Buildings,  Foresty

Building a heat pump shelter

woodworking,outdoors,carpentry,heat pump shelters,logs,logging,forestry
marking the peg

Time to start on building this heat pump shelter before the snow starts to fall. Last year was terrible weather for the big fan on the heat pump. The constant snow fall and thawing temperatures meant plenty of ice build up on the heat pump fan. I’ve never done log work like this before so its all new to me. Time to start on the corner posts.

The shelter will be a 3 sided structure with lattice sides. Air flow is important for a heat pump so the side walls will be a foot off of the ground to allow the unit to draw air in. When the snow gets deep the lattice will hold back the snow until I can shovel around the unit.

I have decided to build the shelter using logs for a couple reasons.

  1. The logs are free as I can just go out on the property and cut them. Have you seen the cost of lumber lately? A 2x4x8ft is now $5.00!
  2. I’ve never made a structure like this before, using any kind of lumber, so making it from logs will provide with an additional challenge. I like a challenge.
  3. I think it will look rustic and country… which is what I am aiming for.
  4. I can recycle the left over metal that was used on the house to make the roof of the shelter. I’m all for reusing, recycling, repurposing.

It all starts with peeling logs. I’ve already posted about this the other day, so you can jump over here to see that article.

forestry,woodworking,carpentry,log peeling
Peeling logs by hand

I will be using concrete deck blocks to rest the posts on.

concrete deck blocks
reusing deck blocks

The blocks were recycled from a deck rebuild we did last year.

rebuild deck,recycling,reusing
deck rebuild

So now its time to mark the square pegs that will keeps the posts on the deck blocks.

woodworking,outdoors,carpentry,heat pump shelters,logs,logging,forestry
marking the peg

I start with a block template I cut measuring a true 2 x 4 inches. I want the post to be centered on the block so the template is drawn on one side of the trees center, then moved up and drawn on the other. I now have a 4×4 square pencil line.

Time to get busy cutting the pegs.

chainsawing,logs,square pegs
chains cutting the pegs on the end of the log

I remembered that the square hole in the deck block is not a true 2×4 inches. So I used another template that’s the same size as a S4S stud lumber, that 1-5/8 x 3-5/8 inches. So a little trimming with the chainsaw and we’re back in business.

The log has to have a notch to accept the lattice frame. The next step is to snap the chalk lines to remove 1/4 of the post.

logs,chainsawing,snap lines,chalk,chaulk
snapping the chalk lines

With the chalk lines visible I put the log on the ground and made kerf cuts with the chain saw to first establish the chalk lines before they disappeared under the sawdust.

logging,chainsaws,chainsawing,notching posts
chainsawing logs for shelter posts

I’ve never done this before so it was a slow and careful process to ensure not only accuracy but safety too.

logging,shelters,corner posts,chainsawing,forestry,Husqvarna
notching out the posts

It took about 10 minutes or so to cut out the piece, a lot of back and forth, nibbling away at the depth so as not to cut too far. I think I did pretty good considering it was the first time doing it.

All that was left to do was install the post and brace it. Notice the bracing is recycled from the deck torn down last year.

logging,heat pump shelters,chainsaws,chainsawing
corner post installed

The post in place I stepped back for a look. Its a beast of a post standing there 8 ft tall. It probably won’t end up being that tall but its better to have more than needed than not enough.

This week will be spent cutting the 3 other posts and installing them. If I can get time to do one each day, I’ll be lucky. But that’s the goal.

Here’s a quick video of the work I did above.

I don’t always work this fast,
but when I do,
I provide video evidence 🙂

Update Oct 20 2015

This is where I am at right now. The bones are up. Now working on the roof purlins. I have two made and I need at least 2 more to span the 90″ of the roof beams I cut. I am using 3 metal roof panels , each 30 inches. Hence the 90″ length. I need a purlin on each end and one under each overlap of metal, so four for sure. and I might also need one purlin in the middle of each 30 inch panel. So a total of 5 more to peel and cut in place.

woodworking,logging,shelters,heat pumps
Log shelter

I’m now researching heavy duty screws. The local store is sold out of the 4″ Timber-tite I need to secure the purlins. Timber-Tite screws were also a tad bit expensive. Over $1 each. Having recently purchase a +- 25lb each of deck screws in varying sizes, those too were expensive. That might just be sticker shock for me because its my first time looking at purchasing these type heavy duty timber screws.

Luckily, I found FastenMaster on Facebook who were quick to reply and very eager to help. Kudos for customer service. Its a rare sight these days, so its welcomed. Working with them now to see what I can get in heavy duty flat head type screws.

Update October 24 2015

Today was a fine weather day so we got outdoors to finish off the purlins for the shelter. We selected five more logs, each about six feet long and about 4.5 inches diameter at the larger end of the log. We peeled the logs and then set about placing each one to the same height at the purlins previously placed. I also got to use the FastenMaster screws that showed up Friday. They worked perfectly.

carpentry,woodworking,logs,forestry,heat pump shelters,chainsawing,Husqvarna
Log heat pump shelter construction
carpentry,woodworking,logs,forestry,heat pump shelters,chainsawing,Husqvarna
Log heat pump shelter construction
carpentry,woodworking,logs,forestry,heat pump shelters,chainsawing,Husqvarna
Log heat pump shelter construction
carpentry,woodworking,logs,forestry,heat pump shelters,chainsawing,Husqvarna
Log heat pump shelter construction
carpentry,woodworking,logs,forestry,heat pump shelters,chainsawing,Husqvarna
Log purlins in place.

Update: Oct 25 2015


Update: Oct 26 2015

I got about a little less than 2 hours this afternoon to work on the shelter. It rained most of the time while outside, no problem though, that’s what rain coats are for. I finished the sides, shown here.

log rails,shelters,heat [umps,chainsaw projects,diy
Finished the log rails

I ripped a log in half and once I added these cross braces the shelter become rock solid.

log rails,shelters,heat [umps,chainsaw projects,diy
cross bracing for support

Here’s a close up of the FastenMaster screws I used for some of the connections. Solid.

FastenMaster screws,log shelters
FastenMaster screws

Update: Oct 27 2015

Today I took some time to cut the metal for the roof from leftovers when we built the house. Then drill and tap the screws in place.

metal roofing,log shelters,sturctures,diy,heat pumps
Roofing the log shelter.
metal roofing,log shelters,sturctures,diy,heat pumps
Roofing the log shelter, almost complete.
metal roofing,log shelters,sturctures,diy,heat pumps
Roofing the log shelter, done.

Update: Oct 28 2015

All done! This took longer than expected but it was a fun project. How long it lasts, time will only tell. It was a great way to practise some chainsaw work. I also learned that peeling logs can be quite relaxing! 🙂

heat pump shelters,logs,logging,chainsaw
Completed shelter

Feel free to add your comments below, would love to hear form you and any tips you might have.

A Newfoundland born Canadian with a life long interest in woodworking, baking and anything else that peaks my curiosity.


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