Build Your Own Tiny Log Cabin (Part 1)

by Kent Griswold on July 5th, 2007. 6 Comments
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In the last post I introduced you to my favorite tiny log home builder. In this post I want to show you some options to think about to build your own tiny log home. This is part 1 of 3 posts on this subject.

12 x 18 Getaway

Below are some building associations to become familiar with.

The best way to learn is by doing. Here are a couple of schools that will teach you the techniques you will need to build your own cabin.

Following are a few notes from Skip Ellsworth’s Log House Building Seminar. This will give you an idea of what is involved. This by no means takes place of the seminar but is a brief outline of what you need to think about when building your own tiny cabin.

There are three basic methods of log home construction:

  • Saddlenotch
  • Scandanavian
  • Chinkless
  • Butt and Pass

Water is the worst enemy of the log home – not fire.

You don’t need any preservatives if you keep the logs dry. You need large overhangs. At least 3 feet on the sides and 8 feet on the ends.

With a frame house, you add the house to the floor. With a log house, you add the floor to the house.

Plastic chinking doesn’t breath so water is trapped inside to rot the wood.

Mortar breathes.

The overdangles should be 1.5 times the diameter of the logs when finally cut off.

If you are going to build a notched house, you really need seasoned wood due to irregular shrinkage.

For butt and pass method, you can use green logs. No seasoning required.

Getting logs:

  • Eliminate the middleman. Go to the loggers or owners.
  • Find loggers by visiting the local tavern
  • Tell the loggers you will pay cash, require no receipts, will take delivery after dark
  • If needed pay them 10-15% above what the mill will pay themInsist that you want the option to pick your logs
  • Generally, you will need 20% more logs that you think.
  • Get the “Offical Log Scaling and Grading Rules” book by Scribner

To find out what the mills are paying, call five of them and act like you have a load of perfect logs to sell and see what they would pay.

A good rule of thumb is to look for logs with no more than 1″ of taper per 10′ of length

Following are types of logs that are acceptable for building log homes:

  • Hardwoods
  • Oak
  • Hickory
  • Ash
  • Maple
  • Birch
  • Softwoods
  • Douglas Fir
  • White Fir
  • Alpine Fir
  • Lodgepole Pine
  • White Pine
  • Pondarosa Pine
  • Tamarack
  • Engleman Spruce

In the next section we will talk about the tools that you will need to construct your cabin. Check back soon!

Got to Part 2 and Part 3

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6 Responses to “Build Your Own Tiny Log Cabin (Part 1)”

  1. ken says:

    Has anyone ever built a cabin using three 2×8 laminated together with the center 2×8 raised a couple of inches to create a tonge and groove effect?

  2. Frank says:

    I thought I had seen or heard of about every way using mass instead of structure, but not this one. It should work. Logs are many times stronger than they need to be for support and 4.5 inches of wood should be enough. We recently built a 12 x 12 log cabin with logs chain sawed laterally and edged (I call it a skinny D log)Logs varied between 4 and 8 inches at their thickest. Built in a remote area with good timber, it was the most efficent for that site. My son and I did the logs from standing tree to wall in 6 days. Your suggested way would be even quicker, but a little costlier. But maybe if you can get some salvage and save $.

  3. Trevor says:

    “You don’t need any preservatives if you keep the logs dry.”

    Hello, just wondering if you would recommend any specific preservatives if I did have to use one?

  4. Joe says:

    Links to parts 2 and 3 would be helpful…

  5. LISA DAWN ELLIS says:

    DISABLED PERSON NEEDS PERMANENT PLACE TO LIVE=DREAMS OF LOG CABIN ANYTHING=FAMILY OWNS SMALL LOT 2 BUILD BUT NO $ TO BUILD-DISABLED HAS PERMANENT DISABILITY INCOME TO “RENT TO OWN”-WILL ADVERTISE YOUR CABIN AS A “SHOW ROOM” FOR YOUR BUSINESS——-ANY ONE INTERESTED LAND IS IN BLASDELL NY 14218 (LITTLE TOWN SUBURB OF BUFFALO NY)—————-ANYONEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE INTERSTED PLEASE CONTACT LDE1247365@HOTMAIL.COM=HELP BUILD SOMEONE’S DREAMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!! GOD BLESS!!!!

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