Simple Skinny-D Log Cabin

by Frank Mielke

*Updated with interior photos and more details

This cabin was built with “skinny-D” (my term) logs, cut on site, laterally down the center, to make two logs. The cabin is twelve foot by twelve foot, and the log work was done in less than six days. From standing timber to a log set in the wall takes an average time of one hour per log. If you are in a remote location, and have good timber, this is about the cheapest way to build a small cabin. This cabin is located about two miles off the Yentna River in Alaska.

You can see that the Skinny-D logs give a nice flat surface, and can be made smooth with a planer and sander, but I have left it rustic. The wood stove is made from a 55 gallon barrel with the middle section cut out and re-welded. The chinking is primarily with a regular latex caulk, and a few areas are stuffed, but gaps are less that 1/2 inch. The logs are attached with 4″ self tapping screws driven at an angle from one log to the upper and lower log. The top logs are pinned with 1/2″ steel pins and 1/2″ hardwood dowels. The roof is an 8/12 pitch, with 2 x 4 rafters on 24 inch centers with 90 pound mineral roll on the outside.

The loft is 8′ x 12′ and can sleep three. There are two bunks on the main floor, plus a small dinner table, a kitchen area and some shelves. Access to the loft is by a ladder at the end of the bunks. Lighting is from a 12V system with 3 8 watt fluorescent lights power by a car battery that is charged with a Black & Decker jump starter unit that is good for about 3-4 days in the winter.

We have stayed nights when the temperature dropped to -25 F and stayed plenty warm. Two people is max for comfort, although it will sleep 4 without being crowded.

In the summer we go by boat about 35 miles from the closest launch in Willow, and then ride the half mile from the dock by ATV. In the winter we go by snow machine, right to the cabin door.

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mike - September 11, 2011 Reply

what a tease… haha… you know we want interior shots as well as more details of the building techniques…

    April - September 11, 2011 Reply

    exactly what I was thinking! let’s see the inside!!

      Danny - September 11, 2011 Reply

      We’re all thinking the same thing!

elisabeth in CT - September 11, 2011 Reply

me too…wanna see inside!how did you chink it? insulation and ‘finish’?

Kay in KCMO - September 11, 2011 Reply

Yup. Interior shots are definitely required.

Riser Recliner Chairs - September 12, 2011 Reply

It is important to decide what you want from your riser recliner chair. As well as being able to help you get in and out of the chair in a pain free manner, these chairs also have many other functions such as heating and massage pads.

Timaree - September 12, 2011 Reply

Looks nice on the OUTSIDE, now how does it look on the INSIDE?

Eric - September 12, 2011 Reply

Kind of Dick Proenneke-ish.. Cool beans.
Ditto what everyone else said…also, chinking used and detail of joinery would be awesome!

Congratulations (as I look with the green eye of envy)

Kent Griswold - September 12, 2011 Reply

Hi Everyone, I have written Frank and hope to get some interior photos and more details on the construction so stay tuned…

    Frank Mielke - October 23, 2015 Reply

    Kent – I found some old pictures of a cabin framed with sawmill slabs. I’ve written a short narrative of the project. I built this one over 35 years ago, but have used slabs in construction numerous times since. Can I send you the pictures and story?

    Frank Mielke
    Chugiak AK

Benjamin - September 12, 2011 Reply

I like the little window on the door!

mike - September 13, 2011 Reply

sweet – thanks!

Chuck - September 23, 2011 Reply

Hey I’m from Anchorage and it sure would be great if you could get some plans on this cabin for distrubution of anyone that wanted to purchase them. Even something a little bigger would be nice. I need to self build something in the Keni area on my property and this has come to be about the best I have found so far….Please help out if you can…

    Frank Mielke - September 25, 2011 Reply

    Chuck – I never thought of plans, as it is very simple. I don’t know if it would be practical to build with logs over 16 feet, but simply cut the logs latterally, then cut 1-2 inches off each side to make a flat surface like a 3 sided log,but easier to handle. I don’t have any pictures of the work in progress, but there’s one in the ADN Cabin blog from when we were building that might give you a better idea.The 12 foot size was chosen so that we could move all the logs by hand. Give me a call at 688-9754 if you are interested in more on this.

Jessie Ghig - September 27, 2011 Reply

Thank you for the interior pics!I’ve always been enchanted by log homes, probably because where I live there aren’t many of them. I live on the plains of Kansas, and here the only trees we have are short and crooked, not very suitable for log homes.

Your home is very cute!

Hunter - January 7, 2013 Reply

Again human minds astound at the creativity and great ideas for doing many things with little at hand, my god its awesome.

Lessie light Hostilo - May 11, 2017 Reply

Frank my Mom Hazel Light was maybe friends with your dad and Mom around 1954 do you have twin brothers and older sister. Your Mom Margaret? My Dad was Ed Light. They were from be Montana. You can call us 850-830-0468 or email

    Frank Mielke - June 5, 2017 Reply

    Yes I remember Hazel and Eddie? Light but I don’t remember Ed. Did your family live on Government Hill next to Elmendorf? Did your mother or father work on Elmendorf. My parents both grew up in Montana. Maybe they knew of each other in Montana?
    Anyway thanks for the note. Let me know where you live now. My family would be interested to know.

    Frank Mielke

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