get some idea of what you are up against.  If you put Adak near Los Angeles and Juneau near Jacksonville, Florida - I live in southern Iowa.

My advice would be to pick a floorplan, a blueprint that will work for you and get to know it inside and out.

Extreme cold temps is a highly variable thing.  I haven't seen -50dF in Fairbanks since the winter of 2008/09, but I am equipped for it to happen tomorrow.  Coastal areas like Anchorage, Valdez and Cordova will be a lot milder most of the time.

Are you planning to fly in or boat in?  I have heard of a guy who talked his smoke jumping buddies into parachuting his bulldozer onto his remote property as a training exercise with the airplane/firetruck - but you will need some amazing people skills to pull that off.  Once the dozer was on site the guy put in an airstrip and started flying his tools to his property with his airplane.  Do you have amazing people skills, a bulldozer and an airplane?

If you are boating plan on $30k for a 24 foot jet boat with a 200 hp inline six that could carry not quite one ton at a time in four inches of water with really really crappy fuel consumption.  You could  drop 50-75k dollars on a similar boat with dual V8s, higher cargo capacity and notably worse fuel economy.   If you don't have much experience running braided rivers a $5k training boat to beat on might be a good idea before you start running materials out to your remote property.

If your property is going to be fly in I encourage you to get familiar with adze and broadaxe.  You could alternatively bolt some bits onto a chainsaw.  If you are planning on a thing that looks like a trailer with a sliding band or chainsaw mill on it you are going to need an expensive boat and a boat accessible property instead of an expensive airplane and an annual flight physical.

Once you have the thing built, what are you going to eat and how are you going to get it to the property?  What if you need emergent medical care?  I am not trying to be a Richard, but these two often get overlooked.  You are probably going to have to go to "town" at least once a year and then deal with transportation on whatever it is you cannot grow or field dress on your property.  For anything harder than a C section or appendix there are operating rooms in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Seattle.   Actually, we do total joints like knees and hips in FAI and ANC.

My personal plan is to retire to the lower 48.  Maybe visit something like Copper Center in January just for planning purposes?
I was looking between Ketchikan and Anchorage, how ever it would be very unlikely for me to end up north of Talkeenta. (Is that pronounced talk-in-yet-ah?) I would like to have some access to to a co work space, how ever that is a major want not a need. (I have many plans for accessing the internet regardless of issues preventing me from doing so. Assuming there are not mountains in the way.) I was also hoping to harvest the trees from my own land, all sat views I have looked at would require some degree off clearing to build on that land, I would like to use some of that wood to build if for no other reason then to not turn it all into firewood.
I am well aware I dodged your logistics question to a degree, I don't have a good answer until I know what I am up against time, weather, and distance wise. At risk of making my self sound stupid, really *DanG stupid.... My plan was if I had to harvest logs from land state owned was to tow them home behind a skiff with dual mud tails about 26ish HP each. (redneck out bored motor.) You would know better then I if that wood could be used for anything other then fire wood.

Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2019, 11:32:02 AM »
Welcome to the forum!

I'm in the process of living out a very similar dream, except I've already been living in Alaska for the last 25 years.  The logistics of what you want to accomplish are daunting, regardless of how minimalist of a place you are planning.  With the right focus you should be able to make it a reality, but I think you should better acquaint yourself with the weather and topography of your ultimate destination before you start buying specific tools and equipment.

I'm still working on the design of our cabin, which will be built with timbers if not with traditional joinery (undecided).  In the mean time we're finalizing construction of a stick-framed guest cabin that should keep us cozy for a while.  While that is being built we are staying in a temporary shelter known as a Weatherport.  Sort of a heavy duty wall tent that can withstand some heavy snow accumulation.  With a wood stove in it we remain comfortable down to about -20 F.

This takes a long time to complete if you're working a day job.  If you can devote yourself full time to clearing land and building a cabin then you can possibly get yourself dried in within a season.

When it comes to transportation, check out what the locals are using in the area you want to settle in.  There's a huge variety of boat and motor types, and you will find in most places a preferred type commonly used to best cope with prevailing conditions, whether it be river currents, lake chop, high winds, or shallow water.

