How to Make a Log Cabin Retreat





Introduction: How to Make a Log Cabin Retreat

Hi everybody. This is my first instructable and I hope I do this fine establishment proud. I have acreage of mixed forest with a large quantity of cedar at the south side. I had to take quite a few trees down as they were becoming a problem on the trail. I couldn't bear to waste them as they were straight and solid so I decided to build a little hunters/trappers get away.

Step 1: Location and Floor

I chose a spot near the creek in a field where many deer come. I used pressure treat 4x4s cemented 4 feet deep in the ground as a foundation. I then used 2x10s to build the joists to be covered by the floor. The dimensions are 10 feet by 12 feet. Once covered with 3/4 inch flooring.

Step 2: Saddle Jointing the Logs

This rough sketch explains how to saddle notch the logs. It is best to roll the log on top and sketch the diameter of the bottom log onto the one you will cut. I used a combination of chainsaw, fox tail saw and axe to groove out the saddle. Be patient and you will be rewarded with a tight fitting notch. You continue to build your walls up in this manner. I used 4 inch wood screws every so often to hold the logs in place. My cabin is "backwards engineered" as I had been given some windows and had some which were replacements from my old house. Basically, I made the cabin fit around the windows. The door and frame I build as well as all window frames from 2x6 spruce.

Step 3: Frames and Roof Trusses

I custom made the roof trusses and made sure they were exact replicas to each other. Once I got to a height of approximately 7 1/2 feet I started putting up the trusses. Once secured, and all the window and door frames were in place, it was time to roof.

Step 4: Roof Sheeting

Here is a look at the cabin with the roof sheeted and braces now pulled away.

Step 5: Steel Roof and Chinking Begins..

I went with a no maintenance steel roof. Nice and tidy. Now the real tedious work begins, the chinking. Chinking is the filler used to fill between the logs. I used floor tile cement for my chinking. It comes in a 50 pound bag, looks like cement but when mixed with water this stuff sticks to everything including my aluminum ladder. I used a large hock to hold the cement on and "pushed" it between the logs with a thin trowel. Remember, both exterior and interior sides must be done. It takes a fair bit of time but my cabin is now 4 years old and not a crack has occurred in the chinking.

Step 6: Chinking Done, Windows in and Board and Batten Done...

Here's what it looked like once the chinking was all done and I closed the top in with board and batten.

Step 7: A Door and a Coat or Two of Stain....

Well here it is. Other than a bit of inside work it is all done. The inside now houses a (to code) woodstove, kitchenette and a fold down couch that becomes a bed. I would like to give a special thanks to my father in-law Fred who helped build this. He passed away this January but the memories are still alive. Thank you for your time viewing my instructable.



    • Pocket-Sized Contest

      Pocket-Sized Contest
    • Pro Tips Challenge

      Pro Tips Challenge
    • Science of Cooking

      Science of Cooking

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    That is extremely inspiring; a fantastic and beautiful job!

    Thank you for responding to both my questions in your previous response-critters and moisture. After four years or so how is the critter count? I love your cabin!

    Yes I wouldn't fill it to the top with cement so insulation could be placed before laying the plywood flooring down. Thanks for your response! It was helpful! ?

    This was beautifully executed and a big inspiration. Going to forward to my 27 year old son who has just this week discovered the Laurentians, and it was love at first site. Your log cabin retreat would certainly fit into that idyllic landscape. Thanks so much!

    You coud´ve probably used moss for chinking, then push some mud into it for better insulation. It's what's used traditionally in some parts of the world for similar purposes.

    Why wouldn't you fill the bottom floor with cement before putting the plywood down to make the floor? Wouldn't that make the structure more sound, warm, and keep critters from crawling inside?

    More solid possibly - but more solid beyond solid enough is just waste, from an engineer´s point of view. More warm definitely not - air is quite a good thermal insulator, whereas concrete is not.

    He could have filled the voids with dry pine/fir tree needles, if there are pine/fir trees in the neighborhood. Those needles are filled with resin, critters don't eat them and they rot away extremely slowly.

    I am considering some solar panels so thanks for the info. As for the floor, puring a floating pad in cement like that of a garage would be an expense as well as the labor required to put in proper footings. Given that it is in one of my fields, just getting the cement there would be an adventure itself. I havent had any problem with critters as of yet except for one rogue garter snake that came for a visit when I had the door open.

    I'm wondering if filling the floor joists with cement would make the structure more solid, warm, and keep critters from getting inside?