Thursday, October 18, 2012


Spanish for carpenter...
This past weekend I made good progress on the plumbing side of things.  My good friend and plomero (spanish for plumber) made a day trip and got the domestic water system up and running.  Above you see a 42 gallon pressure tank (left), an on-demand hot water heater (middle - Rinnai RL75i), and a pex manifold (right - 14 port by Viega "Manabloc").  We were able to hook everything up to the 3/4" soft drawn copper from the well and get it pressure tested. We also hooked up the black iron pipe to the propane tank.  This weekend we might even have hot water!

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Thursday, October 11, 2012

"Weathered In"

The term "weathered in" in mountain terms would be like sitting in a tent for days on end waiting for a storm to pass.  The term "weathered in" when it comes to construction means that you are ready for winter.  No chance of the elements effecting your inside operations, the exterior envelope is all buttoned up, and its time to fire up the heater (or the wood stove in our case).

I think this picture shows a good perspective on the inside of our Log Mahal.  We've been sanding logs since Labor Day, and have abused 10 friends in the process!  By the end of the Columbus Day weekend, our log builder finished the chinking and the Shrink and I finished the cleaning/vacuuming of the logs and applying a coat of interior log stain.

This weekend will be some final interior framing, mechanical rough-in and electrical rough-in.  Hopefully i'll have some pics of the mechanical room for you mechy geeks!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Flooding, First Snow and Cabin Construction

It't been a quick minute since this place has seen any updates.  We've been going like gang busters at the cabin trying to get everything buttoned up for winter.  All the family has left, so the Shrink and I have been putting a lot of "sweat equity".

Major features of work have consisted of doors and windows, sanding, metal roof and drain/waste/vent.

Here are a couple of pics to bring you up to speed:

Shut the side door.
Shut the front door.
Aaah sanding!  I've been sanding the interior logs since Labor Day.  But I guess you have to put the time in to make it right; this is what everyone will see when they walk into your cabin.
This is what it did for about 2 months.  Rain.  Heavy flooding on the rivers in the Mat-Su valley made for some interesting times.  The swollen rivers approached record stage on the Willow, Montana and Talkeetna Rivers.

This was taken last weekend.  Metal roof is on; stove is in so we have heat, firewood is stacked.  Chinking will start this week so we'll be officially set for winter.  Staining the interior logs will happen over Columbus Day weekend.  Shortly thereafter I will finish the mechanical and electrical and be ready for my rough-in inspection.

My View!  This makes all the hard work worth it.
Meg enjoys the moonlit night.  Ursa Major watches over the Alaska Range and the Great One...Denali.  LB watches over the Shrink.
Stay tuned as we wrap things up and head into winter.  Expect less frequent "stoke" as the ski season is upon us.  Don't worry....this is a different type of stoke, and the winters are long up here.  That's what March is for.

Cabin Progress Update

It's been a while since the last update; and in the construction world a lot can happen in that time.  And for our cabin project, a lot has!

In that time, we had a total of 9 visitors, or should I say helpers.  Pat, Aimee and Lucas arrived on the July 4th holiday and spent nearly 4 weeks.  Living out of a motorhome and pop-up camper, Pat and I made good progress.  The arrival of the Kruty's (Bob, Sue, Mindy and Gramma J) and my Mom and Conrad increased the productivity!  Below is a series of pictures that detail what has happened since the last update.

We arrived to the site and started with the ledger board, joist hangers, BCI floor joists and the subfloor.  Behind you can see the JOC (Johnson Operations Center).

Here is the Superintendent.  LB enjoying the view of Denali before we backfill.
Dirtwork is best done when its pouring rain (joking...).  We went from bluebird to full on down pour.  But at least she's backfilled.  We rented a Volvo tracked loader from Moore's Hardware in Talkeetna.
 Log stacking.  The night before we stacked we set the plate logs.  Lee had a crew of about 5-6 to help out, including us rookies.
This was by far the most exciting day for a log home owner.  We went from a subfloor to a log house in a matter of 5 hours.  With a crane sitting in your driveway at $185/hour, you can't help but make quick time.

I had a grand plan of doing a time lapse of the whole project, but everything went awry when I almost drilled through my finger and hit the wrong button on my GoPro.  
This is impressive.  Lee does a plunge cut with his chainsaw.  Note that steel reinforcement is only a few feet down.  And he's on the top step of the ladder.  (OSHA please don't read this!)
There's a lot going on in this photo.  Swingin' some logs!
The end product.  The logs have been stacked but there's a ways to go before its all monkeys and bananas.
 I basically constructed this roof backwards.  Typical framed construction would be to build the roof with conventional lumber and do rafters first; then sheathing; and finally whatever roof material you are  using.  Instead I put the tongue and groove down first - this is what you'll see from the inside.  From there we framed it (or farmed it :), then ice and water shield followed by a standing seam metal roof.

Pat, Seff and I contemplate what the prow will look like.
 The master and his apprentice. (Note that I am the apprentice).

 All in all, Pat and I spent 10 days on this roof.  My calves are still killing me!

Spray foam insulation wouldn't be fun without a little bit of tenting.
 After all the farming was done, it was on to sheathing, sonotubes and the post and beam for the covered porch.  Pat, Conrad (AKA Carmine) and Mr. K look on as Lee maneuvers the backhoe.
 The real talent.  Mrs. K and Gramma J!
 The whole crew!  (L to R) Bob and Sue Kruty, Mom and Conrad, Gramma Johnson, Lobita, Meg and I, Mindy, Lucas, Pat & Aimee
 The stoke has returned!  A trip to Alaska wouldn't be right without some summer turns.  Pat and I skied a gully in the SoFo that comes off of the main North Bowl ridge back to the main south fork trail. The sun cups where interesting, but hey....skiing is skiing!  Powder optional, Utica Club mandatory!
By the time my best friends had left, we were essentially "weathered in".  Many thanks to all the friends and family who put in the effort to make our dream home a reality!