Justine Log Cabin Review- Part 2

Not too long ago we received a nicely detailed review/installation overview of Mr E’s Justine Log Cabin. And to our delight we found another email from him with a part two! This one goes in-depth on their finishing touches to their cabin.


Mr E writes as follows: 

After the build comes the finish and protection. This again can be time-consuming but is very visible so a good job is vital. The cleverer amongst you will have planned to apply protection to the outside of your cabin before the construction, we didn’t.

We had ideas, as I mentioned earlier we thought we might try Shou Sugi Ban, this would have meant turning a propane burner on the outside surfaces (eek!), scorching the wood then painting linseed oil on, this is a Japanese method of wood preservation and gives a long-lasting finish but definitely needs a lot of thought (courage!) and must be done before construction.

With this in mind we must be happy with a dark colour, we hoped this would make the cabin less conspicuous as it is visible from the lane but we would use a lighter colour for contrast on the windows, doors and facias. After looking at several company websites including those recommended by Tuin and getting some sample colours (very few offer samples – strange) we settled on Osmo natural oil wood treatment from Germany, it promised simple application, got some good reviews and we liked their Quartz Grey 907 as the primary colour.

Osmo recommend two coats applied thinly, that lets the wood grain show through and recoating is simple, no prep just paint over. The product is economical to use and does go a long way, I used a 2.5L of the 907 Quartz Grey, giving the front and sides three coats (for a more solid colour) and so far one coat on the back (we have nesting birds in the back hedge and I’m trying not to disturb them) but I have enough left for a second coat. The contrast colour is 903 Basalt Grey and a 750ml can give everything two coats with a bit left over for touch ups. Obviously, it’s too early to tell on longevity but I’m very happy with our choice.

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The deck area has been treated with two coats of decking oil as has the faces of the timber frame and I have put up some black 76mm guttering which will discharge into a water butt.

The interior floor has been treated to 3 coats of Bona Mega clear satin varnish, this is a water based product and is quick and easy to apply and dries rapidly. As the garage contents must go in soon, the interior walls are not yet treated or painted, but that and the electrics hook up can wait until the garage extension is finished.

The void space below the deck is a useful log store at the front (I have put an angled liner under the deck to stop water dripping through the gaps) and the space below the cabin has a plastic sheet pinned down to stop weeds and damp and I have put in a basic rack using the pallet off cuts so that long timber and our surf boards can be stored in relative shelter.

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What I thought was the last job has been to construct some steps up to the deck using lots of offcuts from the project – bits of frame posts, the palate, roof boards and fascia boards topped off with the last of the deck boards.

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My wife now wants a small lean to shed on the back for ready use garden tools so more work is promised!
I hope this is of some use to prospective builders, it has been really fun, though hard work at times and I hear that a friend in Wales that is looking to buy a cabin so Micky and I might have to get our mallets out again.

The Justine Cabin Finished For Now

Looking Stunning Mr E!

 


Its always exciting to hear we might have another part to the installation story. Your Justine is looking stunning Mr E, and we love how you optimise space and left over resources! We look forward to hearing from you again!

Part 1 of Mr E’s Justine Log Cabin Review.

For other customer experiences, builds and ideas find them here: Pictorial Tuin Reviews.

Lauren Clockhouse Log Cabin Review

One of our customers was very generous in sending a review of their Lauren Clock House Log Cabin (previously known as the Special Ben), with plenty of images to show you guys the installation progress! We do love receiving images here at Tuin, so thank you Mr F for sending this to us!


Mr F writes as follows:

We were both extremely impressed with the quality of the material and the thought and precision that had gone into the preparation of the kit of parts.

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The 1st of 3 packages arrives, expertly manoeuvred by Barry, the truck driver. Each load was 20ft long and weighed about 1.7tons. By the second image there was a total of 5 tons of shed. Due to a lack of planning on my part they were going to remain unwrapped for about 2 weeks as the ground work was completed.

Work starts on the base about 08.00hrs. Quite a bit of soil had to be removed to
give us a level area. A load of scalping is delivered to the pit, in all, 12 tons was used to form a base for the cement.

