Hut Raisin’ 2.0 Write-Up

Turn out for Hut Raisin’ 2.0 was an entire 33% higher than Hut Raisin’ 1.0, for a grand total of 4 people. Josh and Keith, last year’s helpers, returned, and this year we gained another Josh. We got a total of about a day and a half of building in, and I’m quite pleased with what we accomplished in a relatively short time.

Improvements over Hut 1.0 are numerous. We got off to a great start on Saturday, by laying down a “foundation” that is both square and level. The foundation was the part that I was most unsure about, but things worked out beautifully. We laid down two rows of cement blocks, and once we got them spaced and lined up, we got each individual block leveled. The terrain is inherently sloped and uneven, so instead of trying to level all the blocks in relation to each other, the 4×4 blocks that were placed between the 4×6 beam and the cement blocks were custom cut to compensate for the various height differences. At the end, we had two parallel beams, and then two 2x6x8 boards were attached to the end of the beams. To make sure everything stayed square, we calculated what the distance between the opposing corners of the beam should be, using Pythagoras’ good ol’ theorem, and checked it often, making minor adjustments as necessary. After that, we put in floor joists, then after squaring everything up one last time (and breaking for lunch), laid down OSB sheets that’ll act as the floor for now.

Then we started building up. The 4×4 columns were next. While the corner posts were held up vertical by temporary diagonal supports, we started working on the loft walls, working late into the night. Just about everything went according to my original design, and the only improvisations I had to make were diagonal supports, of which I used many. The next morning, we continued putting up the remaining loft walls, and finished off by putting up the loft floor itself, before everybody had to leave.

There’s still a ton of work to do, obviously, but I’m very happy with what we built. Most of all, I’m particularly pleased with the foundation. With Hut 1.0, I didn’t bother to level or square the “foundation”, and that naturally caused all sorts of problems later on, least of which was the tendency to roll in one direction when sleeping in the loft. This time around, the foundation feels solid, it’s square, and level. We also made sure the 4x4s were vertical when we put them up, and I’ve been using plenty of diagonal supports to make sure it stays that way. Though, all the diagonals are currently up top, so at the moment, the joint between the 4×4 columns and the floor are completely unsupported, thus allowing for some wobbling. I’m sure it’ll firm up once the siding goes on, but I’ll probably add some diagonals at the floor level too.

I’ll be working on the hut alone for the next few weeks. With the loft in place, I should be able to start working on the roof on my own. I should also be able to put in the windows, put up the first layer of siding and insulation, and then I might try and get more help to put up the exterior siding. I still haven’t bought roofing, so I’ll need to figure that out too. Hopefully I’ll be able to finish everything by the end of September, well before the rain and cold. So if you missed Hut Raisin’ 2.0, you might still make it to Hut Finishin’ 2.0 in September. Stay tuned for details (and for updates on the hut, of course)…

Also, check out the other photos from Hut Raisin’ 2.0 on Flickr!

17 thoughts on “Hut Raisin’ 2.0 Write-Up

  1. looking good! let me ask you something about the walls. What was the reasoning behind building the walls by raising the 4x4x8s first instead of assembling them on the ground and raising them up panel by panel?

    • The simple answer is that the walls aren’t “panels”. I’m hanging OSB on the outside of the 4x4s, then putting insulation boards on the outside of the OSB, then hanging siding on top of that. It’s more of a post-frame construction, than a traditional 2×4 panel construction.

  2. FREAKIN awesome man!! 🙂 The hut is looking good. I’m jealous. Someday I aspire to living off the land in a tiny home. The loft is a sweet addition. So, just out of curiosity, how far are you from the Portland area?

  3. when it comes time to add the siding make sure it extends down over your pressure treated beams that act as your rim joists..this will reduce future water damage to your osb decking

  4. Ryo, you might want to consider a cement-based siding panel like HardiePanel, which is fireproof and would help your hut avoid the fate of your neighbor’s trailer in case of a forest fire.

  5. What are you using for insulation this time? i strongly suggest the pink foam board type. Also, I’m wondering about the floor insulation? Same stuff would work, I’d use multiple layers. I’d get that in before I put up any siding as you have less clearance to work with. Adhesive + cutting panels with jigsaw to slighty too large (like a 1/4 inch at most) and pressing in from below show hold them and cut down on conduction losses through nails. etc.

    • For now, I’m thinking of just throwing down a rug or two on the floor. But eventually, I’m thinking of laying down some insulation on top of the OSB I have now, then putting in proper flooring.

      • I was thinking more of foam board insulation under the osb (at least between the joists). As i understand your plan, there is about a 12-inch or greater clearance between your floor and the ground. Cold air will blow under the hut, and the frozen ground in any case is a conductor sucking heat out of your hut.

        I think you really want more than a rug for comfort and fuel economy’s sake.

        Like you, I’m a trial-and-error learner rather than a qualified code-aware builder. However, your hut is surpringly like the doghouse I built this summer for the impending northern-illinois winter (although your hut is larger, of course). i have a raised floor and foam-board insulation underneath.

  6. From a linked forum:

    Dear Jim and Family,
    I can understand why [the gentleman that writes Laptop and Rifle, a blog recently mentioned in SurvivalBlog] should go forthrightly into the wilderness this way. Its taking control of his life, with his own hands. But it is a pity that some important stuff got overlooked. There’s a wonderful (and necessary) book called the “Uniform Building Code” (UBC) that all contractors know and love as their bible of legal building laws, which also happen to be good engineering. The google programmer is doing the equivalent of writing bad code by ignoring this book. His second hut has no poured concrete footing, so the first time it rains, its going to sink/tilt and no longer be level. Considering the area he’s building is heavily volcanic, the soil will also be composed of swelling clay, which means its also going to tear apart his concrete block foundation, something it would also do to a poured concrete footing. In that territory, you have to build in spring after heavy rains or water down the site for 30 days in order to allow the clay to swell to saturation. Thus, once the foundation is poured the concrete is put under compression, the only way its physically strong. Most homes in California are built this way due to the common prevalence of swelling clay soil that formed subsequent to the lengthy volcanic system that predated the San Andreas fault line. If he’d asked the county building department in Chico, he’d know that. Or ditto if he had just looked it up with a web search. Cheers, – InyoKern

    • Thanks, these are all good points. However, my response is “you have to write lots of bad code before you can write good code.” For me, the process is more important than the product. I don’t care if Hut 2.0 sinks or collapses in a year or two, as long as I learned something in the process. Yes, if I were a professional home builder or architect or engineer, I can’t go around building structures that might not last. But, I’m not a professional; I’m a student. As a student, I’m in the business of learning, and I happen to learn by making mistakes. The reality is, I don’t have the money to “do it right.” I can either sit in a cubicle and dream of the ideal cabin, or I can be out here building something that may not be perfect, but nonetheless gain valuable experience along the way. I chose the latter.

      Having said that, getting a copy of the UBC sounds like a good idea.

  7. Pingback: Hut Finishin’ 2.0: Oct 28 – Nov 1 « Laptop and a Rifle

  8. I’m taking a vacation from 22~31 October. Any chance of getting started sooner? Also, what is the closest town to you?

    I may have two other warm bodies to help too!


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