Survivalism & Self Sufficiency Topics > Homesteading and Self Reliant Living

Log Cabins

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 I have started to research what is involved in building a log cabin as I am thinking I might want to build one someday up in Maine, but this could be years away given the complexities involved and that I don't even have any land purchased yet, still it's sort of an idea for a retirement camp. I bought a couple of books, and here's what I have found out:

 Log cabins where there is no chinking can be very well naturally insulated, however there are some logistics to cabin building. Felling trees is dangerous, you may want to hire someone to help fell the trees once you pick them out.

 The problem of moving the logs from where you cut them to the cabin site is no simple task. If you don't have a tractor or something like an ATV, it appears that you can get a winch that works by connecting itself to a chainsaw. It appears maybe for $500 you can get a chainsaw winch that can pull 2000 pounds or so. Here is a video of a slightly larger winch moving logs: . A web site on small scale logging:

 Raising the logs up in the air to put them into the wall seems to also be a bit dangerous, you may need help with that from someone.

 Given all that, it seems like building a cabin that is not too big might be appealing. I'm also thinking that if there is a way to build a small cabin and then make it bigger through an add on, that could also be an interesting idea. Apparently settlers used to build a lea- to the first summer, then the second summer they built another lean-to that faced the first one with a fire between them,. On the third summer, they joined the two lean-tos together to create a cabin.

 Another idea that occurs to me, is this one book talks about board and batten which is sort of a rustic looking plywood but looks sort of like a cabin wall. I think maybe if one of the 3 walls of a small cabin are made out of logs and the other wall is made out of something like that, then you could more easily rip down that wall and expand the cabin further, though I haven't thought about that too much. I'm just trying to get an idea of what is involved, what is easy to do and what more challenging.


I currently live in a log home that was built 3 years ago without chink. Because the logs were "Swedish Cope" and fit together well, we assumed we would never need to chink.  We found that after a couple years, the logs shrunk to the point that we had areas in the house where you could see light coming from outside. My husband chinked the inside, which was a huge project and we are waiting until after winter to do the outside.  Also, the logs will settle after a year or two and we have had to trim all the doors in the house more than once. After a small earthquake a few months ago, we had to take a chain saw to the logs above our sliders.  I guess the main thing we have learned is a log home takes alot of maintenance and work.  We love our home and will stay here for a few years, but our next home will probably require less upkeep. 

My wife and I have been looking at a lot of log cabins, we hope to build one in the next 4-5 years before our son starts school.  We do already have a place for it thouh.  One company that we have been looking at is   They are a modularly built log cabin.  Real logs, built in sections, trucked to your site and erected.  The appealing thing to us is that from order to move in they are about 90 days.  Compare that to a conventionally built log cabin.  We still aren't sure, as there are some trade-off as far as what you can and cannot do with the homes design.  Cost-wise they are a little bit cheaper than conventional construction, but still slightly higher than a brick home.  The time advantage is a real binus though.


 The thing that appeals to me is that it can be an ongoing project to keep you busy. I have always sort of viewed traditional retirement as a way to get old and stuck in a rut. I don't want to be doing nothing forever after I retire.  If I can't get a job, they won't hire me because I am to old, or I am semi-retired or whatever, if I can be working towards building a cabin, garden etc, then I can stay busy and hopefully do it with less money. I can be my own boss and work at my own pace as well.

 It seems to make a cabin you need alot of trees that are close to the same size in diameter, between 8 and 12 inches. The book I says is 16 feet is considered an ideal log length.

 On that cabin where the logs have been shrinking, do you know what kind of wood was used ? Was the wood seasoned ? I got a couple of books and have been studying on this to see if it's something I might really want to do someday ..


 There's definitely alot of work involved. The foundation itself is a pretty big job it sounds like, that can be a pier, slab, concrete blocks, etc. You have to try to do something to prevent termites and such.

 You have to cut notches in the logs and then raise them into place, that seems possibly tricky as well, getting odd shaped logs to fit together so that they are level and all.

 Sounds like a metal roof is the easiest to do, not as pretty or as insulated I suppose.

 Quite alot to think about, to learn and many tools needed. You'd have to have alot of time and motivation. The land and the trees on it are a big factor. It seems hard to know for sure if you bought the land that you'd know you'd have the time to do all of that, at least for me. It's an interesting idea though and something that could keep you busy and give you something constructive to put your mind to.


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