Sunday, August 22, 2010

Purlins, Gables and Ridgepole

Hands down the toughest job so far. As I mentioned before I had to re-design the roof plan based on the lack of suitable dead trees left on the property. I had to scrap plans for a loft over the porch that would have given me an additional 15 or so feet of storage space but I was still able to gable the roof. 
 The first  big challenge was to get the purlins up on the walls. I'm 82 inches high at the corners now so I had to lift these logs over my head to get them up on the walls. These are the Hackberry logs I floated up the river, they are strong, straight and heavy. The largest is 9 inches at the butt and 8 inches at the tip. All are ten feet in length. The ridgepole stands ten feet off the cabin floor. 
I used Cherry, Box Elder and Elm for the gables. I have some left over scraps of bridge decking I will be using as makeshift rafters. Those are the boards you see laid across the purlins. Cutting off the ends of the gable course logs at an angle with the pitch of the roof is extremely difficult, as you can see I still have to get the back side gable trimmed up. The sheeting you see on the side of the cabin is the corrugated metal I'll be using for the roof. The previous owner of the property left around fifty sheets like these stacked up on the side of the garage.
I slid the metal up to see if my rafter scheme will work. Not ideal but it does look like I can make it work. I hope to get the gables trimmed up and the rafters nailed down next weekend. Who knows maybe I'll even get some sheet metal tacked down!


  1. Wholly inspiring!


    Sandy @ My Shabby Streamside Studio

  2. Thanks Sandy
    I love your Shabby Studio!

  3. "able to gable"

    There's a phrase you don't hear to often.

    I just found your blog from Kent's site. I plan to read the entire thing. Thanks for the work you put in documenting your journey. I expect it inspires many others to at least contemplate a similar project of their own.


  4. What a cool site and an even cooler cabin! This is a really neat showing how you can build with what you have at hand. Can you tell me more about how you raised the ridge log?

  5. Thanks Banjoe!
    I used a step ladder and my shoulder. I laid the ridge pole against the wall and out the door. Then I got under it and slowly walked up the step ladder until the end I had in my hands reached the top. I propped it up and then climbed down the ladder and moved the ladder to the other side. Then I picked up the end that was sticking out the door and slid away from me as I slowly climbed the ladder. Once I was high enough up I pulled the ridge pole back towards me until I could put it in place. Then I just slid it back and forth until it was even on both sides. Scary stuff!