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#3127547 - 04/19/12 10:08 AM Cabin construction - foundation help
Cachottier Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/26/06
Posts: 104
Loc: Quebec-Canada
I am going to build a 12x16 cabin in a couple weeks on my trapline.

My question is...

I cannot use a permanent foundation like a concrete slab, sonotube with concrete or 4x4 or 6x6 posts underground stuck in concrete etc...
Most of you guys are living where the earth freezes down to China, freezes here too... What would be the best thing to use and do for a cabin foundation that would be on top of ground... large skids, adjustable piers, large trees?

Thanks
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#3127584 - 04/19/12 10:46 AM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: Cachottier]
waggler Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/11/08
Posts: 115
Loc: Alaska and Washington State
If you can get railroad ties into your location, cut them in half and crib them up on all four corners of the cabin as high as you want the foundation wall to be. Then use 16' long 6x10's (or someting close) on top of your cribs for your foundation wall. Keep a ten ton bottle jack under your cabin, when you have to make adjustments due to settling etc. it will only take you a couple of minutes to shim things back to normal.


Edited by waggler (04/19/12 10:47 AM)
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#3127684 - 04/19/12 11:57 AM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: Cachottier]
white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 14797
Loc: McGrath, AK
Skids work. Posts under skids also works. A lot depends on your soils and drainage. Are you limited to the materials you have onsite or can you get other materials to the location ?
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#3127700 - 04/19/12 12:11 PM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: waggler]
Cachottier Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/26/06
Posts: 104
Loc: Quebec-Canada
Originally Posted By: waggler
If you can get railroad ties into your location, cut them in half and crib them up on all four corners of the cabin as high as you want the foundation wall to be. Then use 16' long 6x10's (or someting close) on top of your cribs for your foundation wall. Keep a ten ton bottle jack under your cabin, when you have to make adjustments due to settling etc. it will only take you a couple of minutes to shim things back to normal.


thanks, do I have to burry them a little on each corners?

crib?
You mean, they are sitting flat or they are vertical?
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#3127701 - 04/19/12 12:13 PM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: white17]
Cachottier Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/26/06
Posts: 104
Loc: Quebec-Canada
Originally Posted By: white17
Are you limited to the materials you have onsite or can you get other materials to the location ?


Thanks,

I can bring on site almost anything 1 man or 2 can lift
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#3127707 - 04/19/12 12:23 PM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: Cachottier]
fivemiletrapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 11/27/09
Posts: 5
Loc: Northeastern Ontario
We use cottage slabs here. They're about 18" by 18" by 4" thick, available at home hardware. I have built a lot of cabins on them, not much need to worry about settling. My 16' by 18' trap cabin sits on nine, never had a problem with it. All you have to do is dig down to mineral soil, put the slab in level, then put a post on top. You don't even need to have to slabs all the same level, just cut the post you put on it to different lengths. You can also put cement block on them, but then they can only be out of level from each other by the height of a block. most outfitters in this area use them for their outpost cabins too.

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#3127711 - 04/19/12 12:27 PM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: Cachottier]
waggler Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/11/08
Posts: 115
Loc: Alaska and Washington State
Originally Posted By: Cachottier
Originally Posted By: waggler
If you can get railroad ties into your location, cut them in half and crib them up on all four corners of the cabin as high as you want the foundation wall to be. Then use 16' long 6x10's (or someting close) on top of your cribs for your foundation wall. Keep a ten ton bottle jack under your cabin, when you have to make adjustments due to settling etc. it will only take you a couple of minutes to shim things back to normal.


thanks, do I have to burry them a little on each corners?

crib?
You mean, they are sitting flat or they are vertical?


Say your railroad ties are cut four feet long, lay two of them parallel with each other and four feet between them (outside to outside measurement), then place two more on top of those two, also four feet apart. Stack them as high as you want your crawl space under the cabin. Of course it's best if you can dig down to mineral soil first before you start your stacks.
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#3127724 - 04/19/12 12:43 PM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: waggler]
trapper ron Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/08/08
Posts: 1210
Loc: Kelowna BC Canada
The concrete squares (24 x 24) under your blocking is a wise idea. Sitting directly on the ground your blocking will rot out. Posts under skids and set on concrete. Cut your skids and flatten two sides with an Alaska Chainsaw mill. A good tip is to place your skids close to the outer edges so as not to create a cantilever where a snow build up on one side could tip your building.

One thing I did learn was not to use cinder blocks. A couple of mine are breaking down. This summer I will use some concrete pads and blocks on top under the skids to replace all the cinder blocking.
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#3127738 - 04/19/12 01:00 PM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: Cachottier]
northway Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/25/07
Posts: 1264
Loc: Tok, Alaska





Here is what we did. 14x20. Ground has no permafrost, so is stable.

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#3127764 - 04/19/12 01:40 PM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: Cachottier]
akitzman Offline
trapper

Registered: 02/28/12
Posts: 3
Loc: Southwest Indiana



since you can't bury the posts these work very well and are available at any lowes/home depot/ etc...you just set your 4x4 in there....once you run your rim joist around, install any beams/floor joists etc, all your posts will lock in together as one big solid unit with a bunch of little feet...these things are easy to carry and fairly cheap as well...just cut your posts to the desired height, set them where you want them and start attaching boards....the more you build, the more solid the posts become
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#3128508 - 04/19/12 10:06 PM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: Cachottier]
yukon254 Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 445
Loc: Yukon
24 x 24 PWF foundation pads.... you would need only 4. build them out of PWF 2x6s three layers thick. I have over 20 cabins, most much larger than the one your building on them. Great thing about them is that they are easy to build on site.
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#3128606 - 04/20/12 12:57 AM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: Cachottier]
yukontrapper Offline
trapper

Registered: 02/11/09
Posts: 1
Loc: Galena Alaska USA
I am wanting to build a 12x16 within the next year. I have treated Railroad ties i'll put down. Then put a two sided 8" log on top. Then frame my floor on top of the two sided 8" logs. Thus i can level using a bottle jack lifting the two sided log and shimming on top of the railroad ties. I'll jus shim the corners till i get it where i want it.