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Kharn, the builder, with his whacker plate consolidates the scalping and the
shuttering is leveled. We finished at 20.30hrs – a long day but the pressure was on as we had booked the ready mix lorry for 08.00hrs the next morning.

Leveled Out Shuttering

Impressive work in just one day Kharn!

Day 2 at 07.55hrs, 13 tons of cement arrives… A small dumper truck was used to bring the cement to the site and frantic tamping continued for over 2 hours until all appeared level – very hard work!

A couple of days later and with the concrete hardened the rear bank was ‘landscaped’ and a trench for gravel dug at the base.

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Monday, Day 1 of construction at about 08.00hrs. The lower beams had been treated the day before and the black items are lengths of the plastic base material. The walls progressed nicely and the plastic base strips have just been cut to fit and slid under the lower logs. Note the log which will eventually be fitted above the door, has been temporarily positioned to keep things square despite the gap in the front wall.

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How the joints between the front and rear wall and the middle wall were to be made was a mystery to us but the long logs with vertical holes near the joints gave us a clue and answered the question, ‘what were the square pegs for?’.

The square pegs or ‘wall dowels’ had their corners and ends rounded slightly which still resulted in a satisfying tight fit but with less chance of splitting the logs. The 3 on the left have been treated with a belt sander. About 1 minute per peg and about 60 pegs in total. A pencil mark at the halfway point was useful when banging in.

Wall Dowels

Don’t worry Mr F, these can confuse most people!

About 12 hours after we started and we realise that it’s quite a big Log Cabin!

Installed Walls

The Lauren Clockhouse Log Cabin is one of our longest products!

Day 2 and the roof is progressing well. For the first 2 days of construction there were 3 of us working with lots of carrying from storage area to site and quite a bit of head scratching as we searched for various specific logs. Three pairs of hands were useful as we positioned and fixed the heavy purling.

A start is made nailing the tongue & groove roof boards into position. Much later and all of the boards are fixed. Rain was expected so we protected the roof. Probably no need to but it made us feel better.

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Day 3 was mainly spent nailing floor boards. The nail gun chose a bad time to fail and resulted in much manual hammering. Day 4 was mainly spent fixing shingles to the rear. A slow job but looked good when done. Ladders R Us.

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Day 5, the small gable comes in 3 pieces which we screwed together at ground level then lifted into position. Inevitably, it complicated the fixing of shingles on the front and it was quite late on the Friday before we finished. On days 4 & 5, some time was spent hiding from the heavy showers which slowed us down a little.

We used some heavier timber to trim the base of the roof to provide a substantial mount for guttering. Note the notches required to fit it around the left, right and middle wall. With a bit more thought I could have cut the timber longitudinally to a better shape for the gutter brackets but now I’ll have to custom make a mounting for each bracket.

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End of day 5. It looks like the finished product but still needs a lot of detail work and much brushwork. The most important pieces of paper. A list of contents annotated by me with the log positions and the detailed diagrams showing each log position.

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Happiness is 3 empty pallets. Progress would have been quicker if I were able to unpack and lay out in piles all the various bits of timber. The sheer quantity of wood (and the animals in the field) precluded that, so quite some time was spent rummaging for specific pieces as required. The timber had been cut very accurately and we found that the lengths on the plan, accurate to the millimeter, were very useful in identifying the required log.

Empty Palettes

True happiness indeed!

As garden buildings go, this was a big project and I wasn’t too surprised that the main build took 5 days. Kharn, a professional builder, and I were very impressed with the quality of the material and the accuracy with which it had been prepared. The joints were well thought out and accurately milled although we were dealing with significant lumps of timber and found a club hammer, with protective wood, more useful than a mallet! Even a sledge hammer was found a use in squaring-up the part built walls. Apart from the nails in the floor and roof boards, and the wall dowels, virtually no other fixings were used. The wall logs and purlins stay in position because of the clever joints while the entire building sits steady on its base because of its weight. The packing had been very well done and, as far as I am aware, no parts were missing. Indeed, the supply of plain wood parts seemed generous. Although
there were 450kg of shingles we were a little concerned that we would run out. With 378 shingles we finished the roof with 2 remaining – very well judged by the manufactures.

