The Mountain Cabin Timber Frame

When apprentice Dennis Berkmans inquired about a special project in May, we decided to create a cabin frame that would be beautiful, strong, and incredibly functional.

It had to be on the smaller side, so it would be easy to transport into someone's backyard, or up in the woods for their artist retreat or hunting camp.

It had to be something that didn't take a reeeeeaally long time to cut, and something that didn't use 100 pegs (which take a while to shape by hand).

It had to have headroom, and shed snow, so there would be a lot of room for storage or a partial loft, and at the same time, also work in a variety of environments.

It also had to look like a place someone would want to spend a week or more inside, since it was small, so it had to have a way to capture people's imagination and inspire them, and be a place that will be fun and last for generations.

Anyway, this is the frame we came up with. We call it the "Hawk Circle Mountain Cabin Frame".

It's mostly cut from six by six beams, with the plate beams and the tie beams six by eight inches and the rafters are six by four inches. It's mostly made from eastern hemlock, which is a very long lasting and very strong wood that is often called the 'Douglas Fir wood of the Eastern US'. For this frame, we used locust as the sill beams (bottom part of the frame) because we had some of that wood available, but future frames can use hemlock or tamarack/larch, because those are rot resistant woods too!

This is one 'Tiny House' that will last a lifetime or three. It's durable. It's strong. It's designed for longevity and for value. It will add value to your life, to your family, to your property and your community (if you decide to share!)

I don't know what it is about a small cabin that just makes people happy.

After we built it, and put up all the remaining rafters, our campers, staff and visitors this summer just had nothing but smiles and good things to say about this little frame. They inquired about where it was going to go, and who was the lucky person who was going to get to live in it.

When they heard that we had cut it to be a firewood shed for the Summer Camp and for Eagle House, they seemed heartbroken!

On the other hand, it's important for our firewood to have a dry, safe home, where we can store a firewood cart, to make hauling wood neat and easy on the body, too.

And we don't plan to just make one, so we can see what the next one wants to be, and where it wants to go. Could be for the sheep. Could be for our next gardener or farmer. Could be for our wilderness instructors, or visiting teachers and program leaders.

In any event, we have big plans, but for now, we are happy to be teaching people to either cut their own frame, or build some for people who don't have time to do it themselves...

If you are interested, check out our page here. It's got a lot of details, and you can call us and get more info too.

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