Words of the Wise Acres

A diary of the projects, hurdles, rewards and family life at we recorded at Wise Acres, our former homestead in Horsefly, BC. (Careers and teenagers have forced us back into the city, at least for a little while.)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Cabin - Part 11: Chinking the outside

At this point I've been working in the cabin for about six months, and during the summer I haven't had to worry about heat retention.

Now, as it's cooler, I've been feeling the heat escape more quickly than desired, and I finally got around to chinking the outside to help stop it.

Here's my first attempt, on two rows on the far side of the cabin...

I wasn't that happy with it. Inside, it had been less of an issue because I used a spatula to spread the chink, and then sanded the excess afterwards.

On the outside, sanding wasn't an option because the logs weren't planed smooth. Also, I had stained the cabin a few weeks ago in preparation for the easier cleanup after chinking.

So I invited out good neighbor and friend Florian to finish for me. He's got a far better hand for this kind of detail work.

The final result, a few days later, is far more impressive thank to him.

I now just have to trim the outside windows, and if I have time, skirt around the bottom.

The stain does look good though.

Location:Horsefly, BC

Sunday, May 6, 2012

The Cabin - Part 10: The stairs

There's not much to say here, except show that we no longer need a running leap to make it up to the porch.

I extended the top step outwards for a bit of style and to possibly hold some planters.

I've been working in the cabin for over a month now, and it's everything I'd hope it would be: not a bedroom and quiet.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Cabin - Part 9: Chinking and Flooring

As logs tend to change shape as they age, log buildings are chinked, which can be done with moss or cement, but usually with something that can stretch with the shifts in the wood.

We used a mix that to me felt like latex paint with some kind of grit in it.

Before you can apply it, you lay down some kind of backer. We used a tubular foam strip. This ensures the material is not touching both logs at their closest points, as this makes it more prone to ripping.

The strip was stapled in, and then we used a trowel and putty knife to apply it. There is a caulking gun available, which applies it in a nice bead. The one we borrowed did not want to participate.

The cabin was chinked in two days.

Then we laid the floor. We went with a cheaper floor, an "easy" install tongue-and-groove laminate that has the look of reclaimed barn board. This was not super easy, and I was frustrated with our initial result. Our good friend Matt came over, and we ripped it up and reapplied it in an hour! It looks great! The issue that my first row was not staying straight, and the ever-so-slight variations in the line made the tiles not want to stay clicked in. Part of my challenge was that when I pushed against the laid row with a new board, there was no solid backing because the floor abutted against the still-fresh chinking.

I still had some work ahead of me, but this was enough to set up a temporary workstation.

Location:Wiseacres, Horsefly, BC

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Cabin - Part 8: The Ceiling

So far the building is made of mostly spruce and fir, but when it came time to pick a ceiling, I went with a cottonwood/aspen mix. I chose this because the cost wasn't much more, I could still get it from a local producer, and it's very pale, making for a higher-feeling head space.
Once again Florian came over to help, along with his compressor and staple gun. We stopped by Leading Edge, Horsefly's own lumber mill (who have incredible flooring and other wood products) and picked up enough aspen tongue-and-groove ceiling planks to fill 140 square feet. We chose 14+ foot lengths so we didn't have to mess around with connections - each piece ran the entire length of the room.

We had to fight the downward pressure of the insulation most of the way. I don't know how I would have done this without Florian's help or his nail gun.

We started around 4pm, stopped for dinner (great meatballs by Joanne!) and pushed through till we were done at 10pm. The light fixture slowed us down for about a half hour, but otherwise it was pretty smooth going.

I also picked up some cedar trim to install around the windows and door, but that will have to wait till after we've finished chinking.

Location:Horsefly, BC

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Cabin - Part 7: Insulating the Roof

I mentioned in my last post that I'd installed blocks between the rafters - here's what they look like.

Yesterday Florian came over and helped me get the insulation into the ceiling. It's not a pleasant job and I really appreciated his help. Once the batting was up, we taped up the vapor barrier.