Monday, September 3, 2018

0 Bear Teeth Cabin, Vol. 2 - How to Build a Kids Cabin

By the end of Vol. 1, we had three walls up, and were trying to find the perfect door for the cabin. Of course this is where I immediately start scouring Craigslist for some old door we can rehab. I knew I needed it to be just 24" wide since the whole structure is only 6' wide, and I had to get the front window in along with some spacing between the door and window. I think on my very first search I found the perfect door - just over 6' tall and 24" wide. After picking it up, we went about framing out the front of the cabin.

With the loft planned on the inside, and the lookout over the porch, we needed to make the front 12' tall. Luckily most of the 2x4's I got from Repocast were 16' long, so we didn't even need to build it in sections.

With this added, it was really starting to feel like a real cabin. It was time to add the deck siding - I was very excited for this part, since it didn't require a lot of thinking, just cutting all the boards to the same length and slapping them up. We started with the sides since we knew those would be the longest, and with no additional cuts, the easiest.

I worked on the front siding next, while my father-in-law worked to carve out the spaces for the hinges. The door didn't come with good hinges, but luckily I don't throw much away and had plenty of hinges to choose from in the workshop.

Cutting around the window and door framing was easy using a jigsaw. I just made the measurements, drilled a hole at the corner of the cutouts and sawed the pieces out. 

I was going to try to use a cool piece of driftwood we found in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, but the knob that came with the door ended up being much easier and sturdy. The best part about the door is that unlike our elevator doors (which I just realized we never did a post on - STAY TUNED FOR THAT), I didn't have to do anything to prep or rehab it. The outside is already a great rich wood that has been sealed, and the interior could be painted, but for now it works just fine.

At this point, I was ready to start putting on the siding on the back of the cabin. But I took a second and thought - it looks SO cool looking out the back of this cabin, with the hill going up, and all the underbrush and trees, it would be a real shame to close this all in. But I had no idea how I would accomplish finding windows so specific to fit in these sections. I took measurements, put them in the notes in my phone and started scouring the internet. There were some promising CL posts where someone had a ton of old windows, but I knew the amount I'd need would end up getting expensive, so I just held onto the notion and held off.

Just a week after we put the door on, I went to my uncle's new house to help him clean up - it's an old farmhouse with a barn/shed and a whole lot of overgrown brush and scrap things everywhere. While I was cutting back some ground brush, I looked against the side of the barn, and there were 20+ windows, most 27" square - he said he didn't want them and that I could definitely take them home if I could use them. I quickly checked my phone. The dimensions to the outside of the studs was 24", but I knew my measurements were not exact, and I wasn't accounting for the outside wall stud, which could potentially give me another 3.5" of clearance. I took a chance and brought 6 of the square ones and a couple of the smaller ones back. AND he had some random round treated posts laying around that I knew would be great for the porch supports, and he let me take those too.

Fast forward to that evening, we bring a window up to the cabin to dry fit - it fits PERFECTLY. Like it was meant to be. It was wild. On one side, I didn't have to modify the windows at all - I just screwed them in, adding caulk to the stud face and between the windows. On the other side, I did have to trim about 1/4" off one side to get it to fit. I had my wish without spending a dime and hardly having to do anything to get them to fit - it was a miracle.

When I posted this to my personal Facebook, a friend of mine WISELY pointed out that these are old enough to not be tempered glass, so if a kid put a foot through one, it could cause some serious injury. I decided to pick up some chicken wire and staple it to the inside. Chicken wire has some give if you have too large a span, so I added some studding between the windows so that I could secure the wire enough where pushing on it, you couldn't touch the glass. The studding also gave a cleaner appearance to the windows, almost making it look like one big piece of glass. In the openings above and below the center window, I added screen, and intend on using the two smaller windows in those spaces as windows that can be opened for ventilation.

You may notice that the board on the left, second from the bottom, is a little larger than the one on the right, but that's what happens when you're just using whatever you have lying around. Also, there will be bunks on the left, so you won't even notice it once everything is in place.

In Vol. 3, we'll deal with building the roof frame, sealing the cabin and building a loft! Till next time!


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