Step by Step Construction of a Log Cabin

Introduction: Step by Step Construction of a Log Cabin

About: I do not intend to copy anything, not imitate anyone. I like to do new things, different and original works.

For good build a log house, or even to a small cottage as is the case treated in this article, it is essential to have a stock of good quality logs, or at least they're all about the size and rights, and of all the convenience that its diameter is not less than 15 cm. It was the case of this construction, because the trees used, mostly, were very crooked trunks and had diameters ranging between ten and twenty-five centimeters. This forced an increased amount of work in the settlement and preparation of logs, because they necessarily have to be straight with two faces that are not left with very large spaces between them to cover. Later, during installation, I even thought it was a mistake to opt for that type of construction without trunks in sufficient quantity and quality. The difficulties were eventually overcome, but the cabin had to be smaller than initially anticipated.
The photo shows the final look of the cabin and in the background, other interesting household tasks that show on Instructables future.


To better understand how to build my log cabin, please watch the videos.

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My blog - Lamp Green

Step 1: Cut, Transportation and Debarking of Trunks

The trees had available were not many, were in an area of difficult access, which was overrun by brambles. Because of this it was very difficult to extract and transport to the construction site. For transport is essential to my moto-hoe which has in fact been an indispensable equipment in the performance of my home projects.

The low cost of construction that included, naturally, do all the work with his own hands, was an essential goal and so could not acquire other trees or logs, but anyone thinking of doing a similar construction will be better to take precautions with a stock of large logs in quantity and quality.

Most trunks are utilized pine, but the cabin also has the eucalyptus mix boards from a chestnut and some Carvalhas, the latter very little suitable for the job because of the irregularity of the logs. The experience I got the notion that eucalyptus logs are best for this type of work, because it peels easily without getting in shell waste and are very easy to work in green, as well as meet trunks of eucalyptus and rights. In addition, the eucalyptus, the lean, is very durable and even may waive any type of product to conservation. The only drawback seems to me the fact that cracking with some ease, but I think this can be avoided in part if the trees are cut at the right time and are not exposed to the sun for drying.

Having already assembled a number of trunks that thought enough to build the hut, I started to peel her. The pines are not very easy to peel and are always some skin debris clinging to the trunk and then those brown patches that they were. In my opinion it is unthinkable to run a project these without peeling logs because the shell will serve as a shelter for parasites of the wood and prevent the application of a preservative product that will inevitably shorten the rotting.

Step 2: Cutting the Boards for the Door

The door of my log cabin will, for sure, last well beyond the walls. What it guarantees is that it was made with chestnut wood and being sheltered by the small porch roof. The brown is the most durable woods that exist, which can not be said that the pine walls were made.

My ground had a chestnut tree whose diameter at the base of the trunk, was over 30 cm. How did not give nuts, or they were of very poor quality, I thought it would be much more useful transformed into planks. As I needed the wood to the door and also a table I decided to cut it to turn it into planks. We were at the beginning of July and it was not the best time to cut down trees. In the sawmill they were told that the logs could not be sawn already because the wood would pop any and they would have to stay dry in the shade for several months.

Given this, I decided to risk it and saw myself chestnut, using the chainsaw. I have never done such work and the boards of the first trunk sawed were very irregular, but with practice I improved and I ended up getting 12 boards with 4 cm thick. They were a bit thick, but was afraid that they were going to crack and for this reason I decided to immerse them in water in a tank because he had heard that it would be good for the wood and then would dry quickly. The boards were in the water for two weeks and this was all black with the ink sprayed out of the chestnut, after having been stacked to dry in a place where the sun did not come. The truth is that the boards do not cracked during drying, but when pulled to the door and the table were not yet completely dry. Anyway, this whole process was very quick, not coming to take two months.

Because of the irregularity of the boards I had to use the plane to the door and the table to stay with a reasonable presentation, but still worth it this unconventional sawing operation.

Step 3: 3 - Foundations and Base of the Cabin

The foundations and the murete where lie the trunks of the hut walls were the first stage of construction and also the easiest to perform. The foundations were left with only about 30 cm deep and I think that was more than enough. They were filled with stone and concrete and then lifted a small murete 30 cm high and 20 cm wide, on top of which began to lay the trunks. Admittedly it could put the logs immediately upon the foundation, but it would not be a good idea because they would be in direct contact with soil moisture and rot faster. Yet it is all the convenience put thicker trunks and better on the bottom, because they will always be more exposed to rain.

The murete was also built with stone and concrete, not having used iron, for reasons of economy and also because I thought it would not be necessary.

In the cabin interior of the ground and also the small balcony put pieces of tiles and bricks and then a first layer of concrete, already flush, which would be the basis for later to finish this work.

