New Construction
check out the archive of last winters bathroom addition to the Moose Cabin here.

Winter 2002-2003 Report

Everyone knows that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. But this is Alaska and Kasilof is a small town and straight lines are far and few between. Our normal life and our building project have been slowed up this winter because of a couple of special circumstances. First, I spent a good deal of time with a friend dying from cancer. Life really is short and helping friends and loved ones should be a high priority, right? I've also been helping another friend who has been training for the Iditarod sled dog race — a chance to get back on the runners without the expense and work of maintaining a dog yard.

mushing
the log yard
In order to build our next cabin we have to get our logs out of the woods. The "piece-en-piece" or short log construction technique we intend to use is new for us. A 28' x 32' cabin will need about 150 eight foot horizontal infill logs and 14 eight foot vertical upright logs. I've been cutting, skidding and bucking up trees. I've got 70 eight footers peeled and stacked so far.
The winter has been unusual and I have to be very careful where I drive my skidder to avoid soft spots where the ground hasn't frozen. About 75% of the spruce trees on our 35 acres are dead or dying from the spruce bark beetle infestation that has devastated the spruce forests of South Central Alaska.The logs that are not suitable for building are used for firewood or decked for milling with my Lucas portable sawmill.
mr skid
Every guy needs a big yellow thing in his life.
1973 Treefarmer C5-D
The decision to build with short logs was dictated by the size and quality of the trees we have to work with. The trees on the east side of our property face the full brunt of the winds that blast down on us from the Tustumena glacier at the head of Tustumena lake. Sustained winds of 35 mph are common with gusts to 80 mph several times a year. That means twisted trees with spiral grain and a lot of taper. These are not well suited for cabin building but as they say "the price is right" so we are using them till they are gone.
windy day
crooked logs

If you are interested in short log construction, i've found that the book "The Craft of Modular Post & Beam" by James Mitchell covers the subject well.

I'll post more details and pics as we make progress with the construction (or get sidetracked with diversions).
Bob Toll- March 2003

 
   
   
   

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