Most parts of the state are accessible by snowmobile, referred to as a snowmachine in Alaska.  That's how we get to our cabin property in the winter and when we do most of our work.  You may find yourself wanting one, depending on how far north you go.  Also keep in mind that winter is significantly different when it's 0 F and you have 30% humidity (e.g. Fairbanks) compared to 35 F and 90% humidity (Ketchikan).

Edit to add: Southeast Alaska is almost entirely national forest land.  Your chances for finding a parcel that meets your needs will be limited, unless you want to spend a lot of money.  If you move further north you will find lots of state land, where you are more likely to find remote parcels or lots in state subdivisions for sale.  Depending on how remote you want to be, the Kenai Peninsula may be a good fit.
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Offline NorthRick

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2019, 05:47:19 PM »
OK, let me be the third Alaskan to chime in.  As stated before, in southeast Alaska where you said you want to buy land and build, you will be dealing with rain.  And, lots of it.  You will also have a hard time finding good, affordable property to buy as there isn't much private land for sale outside of the existing towns.

If you do buy land where ever it may be, do not underestimate the difficulties of access.  Remote land is cheaper but more more expensive to get to.  Our property is northeast of Talkeetna and several miles off the road system.  Hardly remote by Alaska standards, but you always have to be thinking ahead on how you are going to get anything to the property.  We use an ATV in the summer and snowmachines in the winter.  Last weekend I went up to work on our new cabin and spent most of the weekend clearing trees off the trail.  Spruce bark beetles have killed all the big spruce trees and any windstorm makes a mess.  A weekend shot and hardly any progress on the build.

I'd strongly urge you to develop the construction skills you will need BEFORE you are standing there in the middle of nowhere with a pile of tools you are not intimately familiar with.  When building remote you can't just run down to the hardware store to get something you forgot.  You also need to be able to fix things on your own.

If I were you, I'd plan to move to Alaska and live in one of it's many towns for a year before buying any property to build on.  If you don't take this advice, then for gosh sakes, do not buy land without walking it first!  If you can't afford to get there to look it over before buying, then you cannot afford to live there.

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2019, 05:58:06 PM »
A few photos of hauling in building materials last March.

<br
>
 



 

 

Offline Kainkelly

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #8 on: October 11, 2019, 07:24:29 PM »
Welcome to the forum!

I'm in the process of living out a very similar dream, except I've already been living in Alaska for the last 25 years.  The logistics of what you want to accomplish are daunting, regardless of how minimalist of a place you are planning.  With the right focus you should be able to make it a reality, but I think you should better acquaint yourself with the weather and topography of your ultimate destination before you start buying specific tools and equipment.

I'm still working on the design of our cabin, which will be built with timbers if not with traditional joinery (undecided).  In the mean time we're finalizing construction of a stick-framed guest cabin that should keep us cozy for a while.  While that is being built we are staying in a temporary shelter known as a Weatherport.  Sort of a heavy duty wall tent that can withstand some heavy snow accumulation.  With a wood stove in it we remain comfortable down to about -20 F.

This takes a long time to complete if you're working a day job.  If you can devote yourself full time to clearing land and building a cabin then you can possibly get yourself dried in within a season.

When it comes to transportation, check out what the locals are using in the area you want to settle in.  There's a huge variety of boat and motor types, and you will find in most places a preferred type commonly used to best cope with prevailing conditions, whether it be river currents, lake chop, high winds, or shallow water.

Most parts of the state are accessible by snowmobile, referred to as a snowmachine in Alaska.  That's how we get to our cabin property in the winter and when we do most of our work.  You may find yourself wanting one, depending on how far north you go.  Also keep in mind that winter is significantly different when it's 0 F and you have 30% humidity (e.g. Fairbanks) compared to 35 F and 90% humidity (Ketchikan).

Edit to add: Southeast Alaska is almost entirely national forest land.  Your chances for finding a parcel that meets your needs will be limited, unless you want to spend a lot of money.  If you move further north you will find lots of state land, where you are more likely to find remote parcels or lots in state subdivisions for sale.  Depending on how remote you want to be, the Kenai Peninsula may be a good fit.
I think I found the perfect land, wish I could get it now.... Water, and air access, also nice and big with out being too large. Don't think its so far from town that going back and forth wouldn't be of challenge.
Man it's just perfect, may look into making some extra money to see if I can't get it....
I was looking at the possiblity of one of the surplus 5man Arctic tents. Seem cheaper and battle tested, if I may ask what are your thoughts?

