By Jack Petree, Tradeworld Communications
Personal Best winners are judged on creativity, originality, complexity, and craftsmanship. For Jesse Matras, inspiration from previous winners resulted in his own 1st place award.
“Looking at a Wood-Mizer Way magazine highlighting Personal Best projects, I was inspired to create my own cabin,” Jesse comments. “I had a mill, trees, time, and a nice spot to build a cabin retreat for my family. Inspired by photos of people’s projects my wife and I dreamed up a plan that same evening. I started the next day digging holes for footings. It was mid-December so I needed to act quickly to get concrete poured before the ground froze for the winter.”
Jesse’s inspiration and hard work resulted in a post and beam cabin measuring 18’ by 20’ with a 6’ porch on the front and 6’ x 16’ woodshed/outhouse off the back. The interior of the cabin has a cathedral ceiling in front and a 10’ by 18’ loft above the back. The exterior is sided with live edge lap siding and interior walls feature pine boards accented with cherry window trim and a mixed hardwood floor. “I used six different kinds of native hardwoods in the floor and trim to highlight our local wood species,” Jesse says. The New Hampshire state tree, a white birch, supports the center beam and reaches up to the peak.
With the cabin’s location being roads away from electricity, Jesse says he completed most of the construction with the aid of his tractor, chainsaw, and battery powered drill. “Everyone comments on how much they like the live edge siding,” Jesse says. “They are surprised that I milled all the lumber and built it mostly by myself without electricity.”
During the 2 ½ year project, Jesse milled all the 9,000 board feet of white pine, red oak, and mixed hardwood for the 744 square foot cabin. “The only wood that I didn’t saw was the birch tree I placed as a center post in the cabin,” Jesse says. “I’ve spent the majority of my free time at the cabin throughout the last two years because I was so eager to see each phase come to completion and enjoy the beauty of wood. There is nothing quite so satisfying as seeing something you dreamed up in your own mind come to life as you build it with your own lumber and with your own two hands.”
Today, Jesse and his wife enjoy taking walks to the cabin and sharing it with family and friends. “This cabin would not exist if I did not have a Wood-Mizer,” Jesse continues. “My wife says that the best decision I ever made was buying my Wood-Mizer, second only to marrying her.”
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