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#3128749 - 04/20/12 08:04 AM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: Cachottier]
Bushman Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/28/06
Posts: 548
Loc: Alberta
Burying foundation posts can sometimes lead to heaving as the frost moves up and down. I've built a lot of cabins and what i like is building on well drained sandy or gravel soil. I put down either PWF 6 x 6 timbers or creosote rail-ties flat on the ground. I put them down as level as possible without getting too crazy. If you can place the timbers on a layer of gravel for increased drainage it's even better. Once the timbers are on the ground and squared up I frame my floor system up and then bring it to level off of the timbers. How you level depends on how much clearance you want between the ground and your floor. I like a couple feet for ventilation and air-flow under the floor system so I use 4x4 pwf posts to lift my framed floor to the right height.
If you want a floor at more ground level you can use shims to level right off the timbers but make sure you use pressure treated or cedar so the shims don't rot.

Another trick is to put your ground timbers on top of shingles that are laying on the ground. Shingles will last over ten years in the ground and provide some protection against water coming up. If you want to reduce mice in your cabin lay down a sheet of heavy poly on the ground before laying your ground timbers down. Mice don't like the plastic and avoid living under your cabin floor. I've got another cabin build in my future too.

PS - buddy put cabin on concrete walk blocks that ended up splitting in half under the pressure. We talked about it and thought he could have perhaps put a piece of 3/4" pwf ply on top of each block to help carry the load. Ended up jacking up and replacing with railway ties.
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#3128840 - 04/20/12 09:48 AM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: Cachottier]
Cachottier Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/26/06
Posts: 104
Loc: Quebec-Canada
Thanks, lot of good informations and tricks.

Akitzman... What I don't like about these is the slots and the square hole is only 1¾" deep.
Here's good links:

http://bnbpetcare.com/personal/yardshelter/footings/

http://www.coyotecottage.com/cabin/cabinconstruction/foundation.htm

http://www.deckplans.com/

Bushman, I like that plastic idea "mice"

Do any of you put wire mesh under the floor joists to prevent mice infestation?

Thanks again!


Edited by Cachottier (04/20/12 10:04 AM)
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#3128885 - 04/20/12 10:44 AM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: Cachottier]
UgashikBob Offline
trapper

Registered: 09/30/08
Posts: 528
Loc: Alaska Bristol Bay
I've done the posts wrapped in visqueen with all sorts of variations of concrete added and you still get settling. I posted a photo before of what my neighbor did before with jack screws under metal U brackets that hold your joists. Once you concede there will be settling you have to have something to adjust it with. My problem with wrapped posts described above is 20 some years later the added weight of several additons to the cabin out of control resulted in max settling. It is so bad I have doors that are unuseable because I have no easy way to adjust the settling.
What Bushman is recommending is a good solution also with slightly elevated area with pad of sand/gravel and just build on it. As long as it is kept cabin size I've seen it work.

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#3158767 - 05/14/12 01:07 PM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: Cachottier]
Cachottier Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/26/06
Posts: 104
Loc: Quebec-Canada
Update....

My wife and I went on our registered traplines this week end for cleaning and preparing our future cabin location.
We could take a few pictures when we were working or eating...LoL

We started cutting some small branches on that small road that gives access to our cabin location.



Almost done with the trail we will be using to go in/at the cabin.



Cutting wood behind the trees where the cabin will be.



Here's a few shots where the cabin will be.





Shed location



A lake picture



After working all day... We went at an old mine location where I found some old foundations and we ate a delicious meal with "Vino" !
BTW... I found plenty of wolves tracks around those foundations




A native dump on my wife's trapline we found





And before leaving this afternoon.... We had lunch in front of a river on my wife's trapline, chicken breasts and vegetables right on the road! LoL




And even in the bush... I need my "latté" coffee and I can make some that taste almost like the real thing!



Here's a little video my wife took of a spruce grouse that was not shy at all...LoL



And a on this shot... we can see from the future cabin location where the small road is...



Hope you enjoyed?

Next trip there will be to build the foundation and the insulated floor.

Stef


Edited by Cachottier (05/14/12 01:11 PM)
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#3159411 - 05/14/12 08:54 PM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: Cachottier]
yukon254 Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 445
Loc: Yukon
Looks like you have a nice area!
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#3161261 - 05/16/12 12:25 PM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: yukon254]
Cachottier Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/26/06
Posts: 104
Loc: Quebec-Canada
Thanks Yukon!

Bushman...
You meant something like this?

6x6PT direct on the sand?



How long can it last (rot)
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#3162724 - 05/17/12 05:19 PM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: Cachottier]
Cachottier Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/26/06
Posts: 104
Loc: Quebec-Canada
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#3162777 - 05/17/12 05:56 PM Re: Cabin construction - foundation help [Re: Cachottier]
yukon254 Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 445
Loc: Yukon
Cachottier I have never used those but would sure like too. I know some contractors who started using them a few years ago and love them. The only drawback is that you have to be able to get equipment into the site..... for me thats impossible. If you can I would go that route.
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