Saturday, February 16, 2008

I decided awhile ago that I wanted a log bed in the cabin.

Originally, I planned to harvest the logs myself from thinning small-diameter pine or cedar trees on my property, learn how to cut mortise and tenons into logs, and construct my own bed. While I was passively pondering this, I discovered that a co-worker's husband (Jonathan Rush) builds custom log furniture as a side business. Among other things, it helps him pay his way through school.

Instead of building the bed myself, I decided to commission Jonathan to build my bed. Its a full-size bed, which should fit well on the loft. It is also a simple bed, entirely made from Western Red Cedar, harvested personally by Jonathan from his grandparent's property on Moscow Mountain.
I instructed Jonathan that, in order to mesh with the timber-frame cabin, I didn't want any metal fasteners in the bed frame: only pegs and perhaps a little wood glue.

He got to work figuring out a good system for this.

Ultimately he came up with a great system which employs braces and oak pegs (not unlike the cabin itself)!

I could not be happier.

Ordinarily, Jonathan finishes his beds with a couple coats of polyurethane. While this makes for durable and good looking furniture, I decided that I wanted to finish the bed with Landark Oil instead.

We'll see how that turns out!

The bed turned out beautifully. Jonathan provided detailed instructions on assembly, and I can't wait to get this bed into the cabin this summer. Its going to be fantastic.

I'm thinking of doing something very similar to this log-furniture technique to create a railing for the loft. More on that topic soon.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Snow, snow, snow!!!

This area of the world, known as the "Palouse", has so far received the most snowfall in a decade, and the snow is not done falling yet. The governer declared a state of emergency for our county, and the kids had 4 snow days last week. Its snowing now as I type this.

Here are the kids in the backyard, playing in a quinzhee. You can see the stick-framed playhouse I built for them in the background, and the crazy snow load on the playhouse roof. :-)

I decided to snow shoe up to the cabin site to document how well the cabin and the site is dealing with heavy snow. I'd say that there is an average of 5' of snow everywhere, with drifts getting as high as 8-9 feet in some places. It was an arduous trek, because the top 2-3 feet of snow was pure powder, and my snow shoes sank at least 12" with every step. This same hike was much easier last week.

Here is the trail up to the cabin:

Here is the snowy southern view from near the cabin site, which sets atop a hill.

As always, I was glad to see that that cabin is still there:

This is the most significant snow load that I've seen on the cabin roof yet. Its about 10-12 inches, which actually not too bad at all. Considering that at least 2-3 feet of new snow fell recently up there, and the ground has about 5 feet of snow (up to 8-9 in some drifts).

It was impossible to open the temporary door to the cabin without a snow shovel, since the snow drift and berm (to the left in the picture below) blocked access to the door. Surprisingly, the larger drifts are on the South and East sides of the cabin. Since the wind blows predominately from the west, I figured that the western and northern sides would get bigger drifts.

These big drifts make me realize how important a porch is going to be.

I can't wait to get the Tyvek off of this thing and install windows, insulation, siding and a wood stove. It would be a *great* snowy hideout for the whole family this time of year.

Progress on the cabin is slow. Obviously, just getting to it is hard and there is no way to bring up materials. This snow won't melt entirely until April or May, and I won't be able to drive on the land until close to June.

Time to finish the door and windows in my shop and maybe make a little furniture while I wait for the spring thaw...