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  • Anyone ever built a cabin?

    Im looking for land to build myself a self sustaining off the grid eco friendly cabin.

    Now for all of you who are cringing at the thought hugging a tree, to me self sustaining means:

    it faces south so it is warmed by the sun in the winter.

    It has solar panels so I sell electricity to the power company and of course a well and a septic system.

    I figure with all the damage I do to the environment with my truck I need some good eco-karma.

    But I have never hung a window much less buitl a log cabin. Googling it gets you a crap load of log home builders.

    I dont want that. I want to cut the trees, dig the foundation etc...

    Anyone have any good advice, leads on info or anything to add that might help?

  • #2
    There's alot involved in that type of log cabin. Look around for log home builders that sell a kit. That's what the in-laws did. I put it up and did everything on the house. I was like playing with a big set of linkin logs. Had the walls and headers done in about 12hrs with 4 guys. That's window openings a doors cut out. Hope your good with a chainsaw. Plus the kit will be kiln dryed. Never use green logs. Saw a builder do the and what a mess. I send you some pic's if you want.

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    • #3
      if you have no experience with construction then it would be an incredable undertaking to do such a project. i would reccomend checking out amazon or a book store for a book on log cabins to start understanding them but the kits are the best way to go. i have scene the construction of a log cabin kit house and it was very sweet. only log cabin i built was made out of pine logs and we burned it for a party. very awsome.

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      • #4
        This is the type of kit I have already looked at. Unfortunately the vendor is out of business.

        The cabin

        I heard of a local family that actually bought a used portable sawmill to square off the timber off their own land to build this style of cabin.

        thats more the type that I am talking about. Was wondering if anyone on here had done that type.

        Josh I hadnt thought of a book store. Thats what I get for being internet spoiled...
        Last edited by LYKOS; 03-18-2007, 01:37 AM.

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        • #5
          I built a few log cabins back when I owned a construction company out of Omaha, NE. I used this company

          http://www.bridgermtnloghomes.com/index.htm

          They were real helpful and tried to meet all the specifications of our customers. They will put together the simplest to the most grandios kit.

          My suggestion is to make sure you have someone real experienced with log cabins, not just building houses. There were some real different issues faced when building these log homes. It wasn't as tough as a regular frame home, but different.

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          • #6
            I'm thinking that with your resources, you could probably barter some help.

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            • #7
              My dad built himself a little steel cabin in the woods, not entirely eco friendly, but simple. And he built it on the cheap (I think it's already paid off). Lots of stuff garage saled or the discount bins at Lowe's (Think he even knew some kids who could pour his slab cheap) All the water is in one place so he only needs a little heat in his mechanical room to keep it from freezing. He got the exterior up and then kind of lived in it as he slowly did the finishing work whenever he could find the next thing he needed cheap. If you can build in some good woods near a spring fed river, does wonders for keeping it cool in a hot summer.

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              • #8
                Heh Chad

                If you build it! They will come!!!
                Sounds good to me. I have a buddy/business partner that deals in land buying/selling. Call me.

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                • #9
                  Dont get your hopes up about selling power back with Solar Panals. They are really inefficient and the good ones are incredibly expensive. If you can, I would go with a wind powered generator. Only problem with them is, obvioulsy, you need wind. But those create a lot more power than current solar panels can provide

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                  • #10
                    I was looking at doing something along those lines once.
                    A couple of things can help your energy-efficiency:
                    1) berming (so that the earth is a large part of your insulation), which is a technique used in Iceland... looks like a kind of a dugout house.
                    2) a decent solar panel rig. When you consider what power costs over 4 or 5 years, and are willing to sink that kind of money into your solar rig, you can just about be totally power self-sufficient. In my case, I was intending to remain completely off-grid. For under $5k you can have a rig that will reliably power an ordinary home year round.
                    An additional technique to look at is an attached greenhouse... serves as a solar heat storage, and if you enter and exit through it, then a buffer between your interior space and the outdoors.

                    Good luck.
                    Should we start calling you Ted Kazinsky already, or what?

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by tomsjeep
                      Should we start calling you Ted Kazinsky already, or what?

                      OMFG!!!

                      That has been mentioned already by more than an few of the people that have heard my plan.

                      I just dont think I have the attention span it takes to sit down and wrote a manifesto.

                      But I do look good in a grey hoodie and cheap sunglasses.


                      The solar rig nou are talking about is exactly what Im thinking of. Ive read about them in a couple of magazines. I also have seriously thought about the entire off the grid concept. Orginally I thought I could use the grid as back up. But I actually can use my truck, a generator, a generator mounted on my truck and a just in case backup. something to that effect.

                      I guess the next step is to buy my mototrhome so I have a place to live on the land that I dont own yet while I build the cabin I dont know how to build yet.

                      Sounds like a plan!

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                      • #12
                        buddy of mine just had 14k truck laods of timber (all pine) cut and sold off his land. the pine that was too big, he brought in a portable saw mill and squared off the wood. built a cabin out of some and still has i think 4 flat bed trailers full of it left. the cabin looks awesome. very simply built to.... i can try and get the plans if ya want. shoot me a PM

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                        • #13
                          We actually live like that -almost

                          My family actually lives in a real log cabin, we can go off the grid at any time (frequent power outages) and we love it. But the expense is actually quite high. Our logs came from a forest fire in Montana,flash fires only harm the outside, the heartwood is still good and your helping eliminate the burned as they plant fresh seedlings (plus being I'm a firefighter the logs just look cool inside) a Amish crew built it, it's 1500 sq ft 2 story. We heat with a wood burner with back up heat of a propane tank/furnace (92%), then baseboard electric as third back up. I have to admit our off grid is a generator -hardwired that powers 75% of the house. Check out Mother Earth News, great magazine for the info your looking for. I have several good research books on getting started also, I'll dig them out and let you know the titles. Watch some of the kit homes they are all show and not to much on survival. Katadin has some real nice ones and they are Cedar (repels bugs). I have done alot of the remodeling on ours since being built and you have to be careful with windows and doors (they need to be built into sliding bucks or they will sieze up or blow out) anything else you want to know e-mail me direct.

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                          • #14
                            Hey LYKOS, are cabin isn't log, but rough cut timber frame/outside and togue & groove paneling inside, all the timber came off our land, was milled down the road, then air dryed for 2 years before we built.

                            As far as off the grid, we have a 6000 watt generator, we use occasionally. We have propane stove, fridge and lights. Wood heat via a high efficency sealed fireplace(takes it's cumbustion air in through a 4'' vent, burns 2-3times longer then an open fireplace, while putting out more heat). We also have the cabin wired for 12V lights in every room, an inverter for the 20'' TV and DVD player, and cig lighter type 12V power outlets. Right now we're running 2 deep cycle batteries in parralel, charged when the generator is running. Soon to be solar charged, with 3-4 batteries. We have a spring real close that has excellent water, but also have a drilled well with a 240V deepwell pump we run w/the generator. It took until last year for power to be brought up our road, and they wanted $26,000.00 to ty in! For that price we can get a kickin solar set-up, wind generator, and a couple more generators and gas ta-boot!

                            Thay have come along way with the LED lights and solar power/battery back-up stuff, so ya shouldn't have any problems on that end.

                            After my divorce from wife #1, I lived at the cabin for 3 years, other then the 150 mile roundtrip to work, I loved it! Still get there when I can! Good Luck eh?!

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                            • #15
                              Poplar, Oak??

                              Heh whats the best type of tree to use?? Gotta buddy with 96 ac. right below Smith Mountain Lake Dam, on Leesvile lake "For sale"!! And its full of matured poplar, most of them probably 100ft tall.

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