Rustic Cyberpunk

Coffee & Cabins

Cabin Life: Building Walls

6 min read

Between work tasks and copious sprouts of inspiration, I finally managed to put together the basic structure of the cabin walls. This is my first update on the cabin design in almost three months as I'm slowly making my way home from the work site.

The sturctures will be built on the previous foundation design. This is the overall direction I want to take, the details of which will be decided as I have access to more information as well as a building site. Because so much has happened this year, I don't know when I'll be able to begin, but I want to keep walking as long as I can see the path.

Cabin wall framing
The overall cabin wall framing.
Utility structure
Multi-purpose structure wall framing.

There are probably going to be many revisions to the final cabin layout from now until construction. And there might be revisions during construction as well, but I'm satisfied with this arrangement so far. It gives me the most amount of flexibility should things change.

The wall framing itself is fairly conventional and will use 2 x 4 studs for the most part. While this is smaller than a typical house framing, the sizes are matched to the overall smaller interior of the structures and expected snow loads with the relatively steep roof angle I'm envisioning. The stud spacing will be 16" on center as is typical for the U.S. and Canada.

Depending on the land I'll eventually be able to procure, the longest continous wall and the end wall without cutouts or openings will face the direction of prevailing winds on the building site. This will both improve longevity of the structures and reduce interior temperature swings.

Continous wall interior
Longest continous wall with blocking in-between studs. The blocking layout might change in the final version.
Continous wall exterior
Continous wall outside view showing ample room for insulation.

I decided against standard insulation like rock wool or fiberglass for the most part and will probably stick to two layers of "bubble foil" separated by an air gap for the walls, following the same scheme as the foundation. This will probably be eschewed by seasoned builders for various reasons, but my specific use case isn't a traditional building. My decision was based on time, effort, and cost involved when considering long-term viability in a highly weather-variable area with frequent intrusions from local fauna.

Insects and rodents love all manner of fiberous materials, especially in the woods, and I'd like to limit fiber insulation like rock wool only to the area close to the eventual location of the wood stove.

I may also have to move these structures at a future date and this will be a lot easier without the additional weight of fiber batts. Removable anchoring to the ground should suffice to keep the sturcture stationary in the winds expected in the area I've researching. Naturally, a lot depends on how the climate will change in the coming years, but there will be plenty of metal anchoring for the studs, foundation, and roof rafters as well.

Wall end stud
This is called a "California Corner", also called a 3-stud corner, and it's meant to provide a surface for the interior siding when two walls are joined while saving buliding material. The assembly should give enough structural rigidity and still leave enough space for insulation.
Wall blocking
The horizontal blocking between studs will have to be individually cut to fit the end studs, but this is a minor on-site adjustment.
Continous end wall
The end wall also has no cutouts for windows or doors so the final iteration will likely be centered on the middle skid for proper load-bearing
End wall length
The end wall is cut to fit in between the two longest walls of the structure

The walls will have horizontal blocking between studs to add resistance to shear forces. Traditionally, this was done with diagonal bracing, but since the studs are only 2 x 4, I didn't feel comfortable cutting into them to add the diagonals. This does add a bit more weight to the walls, but I feel that's an acceptable compromise.

End wall blocking
The end wall will also have blocking to add rigidity and will likely follow the same spacing as the longer continous wall
End wall and continous side wall joined
Once joined, the shared structure will add to the rigidity of the corner. The blocking will be installed on each wall before raising either one.

The one aspect that I'm still debating is the size of the door. Having a smaller door on the smaller structure template would make sense if I don't plan on bringing in larger equipment. But it adds to the surface area of the cutout, which is a problem when trying to maintain interior temperatures. I have to balance the aesthetics with practicality in this case, but for now, I settled on a 27.5" door opening for both structure types.

I may end up making the doors from scratch as the location and circumstances permit. This will also likely change in the final version or even during the build itself.

Door wall
The door shares a king stud (yellow) with the wall layout to avoid adding more lumber and is load bearing on the bottom skid. Only the jack studs (pink) are additions to the door cutout.
Door wall length
The door wall is the same length as the end wall, which has no cutouts. I'll be raising the door wall and end wall after raising and securing the two longest walls in their final location first.

The importance of nautral light wasn't lost on me during my camping trips and other outdoor frolicking. Even when living in a borrowed cabin, I noticed how quickly I missed the view, despite having ready access to it all the time. The main cabin will accordingly have two windows while the utility/multi-purpose structure template will have one window. I feel this will give me enough light and access to nature to enjoy, even during foul weather. The doors themselves will likely also have a window to ensure I have light coming in from two directions.

The headers for windows and doors are two pieces of 2 x 6 or 2 x 8 with three pieces of siding in between and insulation between the gaps. The roof won't be that big while it has adequate slope so even with heavy snow, this structure should be more than enough to transfer the load to the ground.

Window wall
This is the most complicated layout of all the wall assemblies. There's one king stud (right yellow) that is shared with the wall layout, but in the final iteration, I think I can share two for each window. The jack studs and cripple studs (pink) will come from cutoffs and extras left over from the rest of the structure, so this will likely be built after the rafters and other walls are built.
Window wall length
The window wall is the same length as the longest continous wall, spanning the entire length of the cabin. The utility structure will also follow this scheme for its window wall.
Window wall and door wall joined
There will be blocking between the studs in the final iteration to add structural rigidity.

There are a multitude of on-site considerations even with this overall plan. The actual placement of the structures will depend significantly on the ground conditions and weather. While I'm specifically looking at snowy areas, I'm hoping to avoid any locations with flooding. But this isn't always possible and there may be other issues with permits and easements.

I still haven't given up on building in New York since I have an affinity to the state. My family lives here and if at all possible, I'd like to be withn a day's drive to see them. Time will tell if this is a practical consideration with my potential budget in the coming years.

Onward to the roof structure.