Friday, December 16, 2011

I recently wrote a guest post for Derek Diedricksen of who has a new book!

I am proud as punch to say that the banner photo from the House of Fallen Timbers is featured in Derek's new "Triple-Caffeinated EXPANDED EDITION." Available for pre-order now, first copies will ship on February 1st. Congratulations Derek! 

Thank you so much for including me in this super cool  project.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Fun With Pallets

I salavaged a pile of shipping pallets not knowing exactly what I would do with them. I just wanted to keep them out of the landfill. About six hours later I had a new table/bunk bed for the cabin!
It's six feet long and four feet wide. I cut sections of wood from the pallets because the nails used to  build them were impossible to pull without tearing up the wood. It has eight legs and is solid as a rock. To late to carve a Thanksgiving turkey on it but I'm looking forward to the next chance for a cookout!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Prophet's Town

Last weekend I went to the 200th Anniversary Commemoration of the Battle of Tippecanoe. The event took place at the battlefield and in Prophetstown State Park. At the battlefield their was a military camp and all the units of soldiers that participated in the battle were represented there.
In Prophetstown there were interpretive events and a simulation of the village. There was a  traditional Native lodge.
These were built using a framework of poles which were covered in bark and mats made from cattail reeds. This particular lodge was built by Woodland Indian Educational Programs.
 A fire would burn at the center and the top was open for ventilation. They had the opening covered with a canvas the day I was there. It had been raining the day  before the event. 
Another traditional structure was called the "Longhouse". Originally these were built using the same pole and bark construction, but by the 19th century some natives had adopted European style construction methods. This longhouse is built using the French "Post-on-Sill" method.
Posts are placed at the corners and interspersed along the walls. The posts are attached to sill logs on the top and bottom to create a frame. The posts are slotted down the sides. Hewn timbers with tenons at the ends are stacked between posts. The tenons slid down the slots to lock the walls in place. Daubing then seals up the gaps. The roof is shake shingled and framed similar to a modern roof. 
Inside there is a central fire like in the smaller pole and bark lodge with a similar opening in the roof for ventilation. This to me seems very appropriate given that many native families in the area were heavily intermarried with French fur traders.
Probably the most unusual structure in the village is a "Hybrid" of the two. Here we have a timber frame post-on-sill style octagon shaped structure with a central fire and open roof.
This one has not been daubed yet.
 The roof is particularly interesting.
Here you can really get a good look at how the slotted posts accommodate the timbers.
As a matter of comparison they also have the more familiar style of cabin that was popular with the settlers from Virginia, Kentucky, and Pennsylvania. I don't think it's much of a stretch to believe that some Native Americans had also adapted this style of home building by 1811.
 If you love log construction and are in the area it is well worth a stop at the park. The builders of these structures did a terrific job.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Free Log Cabin Building Seminar

I got this link from a YouTube contact and it looks to be on the up and up. If your interested in building your own log cabin you might enjoy this free online seminar.

Self-taught log home builder Tim Stenros has just completed his 3rd log home that he and his wife Mary have built together for themselves and family members. Each of these log structures was built using a short log method of construction that is incredibly versatile, strong and economical. He is now taking that knowledge from his experience and passing it on to other log cabin enthusiasts in a 4 part online log building seminar. Registration is free. 

Good luck, let me know how it goes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

International Shed of the Year - Third Place!

UncleWilco over at the Shedblog has announced the winners of the 2011 Shed of the Year competition. Sheds entered in the competition from outside the United Kingdom were judged separately for the title of "International Shed of the Year."

The House of Fallen Timbers finished a respectable third place in this global category! I am thrilled to be included in such an amazing collection of inspirational sheds!

I am so thankful to all the wonderful people who voted for my shed and all the judges who decided it was worthy of mention. Thanks UncleWilco!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

House of a Different Color

Last Sunday I went up to Fort Ouiatenon to volunteer at the Blockhouse. The blockhouse is open to the public on the weekends through the summer. Volunteers open, close and answer questions for the visitors. This was built in 1930 by a Doctor who believed he knew where the real fort had once stood. He bought the land and built the fort. Turns out archeological digs in the 1960's proved he was only about a mile off. Pretty darn good guess!
The Doctor used it to entertain guests and from what I understand held dances and parties on special occasions. He was obviously a history buff so no doubt he enjoyed telling his guests all about the Fort. When he bought the land it was used for farming so there were no trees on site to build with. Instead he bought telephone polls and had them delivered to the site.
The blockhouse rests on a concrete foundation which has no doubt helped it survive the years. He donated the land to the county and it is now owned by the Tippecanoe County Historical Association.
Close examination of the notches reveals the combination of techniques the Doctor used. On the top of each course he made a saddle notch to wick moisture and on the adjoining bottom of the next course he contoured the notch with a chisel to make a tight fit. Over the years the original daubing has been resealed using what appears to be Perma-chink or some such mortar. In places where the mortar needs repair you can see shake type shims of wood used as backing for the mortar to cling to.
The conical shaped roof is supported with no central center post using a secondary series of supports mid-way down the main beams like a large umbrella frame. As you can imagine I had a great time!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Happy Birthday!

