Emma Log Cabin Customer Review

It’s always great to read customers joiurneys with their log cabin, please see Mr and Mrs A’s below:


Hi all – having pestered you all at various times during the process from pre-purchase through construction I thought you might like to see the end results of my efforts. This piece of garden had been lying as a large weed bed for years and now has my wife’s ‘art/pottery studio’ on site which a) gives her somewhere to work, b) gives me peace and quiet and c) gives me no more weeding, so all in all well worth the money.

It has been a lot of hard work and many man hours (a badly infected knee, numerous cuts and bruises, continuing problems with ‘tennis elbow’ and many long hot soaking baths) but also a very satisfying project, its the little things that take up the time. Constructing the cabin and fitting the roof etc took probably about 16 hours.

The cabin is very ‘green’ but it fits in well with the rest of the garden and is pretty much camouflaged from my neighbours view.

I have added various bits :

  • Full size gutter which collects rainwater into two 100L waterbutts.
  • A fully functioning sink with running ‘cold grey’ water which will be used for cleaning brushes drawn from the water butts using a 12 volt marine self priming pump and draining into a ‘soakaway’.
  • Full electrics – digging the trench and laying a 50 metre length of 10mm armored cable at a depth of 2ft was challenging.
  • A mini verandah/step as the cabin sits about 12 inches above ground level due to nature of the sub soil etc.
  • LED downlighters

The cabin houses a small home pottery kiln and while we had some concerns about heat generated impacting on the timbers etc having run it a couple of times these fears were completely unfounded as it generates very little external residual heat.

I attach some photos but bottom line is my wife is absolutely delighted with the end result and in terms of value for money the cabin is unbeatable and as I have said before brilliant customer service which helped us all along our ‘log cabin’ journey.

Best regards

Paul and Joan A

Emma log cabin timber frame base

Emma log cabin timber frame base

Emma log cabin delivery

Emma log cabin delivery

Construction of the Emma log cabin

Construction of the Emma log cabin

Completed log cabin

Completed log cabin

Inside the Emma log cabin

Inside the Emma log cabin

Thank you very much Mr and Mrs A for your pictures and review, it is very much appreciated and I hope you enjoy your present we sent you.

Other customer experiences, builds and ideas can be enjoyed here: Pictorial Tuin Reviews

Superior Gazebo Review

It is not often we get a detailed review on one of our gazebos and the review below is very much appreciated.

This is our customers account of the Superior Gazebo, some is good, some not so but it’s a good story and worth a read of Mr P-K’s story, it also helps us greatly.


Dear Tuin,
I have put together this account of my experience in building my gazebo, which I am very pleased with. I wondered if it would be of any interest to you to put on your website for other potential customers to read. I have attempted to include several pictures of the build, though some or all of these may not arrive due to my very limited proficiency at the computer.
Regards, 
Mike P-K
 
Gazebo Installation
 
First impressions:
After a delivery that proved slightly problematic (the carrier refused to even attempt my narrow lane and off-loaded three-quarters of a mile from my house, which meant 4 trips up the lane with my trailer to transfer it all here) I laid everything out as advised by Richard’s excellent blog. I was impressed by the obviously generous coating of Tanalising material present and also by the general straightness and solidity of the timber. I was less impressed with the post holders that I had ordered as an extra. These were not only a poor fit – 120mm square for down posts that measured 112mm square, but also quite thin at 2mm and only tack welded. I voiced my doubts to Tuin who immediately arranged their collection and refund with no deductions for carriage. As I knew I would be unable to start the construction for at least 4 weeks, I stacked everything under cover in the way suggested by Richard in his blog.
 