Overall, I’m a very happy customer and, more importantly, so is my wife! An outstanding product at a bargain price. As the Americans would say, ‘A lot of bang for your buck’. Many thanks for the excellent service and the experience of the build has got my builder friend thinking of buying a smaller version for himself. I hope to have the staining and guttering done soon and will send you a picture of the finished item.


Thank you again Mr F for a detailed and informative overview of your installation process for the Lauren Clockhouse Log Cabin. It looks great and we can’t wait to see your pictures for when it’s completely finished! I hope you and your wife enjoy your log cabin!

Other customer experiences, build articles and tips can be found at: Pictorial Tuin Reviews.

Shed of AWESOME

So, we’ve recently been sent over this blog, where Williem from The Secret Batcave tells us of his journey, or in his words- a tragedy, on building the SHED OF AWESOME – This is Willem’s own blog.

He originally was planning to build his own shed/log cabin, with parts I and II showing us his layout plans and building considerations. But alas, his wife won this case with our five star rated Yorick cabin.

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In part III of his quest he talks about how he came across Tuin and what made him go for the Yorick Log Cabin, even considering the tears of any tall person who has used other garden offices that unlike ours, have a shorter roof height. The comment about the tall people is really what had me sold on this series of posts (I had originally read part III first) Williem’s humour can reach into any situation! A humour that reminds me of Richard’s with a slither of mine in too. A little more extreme though. Needless to say, a fantastic combo.

Before you click through though, please note there is some colourful language. We cannot be held responsible for Willems website content which can be lively at times and may offend some people.

His posts come with step by step images of how he built his Yorick log cabin, any challenges he faced and how he overcame them. This was definitely an interesting read!

Finished Yorick

The fully built Yorick Cabin before insulation!

We’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this blog for anymore updates, until then you can enjoy part I, part II, part III, part IV, part V and part VI.

Thank you Willem for sending this to us! We hope you and your wife enjoy the Yorick Log Cabin!

Please note: Willem uses some colourful language in his posts of which we are not responsible for. Click through if you wish but please note my warning.

Cleaning a Log Cabin

This post title is ‘Cleaning a Log Cabin“, it could also read: “Cleaning a log cabin successfully, and then ruining it by cocking up badly!” which is what happened!

Things were going so well, until I got too keen …… and ….. really cocked up and I have possibly put a friendship in jeopardy.

The Exciting New Timber / Wood Cleaner:

It all started with some excitement, a new product had been sent to me to try out. It’s a cleaner for wood / timber and primarily designed for cleaning timber before the application of our Carefree Protect timber Treatment.

I had been sent a video showing its super powers which I didn’t entirely believe.

Pretty impressive stuff! So, when the box of six arrived I set about finding every bit of rubbish and stained wood I could find and started spraying everything to see what happens. I found on surface dirt, like in the video, it was very very quick indeed. I tried it on a larch gazebo that is at the office currently being used as a carport, it worked well but not as quickly, I think maybe the dirt was a lot more ingrained and had been driven in by passing traffic, It did though bring up the post well. It was squirted onto mouldy timber, rotten timber, wood with fungal spores caused by damp or resin and all of them came up clean, much of it came up like new wood.

It seemed to me it was like a magic potion, and then others joined in, people were all hunting in the yards, warehouses and workshops for wood to clean, it turned into a bit of a cleaning frenzy with my six bottles liberally spread across Tuin.

Then, I noticed somebody had cleaned my experiment log that I’ve used in a few blogs now:

No treatment at all on this poor Log – This made up display boards showing various levels of treatment on logs, This picture was taken January 2017 and it is now August 2017.

This experiment was going really well, a year and a half of being exposed to the elements, along with other logs of varying degrees of treatment to show customers what can happen. A Very useful and scientific experiment you’ll agree. But, some clever bugger thinks it would be really handy if it was half cleaned – unbelievable!