Tomorrow will be one year to the day that I began posting on this blog. What a year! I truly had no idea if the cabin would come together when I started and I had no idea how many wonderful friends I would make along the way. Here are the stats as of this afternoon.
As you can see there have been over 7500 visits, digging deeper into the analytics reveals that those visits were made by over 4600 unique visitors in over 1900 cities in 69 different countries! This is astounding given that I can count on one hand the number of people who have physically been inside the cabin. 

In other news the voting for 2011 Shed of the Year has opened on the "Shed Blog" and I could use your vote. Voting ends June 5th.

Thanks again to everyone who has visited. As the Beverly Hillbillies would say ... "Kick your shoes off, stay a while, ya'll come back now ya hear?"

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Eager Beavers

A friend of mine took me to check out some stuff being prepped for a yard sale and I came across these two eager beavers. Manufactured by McCulloch in the nineties, the Eager Beaver model #2014, is no longer in production. 
I got both of them for $30.00. When an old chainsaw won't start the first thing to check for is  a broken fuel line. The lines are made of clear plastic tubing that turns yellow and gets brittle with age. Both ran fine after I replaced fuel lines but one had a worn out sprocket and the other a couple of missing bolts. I was able to scavenge parts off one to repair the other.
Once I got the saw running I used it to clean up this winter's crop of fallen timbers. This year most of them are old Redbud trees. I estimate somewhere between 15 and twenty of them. 
I don't need anymore firewood and Redbud is not very useful for building anything solid so the project this spring is Wildlife Brush Piles. First you make a checkerboard structure with the largest of the timbers then build a crown for it out of the branches. This is the first of a total of four that I plan to build. They make great homes for small wildlife like rabbits, mice and voles who provide food for owls, hawks and coyotes.
I'll look forward to watching for tracks around these in next winter's snow. Meanwhile the trip hazards on the forest floor are getting all picked up which should encourage larger wildlife like deer and turkey to pass through more frequently.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


First weekend of spring and I finally got my sausage and onions cooked in the new dutch oven.
One large onion, 1 package of Johnsonville Brats and two cans of beer.
Boil over an open fire, then crisp em up on the grill. If you do it right you can hear them crackle and pop on the grill, that's why the Brits call them "Bangers"
Then eat your fill and sleep it off.
Three cheers for Spring!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Create Your Own "Walden Space"

From the very beginning of my cabin building project the number one question people have asked me is ... "WHY?"

I found myself struggling to answering this question. 
"I have a lot of dead trees and it's getting dangerous to walk the property."
"I want somewhere to keep things handy for the cookouts we have in the summer."
"I'd like to have an option other than a tent for guests to stay in."
etc. etc. etc.

Truth is there are tons of good reasons for building an outbuilding but when the project is as (unique shall we say) as mine a lot of people think you're strange. Then finally one day I answered the question. Without thinking about it or falling back on my laundry list of practical uses for the cabin I simply said ... "No computer, no phone, no T.V., or any other source of tragedy, anxiety, or hysteria."

For the first time ever I got the feeling that the person I was talking to was completely satisfied with the answer. With this in mind I thought I'd share the following video. I think we all need a "Walden Space" in our lives.  

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Let There Be Light

The shutters on the window work fine to keep out gusts of wind but keeping them closed makes the cabin a dark place during the short winter days. Inspired by Russian John I decided to put glass in the window this weekend. My solution was made from a $2.00 furring strip from Lowe's and a few pieces of glass from some unused frames in the basement.
Two 8"x10"s and a 16"x20" did the trick.
It does not open and close but it can be removed easily and replaced with a screen when the weather warms back up.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Russian John

I know those of you who have enjoyed watching the House of Fallen Timbers grow will love Russian John's Summerhouse. I am in awe of the artistry and couldn't resist sharing the link to his photos of the construction. John was  kind enough to give me permission to post one of his images here to give you all an idea of what awaits you in his gallery
 Thanks John, WAY TO GO MAN!