Cabin Foundation Repairs Start

Posted on September 18, 2018 By

After a dozen estimates and much consideration, I decided to repair the cabin foundation myself (with help, of course).  This decision was not made lightly – I have done a lot of repair work, but never on a large foundation job like this one!

Because I needed advice – and because my dad,  the architect, died in 1990 and was no longer available, I sought the advice of 95-year-old Charlene Coburn, an expert house mover and foundation expert for over 35 years.

Charlene and I visited the cabin on a couple of occasions and interviewed contractors and got estimates.  Most of them left her unimpressed, and a few were, according to her, “trying to earn all their money with one job.”  I listened and took notes.

Finally, when all contractors failed to either respond or pass muster, I suggested she take the job.  Charlene accepted, but informed me she only hired crew as the job demanded, and that it would be expensive to get her main guys up from the Atlanta/Gainsville, GA area to Tennessee.

She suggested I do the job with her help and guidance, and said I could do the whole thing for a lot less money than I would end up paying someone else.

I hesitated, but accepted the challenge.  At age 66, I was no spring chicken, but figured I still had a few good working years left.  I also hired my friend Jason Oman to help move around the railroad ties and steel I-beams when needed.

The first part of the job involved accepting delivery of 60 eight-foot railroad ties and two long steel 10-inch wide I-beams, 25 and 35 feet respectively.  According to Charlene’s instructions, we were to build 5 “crib stacks” with railroad ties, then load the I-beams on top of them to support the heavy log structure.

We started work in mid-September to lay down an emergency crib stack to support the rear of the cabin.  After the October peak season, we plan to return to finish the job by building the “proper” crib stacks, then loading the support I-beams with help from a small bulldozer.

Its a big job, but with the right help, we can do it!!

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