Building the Cabin – Part 5 – Putting on the Floor Bearers and Joists

Sunset over the Dam

Before we started with the floor, we put a lot of thought into what we would use. It is fair to say that a lot of what we eventually did was based on our just “working things out” rather than following any instructions found in a book or online. I’ve learnt a bunch of things in this process but one of the key things is, just bloody get out there and do it. If you make a mistake, so what and who cares. The fun part about building is problem solving and sometimes that involves trial and error. At least that’s what I am telling Al and myself after this current debacle…

The day we put the floor bearers on was breezy and hot.. We worked from sunup and finished with a drink in our hand watching the last rays of the sun deck out the dam in a kaleidoscope of colour.

Sunset over the Dam

In order to do this part, we really needed some more building skills. A friend of mine showed me how to use coachbolts to secure L-brackets into wood. Coachbolts are great to use, ridiculously strong and such an effective way to secure metal to wood that I thought I would do a quick video on how to use them. Hope it doesn’t bore you to death but I wish I had found this when I was originally trying to work it out

With that info alone, we had the means to attach the floor bearers and joists to the wooden posts. We were using  metal c-section for the floor bearers and steel top-hat for joists, these are obviously all pre-manufactured and straight. The only thing left to get right was levelling the stumps that the bearers would sit on and hence getting an accurate level all the way around the cabin for the floorboards to eventually sit on.


Against advice to use a water level, we got lazy and used string line and a spirit bubble to level the stumps to the same height. This is exactly what it sounds like. You pull a bit of string between two stumps and hang a little plastic tube full of water with a bubble in it to the taut line. If the bubble sits in the middle of the tube (think spirit level), you know the two levels you have at each end of the string at are the same. Problem is that it is inaccurate over any kind of distance and we were doing it up to 6 metres at times. We marked the stumps with pencil and then cut-to-flat with a chainsaw. At least thats what we thought..

Once you chainsaw a stump, you can’t really go back. if it is way out, you have a real structural problem. We tried to fix it with window fillers so that the joists sat flat and this has worked.Video below will show what I mean by that. I just hope the window fillers last the distance and I can just see me under the floor in years to come wedging items between the bearer and the joist to stop the floor from sagging!

The Cabin

Hope you enjoy the video. We are cutting the floor now with the chainsaw mill and having a great time, next few videos should really show some progress I hope!


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