Update to Moosilauke Ravine Lodge Bunkhouse

October 28, 2014

A crew member at the Ravine Lodge project was invited to write a guest post to give us an update on the project.

(ed note: This is not the normal voice behind the Timberframes blog…. I talk less about wood structures and more wax philosophic on what it means to build a cabin. Also I doubt the Timberhomes workers secretly sleep on the floor of their clients uncompleted buildings (Or do they?). I am merely a recent Dartmouth alumnus hired to help build the Class of ’65 bunkhouse.)

I slept on the floor one night. The west wall hadn’t been built yet, leaving an unobstructed view of Mount Moosilauke and the stars beyond. I stared up at pale moonlight slanting through the half completed monitor wall and traced the lines of the frame above, marveling at the work done by my own hands. But that was weeks ago. Now the wall has been boarded up and the monitor completed. The whole structure is only a couple weeks from being completely closed in for the winter. The Class of ’65 Bunkhouse no longer feels the same.

It’s my first time building a house from start to finish. Most of us on the project are recent alumni of the college, with some carpentry experience. I cannot confidently give much advice on carpentry but I can tell you a few things about cabin building.

1 – There are a lot of details to juggle. An immense, immense amount. I don’t know how we’d keep track of it all if we didn’t have Sean Dalton to keep track and lead us.

2. Time moves strangely on the worksite. The building goes up in fits and starts. A day of routing allows a wall to go up in the afternoon. Things take time and change in the blink of an eye.

I can’t tell if we are behind or ahead of schedule. There are many details to juggle and Sean seems tight lipped. For me, in the end, it doesn’t matter. Each day moves forward and hammer continues to strike nail. The roof goes up and walls close in. I have learned not lament the loss of openness from earlier as the building gets closed in. Each stage comes at the destruction of the last, but each comes with its own beauty. As I said before, we are only a few weeks from completing the exterior in time for winter, before construction picks back up again in the spring. I don’t know how I’ll feel on that last day, but I plan on letting it linger – climbing back in after work, tired and weary, and watching as the sun gives way to pale moonlight that slants through monitor windows.

Foam on the walls at the Moosilauke bunkhouse

Foam on the walls at the Moosilauke bunkhouse


Staging set up on one gable wall to install siding

Building being enclosed

Building enclosed


Member of the crew measures a board