My year and a half experiment ruined! …. Just great, so thanks to whoever at Tuin thought that was a good idea!  It is clean though…. well a quarter of it is.

YES it did clean it really well and bang goes an update blog which I had planned to revisit in January 2018.

At this point, enough is enough, I confiscate the bottles from everyone, suggest they stop mucking about and get back to work. The cleaning fest was over and I decide a proper experiment is needed.

A colleague has a log cabin that I knew had never, ever been treated. I featured it a few years ago in another blog post, at the time it was being used for chickens, I have a little chat, casually mentioning her log cabin and a super duper new wood cleaner for log cabins.

A completely untreated log cabin the home of a group of chickens.

I’m told the chickens have now all but gone, but then it went through a phase as a Guinea Pig home and sanctuary. Lately it is simply a store for general “stuff” that cannot be thrown away … Girls!.

However, it still remains untreated, and is now about 15 – 17 years old.

The Serious Log Cabin Cleaning Experiment 

I offer my services with the new timber cleaning product, my time and effort and promised to transform the log cabin for her, in the name of a thoroughly useful experiment. This is the log cabin before I conducted the experiment. Chickens and Guinea Pigs gone, it is a blank canvas and perfect for a restoration project:

An old log cabin, still untreated and looking in need of some TLC. A perfect restoration project

I would show you a completed after shot of the experiment but we are not quite … ahem … there yet.

So, onto the experiment and at this point it’s best to show you the video I made and you’ll see the huge effect the cleaner had and that the experiment was a resounding success – it did clean the log cabin, really quite remarkably…. I find this video amazing!

Of course this cabin is ancient so it cannot be perfect, that would be expecting far too much but it did clean as the video shows, and it cleaned the logs amazingly quickly. The process can keep working over 24 hours and the label says for really heavy dirt to apply three coats, one hour apart. The video is only showing one coat, but, I think you’ll agree this is pretty impressive even with one coat.

The corner of the cabin has always fascinated me, on the short side the wind and rain bellows up into it, as it’s flanked by a wall and it receives all the very worst weather year round. I find the marking and weathering particularly incredible. And like all timber it never rots if allowed to dry naturally, No rot in this log cabin timber is evident at all.

Corner connections of an old log cabin, heavily discoloured and marked.

After some squirts of the Carefree Timber / Wood Cleaner and allowing it to settle for ten minutes of so the result in impressive.

Corner connection of the log cabin starts to come clean again.

Now I’m fascinated with this side wall as it is so exposed, this is what it looked like

A really dirty side wall of a log cabin that is exposed to the worst of the weather. You can see part of the corner that has cleaned up quite well despite its years of exposure.

Again, a bit of time squirting the cleaner and things are looking a lot better.

Yes there is still some dirt but I was expecting a lot. a damn site cleaner though!

This was just one coat and got to this stage within 10 – 15 minutes, it’s not perfect or as new wood but when you consider how old the log cabin is it is pretty amazing and all done with a few squirts ….. and the squirting is where the problem now starts ………

The Log Cabin Cleaning Cock Up

The squirting …. well quite frankly it is a bit tiresome, at this point I had finished the parts shown in the video, most of the front wall, the corner and the side wall, about two and a half bottles have been used and my hand and wrist is getting sore, in fact my wrist is now really painful.

I start to wonder if there is an alternative to this method. I had promised my colleague a clean log cabin that she could now, finally, choose her colours and treat it (I had asked her not to in the past as I had assured her it would not ever rot, and it makes for a great experiment for me and my blogging), but, now at last she can treat it and I suggested we use the Carefree timber treatment that is so good, afterwards.

I don’t think this stuff is overly cheap, I’m told the price is around £19.50 for the bottle, so far I’ve used nearly £60 worth on this Log Cabin. But it is really quick acting, great results and damn good, it hurts my wrist though which I’m getting a little fed up of – I am old!

I deal with complaints from customers sometimes and I start thinking what complaints can be made from people about this cleaner.

We have the expectations of people but I think that’s covered, I cannot see how anyone can moan about the performance if they are realistic about what timber / wood they are cleaning bearing in mind the age and dirt.

