Building with logs

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Building a Logging Bridge

With suitable tools, a log cabin can be erected from scratch in days by a family. As no chemical reaction is involved, such as hardening of mortar, a log cabin can be erected in any weather or season. Many older towns in Northern Scandinavia have been built exclusively out of log houses, which have been decorated by board paneling and wood cuttings. Today, construction of modern log cabins as leisure homes is a fully developed industry in Finland and Sweden.

Modern log cabins often feature fiberglass insulation and are sold as prefabricated kits machined in a factory, rather than hand-built in the field like ancient log cabins.

Log Rail Fence

Log cabins are mostly constructed without the use of nails and thus derive their stability from simple stacking, with only a few dowel joints for reinforcement. This is because a log cabin tends to compress slightly as it settles, over a few months or years. Nails would soon be out of alignment and torn out. Ornamental woodcarving in the shape of an eagle's head on a projecting log in the wall of the loft from Ose at Norsk Folkemuseum.

In the present-day United States, settlers may have first constructed log cabins by Many of its colonists were actually Forest Finns , because Finland was part of Sweden at that time.

Building with Logs by Clyde P. Fickes and W. Ellis Groben

New Sweden only briefly existed before it was absorbed by the Dutch colony of New Netherland , which was eventually taken over by the English. The Swedish-Finnish colonists' quick and easy construction techniques not only remained, but spread. Later German and Ukrainian immigrants also used this technique. The contemporaneous British settlers had no tradition of building with logs, but they quickly adopted the method.

The first English settlers did not widely use log cabins, building in forms more traditional to them. Possibly the oldest surviving log house in the United States is the C. Nothnagle Log House ca. Settlers often built log cabins as temporary homes to live in while constructing larger, permanent houses; then they often used the log cabins as outbuildings, such as barns or chicken coops. Log cabins were sometimes hewn on the outside so that siding might be applied; they also might be hewn inside and covered with a variety of materials, ranging from plaster over lath to wallpaper.

Log cabins were built from logs laid horizontally and interlocked on the ends with notches British English cog joints. Some log cabins were built without notches and simply nailed together, but this was not as structurally sound. Modern building methods allow this shortcut. The most important aspect of cabin building is the site upon which the cabin was built. Site selection was aimed at providing the cabin inhabitants with both sunlight and drainage to make them better able to cope with the rigors of frontier life.

Proper site selection placed the home in a location best suited to manage the farm or ranch.

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When the first pioneers built cabins, they were able to "cherry pick" the best logs for cabins. These were old-growth trees with few limbs knots and straight with little taper. Such logs did not need to be hewn to fit well together. Careful notching minimized the size of the gap between the logs and reduced the amount of chinking sticks or rocks or daubing mud needed to fill the gap. The length of one log was generally the length of one wall, although this was not a limitation for most good cabin builders.

Decisions had to be made about the type of cabin. Styles varied greatly from one part of the US to another: the size of the cabin, the number of stories, type of roof, the orientation of doors and windows all needed to be taken into account when the cabin was designed. In addition, the source of the logs, the source of stone and available labor, either human or animal, had to be considered.

If timber sources were further away from the site, the cabin size might be limited.

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Cabin corners were often set on large stones; if the cabin was large, other stones were used at other points along the sill bottom log. Since they were usually cut into the sill, thresholds were supported with rock as well. These stones are found below the corners of many 18th-century cabins as they are restored.

Building with LOGS - Start

Cabins were set on foundations to keep them out of damp soil but also to allow for storage or basements to be constructed below the cabin. Cabins with earth floors had no need for foundations. Cabins were constructed using a variety of notches. Notches can vary within ethnic groups as well as between them. Building With Logs. Mackie Scriber. Mackie Scriber Collet. Search For:. Introduction to the series, Course overview, Outline of off-site courses, Safety in log handling, tools, equipment, and chainsaw operation. Before undertaking any instruction, you need to understand the basic tools of log building as well as the special tools and equipment.

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This video explains the setup for a log building site, how to start a log building and the layout procedures for off-site and on-site buildings. Part 1 shows how to practice cutting notches before you cut your expensive logs. Oftentimes log cabins are built with the nature surrounding them in mind; they are not only set with beautiful views but also in consideration of preserving the local habitat and environment. Since this organic building material comes from nature, log homes and cabins blend into the topography and naturally integrate right into the landscape, rather than being awkwardly imposed on it.

Thanks to the good isolation value of log construction thanks to the wall thickness , you will be able to offer a year round comfortable accommodation for your guests and extend your season. During summer, air condition is not needed. And in harsh winter times, an efficient wood burner helps you maintain a comfortable temperature in no time.

Provided the home is sealed properly between the foundation and the first course of logs, between log-to-log connections and where the roof system meets the log wall , you can have a super energy efficient home. Today we can build a log and timber home to be 15 to 20 percent more energy efficient than a conventional home.


If the timber has been well processed and dried, it will provide good thermo insulation even in the depths of winter. A log wall of cm diameter features a very low warmth circulation; as a result, it preserves the warmth in the same way as 1. Timber walls accumulate warmth and distribute it evenly in the inside space. Another advantage of log houses is that they get warm quickly while it takes a relatively long time for them to cool down.

Warmth of Wood. This allows log walls to collect and store energy, then radiate it back into the home. Got a know-it-all in the neighborhood who thinks his brick home is durable? Inform him that log and timber homes still in use in Europe routinely date back more than years. And one log-constructed church in Russia is reportedly more than 1, years young. Your log cabin home will be an asset you can hand down to younger generations.