Offline Kainkelly

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #9 on: October 11, 2019, 07:46:02 PM »
OK, let me be the third Alaskan to chime in.  As stated before, in southeast Alaska where you said you want to buy land and build, you will be dealing with rain.  And, lots of it.  You will also have a hard time finding good, affordable property to buy as there isn't much private land for sale outside of the existing towns.

If you do buy land where ever it may be, do not underestimate the difficulties of access.  Remote land is cheaper but more more expensive to get to.  Our property is northeast of Talkeetna and several miles off the road system.  Hardly remote by Alaska standards, but you always have to be thinking ahead on how you are going to get anything to the property.  We use an ATV in the summer and snowmachines in the winter.  Last weekend I went up to work on our new cabin and spent most of the weekend clearing trees off the trail.  Spruce bark beetles have killed all the big spruce trees and any windstorm makes a mess.  A weekend shot and hardly any progress on the build.

I'd strongly urge you to develop the construction skills you will need BEFORE you are standing there in the middle of nowhere with a pile of tools you are not intimately familiar with.  When building remote you can't just run down to the hardware store to get something you forgot.  You also need to be able to fix things on your own.

If I were you, I'd plan to move to Alaska and live in one of it's many towns for a year before buying any property to build on.  If you don't take this advice, then for gosh sakes, do not buy land without walking it first!  If you can't afford to get there to look it over before buying, then you cannot afford to live there.
If I may ask what do you mean by construction skills? That may seem like a dumb question, but to you mean wood joinery, or more contemporary building methods? I was planning on practicing on smaller bits like 4*4 for the sake of the practice, the only two things I have never done building wise are masonry work and plumbing. (I have worked with PVC and copper pipes for other stuff.) Mainly construction wise I am studying the building code. Just to have a better idea of what I am signing up for, and what is needed for the area.
I will for sure be taking your advice to live in a town for a year, maybe even a year and a half before buying. Gives me time to work out something else actually, really a couple of things.... 

Offline Kainkelly

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #10 on: October 11, 2019, 07:48:30 PM »
A few photos of hauling in building materials last March.

<br
>(Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
 


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

Nice sleds are those just made from plastic buckets? The first one, very clever, I bet a log Arch would work well using a like set up!

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #11 on: October 11, 2019, 08:34:36 PM »
I'd strongly urge you to develop the construction skills you will need BEFORE you are standing there in the middle of nowhere with a pile of tools you are not intimately familiar with.  When building remote you can't just run down to the hardware store to get something you forgot.  You also need to be able to fix things on your own.
If I may ask what do you mean by construction skills? That may seem like a dumb question, but to you mean wood joinery, or more contemporary building methods?
If I may Kain, I believe what Rick is referring to here is ability to create a safe solid structure in total. Not just the individual skills, but the whole nut. Foundation, design, materials, building, covering, sealing, heating, etc. Building a complete structure regardless of size is a long reach from having the individual skills required. When you build it complete there are a whole bunch of things that pop up and you need to solve in order to make things work.
 In other words, it is good to understand how to set a ridge log, but it is another to get that log up on top, notched, and joined properly, all by yourself.
It's another set of skills and I think this knowledge is what Rick is referring to.
 Best of luck with your dream it's a big one.
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Offline Kainkelly

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2019, 09:07:54 PM »
I'd strongly urge you to develop the construction skills you will need BEFORE you are standing there in the middle of nowhere with a pile of tools you are not intimately familiar with.  When building remote you can't just run down to the hardware store to get something you forgot.  You also need to be able to fix things on your own.
If I may ask what do you mean by construction skills? That may seem like a dumb question, but to you mean wood joinery, or more contemporary building methods?
If I may Kain, I believe what Rick is referring to here is ability to create a safe solid structure in total. Not just the individual skills, but the whole nut. Foundation, design, materials, building, covering, sealing, heating, etc. Building a complete structure regardless of size is a long reach from having the individual skills required. When you build it complete there are a whole bunch of things that pop up and you need to solve in order to make things work.
 In other words, it is good to understand how to set a ridge log, but it is another to get that log up on top, notched, and joined properly, all by yourself.
It's another set of skills and I think this knowledge is what Rick is referring to.
 Best of luck with your dream it's a big one.
Yeah no clue how on Earth I will get logs or larger timbers a logs over head level and fitted, winch block tackle and ladder? Maybe a tall tripod structure that would just allow for it to be drug up and over the side? Believe the Fins has a method like that when building there cabins, regardless the first couple of time will be a learning experience.

