77: Daubing that chinking, and a list of remaining tasks

I'll post more pictures soon, but here I'll describe some things.

First, daubing is hard work.  It's exhausting.  It's technically-challenging to achieve just the right mortar consistency.  It's frustrating, trying to get it to stick and stay in place.  Watching it flow like lava from the mesh chinking onto the log will test your patience.  If you're prone to cursing at inanimate objects, this activity will inspire degenerate ravings.

I'm pretty happy with my decision, though.  Instead of a homemade mix of cement, lime, clay, and sand, I chose to use a stucco-like sand mortar mix infused with inch-long fiberglass threads.  When it dries, my hope is that the threads will hold it all together and there'll be less material loss when it inevitably cracks.  The dried surface also looks a little hairy -- it's kind of authentic-looking, as if I'd mixed straw and other things with a home-dug clay.  On the inside, I can't see using such abrasive and potentially messy substance.  The mesh lathe is fairly invisible, because the mortar pushes through, creating a dimpled surface.  I'm thinking I'll use a combination of spray foam insulation and treated wool bats to both insulate and hide the interior surface of the outside chinking.

I've completed two walls and the door, and I'll hopefully finish the rest over the next couple of weeks.  Then, I'll take the following sequential steps to complete the cabin:

  1. brush off the mortar residue with a wire brush
  2. caulk all of the checks with paintable latex caulking
  3. stain the whole cabin, inside and out, with oil-based natural-color stain
  4. insulate the inside walls with foam and wool
  5. cut and frame Lexan for the triangular windows created by the eaves
  6. build screen windows for the two windows
  7. trim the doorway with rope
  8. lay wide pine planks across felt paper and other floor
  9. stain floor
  10. consider coating interior walls with high gloss polyurethane
  11. coat floor with marine-grade high gloss polyurethane

76: First day of daubing!

Here are some pictures of our first day of daubing ("the chinking" would be the metal lathe).  Mark Budden came to help.  It was hard work and moved slowly.  Thanks Mark!

75: Chinking, underway!

It's been a long winter up the holler.  Gravel never broke through the snow on the drive during the month of January.  It fell on Christmas Day and then fell again on January 9.  We got 35 inches during the season, including December.  Remarkable, since February felt  tropical.  The cabin roof, with its stout rafters, fortified top plates, pole-supported ridge beam, inch-thick planks, and galvanized metal sheathing held up fine under the dull weight of 14 inches of wet snow.  The deep eaves ably protected the walls from moisture -- they dried and checked and settled.  It's time to chink!

I decided to cut strips of galvanized diamond lathe and nail it into the gaps using 16 penny galvanized 3.5 inch nails.

Although lots of good folk provided excellent recipes for chinking, some rustic and some more mainstream, I found a sand-based mortar solution with fiberglass reinforcement and only about 10% portland cement.  I had considered making my own with cement, lime, and sand with small polypropylene rope fibers to hold it together and combat cracking.  This stuff is bright white, but I can dye it mud-colored to avoid a candy stripe look.  This may seem to fly in the face of the spirit of the project, but I'm sold on the ease and consistency it'll bring to this phase.  Remember, for us, "Postmodern" means combining the traditional and the contemporary wherever it makes sense, visually or structurally.  And the expensive high tech chinking products really do violate the Thoreauvian ideal thus far realized through making stuff myself or using inexpensive local products.

Soon, maybe this weekend, I'll be able to test this concept.  Look for some pictures and posts next week!

About Me

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I use this blog to chronicle certain aspects of my life near the Smokies. I'm building a cabin. I kayak. Sometimes I bike.