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A cabin made of wood pallets.

My husband, Wes and I have a 27-1/2 acre piece of land in Wareplace, South Carolina that we plan to build a cordwood house and barn on with our own four hands. "A penny saved is a penny earned," is our motto for our new homestead project. We thought when we had the land cleared where we planned to build that we'd make a nice little chunk of change from the trees sold to get things started. But as it turned out, Wes invited loggers to clear a section of our land and keep the timbers as payment for the job. They left a lot of timbers that were not what they were looking for I guess, and we were left with the task of clearing off the leftover mess.

Wes is an iron worker/rigger and is contracted to set heavy industrial machinery in plants, etc. He has spent about a year rescuing pallets destined for a burn pile and stacked them on our land. Many of them have perfectly good timbers measuring as large as 1 x 6 x 20.

We started our cabin just as a fun little project to use up some of the unused trees the loggers left. He used three industrial-sized pallets for the foundation and then simply began notching trees with a chainsaw, debarking them and stacking them on the foundation. When I saw it, I got excited and joined in. We used new wood for the framing of the upper section. I had the task of disassembling pallets and laying them out by sizes and length. The upstairs' floor is leftover plywood we had from another project. The siding and interior wallboards consist entirely of pallet oak boards. We had to drill holes in the old boards so it wouldn't split while nailing them on. One of Wes's friends gave us all the insulation we needed.

We ended up spending a grand total of about $1,500 for Ondura roofing, nails, windows and other items. We ended up with a 288 square foot vacation home that we consider priceless.

A neighbor is an excavator who dug up a wood burning cookstove on one of his customer's land. It is a 1922 Queen Atlantic and is in remarkably good condition considering it was underground for who knows how long. He found all of its pieces including the four insulator glass pieces that sit under the stove legs. He asked the customer what she planned to do with it and she said he could have it. Wes gave him $400 for it. I fell in love with it the minute I saw it. I've never seen a beige and pink woodburning stove. It looks perfect in our cabin. We plan to add cabinets and furniture when we find the right cheap/free stuff we are looking for.

We have gotten a $6,000 estimate for installation of a temporary power pole next to the cabin, because the driveway is 950 feet so we are seriously considering a solar power system. We welcome any advice or information on installing solar power. But even still, we love it even without power and plumbing. It is so peaceful.

Wilma Baker

Greenville, South Carolina
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Title Annotation:Homestead housing
Author:Baker, Wilma
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Jul 1, 2005
Previous Article:How lumber dealers grade wood.
Next Article:The first year is the hardest: without a support network, homestead life can be difficult.

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