Two years ago, Dennis Berckmans, my apprentice from Belgium, cut this frame to be a woodshed for our camp or Eagle House, and it's been stored in a safe space ever since. But about two weeks ago, my current apprentice, David Prendergrast from Bristol, England, and I decided to get it installed at our camp so we could use it for storing firewood for our programs.
We started by marking out the location and then digging into the hill behind our campfire circle, to make it fit into the landscape.
The ground was soft and easy to dig, with just a few stones larger than a cantaloupe, which was great!
We placed the sill beams, which are made from Locust, on top of some very solid bluestone slabs, leveled, of course, and then covered with a moisture barrier and a layer of gravel, so it will stay dry under the cabin and help inhibit fungus and water damage.
Once we started to peg the posts and tie beams together with their braces, it started to go quickly. Karl Benner helped us with the raising, and this small frame lifted easily and slid into place.
The wood was seasoned and dry, so it was light, but when everything was pegged together, it was really nice and sturdy and solid. Raising the rafters went quickly too.
The next day, we installed the floor joists, the floor boards, and the roof boards and back wall. Because it's such a small building, everything happened in a blink of an eye. It took longer to sort decking screws and change batteries in our screw guns!
The roof pitch is 12/12, which is a right angle, so it's a steep roof and we used roof brackets to get the boards nailed up so the building could be used for our spring school groups.
Once the roof was up, we loaded it up with camp fire wood, and then spruced up our campfire ring, the benches and trails. When the children and teachers arrived, it was as if the cabin had been there forever.
We are very grateful to Dennis for cutting this frame for us, and for a fine apprenticeship project. Thanks, Dennis! You did a great job and everyone is loving this new space!
We will get the rest of the wall boards, and roof trim and shingles up before the summer camp.
And many thanks to Dave and Karl, too!
This keeps my faith in timber frames strong and solid, too. I'm still a believer.
Note: This frame was made with wood that we had in our yard, from beams that weren't used on some of our timber framing projects. The wood costs for the frame was negligible as far as cash outlay. But if I had to buy the wood fresh from our Amish sawyer, it would probably be about $400.
The flooring wood and roof boards and wall boards would run approximately $350-400, and the roof shingles would run maybe $300 including drip edge, felt underlayment, gutters and roofing nails. The rest of the costs were mostly labor/time, so, that was done by my volunteers and apprentices. Our truck fuel costs and barn, tools and other details all have small costs associated for them too. I'd say that you can build this for around $1,500-2,000.
If you are thinking of building a small cabin like this, your costs will vary depending on how much your wood costs are, and how long you take to build it, and whether or not you have some volunteers or helpers to get it done. You can do this, if you have some framing tools and some skills, and it feels really good, too, once it's up and standing!
If you were to buy a frame like this from a commercial timber framing outfit, you might expect to pay in the neighborhood of $5,000 to $8,000. Or more, depending on what kind of roofing, walls, flooring and other options you choose. (Which, honestly, is still a great price, if you are just buying one outright.)
If you are looking for a cabin like this, let me know! We can definitely cut one for you!