 
Laying out the Site
On my return from holiday I started the construction by laying out the Ring Beam to determine the position of the post holders. These were made specially for me by the ever helpful Weldspray Engineering at Liskeard. They worked out a bit more expensive than those supplied by Tuin, but were a good fit (115mm square), fully seam welded and constructed of 3mm steel (galvanised).
Taking advice from the blog, I spent a lot of time doing this in order to achieve a perfect rectangle. I happened to have a large builders square (a 3ft/4ft/5ft Triangle) available and this proved invaluable in keeping the corners at 90 degrees. (You can see this leaning against the rear wall in some of my photos).
After the best part of a day (mostly spent drilling 24 holes into the hardest concrete I have ever encountered) I was happy with the positioning and solidity of the post holders, each being held down by four 10mm rawlbolts. Diagonals were measured and found to be within 2mm of each other, which I though was pretty good!
 
 
Starting the build
Putting up the 6 posts was child’s-play. My post holders easily held the posts upright while I attached the six pieces that formed the ring beam and the twelve bracing struts. Again, I made good use of my 3-4-5 triangle to ensure everything was true and square, sometimes clamping this triangle in place before screwing in the braces.
So far I had carried out all the work single handed, but for the next bit, fitting the corner rafters, king pins and ridge beam I needed the help of my wife as I could not have held the ridge beam in place on my own while I fixed the rafters in position.
Once this was done I reverted to working on my own again, fixing the roof boarding in place.
At this point I was glad I had spent so much time getting the basic frame square, as the roof boards required minimum cutting. I differed from Richard’s recommended procedure here. Because of the site I had chosen for my gazebo, setting up trestles outside the structure was difficult – though I did manage to do so later on in the build – so I set up my trestles inside the building and worked from the eaves upwards and the ridge downwards for as long as there was room for me to get my body between the two areas of boarding. This left me with a narrow strip in the middle to fill in, which I did using one of the many extra boards supplied by Tuin, working off a ladder.
 
 
The Roof
For me, this was the most difficult bit! Indeed, to be honest if it had not been for the encouragement and physical help provided by my very able wife, I might have given up and called in professional help. Obviously I could no longer work from within the building, so I had to put up my trestles and boards outside as well as I could. Neither myself nor my wife are very keen on heights, which didn’t help. (neither did managing to fall off a ladder at one point, definitely not recommended for one in their late sixties). Nevertheless, we managed to rig up a tolerably safe system and set to fastening the waterproof membrane in place. I used an electric staple gun for this, which by and large worked quite well, except for hitting the occasional knot, which resisted the staple.
Finally, we started the tiling, which proved a slow and tedious business. The first few rows were easy enough as I could fix them from the comparative safety of the scaffold boards alongside, but as I got towards the ridge I obviously had to work off a roof ladder with my wife passing up the tiles, nails etc to me as I went. At this point I experience my first slight disappointment in the design of the gazebo. Because there are only 12 rafters in total, the span is sometimes as much as 4 feet, which is just too much for nailing into such thin (15mm) roof boards. Bounce is inevitable, making it very difficult to accurately nail the galvanised clouts that hold the tiles in place. It took us almost a week to complete the tiling, though we were not working full days on it, a few hours at a time was enough! I was fairly liberal with the tile adhesive as I knew there would not be much warm sun about in October to melt the glue strip on the back of the tiles. I was unsure as to how exactly to finish the ridge line and the hips, but a call to the very helpful advice line provided by Tuin soon sorted us out.
 
 
Conclusion
Ikea Flat-Pack it’s Not! (neither, thankfully, is the quality – no MDF here and not a comb-joint in sight!)
At times the task did seem a bit daunting, but providing you have ay least a modicum of DIY skill and a healthy dose of common sense there is nothing really too difficult here. The whole thing took us just over three weeks to complete, but most days we only worked 4 or 5 hours, regularly knocking off for a visit to the gym or one of our Pilates lessons (Yes, they really do work, I’m sure I couldn’t have done this if I was not already reasonably fit!) A week after completion I celebrated my 70th birthday, which gave be a considerable sense of satisfaction.
As you can see from the picture, my Gazebo is intended as a car port and I am already contemplating partially filling in the end and the sides. The extra roof boards supplied by Tuin (I had 12 left over) will make a good start for this! 
Custom made post holders as the ones supplied were not suitable.

Custom made post holders as the ones supplied were not suitable.

