James Freyr

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since Mar 06, 2017
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Married, no children, and 6 cats. I'm a bit of a jack of all trades having always done my own auto and home repair and have been working in the skilled trades since 2004, currently doing hardwood floors and setting tile. My wife and I love homesteading and pursue it more each year and I love growing my own food. I enjoy books, tea and hiking in the woods.
Middle Tennessee
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Recent posts by James Freyr

I'm a little late to the party here but after reading the posts, I'd like to chime in with something else to check. The propane regulator. I read in your most recent post Julia that you replaced the propane tank with a new one and it didn't make a difference, and after clearing the burner tubes, orifice, and checking the thermocouple, I think the problem might now reside in the gas supply. The propane in the tank you swapped out is at about 250psi, and there's a regulator that steps that pressure down. Regulators are pretty simple, but I think they're real neat in the fact that they can maintain a constant pressure all the while allowing more or less gas to go thru. Inside that regulator is a diaphragm and a spring or two, and they can wear out or get stuck. Regulators generally aren't serviceable, but are replaced, and the good news is they don't really cost a lot. Look for a round thing somewhere in the gas line that resembles something like the picture below. It ought to have threaded connections on both sides making it easy to replace with a couple wrenches and some pipe thread sealant. Hope this helps!

2 days ago
Yve, it sounds like it's going to be a solid cabin. One tip I'd like to offer, and you may already know and are going to do this, is to immediately caulk all the checks in the logs that are going in level or downhill. I didn't do this right away and was going to give the logs 6-12 months to "settle" and let the checks open up and have the majority of the new log movement take place. One day a rather gusty storm came thru, blowing heavy rain onto one side of the cabin, and water came thru some checks at the seams and into the interior behind where my kitchen cabinets were going. Luckily this rain storm came and revealed the compromising leaks to me before I covered things up. Had this storm not happened, months of water infiltration may have happened setting up conditions for rot to get underway. I gave the checks a few nice sunny days to dry out and proceeded to caulk them.

If you care to, please share some pictures of your project. I (and I'm sure some others here on Permies) would love to see some pics of your cabin. Good luck on your build!
I got my screws here in the states but I imagine they're readily available in Canada. If you do choose to go with timber screws instead of rebar, just make sure you get a screw long enough to go through the first log entirely and have the threaded portion fully into the log below. While I am not a professional log home builder, I think 24" spacing on the screws will be adequate.

By ready rod or speed rod, do you mean threaded rod? If it is, I'm thinking it's recommended with rebar as the logs and rebar can move and slide past each other, thus having the threaded rod to clamp & squeeze everything together. I'm going to hazard a guess and say it is not needed if using the timber screws, since the screws themselves will be applying that squeezing force to hold everything tight. I only say this since timber screws were used in my log cabin to hold the logs in place and there is no threaded rod tying anything together. Granted my log cabin has dovetail corners which are pretty tight and don't allow for much movement at all. Thinking about the butt & pass corners, it may be a good idea to also have threaded rod through those. It'll really help make for a solid corner and also help minimize any log movement through the changes in seasons.
I myself like to over-do things a little bit. For example, in the footing of the cabin I'm building, I chose to put in three courses of 5/8" rebar and pour 5000psi concrete, but in Tennessee two courses of 1/2" rebar are all that's required for a residential footing. I chose to do that because I was thinking "I only get to do this once", and the cost difference between the thicker rebar and an extra course wasn't much. Having said all that, I'm pretty sure 3/8" rebar is sufficient to secure your logs, but if it were my cabin, I would pay the extra few dollars and use 1/2" rebar. I would also drill pilot holes for the entire length of rebar. It's gonna be a bear of a job to pound rebar through a log without one, if it will even go at all and not split the log. The 2 foot spacing sounds right, I believe that's how far apart the fasteners in my logs are.

While on the subject of tying logs together, I chatted with a guy who has 30 years under his belt of building log homes, and he was telling me about how things were built when he started and what's changed over the years. Rebar in logs is one of them. He used to use rebar, but some time ago timber screws came on the market, that's all he uses now and those are what's tying the logs together in my home. One brand of these types of fasteners is Timberlok. With these, there's no predrilling pilot holes and there's no swinging a 5lb sledge hammer either :) I've included a picture below of what these screws look like.

As far as the inside corners go, either way you describe can work. I think flattening one log for the other to butt against might be easier than using a saw to cope a radius on the end of a log to neatly mate with the other one in the corner. I don't think either way is wrong, it just depends on the appearance that you want.

I hope all this helps!

Hi Yve, welcome to Permies.

I'm currently building a log cabin. Mine is a little different, with flat appalachian style logs and dovetail corners, but I understand butt & pass corners. I'll certainly try to help if I can. What sort of questions do you have?
A lot of work has been getting done on the interior recently. My brother and I installed some decorative beams on the ceiling in the living room which I really like. These were my idea in the design and my wife would have been fine without them, but I think beams & timbers on a ceiling in a log home seem fitting, and make the room more cozy. The electricians were back installing lights, fans, switches and outlets, all which passed the electrical inspection, and the local power company transferred the overhead service from the temporary pole and box out in the field to the house. Yay! Electricity! Well, I've had power since march but running a fridge, lights and tools off of an extension cord has been challenging. I have a new appreciation for the convenience of the electricity that I've grown up with and had in every home I've ever lived in. I had never really thought about the simple flip of a switch, or having power at those outlets along a wall and it always works. Grid power serves me well, and solar is on the horizon but not in the budget right now. I kinda see this grid connection as temporary, then one day with a solar array across the roof I hope to sell surplus electricity back to the power company.

