Catching up with Building Wild: The Dirty Dozen Recap

Spoiler Alert!

If you want to watch this episode without getting the lowdown on what happened, stop reading now!

In Jackson, New York, Paulie DiMeo and Pat “Tuffy” Bakaitis, co-owners of  the Cabin Kings are Building Wild, constructing a cabin for farmer Mike Carney and eleven life-long friends who hunt together every year. They call themselves the “Dirty Dozen.” The Dozen wants to build a new cabin on top of a hill to replace their old rickety standing-room only hunting camp.

To keep costs low, Cabin Kings salvage materials, put the Dirty Dozen to work, and keep to a strict timeline of one week. The first task is to gather up materials on Mike’s 300-acre farm to keep the cost of building affordable.  Fortunately, the property has a few old buildings to put to use. They spend the first day investigating possibilities for materials.  Checking out a ramshackle old barn, Paulie is certain that they have found all the wood they need. Tuffy isn’t so sure, but Paulie won’t be swayed.

Deconstructing the barn one board at a time on day two is no small feat. (Check out this video of it coming down!) Working with the Dirty Dozen they pull it down, barely avoiding falling sections as they go. The boards then need to be de-nailed. Even the nails will be reused, however, and not for the first time. Mike explains that these nails are likely circa pre-1850, from a time when nails were so valuable they were salvaged and used over and over. Tuffy is worried about the timeline; they only have a week. Tuffy is worried about everything, however, and somehow, the guys all get it down in one day.

Does this old barn have all the lumber they need? Paulie thinks so...
Does this old barn have all the lumber they need? Paulie thinks so…

On day three, their next task is to tear down the old hunting camp to make room for the new one. The goal is try to get it downhill in as close to one piece as possible, but it’s no easy feat. Mike watches in amazement as they navigate through the trees accomplishing a task that Mike compares to squeezing a golf ball through a garden hose.

After installing the foundation and framing, Mike suggests putting up the cabin frame the same way the barn they are cannibalizing was built. The Dirty Dozen are going to raise their camp the Amish way. So Paulie organizes everyone to stand beams up by hand using gin poles. Tuffy thinks this is a ridiculous idea. Why do an old fashioned barn raising, wasting time and putting everyone in jeopardy of being smashed, when they have the equipment to put it up with two fingers using the excavator?  It’s time-consuming and dangerous, but The Dirty Dozen makes it happen. (Watch how they do it!)

Around the fire that night, the guys tell farm stories. Paulie, who doesn’t have any farm stories, tells everyone about the pilonidal cyst near his tailbone, which has been removed and now looks like an extra sphincter. Fortunately, no one wants to see it. This discussion leads to outhouse talk. Where are they going to put one?  Paulie impresses everyone with his knowledge of how much excrement a person produces per pound, but while they are talking, he hatches a plan.

On day four, the guys work on a few extras, cannibalize a bowling alley lane that has been stored on the property. The smooth broad leafed pine can be used for a bar the full length of the cabin. Meanwhile, Tuffy builds grill big enough to feed twelve using an old propane tank, which fortunately doesn’t blow up when they cut into it.

Up at the cabin, The Dirty Dozen raise rafters and lay a stone foundation. They push through, working until long after dark, but at 11:00 the night before the final day, they find they have run out of barn wood. There isn’t enough for the paneling on one side. Tuffy told you so, guys!

Cabin Building
It’s coming along!

When day five dawns, the guys are lucky enough to get the rest of the wood for the paneling from another barn on one of the Dozen’s property. It’s enough to finish the building. Now comes the big push to wrap it up and work on the inside installation and the deck.

The end result is a beautiful and smaller rendition of the old barn. Bunks are stacked four high on one side of the cabin making plenty of room for sleeping and as well as to socialize. The bowling lane doubles as a shuffle board and a bar, which a beer bottle can slide down with ease.  Cabin Kings have one last surprise for their clients though. They have built outhouse on rails so that it can be used when they are at camp and then rolled back down in the forest. The Dirty Dozen is now set for sleeping, eating and for waste management. (Which, in case you were wondering, is one ounce of feces for every 12 pounds of body weight.)

The job is complete and The Dirty Dozen got all they wanted and more. All it took was an old barn, twelve guys and a week to build their dream cabin. Wondering what Paulie and Tuffy will be building next? Tune into Building Wild: Moveable Beast on January 21 at 9PM et/pt.



  1. Jeff Casales
    New York
    January 15, 2014, 2:59 pm

    Great show! When will the spinoff of last night’s show, “Dirty Dozen Deer Lodge” be airing? I would love to see these guys in action during hunting season, utilizing their new cabin!

  2. Daydreamer
    January 21, 2014, 8:23 pm

    Great show! Tuffy seems to enjoy one thing, bitch,bitch,bitch! The guy is so talented, but the constant complaining is soooo stupid!

  3. Mary
    January 26, 2014, 7:52 pm

    How do you apply to have something built?

  4. mark boll
    Amherst WI
    February 6, 2014, 11:54 am

    I have a friend who has the logs to build a cabin-but he needs help. he cant seem to “pull the trigger” and finish the project. what do you suggest-can you help?

  5. Lucy Moore
    Washington state
    March 22, 2014, 11:06 pm

    Show is pretty interesting, but it is very annoying listening to Tuffy complain all of the time. Paulie seems much more mellow and easy to get along with. Please stop all of the arguing!

  6. Jim Young
    United States
    March 1, 2015, 2:21 pm

    Love the show! I am hooked!

  7. Christine Godbey
    Rifton NY
    March 24, 2015, 5:09 pm

    What out of pocket cost entailed?