“A Framed” Cabin Paradise
If you’re into snowmobiling, everybody knows that the west coast of Newfoundland is the place to be because of the quantity of snow, the early and late seasons and the sheer beauty of the country to name a few things. Being from the central part of the island, I am limited to the amount of time I can spend over there without having the expense of a place to stay overnight. But this was about to change.
So, having a carpentry company, I decided it would be a beneficial decision to build a cabin for me and my wife. I found the perfect piece of land for sale on island pond, just west of North lake. The location is accessible in the spring, summer and fall by vehicle and in the winter by snowmobile. Located on a large body of water with hills surrounding the full perimeter and hidden in a small cove, trying to figure out what to build was quite challenging. We didn’t want to build an ordinary cabin in the woods. We wanted something with an extra piece of character, something different yet suitable for the high winds and heavy snowfall, so we chose to go with an A-frame. Then the preparation began.
A few winters ago, my uncle and I went to the woods to start cutting logs for the cabin build. We had a plan for the dimensions of the cabin to be 30’x30’ and 25’ from the floor to the ceiling. We managed to cut 300 logs that winter. Over the following 2-3 years, I had those logs sawed into lumber; 2×4’s, 2×6’s, 1×4’s and 1×6’s.
During October of 2019, a close friend of mine from central, who is also a great heavy equipment operator went over to extend the road down to my land and to start clearing the piece of land, to allow me to start building. To prevent the road from washing out, we needed a deep ditch on one side to allow spring runoff a place to flow. We never got it all done that year, so the following June, I reached out to another buddy of mine, to finish clearing my land and to make a pad to construct my cabin on.
Once that was done, I started to bring my materials over load by load until I had everything on site and ready to go. It was late July (2020) when my crew started construction. The first day we had the concrete blocks in place, beams up, joisted over and sheathed over. Not bad for one day of work. By the end of the next day, we had made all the rafters, installed them and started to strap out the roof. Once the roof was strapped out, we framed up the front and back walls. We installed metal roofing atop of the strapping and orange vinyl siding onto of exterior insulation.
Once the building was weathertight, I started to work on the inside. I framed up the interior partitions on the main floor, consisting of a bedroom, bathroom, entry closet and a pantry/utility room. We also wanted a loft in the cabin so I had some birch 2×6’s sawed from logs I cut and used them as floor joists. My plan for the loft was to have all the floor joists exposed from down below.
After spending more time inside of the cabin, it seemed like it was needing something extra. I had some hardwood 6×6’s and 4×4’s milled from the logs, so I made a beam coming from each side of the cabin, and two beams going across the cabin, with braces going to the roof. This worked not only for added character, but great support for the walls. Then came the next step, the electrical.
Luckily for me, my uncle who helped me cut the logs for the cabin is also an electrician and offered to help me wire the cabin. We began by making a rough electrical plan, placed receptacles throughout the cabin, ran the wires, and install pot lights on the front exterior eve to make it shine in the night.
By the time the electrical was roughed in, it was mid-September (2020) and the temperature started turning cold again, therefore, next priority on the “to-do” list was to install the wood stove and insulation/vapor barrier. This is normally a pretty simple task, except that the sides of the cabin are on a steep angle and the location where the stove pipe needed to be placed was about 20’ up the roof. It took some doing to get the ceiling support kit, prefab support kit and the double walled pipe all installed, but it was nice to light that first fire. Doing the insulation wasn’t the easiest task either. Scaffolding had to be set up and taken down 3 times in order to insulate/vapor barrier the walls because of the beams previously installed.
From a past job that my crew and I completed, we managed to save 2×8 floor joists from a room that was being tooken apart. I took them to my shop where I removed all nails and screws, cut them to rough length and made them flat on one side with a jointer. I then ran them through my thickness planer to get all of them the same thickness and made tongue and groove flooring out of them. During the next trip to the cabin, I first installed a nosing to the forward edge of the loft, so the end grain of the flooring wouldn’t be showing and then fastened the flooring to the floor joists.
With the loft being floored over, we needed a way to get up there. A set of stairs would do, but, in order to save space, we didn’t want the stairs to come out more than 4’ from the wall. So, I made up what the rise and run had to be and I marked it out on some 2×8 aspen that I had. I then milled up some 2×6 aspen and used them as the treads, I screwed it all together using lag screws and fastened it to the wall.
Its been a long journey, filled with hard work, but the end result will far outweigh all the work still left to do, especially when riding days are only a couple of steps from the door, rather than a 4-hour drive from the Lewisporte area.
I hope you all enjoyed reading about the cabin progress thus far! Happy snowmobiling everyone! If you’re in the area please feel free to stop by and check the place out.