Yeah foundations are why I was wanting to buy plans off shelf where there is something to follow, vs starting from scratch is there any recommendations for reading for design and construction of foundations? Going through materials and stress loads/distribution still namely on tfguild, and a few other places here and there.

Looking forward to making this happen.

Offline ChugiakTinkerer

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #13 on: October 11, 2019, 10:34:30 PM »
...
I think I found the perfect land, wish I could get it now.... Water, and air access, also nice and big with out being too large. Don't think its so far from town that going back and forth wouldn't be of challenge.
Man it's just perfect, may look into making some extra money to see if I can't get it....
I was looking at the possiblity of one of the surplus 5man Arctic tents. Seem cheaper and battle tested, if I may ask what are your thoughts?
If you're looking at Southeast Alaska then you will need a structure that will keep you dry.  I don't have any experience with the surplus canvas tents but I'd be worried that it wouldn't hold up to continual rainfall.  I think something more like http://alaskatent.com/fabric/quonset.html
There are a few forums I participate in that may help you with some of the issues other than timber framing.  For cabin & small house construction there is https://countryplans.com/smf/index.php?action=forum#c2
For life in Alaska, particularly off-grid, there is http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/forumdisplay.php/70-Alaska-Cabins-and-Remote-Living/
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Offline Southside

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #14 on: October 11, 2019, 10:56:13 PM »
Namely what are realistic limits for working below zero, my main concern is ice and trapping moisture in the mortise tenon joint, or am I just overthinking this? Cold weather gear I was thinking a parka, snow bib, then fleece and wool for my base layers. Plus proper snow boots and shoes. I am well aware my first big challenge will be the cold


Welcome to the Forum.  Personally I have never been to Alaska, and it seems those who live there have you covered from that perspective.  That being said I did grow up where -40F was an annual thing, and -20F was a regular thing - FYI at -20F your eye lashes freeze together when you blink so you know it's that cold, and at -40F you don't shut off equipment unless it is plugged in and at -45F propane will remain a liquid in the bottom of a bucket when you have to take the regulator inside to warm up by the wood stove so your lights and cook stove will work.  Without experiencing it you can not comprehend the difference in the winters from where you are now.  When I worked in the woods it was about 45 miles off a paved road - nothing by Alaska standards, but plenty far in to die if you were not prepared.  I always kept at least one full change of clothes in my truck with me, extra heavy jacket, extra socks, boots, etc - so did everybody else.  In addition to living there it would be money well spent to get into some sort of back country group that could introduce you to how to be prepared and survive the conditions you will be up against.  

There is no TV show that can actually convey what a bog of black flies or mosquitoes so thick the air looks like it is moving up and down is actually like, or just how miserable it is when your snowmobile (we called them all Ski-doos no matter who built them) is stuck in so much powder that when trying to lift up the back end you push yourself into the snow, suddenly there is an ice ridge on the lake ahead of you that was not there yesterday?  What do you do?  

As far as working in below zero temps, steel gets really brittle when the mercury drops and things break really easily, not to mention you can get dehydrated and over heated really quickly.  Not saying this can't be done, but you really need to get experience under your belt beforehand.  I had to fish more than a few folks out of the water - sometimes with treble hooks, dig them out of the snow, or just drag them out of the woods in a bag on a tote sled, because they were not prepared for what they tried to do - then I had to tell their next of kin, you don't want to be that guy.  
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Offline Kainkelly

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2019, 11:39:11 PM »
Namely what are realistic limits for working below zero, my main concern is ice and trapping moisture in the mortise tenon joint, or am I just overthinking this? Cold weather gear I was thinking a parka, snow bib, then fleece and wool for my base layers. Plus proper snow boots and shoes. I am well aware my first big challenge will be the cold


