Wood flooring samples
Samples
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Samples let you see how products look in different light, let you feel their weight and texture, and give you a much better sense of how the product is built. Many companies ship free or low-cost samples. Even if you … Read More

Processing a tree
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Processing a tree for firewood is pretty straightforward: first the tree is notched and felled, then smaller branches are removed with a pruning saw or hatchet and the trunk is sawed into rounds. The rounds are split with a splitting … Read More

AK House Project plan detail
Removing the garage
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Removing the garage was one of the biggest decisions I made during the design process. I definitely got some pushback. But hear me out. In the original draft plans, the daylight basement included a studio ADU (aka “mother in law … Read More

Wood pile at the AK House Project lot
Chopping wood
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Headed up to the lot today to fell trees and split firewood with a couple of my new favorite tools. I tried out a lot of saws, from generic Home Depot stuff to Shark saws from Japan. My favorite by … Read More

AK House Project plans lying on dinner table
Revising plans
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Going over revised plans with my dad, while we were on a short trip to Canada. It was always good to sit down seriously during the day, under good light, and study the plans. But some of the best ideas … Read More

AK House Project job site in winter
The building site in winter
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The building site in winter. Many people suggested that I spend as much time as possible at the lot, so that I could see how things changed with the seasons, weather, and time of day. This was excellent advice. I … Read More

Clearing the AK House Project lot
Clearing the building site
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Clearing the building site with friends using forestry saws, hatchets, and an axe. Yes, I know that traditional hand tools are very slow compared with a chain saw and hydraulic splitter. But it was fun and rewarding taking the trees … Read More

AK House Project model
House model
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My designer thought it was pretty funny that I made a foamcore model from the plans, and said “I haven’t seen one of those since I was in school!” Nowadays houses are usually modeled on computers rather than with, you … Read More

Laptop and sketchpad showing house designs
House plans
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Working on house plans! There are four major paths to designing a house: do it all yourself, buy an off-the-shelf plan, hire a designer, or hire an architect. There are also many hybrid methods, such as buying an off-the-shelf plan … Read More

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