I think about the effort and yes, there is some with the spray trigger which people could moan about. I am told though this can be bought in drums so a powered sprayer maybe better for bigger jobs so that complaint is covered.

I think about the cost. I’ve done some research and cannot find anything like it, there’s lots of claims but nothing I can see with the speed of this product. No one seems to produce videos of it actually working. – Please send me some links if you have found any so I can compare. But, there is a cost implication, this whole log cabin might be close to £100 worth of treatment to get it clean. On top of that you have the proper treatment needed, it could get expensive and in a complaint situation I have to justify it.

It’s at this point i have a great idea, no costs involved, quick, easy, fun and not a lot of effort!

I fetch my pressure washer 🙂

Pressure washer being used on a log cabin – what a great idea!

And at this point please understand a few other cock ups I made before I get onto the main horrendous one. It turns out there is a really big red label on the bottle that should be read.

Big red warning label – A must read.

I hadn’t actually read this, please if you choose to use this product follow it’s guidance. When I saw the door handle I realised I should have!

The handle was very old and in hindsight I should have removed it before applying the cleaner. I should have also used gloves and a mask throughout.

Maybe because I’m 50 in a few weeks my brain is not working as it should, the label says it can cause  irritation, and to use gloves, a mask, protective clothing ….. Doh! … My self and my helper didn’t for most of the application, not good.

I should have also removed the handles before application of the cleaner, they were pretty bad before hand and now I have made them worse….. damn it.

If you use this cleaner, please follow the advice of the red label and protect yourself properly, also remove any metal work in case of it reacting badly with it.

Carrying on pressure washing the log cabin

So I’m now cracking on with the pressure washer, I’m having to get really, really close with the nozzle, as the dirt is so old and ingrained, I’ve even put on a special swirl nozzle and the logs are getting pretty clean. The dirt is lifting, it looks as good as the Carefree Timber / Wood Treatment and costs nothing is you already have a pressure washer.

The dirt is tough to get out though!

Several years ago I used a pressure washer to clean a huge cabin we had just built, it was only a bit of mud splats and we were really careful to keep our distance from the wood, and it worked really well to clean it up.

This time though, to get the dirt out I had to get in close and really go for it. At this stage in the above picture it looked pretty good, I was feeling pretty smug ….. and after £60 worth of treatment this was SOOOOO much better …. WoooooHooooo….. and cost nothing and my wrist didn’t hurt at all.

And then it went bad …. a few hours later it was dry …..

Too close and too higher pressure – ruined the log cabin!

And …. this is what I had done!  Bugger, too close, too high a pressure, too much dirt and I have destroyed the logs.

A Ruined Log Cabin

AND now I have a huge problem! A very old log cabin, never treated, it was doing fine. I could have stuck with the really impressive cleaner but now I have really destroyed the surface …… now I have a problem…..

My advice from now on …. Use the Carefree Timber / Wood cleaner if you have something similar, pressure washing is NOT a good idea!

More to follow, if i can get out of this predicament …….!

Use this stuff though if you want a clean log cabin which you have not treated properly, if at all, then, spend some money on some proper treatment so you never have to go through this.

Carefree Protect Timber Cleaner

Carefree Protect Timber cleaner.

Timber – Wood – Log Cabin Cleaner

I’ve been playing a lot today with a new product, I’m still experimenting with it and will produce a blog on it soon.

Here though is my first video on it ….. great for cleaning your timber cladding, your old log cabin or in fact any type of timber as far as I can see so far:

Julia Log Cabin

We have received a customer review from Mr P of their experience with installing their Julia Log Cabin. Thank you for sending this in!  We love how the bar turned out- It’s a great idea!


Mr P writes as follows: 

Back in February I purchased a Log Cabin from Tuin.

Several months later I have completed the project, turning it into a bar and brewery. Very pleased with it and your customer support and thought I would share some pictures with you!

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We love the bar and brewery Mr P! Thank you for sending in your images, we hope the brewing turns out well!

Other customer experiences, build articles and ideas can be found at: Pictorial Tuin Reviews.