Step 4: Settlement of Trunks

The seating of Trunks was the most difficult and time-consuming step of the whole construction. My intention was to go putting mortar on top of the logs, getting these so with joints already closed, but soon found that it was not feasible for various reasons, among which are counted the number of maneuvers that had to do with the trunks up get them to minimally could adjust, because as I said, unfortunately most of the logs were even quite crooked.

However managed to become the first logs on top of a layer of cement and the work started very well. I tried to choose the most thick and heavy sticks to the bottom, because I knew that the difficulties would increase in the same proportion as they climbed the walls.

My intention was to build a cabin, small dimensions but a similar configuration to that settlers built the American West prairies, introducing you however some innovations like putting insulation and lining on the roof. The horizontal placement of trunks, entwined on the tips, which is a characteristic of this type of construction is a guarantee of security and practically no need to use nails, however is too much work to do fittings for trunks and in the case of this hut, due to the irregularity of the wood also became more complicated. So with the work that had to equip the trunks and make the fittings, it took almost a day to seat four logs.

The trunks horizontally, with the tops sticking out of the walls about 20cm, requires reducing the interior space and so it is necessary to consider this in time to trace the trees because, in addition to 20 to 30 cm that are left out, it is also necessary to have the thickness of the walls, ie the diameter of the logs, as it will not count for the indoor area.

On opening the door and window opted to place, to serve as shoulder pads, the two halves of a trunk sawed in half with a chainsaw. This facilitated the settlement of trunks in these places as they were touching the top of the sawn logs means of shoulder pads. Later, when the door of the place, I had to saw off the other part of the trunk, making sure it was a mistake not to have put the trunks of shoulder pads with two sawn faces. As is well known, the doors to function well must be applied to well rights hoops, so these shoulder pads, before starting to pull you the logs must be properly plumb.

As for the lintels, these were formed by a whole trunk has been sawn on the parts on which the two openings, and the top of the door and window remained at the same level, as is typical in most homes. It was from this trunk that began gable, but I recognize that it would be good to become one or two rows of trunks all the way around the cabin, but I had no more wood and labor was increasingly difficult, so I decided that since It looked good as well; after all it was only a hut ...

Step 5: Cut the Gables and Placement of Beams

The gable ends have been marked so that the roof stay with a good gradient. At the time I did not know well what kind of coverage would put in the cabin, but the design idealized for the well project required it and it's always good to have an effective flow, even in the case of a very small roof.

The trunks of the gables were placed usually being shorter and shorter as the walls were going up and the idea was to cut the gables at the end, thinking that it would be easier and that the court would be more certain, but the truth is that I found that not It was as well and that would have been better to put them in place already been cut. The difficulty cutting the gables was partly due to the poor quality of the chainsaw chain, not that it is problem of blade sharpening, but simply because she did not pay, as mentioned in the article "Forgeries in chainsaws".

Anyway I managed to cut the gables, but here there was a problem, is that these walls as they were not caught in the tops, fanned a little. I solved this problem by placing two anchors, diagonally underneath the crossbar of the ridge and fixed the last trunks, before the birth of the gables.

In addition to the central post I put more two out of water, all of them with enough length to cover the balcony. These beams are eucalyptus and its diameter is about 12 cm, thick enough given the small size of the cabin.

Step 6: Placement Lining, Insulation and Roof

I thought about putting a green roof in the cabin, but gave up for fear that something went wrong and ended up having later to apply tiles, which would be a heavy workload. My idea was to place, on top of the beams, a lining composed of old persians PVC and above the insulation boards. On top of the plates a plastic screen and then a layer of earth which would appear some vegetation. I wanted a roof similar to Dick Proennek hut, but I thought the cover would be too heavy, that land does not hold, given the roof slope and even in summer the green would disappear if it were not watered.

I gave the green roof, but did not give up the shutters because I thought it would a great help to the lining and roof insulation. However he hesitated on the type of shingles you should use, thinking that a cover with red clay tiles would not match the rustic cabin. Then it discovered that a neighboring roof went to remove the cement tiles, which was composed for the substitute for clay tiles. I went to work asking if they could sell me some of these tiles, and what was my surprise when they told me I could take for free the few that still remained as they were to destroy them to go put the bits in a landfill.

The cement tiles were widely used in the 80s, but had little success. These tiles are heavy and can cause problems on roofs with weak lumber or with little inclination, but in terms of duration will not be lower than clay tiles. I thought they were referred to the cabin and it was always a recycling that was, in addition, of course the savings realized.