Gazebo posts located in the post holders

Gazebo posts located in the post holders

Gazebo main ring beam

Gazebo main ring beam in place

Gazebo angle bracing and ring beam

Gazebo angle bracing and ring beam

Superior gazebo roof

Superior gazebo roof

Superior gazebo roof boards being fitted.

Superior gazebo roof boards being fitted.

Superior gazebo roof boards being fitted

Gazebo roof shingles being fitted

Gazebo roof shingles being fitted

Gazebo roof shingles install

A good use of trestles and ladders to install the gazebo roof.

A good use of trestles and ladders to install the gazebo roof.

The completed Superior Gazebo

The completed Superior Gazebo

The install is very impressive and especially applauded due to its height and age of installer, even I struggle these days so perhaps I should take up Pilates like Mr P-K.

Thank you Mr P-K for sending us this report, it is so helpful for us and other customers, we hope you enjoy the present we sent you, thank you again.

Other customer experiences, build and ideas can be enjoyed here: Pictorial Tuin Reviews

Log Cabin Doors

No matter how good a fitter you are, with the most perfect eye you will always need to adjust the door frame during the install, especially if it is a double set of doors. This will need to be done to have a 100% perfect fit.

It may also need to be done over the life of a log cabin due to seasonal variations in moisture content, direct sun, direct weather, all of which will affect the cabin. Of course as I talk about in previous posts, treatment makes a huge difference to this and how susceptible the doors or windows are to these changes.

Door Frame Adjustment

Several factors need to be considered for a perfect door set up, these are:

  • Square of door frame.
  • Tightness of door frame.
  • Level of door frame.
  • Door leaf adjustment to frame.
  • Door leaf adjustment to center.
  • Door leaf bow or warp.

The square of the frame is of obvious importance and this can be done in a number of ways. Personally I always make up my frame on the ground first and use a square in all the corners. I will always screw my frame and sometimes I may also consider glueing and screwing for a stronger fit over the lifetime of the building (check the frame is correct before glueing).

I have known some installers that do not screw or nail the frame at all, I do not recommend this!

With a double door the level of the frame will make a big difference to how the doors work together and if this is out slightly, it will be very evident when looking at the top of the doors where they meet in the middle.

A good example of a door frame with a slightly unlevel base

A good example of a door frame with a slightly unlevel base

Look at the above picture and you will see the two leafs do not match each other at the top and the bottom. This is because the base rail that is supporting the frame is a few mm out of 100% level. You may think the base is perfectly level but the doors will always show an error.

This is easily resolved in this case by putting a 2 – 3mm shim under the left hand side of the door threshold between the foundation beam and threshold, the two leafs will then be level.

If you are certain the door frame is fitted tightly and is 100% square (glue or screws or both, or even nail although I prefer to screw every time). If you are also certain the door threshold is 100% level and adjustment is still necessary then this can be done on the hinges.

Log Cabin Hinges

Several types of hinges are used in log cabins, all of which will allow you to make adjustment to the door.

surface mounted hinge - generally used on thinner log, log cabins. These can be adjusted on both planes.

Surface mounted hinge – generally used on thinner log, log cabins. These can be adjusted on both planes.

Some people have asked me about security with these hinges, they perceive the screws on the outside to be a security risk. When I have installed these and a customer has asked, I simply use a large metal drill and take out the slots of the screws rendering them impossible to remove. You can of course use security screws available from most DIY shops.

Two piece hinge forming a cup and spiggot. These can adjust the door in both planes.

Two piece hinge forming a cup and spigot. These can adjust the door in both planes and like the hinge above are found on lighter doors.

Three piece hinge. Two parts are screwed into the frame with one part into the door, they are connected together by means of a pin. Both planes can be adjusted

Three piece hinge. Two parts are screwed into the frame with one part into the door, they are connected together by means of a pin. Both planes can be adjusted. These are used on heavier doors for more strength.

Butt hinge, these can adjust the doors in one plane - up and down and will mainly be used with smooth door connection frames as moving the door leaves closer can be accomplished from the frame itself. An adjustment screw can be found in the top cap of the hinge and is adjusted with an allen key.