Welcome to the Forum.  Personally I have never been to Alaska, and it seems those who live there have you covered from that perspective.  That being said I did grow up where -40F was an annual thing, and -20F was a regular thing - FYI at -20F your eye lashes freeze together when you blink so you know it's that cold, and at -40F you don't shut off equipment unless it is plugged in and at -45F propane will remain a liquid in the bottom of a bucket when you have to take the regulator inside to warm up by the wood stove so your lights and cook stove will work.  Without experiencing it you can not comprehend the difference in the winters from where you are now.  When I worked in the woods it was about 45 miles off a paved road - nothing by Alaska standards, but plenty far in to die if you were not prepared.  I always kept at least one full change of clothes in my truck with me, extra heavy jacket, extra socks, boots, etc - so did everybody else.  In addition to living there it would be money well spent to get into some sort of back country group that could introduce you to how to be prepared and survive the conditions you will be up against.  

There is no TV show that can actually convey what a bog of black flies or mosquitoes so thick the air looks like it is moving up and down is actually like, or just how miserable it is when your snowmobile (we called them all Ski-doos no matter who built them) is stuck in so much powder that when trying to lift up the back end you push yourself into the snow, suddenly there is an ice ridge on the lake ahead of you that was not there yesterday?  What do you do?  

As far as working in below zero temps, steel gets really brittle when the mercury drops and things break really easily, not to mention you can get dehydrated and over heated really quickly.  Not saying this can't be done, but you really need to get experience under your belt beforehand.  I had to fish more than a few folks out of the water - sometimes with treble hooks, dig them out of the snow, or just drag them out of the woods in a bag on a tote sled, because they were not prepared for what they tried to do - then I had to tell their next of kin, you don't want to be that guy.  
I was talking to someone else about this earlier, his suggestion was to go up there and spend some time in Jueno. I believe someone else here suggested living in Alaska for a year before buying land, both bits of advice I will be taking. If I go up there for a year before buying land. After the winter in spring, maybe one better wait till summer, and get out and explore with a ultra light. Visiting little towns and air fields along the way. Just to get to know the land, at least some what.
So new order of things as of this post, first short experience to the cold, year of living up north to experience to weather in Alaska, explore with ultralight, buy land after about a year and a half, then lastly build.

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #16 on: October 12, 2019, 12:08:03 AM »
extra batteries and chargers for any cordless tools, generator,
 
Consider a small solar setup to charge your tools instead of running a generator (to save on gas).
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Offline Kainkelly

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #17 on: October 12, 2019, 01:44:44 AM »
extra batteries and chargers for any cordless tools, generator,

Consider a small solar setup to charge your tools instead of running a generator (to save on gas).
Would there be enough sun, actually maybe if I hit that point it may be time to call it for a season. Not sure how much could be done real world in such a small window of day light. I also think that may be cheaper then a generator, and for sure would be easier to move around.

Offline Old Greenhorn

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #18 on: October 12, 2019, 06:00:05 AM »
Yeah foundations are why I was wanting to buy plans off shelf where there is something to follow, vs starting from scratch is there any recommendations for reading for design and construction of foundations? Going through materials and stress loads/distribution still namely on tfguild, and a few other places here and there.

Looking forward to making this happen.
Respectfully I think you may have missed my point just a bit. I was trying to say that having plans, written or otherwise is of course good, but having the actual hand and mind skills to execute those plans is critical to success. Spending a day or more to figure out how to make something work is a killer when skill would have allowed you to do the same thing in an hour. Time counts and skill is time. Daylight and weather become the coin of the realm in hostile conditions.
This won't give you any skill instruction, but it is a good book and enjoyable read. Check out "One Man's Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey" by Richard Proenneke. There are two books, I think the first would be best for you. You can find it cheap on ebay. It might give you some flavor for the mindset. Keep in mind Richard entered the woods on his dream after decades of experience and building skills.
Best of Luck.
Oscar 328 Band Mill, Husky 450, 372 (Clone), Mule 3010, and too many hand tools. :) I mill for fun and my mental health. NYLT Certified.

I ain't the woodcutter, but I can cut wood 'til the woodcutter gets here.

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Re: New guy planning for far north
« Reply #19 on: October 12, 2019, 01:24:12 PM »
Kain, what everyone is trying to tell you is that you need to be prepared for what you are saying you want to do.  Things can go bad wrong up here and help can be very far away.  This guy is very lucky to be alive:

'Nothing was as he expected': Trip to remote Interior Alaska ends in river rescue - Anchorage Daily News


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