Adding Doors

Time to install the new doors!

Saturday, February 22, 2020

I had been looking forward to today all week! I spent the past few evenings this week working hard building two doors for my cabin–one for the front, and one for the back. The two doors are pretty much identical: 3/4″ plywood, 24″ wide, 80″ tall, trimmed with 1″x3″ furring, and a small plexiglass window. They’re adorable! I love my little doors! I also spent time hunting down windows and found one that will be perfect for the front of my cabin.

The back door and the sheeting and tarps held all week!However, when I woke up this morning, I didn’t want to go. I worked nonstop last weekend. I never took a break, I never sat down, I just kept working and working and working. I’m tired of it. I’m also just plain tired. I worked nearly every evening after work, too. This weekend’s plans are to frame out the front and back walls, install the OSB (properly), hang both doors, rehang the plastic sheeting, and install windows, but just thinking about it exhausted me and filled me with dread.

So, I decided to change my plans a bit. Rather than going through that long list, I decided to figure out what had to be done today, and then take tomorrow off. I won’t be able to make it out for another two weeks, so whatever I do today needs to finished today and leave my cabin protected. My temporary back wall was fine; I didn’t need to reframe it or install the door. The front wall was still open, so it did need to be framed and the door hung. And, there was a storm coming tonight, so the plastic sheeting would have to be rehung. But everything else could wait.

Before heading out, I still needed to finish my doors by adding and trimming the windows. This caused me to have a late start, and I arrived at River Song at noon. Much to my surprise, the plastic sheeting I’d hung using duct tape was still hanging! I couldn’t believe it! I thought for sure it would have blown down, but it hadn’t. Rather than rehang it, I could just reinforce it and retie it, and it should be fine. Sweet!

The front wall is framed inI got to work dismantling the temporary front wall. As it had last week, that stupid roof beam caused me the most amount of trouble. As hard as it was to screw it into place, it was equally hard to remove the screws. There was just so much tension on the beam that the screws did not want to come out. My drill not only shredded the screw heads themselves, but also one of my Philips #2 bits. Finally, I removed all but one screw, and then just pulled the beam off the screw, ripping a hole in the end. Whatever! That stud can be shortened and used some place else. It wasn’t worth more of my time. And, it’s not like I have any shortage of projects needing 2x4s!

It took no time to frame the front wall. I laid out everything right on the cabin floor, using additional 2×4 studs to extend the floor and support the top of the frame, which stuck out over the end. Because I will be adding in a front window at a later date, I left out a stud. No need to put one in when I’d just be cutting it in half later! I also built in a 25″ opening for the door.

I haz a new door!After the wall was framed, I lifted it into place and screwed it to the floor and the adjoining side walls. Super secure! Replacing the front wall OSB took a few more minutes, and then for now, I slid a stud into place for the missing one. I did not bother to secure it; it should be fine, especially since the walls aren’t supporting anything yet.

Next was the door, which was all ready to go, including the hinges. I set it on a thin strip of plywood for floor clearance and screwed the door to the frame. Works great! Since this is just a recreational cabin, I’m not going to bother with doorknobs. I don’t have the tools to cut doorknob holes, and I just don’t want or need the hassle. I prefer to keep things simple when I can, and all I need is to be able to secure the door from the inside and the outside. Lock hasps and sliding bolts will work for that.

But first, with daylight fading, I needed to secure the protective plastic sheeting and tarps. I had cut eight small blocks of 1×3 furring to screw along the roofline, reinforcing the duct tape holding the sheeting. The weather forecast was calling for 28 mph winds in a few hours, and I wanted to make sure the plastic held. Inside my cabinAfter securing the sheeting, I retied the tarps along the sides and the back and laid vine maple logs and large cedar branches along the bottom of the sheeting to secure it in place.

Now time to finish the door. I added two lock hasps–one next to the window, and another lower down. The hasps will not only enable me to lock the door, but will also act as a block to prevent the door from over extending and swinging outward. And, equally importantly, these particular hasps will swing flat against the door frame when I’m inside, with the hasp hole inside the cabin. No one will be able to lock me inside!

By this time, the sun had already set. I had broken out a half dozen lights, which against the darkness, created a really intimate atmosphere. I’d never been at River Song this long after sunset. It was bloody dark! But the sounds of the river and croaking frogs were relaxing. However, I decided to wait until my next trip before installing the sliding bolts on the inside of the door.

I packed up everything, and for the first time, left all my leftover wood at the site. It felt great being able to pack up my remaining 2x4s and scrap plywood and lock them up safely in my little cabin. I left behind my folding camp chair, boxes of screws, the back door, and the rest of the door hardware, as well. And lastly, I secured the tarps along the front of the cabin to some eyebolts I’d screwed into the frame.The front door from inside the cabin

Time to head home! It was a good day, after all. I felt accomplished, and I’m glad I came out. I’m also glad I’m taking tomorrow off!

I’ll be back in two weeks. And next weekend–winter camping at Mount Baker!

Update: As forecast, the storm hit early Sunday morning. The winds were strong enough to start knocking my little trailer around as rain pounded my roof, waking me up some time around 3:00 a.m. I checked my phone; it reported the winds at 22 mph here in Olympia, and 28 mph out on the peninsula. I was tempted to jump in my truck and head out there to make sure my tarps and sheeting stayed secure. But, at the end of the day, OSB is water resistant and designed to get wet (just not prolonged wet). So, if the tarp or sheeting did blow off, everything will still be fine. My cabin is well built. It wasn’t worth using a half tank of gas to protect $20 in tarps and sheeting!

The view from my cabin window
The view from my cabin window.