Even though the beams for the cabin were not going to be exposed to the weather, we decided to use pressure treated lumber. Each cabin beam was going to be made with six, 2x12x16’s.
With three beams, this was way more than was required for a 20×30 cabin. We figured more is better than less. With no level working space, it was going to be tough putting the beams together.
Moving the Cabin Beams by Hand
We figured the best way was to temporarily put some of the lumber across the footings, then use that as a level spot to build the first beam.
With the first beam built, we could then use it as a base to build the other two. Each beam was three layers glued and nailed together. Cutting the middle layer, so the seams were staggered. We left the outer layers to overhang, figuring we could cut them to length later.
Once the three beams was ready, it was time to put them in place. Each beam was thirty feet long and made with three layers of 2×12 pressure treated lumber.
According to The Engineering Toolbox, pressure treated 2×12 weighs 6.6 lb per foot. That means each beam weighed 594 lb (30×6.6×3)!
The only power equipment we had was a cordless drill and saw. Not sure how that was going to help.
Leveling the Cabin Beams
Now Sharon and I had to lift the fist beam three feet up to the concrete footings. Worse yet the farthest footings were twenty feet away and the beam had to be lifted over the top of the middle footings!
Right about now would be a good time for a dozen or so strong helpers.
With a lot of grunting and lifting with legs not back, we managed to man handle the beams into place.
Once in place we found the foots not quite level. We needed to notch the bottom of a couple of the beams, so they sat flush in the steel brackets. The only tool we had for this was our handy Service Number One khukuri! Still, it worked.
We now had three beams in place, level and square.
The final job was to bolt the beams in place. I went along and pre-drilled the holes. Sharon followed behind with a tiny socket from her old tool kit. She bolted the cabin beams to the steel brackets.