Shepherd Hut Review

One of our customers, James from East Sussex, has been very generous in sending us his review of the Shepherd Hut Gypsy styled caravan and his process of installing them from start to finish- with plenty of pictures!


James writes as follows: 

I ordered two Shepherd’s Huts before Christmas to take advantage of the generous discount. They were delivered in the first week in January. The delivery driver was superb and, though it was difficult and time-consuming, he managed to get both into one of our barns.

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We debated where to undertake construction and in the end decided that it would be best right by the house, which involved some nice exercise to stroll up and down the drive when stuff was needed.

The kits were extremely well packed and there was no need to use additional tarpaulin or covering. They have sat there in the barn until today when I opened the first one. I used my car to haul the heavy metal chassis and wheels, nuts, bolts and other hardware up to the build area. There is one thing we did: I read a review about the axle being tube which broke when the hut was moved a short distance. We decided to get a blacksmith to beef up that component, just in case, so the tube was cut off and solid steel bar was welded in its place for each axle.

Axle Tube Modifications

Since all the metal work was on top of the kit, I kind of thought that the contents of the delivery would be packed in the order you need them. But that isn’t the case and it’s not a problem. So, after looking at the drawings and instructions and much head scratching, we opened up the delivery and had another round of head scratching.

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Day 1:

Our aim for today – I am building this with my friend who is a great deal more handy and adept than I am – was to get the base done. We started at 10.00am and, unusually for me, we carefully studied the manual/building plans and decided we would just go at it a page at a time. So, first order of business was to build the chassis. The metal bit was easy and that was the starting point and first job to do. All we had to do was lay out the metal work roughly where we wanted to build the hut.

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It was at this point that we realised we would need various lengths of timber from the kit and, when I opened it, I noticed that a lot of them were right down the bottom of the pallet! So, we would have to take everything off the pallet and stack it in vertical piles. That took a little while as we looked at various components and discussed them and where they would fit into the overall thing. I was very surprised to see that the panels that had windows actually had the glass in! OK, if you want to double glaze your hut you need to change that but it says something for the quality of the packaging and the way things are shipped that all the glass is in first class condition – not a scratch or crack anywhere on it.

Looking at the build instructions, and the separate parts list, the various lengths of timber, some of which look the same length, I had hoped would be numbered to correspond with their number in the parts list. They aren’t. It’s not a problem – but you just need to be careful to make sure you use a tape measure to check the sizes to correctly identify the various components.

For instance, you might just be able to make out below that to join the two chassis units, you need to make up a joist which uses one 2, one 2a and a 2b. 2a and 2b are not dissimilar in size but if you make that mistake – we did – you end up with a joist that is either too short by a few inches or too long by the same amount.

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The first task that involves wood is to make two items that bolt onto the metal work. We did these on the ground and then fitted them.

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A point on the metal chassis. We did a bit of head scratching because what we had in front of us didn’t match the drawing. It was obvious that this assembly had been beefed up with two additional bolts but that isn’t reflected in the drawing. Sill, you would want to be fairly uptight to worry about it and I am certain that the additional metal and bolts are an improvement.

Metal Chassis Closeup

Getting on with the frame, we built the first two long joists (the 2 + 2a + 2b) that bolt to the metal frames on the ground. Then it was just a case of positioning them accurately, drilling holes and bolting to the metal. This fixes the length of the unit – and it’s big!

From here, you need to assemble the rest of the joists – another five. As mentioned, each one is made of three pieces of different length timber. There was a whole lot of head scratching trying to get the right ones together. Basically, we put all the possible pieces on the part-built base, which is a great work bench, and then worked out what went with what. You just need to take your time and things click into place.

Underlining the point that the Shepherd Hut base is a very handy workbench at exactly the right height, in the image you can see James making up one of the three-component joists.