We've been chinking the interior walls also, starting with the kitchen and living room so we could then start installing the hardwood floor. The chinking process is messy, and blobs of the material inevitably fall to the floor, stepped in and tracked around, so it makes sense to get that done before any finished floor is installed. The hardwood went down well, getting close to 300 sq ft done in a day and a half. Having the hardwood down then allowed us to get the cabinets set with lots of shims and leveling and re-leveling. Soon we will make a decision on counter tops and have the counter top people come take measurements.
3 days ago
Earlier in one of my posts I mentioned mistakes and blunders and I would share some. Here's one. It's the concrete piers that the front porch sits on. It's really a simple mistake I made, and I measured like three times and they still turned out wrong. It took me a few weeks to realize what I had done cause I couldn't stop thinking about them and what went wrong. Look close at the picture, and as the piers continue on down the front of the house, you'll notice that the posts the deck is sitting on start creeping closer to the house. The footings/piers for that front porch are supposed to be 8 feet from the foundation, and they are, depending on how it's measured. When I set out to mark the ground where those would go, I put my tape measure against the concrete block foundation, and laid the tape across the soil, and marked 8 feet. Well, I did not take into consideration that the soil slopes downhill away from the foundation, and the slope got a little steeper as I worked my way down the front of the house. There I went, laying the tape measure on the sloping earth, steeper and steeper, marking the 8 foot mark on each one. What I should have done, and the right way to do it, is measure 8 feet from the foundation straight out on a level plane, then using a plumb bob mark the 8 foot spot on the soil below. Since I didn't think about that and was marking 8 feet with my tape measure laying on the sloping soil, my marks got a little closer to the foundation each time I measured. They're not off by much, the worst one being about 4 or 5 inches too close, but man did it become apparent when the porch was being built. And one of my concrete piers came out leaning like the Tower of Pisa. I still don't know what happened there. I'll never forget this, and can laugh about it now. :)
2 weeks ago
Yay windows!!! Finally, we have windows installed, but not without a hitch. Man is it ever apparent that if something can go wrong, it will. When windows are ordered, the rough opening size is the information given to the companies that then order windows from the manufacturer. Generally, either the window company themselves or the manufacturer will then deduct a 1/4" on three sides of the rough opening measurement so the window will fit into the rough opening. Someone somewhere failed to make the deduction and the windows were made and shipped to me the same size as the rough opening, meaning they didn't fit. Not a single window. I'm still trying to figure out where the communication breakdown happened. Fortunately, it's just carpentry, and my brother and I grabbed the sawzall and resized the window rough openings so the windows would fit. And to our delight, as I tried to set aside frustrations and just move forward, the whole resizing process was fairly quick and easy for each window and we had all ten installed in a days time.

We promptly moved on to getting the doors installed, which were a little more tricky for us. It kinda seems pretty straightforward to install a pre-hung door, but it took a lot of tweaking and adjustment with shims to get everything plumb on 2 axis and square so the door shut into the jamb and against the weather stripping properly. It was a real relief to get the house mostly sealed up with the weather getting cool and some nights rather chilly. It was even more of a relief when some fierce winds and sideways rain came upon me to start off the month of November.

Another small project that I've been trying to finish since August are the small retaining walls at the basement door. If there's one thing that I'm terrible at, it's dry stacking concrete block. I find it difficult to get the right amount of mortar on each course, set a block close to where it needs to be, tap them into position, and have it turn out straight, level and plumb. I did one wall and my brother did the other, and he's way better at it than me. Mine is all crooked and wonky as shit, but my wife and I plan to cover the concrete block in natural stone one day, so that will hide the crooked blocks with inconsistent mortar joints. It's really not too big a deal to me since it doesn't affect the walls job of being a retaining wall and holding back some soil. Each course of block has a length of rebar in it which is inserted into a hole in the basement wall, and the retaining wall blocks will be filled with concrete just like the basement walls, so everything is tied together and hopefully minimize any cracks from developing and prevent the weight of the soil backfill from pushing the walls over.
2 weeks ago

Anne Miller wrote:....In a way, this confirms my belief that not all the water from the previous wash is drained out.

Sometimes washers that don't drain completely could be from the drain standpipe being too high off the floor, which can result in incomplete emptying of the washer, and not necessarily the washing machine itself. The washer connection box set in walls that have the hot, cold and drain in them are supposed to be a minimum of 36 inches but not more than 48 inches from the floor. A lot of washing machines drain the wash/rinse water based on a timed cycle, and the pump runs for x amount of time based on the load size setting. If the drain pipe is set too high, the rate of flow which the pump pumps out is reduced, and the timed cycle may not be long enough resulting in leftover water staying in the washer. The timed cycle is true for the older washers, but I am unsure if the new fancy ones actually have sensors in them telling the pump to keep pumping until all the water is removed.
3 weeks ago
I think it could be settling or a foundation issue, or, since you mentioned it's on the 2nd level, it could be a third culprit, trusses! I will give an immediate disclaimer that I'm not an engineer and I am also biased and I despise wooden trusses. In my opinion they're crap. Wood trusses for home construction will sag. It's just a part of the design. I have them in the house I currently live in holding up part of the 2nd floor, and as a result I have a sloped floor, cracked sheetrock, and everything that goes with those awful creations that have been approved for home construction.
3 weeks ago