Step 7: Seal the Cracks Between the Logs

In a building of this type ideally fit trunks perfectly in order to dispense with the work of plugging the gaps that remain in the joints of the logs. For it would be necessary to work the trunks in order to obtain fittings male and female type in all of them. Even after expansion occurred in the wood there would be no big problem. I do not mean to do that was impossible, but it would certainly be very difficult, even more so with crooked trunks. In modern homes that are built this way, most likely the trunks are made with machines, in large carpentry, but my log cabin, which I intend to be a replica of the rustic cabins that were built in the land of Uncle Sam, did not sense so perfectly because there tapavam the cracks with clay.

Incidentally, the walls of my cabin until they were united with the well logs, but there was always a crack or another. After some time to ponder the kind of mass it should employ to cover these gaps thought to use clay, because that would be the most economical solution, but I ended up opting for the use of cement and sand, for ease of application and because the always work would be cleaner, because the cabin is to be with rustic aspect, but without exaggeration. I know that the work would be all right if using a composite mass of sawdust and white glue for wood, which was the most appropriate, but it would cost a small fortune and so this option has never been in my plans.

What was in my plans was to become the trunks after properly prepared, on top of a layer of cement, as is done with bricks, for thus avoiding any gap and the cement joint was stronger. Only managed to become the first four trunks on the mass precisely those left on the concrete murete because from there the work was almost impossible to do for many reasons, but mostly because it was necessary to make big moves with sticks, nailing some nails and also give blows on the trunks, which would blow up the joints.

Step 8: Floor Arrangement and Placement of Stones on the Balcony and Concrete Murete

This stage of construction was, along with the foundation and the base of the cabin of the easiest to perform. It is a type of work that was used to make due to the practice gained during my career in construction. Still, this work is not summarized only cement the floor and place the stones, because as the economy was a rule, still spent almost a day to gather the stones on a hill and transport them to the work, having used stones shale, to be coordinated with other buildings of the farm.

Step 9: Construction and Installation of Door and Window

I have already spoken of wood sawdust with which made the door of the hut and also two tables and two small banks. This part of the sawdust is that it was more complicated because make a rustic style door like this has no difficulty. To climb the boards I used an electric disc saw and to correct some irregularities timber a small plane. Preached three sleepers at the door, two strong hinges and a lock, having been with the certainty that this port is one of the strongest components of the cabin, considering that is brown and has four centimeters thick. With the same chestnut wood also made a frame for the door and the other to the window, so that, when closed, there is a seal across the frame to prevent the entry of small animals such as rodents, or reptiles.

The window was used a dumpster. I had a broken glass, but wood is still in good condition and after putting a new glass and a painting this window was like new. Given that already had the window before you start building the cabin I was careful to leave the aperture according to the window measures and because of this, I had no problems in their placement; It was only put you two hinges and two bolts and ready ...

Step 10: Treatment for Wood Preservation

I've been looking for a product to treat wood that was affordable, but the cheapest I found cost about 5 euros a liter. Needing at least ten or twelve liters of product at least I thought it was a high expense and the product because it is the cheapest, may not offer quality guarantees. I thought of use of used motor oil, but this would give a very dark shade of wood and gave up that idea. Someone told me to use diesel, which also served as products to treat wood are all derived from oil, but I was not convinced. It was then that I remembered I had some bottles with used cooking oil, which is, incidentally, the oil that I use for lubrication of chain saw.

For now, it is this oil that I used and even knowing beforehand that it was not the best solution, it is certain that this product turned out the cement stains left due to the sealing of joints, improving the appearance of the wood. As it was a product that had already fulfilled its original mission, his destination was the reuse or recycling, and I believe that in this way, his destiny was fulfilled. Since it was to use a product at no cost, have not been with savings and took two good coats on the outside and one inside, giving so complete the construction of my log cabin.

The second image shows the final step of this aspect of my log cabin.

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10 Discussions


1 year ago

Thank you for sharing such detailed information. Inspirational!

Thank you for the great read! It's always interesting to learn the techniques people use to build cabins. You never know when you'll learn something that you can implement yourself.


2 years ago

Hi how long from start to end did the project take?


3 years ago

Amazing, great instructable......thank you! I hope to build my own one day, once I find the right location!


4 years ago

Obama Sucks.


4 years ago

very well done, thank you for showing us your cabin.


4 years ago

Wow, that's beautiful! I will use your Instructable to help build our log cabin. Thank you!

Joalex Henry
Joalex Henry

Reply 4 years ago

Hello, thanks for the comment. I'm glad my Instructables be useful.


5 years ago

Oh my, this little cabin is gorgeous. Very well done!

Joalex Henry
Joalex Henry

Reply 5 years ago

Hello! Thanks for the comment, I'm glad you liked it.