Building Our Bush Cabin – Part 2

Part one left off with me having a beer and enjoying an evening by the camp fire after finishing off the ground floor bearers. I can sit for hours staring into the flickering flames, perched under the stars with a beer, or perhaps a port if it’s chilly, in hand.

Some time went by before I tackled the next item on the list, floor joists. As luck would have it my good friends and neighbours own a Peterson portable sawmill, an awesome piece of kit that I admit to coveting! We spent a few hours milling up an old Stringy Bark that had come down in a storm and I took home enough joists for all of the internal ground floor, just not quite enough for the deck as well. My sloppy work on the width adjustment wheel meant that they were not quite uniform width, but hey who’s complaining when they’re free hardwood joists, not me!

If you read part one you will know that my bearers are half-rounds cut out of tree trunks, so their top edges are far from straight and true, not so great for attaching joists to if you want a remotely flat floor. Next job; notch out the bearers with saw and chisel so that each joist top sits on a level plane. To get a level we marked out where all the joists were to sit then used a water level (just a clear plastic hose filled with water) to find the lowest joist position on the wavy up and down bearers. Low spot found we then marked our level back from there. It’s important to find this lowest joist point otherwise you’ll end up with a joist hovering in mid air above your bearer if you start your level from a higher point. There is something about working with wood and this process wasn’t as laborious as it first seemed, certainly a lot more enjoyable than laying bricks!

Yet again some time passed before any further work was done, the demands and chores of everyday life tend to get in the way more than I’d like, which of course is one of the main reasons we want to get out on the land and do more of what we want to do, rather than just being a cog in the machine, working to pay the bills, day after day blurring into the next.

Eventually, at the suggestion of our neighbours, we organised a working bee. The idea was to get the rest of the main structure up in 3 or 4 days, including all milling. A little optimistic I thought, but what the heck, aim high and hit the mark… perhaps.

We found a nice big tree that had died not too long ago on our neighbours property, plenty of meat in it for everything we needed.

And here it is after felling

Tree felled we measured out just short of 6m (limit for the mill), cut it from the main body, rolled it aside, set up the mill around it and got milling!

It really is quite amazing to see a stack of neatly milled timber growing out of what was a standing tree just hours before hand. Hundreds, if not over a thousand dollars worth of hardwood for a days work, not bad I reckon.

We moved the timber up to our place and day one of the working bee was over. Time for a beer.

Stay tuned for part 3

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