The Den Cabin: Walls rising 05/11

The shingle roof progress has stopped for winter. Will be back come February.

Today is the fifth of November. Progress has slowed on the cabin project dramatically. A whole month without a blog post. Work, college and lost light has rendered the amount of time I can spend working on it almost nil. I however have finally managed to get enough done to warrant a blog post. Today I cleared out the cabin. Swept out the leaves, chestnuts and acorns. Then got to work on the walls. A problem which has been nagging at me since I began the project.

My lunch break view. New axe looking rather impressive.

The issue is that there is a lot of space to fill with walls on the cabin. I sadly do not have access to large volumes of straight large logs with which I could do a traditional log cabin style wall. Wanting to keep costs for the project to a minimum meant I could not just buy a supply of planks for the walls. Having scoured the books and internet I have realistically got three different options for the walls. Wattle and Daub. Cordwood. Pallet wood. Now the first of which, for those that do not know, is where you make a woven fence usually of riven (split length wise) chestnut or thing weavers of hazel or willow. Having used all of my chestnut for the shingles this option would have to be done with weavers in my case. This woven fence is then covered in a daubing (cob, A mixture of sand, clay and straw/grass). This creates a wall that has some insulative properties to it but is very dark and bland. This can be reduced by lime washing the walls after the daubing has set. This option is good because it is relatively easy to do and does not require much materials other then thin weavers and the materials for the cob.

Tools sat in the very crude table. Needs a lot of work but will do for now.

Cordwood is a process of making a solid wall using cob and round logs. You essentially build a standard block and mortar wall but with cob and peeled Roundwood logs. This produces a very solid wall. It retains heat very well and can take compressive forces very well. The down side of this process is that it requires a large number of cut up, peeled logs as well as all the materials for cob. This means a very lot of prep work before the build. However it is a very good walling method.

My third and final option is pallet wood. This is a quick free option. However it uses a large amount of nails and the stud work to nail them into would use a large volume of my remaining dimensional timber. However this would go up in a day easily if I had all the pallets on site. This method although quick and easy has no insulative value.

To answer the question of which I plan to use. I plan to use all three. I plan to use wattle and daub for the north wall which has no windows. I plan to use cordwood the the back wall with the chimney and pallet wood for the south wall facing the kitchen. This way I will not be overly demanding on any one given resource. This will also help me to remain positive on the build as I will be doing lots of different things so should not get bored of just doing one thing.

Pallet wood underside of the main window.

So with this in mind I put ash uprights up on the north wall for the wattle frame. I also put in some pallet planks under the main window. The back wall I have started to peel the logs that I will eventually cut to lengths with the chainsaw. Hopefully this good weather will hold and I can continue to make good progress on the cabin.

A good view of the cleared out cabin to show size.
The den under a damp blanket of autumn colours.

Thank you for reading. If you have any questions leave a comment below 🙂

Published by The Den Workshop

I am a 21 year old woodsman who lives in the woods in my timber framed cabin.

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