Butt hinge, these can adjust the doors in one plane – up and down and will mainly be used with smooth door connection frames as moving the door leaves closer can be accomplished from the frame itself. An adjustment screw can be found in the top cap of the hinge and is adjusted with an allen key.

Other hinges also exist but they will all feature a similar mechanism of adjustment, the three part hinge tends to be the most popular.

Log Cabin Hinge Adjustment

The three part hinge for some reason confuses some fitters and is also the most commonly used, please see some examples of it’s use and adjustment below:

Three part hinges are held together with a pin.

Three part hinges are held together with a pin.

This hinge can move the door leafs closer or further away from the door frame. It can also move the door leafs themselves closer and further away from each other at the door center.

The pin can be removed using a drift, or, in our case a small philips screwdriver. There is always some resistance and a hammer will generally be needed to tap the pin out.

The hinges themselves can then be turned in and out, to either move the door leafs closer / further away from each other (door leaf part), of course the doors can be moved closer / further away from the door frame adjusting the two parts on the door frames.

The hinge part can be adjusted using a thin screwdriver

The hinge part can be adjusted using a thin screwdriver, this is the door leaf part the moves the door leaves closer or further apart at the center.

Personally I like to firstly ascertain which direction I need the door to go in and then only turn the hinge parts a maximum of three turns either in or out, I will then do the same with the other hinges. Using only three turns keeps it simple and consistent.

Don’t be tempted to carry out adjustments in both planes at the same time as it can get confusing.

The pins can be loosely put back in to test your adjustments before knocking them back in fully.

The hinge pins can be left loose while you carry out the adjustment of the hinges

The hinge pins can be left loose while you carry out the adjustment and check of the hinges as you progress through making the doors perfect.

Adjusting the frame hinge parts on the door frame.

Frame hinge parts being adjusted using a small screwdriver

Frame hinge parts being adjusted using a small screwdriver

Once all adjustments have been made and you are happy, then knock the pins back in fully.

When you are satisfied with the adjustment then knock the hinges fully back in.

When you are satisfied with the adjustment then knock the hinges fully back in.

Using the above hinges adjustments, the threshold 100% level and the frame square all door issues are easily resolved in regard to fitting perfectly.

BUT

Very rarely you may have another problem to deal with which is almost 99.9% caused by storage. A warp or bow in the door!

A warp or bow is Never a problem and it is easy to overcome or avoid.

Warp in a Log Cabin door

As well as normal adjustments to the hinges when installing, and over the life of the building you may also have to contend with a warp in the door itself. This is unusual but can happen and it’s normally caused by storage or the weather and a rather undesirable feature of wood itself – it moves when allowed to.

Doors and windows in a log cabin are probably the most expensive and complicated part of the whole building and the supplier will go to great lengths to protect these parts. Unless the building is very large or complicated the doors and windows will come within the main log cabin package and normally buried under logs.

Doors packed within a log cabin package to protect them especially from warping

Doors packed within a log cabin package to protect them especially from warpingparts o

Doors and windows are often protected within the package to avoid damage to the glass, but mainly to prevent warping and bowing. All timber when  supported will maintain its shape. As soon as it is unsupported it can be susceptible to movement. As well as support a supplier will also build safeguards into the door itself such as the choice of direction of timber grain and more recently laminating timber to reduce warps.

I’ve said before in other posts how an installer can greatly influence the build on how they store the parts once they are unpacked. We can cause all sorts of problems with the storage of logs and purlins, in my log cabin installation advice post I talk about storing logs flat and top of each other.

Never store logs like this in your build as you will create many warps and bows.

Never store logs like this in your build as you will create many warps and bows.

Only store logs on top of each other and flat to avoid the creation of warps and bows.

Only store logs on top of each other and flat to avoid the creation of warps and bows.

Like other timber products, how we store the timber will make a huge difference to the install. I show more examples of bad storage in one of my gazebo installation advice posts.

An example of how not to store parts of your log cabin. NEVER lean them up against a wall and always keep them flat.

