Category: Building Your Own Cabin

Building a Cabin from Pallet Wood – Cheap Off-Grid Homestead

Building an off-grid cabin is a great—whether for a year-round home away from city life or as a vacation home to unwind. It’s low-cost and it hones your survival skills. But while most off-grid DIY cabins in the woods rely on heavy lumber/logs from the surrounding forest cover, a father and son team from TA Outdoors had a different idea—inspired by building a cabin from pallet wood – using reclaimed pallets.

Unlike conventional building materials, pallet wood is eco-friendly, easily accessible to anyone who’s motivated, cheap (or even free), and surprisingly versatile. As the father-son duo in the video demonstrates, all you need is the grit to see the project through, a saw, nails, a hammer, and a pry bar for deconstructing pallets.

When whole, shipping pallets make versatile building blocks and fit the bill for large projects such as the flooring and frame of a cabin. Cast-off or damaged pallets can often be obtained for free and would suffice for a ton of furniture and home improvement projects. There is also the opportunity to “make one good pallet from two bad ones” as often, a pallet is discarded when only partially damaged.

The underlying goal of the TA Outdoors DIY off-grid cabin project was to show people that building a simple cabin in the woods doesn’t have to be expensive. Any savvy do-it-yourselfer with some hand tools, out-of-the-box thinking, and a passion for the great outdoors can build a cheap, low-tech off-grid homestead.

While small, the cabin they built boasts many of the simple necessities one person would need—including a chair, bookshelf, folding table, raised bed, and a woodstove. Of course, there is no kitchen or bathroom so this is going to be more like camping than home life – but if you’ve been putting off plans to build a simple cabin due to financial constraints, give pallets a shot. The YouTube video offers all the inspiration and instructions you need to turn this lightweight material into a paradise in the woods.

Building A Cabin From Pallet Wood - Cheap Off Grid Homestead
Building a Cabin from Pallet Wood – Cheap Off-Grid Homestead – Image: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HA4zY8xCyY

Amazing $3500 Small Cabin

$3500 Small CabinPhoto – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6dtQVuAX_M

Here we have a video that takes you on a tour inside a fantastic cabin that only cost $3,500 to build. The narrator pointed out that the trick in spending less when building a cabin is to be creative and you have to make use / re-use of the available materials near you.

The cabin is 12×24 feet and fully functional with a kitchen, a 3×4 foot bathroom (tiny!), and a loft. It is considered a three season cabin as it is not insulated for winter. There is a wood stove which can provide heat but not much to combat the freezing cold. There is no electricity in the cabin because it is too far from any electricity lines. For lighting, lanterns are used. There is a loft up the stairs but only big enough for children. At the back part of the cabin, there is a bunk bed and a sofa where three adults can sleep comfortably. If you are into a true country style of living then this type of cabin will work for you. Now if you aim to build a cabin without spending much, you will have to do some recycling and some reclamation of used materials.

Owning a house is everyone’s dream. Everybody wants a place where they can kick back and relax but high housing prices prevent most of us from doing that. Thankfully, your determination and resourcefulness will be all you need. The cabin presented in the video is pretty livable aside from the fact that it is not insulated for winter but that can be corrected by installing the necessary features to withstand the cold.

I find the lack of electricity disheartening but if the location of your cabin is also far from the grid then you can of course set up alternative sources of energy such as solar panels or wind turbines. Make sure your alternative power source works with your surroundings.

Ok, here’s the video:

Check Out This Amazing Natural Home In Southern Finland

Check Out This Amazing Natural Home In Southern FinlandAmazing Natural Home In Southern Finland – Image To Repin / Share
Photo – heidivilkman.com

This is the story of a beautiful tiny cob cottage that was built by a young Finnish artist called Heidi Vilkman. Heidi has built her home using only locally sourced natural materials. It’s especially interesting from an “off-grid perspective” because it combines several natural building methods all in one small dwelling – including earth bags, straw bales, lime plaster, cob and cordwood! There’s even a natural birch bark damp-proof course below the north wall!

The cottage has given Heidi a canvas to express some of her creative talents too – it really looks magical, with sculptures emerging from the walls. It blends well with the landscape and adds a flavour of other-wordliness to her living space.

Southern Finland is typically snow-covered throughout the winter – from around December to April. Northern parts of Finland have an even longer winter, being snowbound from October until the spring. With winter temperatures often reaching -30ºC (and occasionally as low as -50ºC!) sometimes with strong, cold easterly or northeasterly winds, any Finnish home needs to be able to provide serious protection from the elements! Cob provides extremely good insulation, and a typical cob home will use up to 20% less energy to heat than a conventional build, so it is great choice. It is also suited to hot climates as it will help to keep you cool indoors in the summer and reduce the need for air conditioning.

Cob (made with clay, sand and straw) can be used to build load-bearing walls and must be finished on the on exterior surface with a breathable layer such as lime wash render, never with concrete or with a damp proof membrane – clay in the cob will shrink as it dries and other natural materials will be able to move as it does. For the same reason, damp proofing should never be added to interior walls as this also traps water in the wall. Well-maintained cob will never be damp.

The reciprocal roof provides a strong enough base for a turf covering. To find out more about how to make a reciprocal roof, please try this page (that also has some well-researched links): http://greenbuildingelements.com/2008/10/01/the-reciprocal-roof-beauty-strength-and-simplicity-in-a-roof-frame/

OK, here’s the link to the full tutorial: http://naturalhomes.org/treeoflife.htm. Looking at the featured article, I was left wanting to know more about the stages of the building process – I found the full story of the building of this cob house, which is told in Heidi’s blog, along with many photos and an inspiring story of how the build has improved her life. You can find it here: http://cobdreams.blogspot.co.uk/