June 21, 2011
Cabin
Photo by Jim Ruen
We used recycled windows to build a small cabin at our tree farm.

We’ve been needing a “cabin” at our tree farm, which is six miles from our home. There are multiple reasons for building the cabin, including nailing down the zoning approval for a house some day. We also are planning an orchard and garden at the farm site to take advantage of sunlight our wooded lot doesn’t get.

Our needs are simple, so the 12- by 16-foot cabin is simple. Hopes to build it myself faded as the permit deadline neared. Finally, I hired a carpentry crew to do the job. They had done a great job on the windows at our place, and I knew they could handle this job with their eyes closed.

Best of all, the crew chief didn’t argue with what I wanted, which included reusing some windows we had removed from our home. I used Google SketchUp software to place the recycled windows. One was a combination unit with two crank-out panes to either side of a fixed pane, while the other two windows had once been sliding patio doors. 

The combination window had been replaced due to wood-casing deterioration. It will be plenty good enough for the cabin, as I plan to use some wood stabilizer and filler on the bad wood. The patio door had failed as a unit, but the two components would make fine fixed panes.

The entry door also was recycled from my parent’s house before they did some remodeling. For the past 50 years, it has rested in an old shed. Somehow the glass pane in it had survived without breaking or shattering.

The cabin went up according to plan. The door still needs to be hung, but the old windows have all been born again, letting in the light and sharing their views once more.

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