An example of how not to store parts of your log cabin. NEVER lean them up against a wall and always keep them flat.

This is what happens to parts when leant against a wall or not on a flat and level surface. Imagine the same thing happening to your door or windows.

Very bowed and warped timber caused by the incorrect storage whilst building the structure.

Very bowed and warped timber caused by the incorrect storage whilst building the structure.

This is an extreme example of what happens to a door when left up against a wall for several days before being installed:

An extremely warped door.

An extremely warped door. This has happened due to storage and care. Easily fixable but very avoidable with the correct storage.

A warp or bow is never a problem though and can easily be fixed but it is better not to have the issue in the first place so consider:

  • Keeping the doors and windows supported as they were in the pallet.
  • Store them 100% flat and on top of each other.
  • Never lean them against a wall while building your log cabin.

In a previous life I used to make sheds and summerhouses. After every door was made we would stack them on top of each other with spacers in between and finally we would put bricks on top of them to stop them from warping, until they were put into a building, when they were then supported by hinges, frame, locks and of course gravity, being supported level, upright and square. You should also consider the doors and windows when waiting to install them.

It’s not a problem though if you have this problem or created this!

If I’ve cocked up and made a warp in my install or even if the door moves over the install which it may do on rare occasions.

The heat from the sun can play havoc with a log cabin door or window. I talk about moisture content, cracks and warps in another post which you may be interested in and also explains what you are seeing and why: Cracks and Splits in Timber I also talk about moisture content in log cabins.

The solution is easy though, one of these ……

An ideal solution to a warp or bow in your door, I call them turn buttons but they are also referred as a thumb button

An ideal solution to a warp or bow in your door, I call them turn buttons but they are also referred as a thumb turn button.

These are handy little things and available from all DIY shops, we’ll send you one or two free if you need them and these clever things will always remove a warp or bow over a month or two of application. As I’ve said above with careful consideration and handling you rarely need them, but they are a solution when you need to overcome a warp.

I’m asked occasionally how you fit them, here’s an example, I’ve oversized the pictures for demonstration purposes but you will get the gist.

Warp in the log cabin door is identified and needs correcting.

Warp in the log cabin door is identified and needs correcting.

If you have a double door and have fitted a door stop trim then use a similar size piec e of timber

If you have a double door and have fitted a door stop trim then use a similar size piece of timber that matches it. Parts from the pallet or off cut roof or floor boards is generally ideal for this.

As when working with all wood and screws we will always send through a pilot hole before sending through a screw to stop splits happening in the timber we are working on.

As when working with all wood and screws we will always send through a pilot hole before sending through a screw to stop splits happening in the timber we are working on.

We've oversized here to show you but we are fixing an equivalent sized plate to the door on the opposite side and fixing to the opposite leaf.

We’ve oversized here to show you but we are fixing an equivalent sized plate to the door on the opposite side and fixing to the opposite leaf.

With the plate fitted the turn button is then fixed. This can then be turned to secure the door. This works on a double and single door. The turn button is made for precisely this task.

With the plate fitted the turn button is then fixed. This can then be turned to secure the door. This works on a double and single door. The turn button is made for precisely this task.

With the turnbutton in place the warped door is supported and the warp will eventually go in a month or two and the button can eventually be removed.

With the turn button in place the warped door is supported and the warp will eventually go in a month or two and the button can eventually be removed.

From my picture bank I sadly like to keep, this was my worst warped door from an install I did:

A bad warp created by me but very easily solved.

A bad warp created by me but very easily solved.

With a turn button this was fixed very quickly and I never heard from my customer again.

Should you have a similar problem with one of your Tuin Log Cabins please do not keep it to yourself, we can help you to solve this easily and will send you out one of these buttons to help you.

Please be aware though that timber is a bugger, and can also do this over the life time, a huge amount comes down to the level and quality of treatment you use on the doors and windows. Without good treatment you can expect this to happen with any building, no matter the supplier. Please see this post for more details on treatments: Log Cabin Treatment.