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The Tuin hut is a quality item and as we were working we were having some thoughts about making sure it lasts. The base we are working on, the underside won’t show, unless someone crawls underneath. The wood is untreated and, as it goes through its life, while rain can’t get under there, dew and damp, over time, could. So we decided that we would not fix any of the joists for the moment. That’s because I am going out tomorrow to get some really good wood preservative for everything we have made so far before it is fixed – it’s a lot easier brushing on preservative when I can turn the joist over to get all sides, rather than crawling around under the base. Also, I am going to apply a coat of preservative to the underside of the floorboards – the ones that will be open to mist and moisture from beneath. So this is as far as we got on Day 1 – all the joists are ready to be screwed down but they will get a coat of preservative before that happens.

In terms of time, what you see above is not a day’s work – it took four hours work for two guys from start to finish, and that included a fair bit of time at the beginning getting familiar with the kit, instructions, components and how to read the drawings and specs, looking at parts and figuring things out. Most of all, we want to enjoy this build so we are not rushed. Tomorrow is preserving day. At this stage we are delighted with everything and though we have had the offer of whatever support and advice from Richard at Tuin, we haven’t felt the need to avail ourselves of it.

Day 2: 

Day 2 is a misnomer. On Day 2, as mentioned above, I treated everything with a preservative/sealant against moisture and that included the floor joists and all the underside of all the floorboards. I stacked the made-up joists on the axles and used the hut base to paint on the preservative to the floorboards and then I left them there and covered the lot with the tarpaulin.

We cleared the deck and positioned the five joists. It was at this stage that we discovered a length discrepancy in two of them – one was a bit short while the other was a few inches too long. Clearly we had made a mistake and we figured out we had used the wrong three components, as indeed we had. It didn’t take long to figure out where we made the mistake and we switched over components. However, it underlines that you need to take your time and make sure you identify all the components and put a pencil mark on them so that in the heat of constructing things, you don’t mistake similar sized and shaped lengths.

Things are still a bit slow at this stage, as compared with later but you need to just take your time. The joists have to be positioned accurately and we did that and clamped them in position while we screwed on the metal brackets. There’s 20 of them so, even with two of us, it still took time. I guess, from unwrapping things, getting the joists positioned and putting the brackets in – with a stop for a bacon sarnie and a tea – it took us nearly three hours to get everything ready. After that, things began to speed up in terms of seeing real change and progress. I think it only took us about half an hour or so to screw the floorboards to the joists and suddenly we had a platform and we could look at putting up the wall panels.

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We decided to offset the side windows, looking over the timestamps of the images I was able to work out that it took just a few minutes over one hour to get from the first image… To the last one.

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It is definitely a two-man job but not a difficult one. Up goes a panel and while one holds it in place and pushed tight against the base and its neighbour panel, the other then screws it bottom and sides to the next panel.

The next task, attaching the curved roof timbers, was a slower job because they are attached at each side with small metal brackets using fiddly little screws plus being up a ladder. But from start to finish, and in all of this construction work we were not in a hurry or rushing things, it took over an hour to fit all of the curved roof timbers and the two end sections.

So below is where we got to by 4.00pm when we decided to call it a day. Tomorrow we need to complete the roof pieces to cover the porch area, and then apply the tongue and groove roof boards.

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After James headed off and I did a few chores, I decided it would be pleasant and relaxing to do at least one side with the primer undercoat I had bought from Screwfix that comes very highly recommended. It’s a job that needs doing, so why not get a bit of it done. And, in the way of these things, a couple of hours later and I had done the whole lot.

And so, construction Day 3 looms and the forecast is for it to be very hot and sunny all day.

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Day 3: 

Today’s forecast was for the hottest day of the year so far and they didn’t get it wrong. It was in the 70s with not a cloud in the sky. I was up early and while having my first coffee of the day, I tried a patch of the blue I have selected for the exterior to check the colour. It will need another coat but I like the light blue.

Paint Test

I was probably jumping the gun last night by priming/undercoating the build so far because we added on the porch today which will need to be primed. But what I have done certainly wasn’t a waste of time. We started work before 9.00am and we used the van to move up all of the tongue and groove roofing boards – there are three sizes that make up a length. As we looked at things, we discovered a slight error in that one of the roof beams was not in the right place – we were about 5cms out, so we did a bit of remedial work to get that set up perfectly. Then we built the porch which went together well. We had some head scratching because we hadn’t noticed that we needed a little batten up top on the outside of the porch upright at each side, but once we realised that, it didn’t take long to find the two bits of board and get everything properly lined up ready to start work on the roof boards.

A word of caution on those curved roof beams. They are held in place by a little bracket which you can see in the photo below. It stands slightly proud – and we couldn’t see a way of avoiding that – which causes some fun and games when you try to put a roof board on top of it. We worked out a way – bash down the metal edge that is protruding and leave the board above loose while you fit the final board, then nail them both down. But it would be good if a nick could be taken off that bracket in manufacture – or maybe we should have positioned it further inward so it didn’t stand proud, but that doesn’t look right as you can see from the second shot.

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From the time stamp on the photo, I can see that we started work on boarding the roof at 12.00. It was really hot so it was sweltering doing the work but we got it all done by 3.25pm, which included about 40 mins for lunch.

By the time we had roofed the entire hut, we were tired and decided to call it a day. We haven’t quite made up our minds about the roof – use the felt supplied or go for a corrugated roof with insulation beneath. So we will have to leave things for a few days while we earn a crust so we decided to cover the roof with a tarpaulin. It is not big enough but I have a bigger one that will go on before the rain arrives tomorrow afternoon.

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After my friend James left, I was still in the mood to just potter about and do a little more. So I fitted the doors and the door frame and that was a fairly easy process. I just needed my wife to hold the components steady while I screwed them and we got the doors hung after a bit of messing about trying to put them on backwards!

Then I decided to fit the little gates things at the end of the porch. I was hot and tired and not at my brightest so there was an awful lot of head scratching and trying to figure out these strange hinges. I have never seen anything like them in my life before. On the left, that’s just one hinge – I know they are special and let the little gate thing swing either way and open back out of the way. I couldn’t figure out how to fit them, so I left that for another day when I am less tired and hot and bothered…

I contemplated getting out the primer and doing the new pieces we had fitted – mainly the porch – and also the underside of the interior roof but it was still very hot and I decided instead to make up the steps which was a fairly easy task.

Shepherd Hut Completed.

So that’s it. There is more work to do – the roof in whatever material we decide to do it, but other than that we’re pretty much there. There’s the fitting out to do – prime and paint the rest of it; add the exterior trim, run some electric cables inside for lights and power; insulate inside and then panel the walls; lay an oak laminate floor; general painting and decorating and “dressing” the hut, etc. etc. I’ve bought a sofa bed from Ikea specially for it and I have been collecting a few period things that will look the part. But that is an on-going fun element which we will do over the next couple of weeks because we are in no hurry.

As I was reading customer comments on building one of these, it was suggested you can build one in a weekend. Of course the devil is in the detail – at what stage do you determine it is built? If you look at our timings and what you see in the photo above, then certainly, two averagely handy guys, working at a steady, unrushed pace, got this far in a long weekend. If we were building the other one, I think it would be quicker because we did an awful lot of head scratching and that’s understandable. There are no written instructions in terms of describing that you need to do this, then that, etc. etc. and how you do it. The manual is made up of about 18 pages of drawings – very well annotated drawings – that show you what is needed, and where and how it is placed. It shows you what screws to use and where necessary, there are little exploded drawings for key details. It is easy to miss something or confuse two pieces of the jigsaw so double check everything. That is not to criticise the instructions – but what we realised is that we weren’t familiar with following this kind of instruction booklet and at times things didn’t make sense. And then the penny would drop and you would see what was required and it was easy.

I think, most of all, I’m happy with the attitude we approached the build with: this is going to be fun. Let’s enjoy this. We certainly did despite the head scratching as we turned another page onto another stage of the build until it sank in what we were looking at and what we needed to do.


Thank you to James for your article. We appreciate the amount of detail and passion you show in both your writing and your images! I send my best wishes for when you build the other one and modify it. We would love to see images of the interior design when you’re finished!

Other customer experiences, build articled and ideas can be found here: Pictorial Tuin Reviews.