One of the most challenging and rewarding projects I’ve undertaken in my adult life is taking down an 1870’s hand hewn cabin piece by piece and putting it back together in my backyard. Although I do like working with my hands, I can’t say that I am a gifted craftsman. I learned a lot about what to do and what not to do. This cabin is not only special because it is a hand hewn cabin but also because the cabin dates back to my Great Great Grandfather, Joseph Coblentz. Joseph was actually the first Amish bishop in my town of Hartville, Ohio. I can just envision Joseph felling over 50 trees by hand with a Felling Axe. No matter how nice of an axe he had, I can ensure you, it was hard work. After he would have dropped the tree, he would have used a Curved Draw Shave in order to prepare the logs for home building. This process not only helped square up the log to make it easier to build, but it also helped get to the more durable heartwood, which helped keep the logs strong to this day.
My home and final resting place is actually the third location for the cabin. The cabin started down the road and then was moved into our hardware store, Hartville Hardware as a “tool shed,” but we found out it wasn’t ideal for a retail store, so I got a shot at it. Just like the TV shows, I labeled each log so when I took the logs down, I was able to figure out how it went back together.
After I labeled all the logs, I used a jack hammer to break up the chinking in between the logs…that was a lot of hard work, I couldn’t imagine doing that without a power tool. After the chinking was removed another huge pain point for me was removing the nails that held in the screen. I tried everything but the tool that worked best without question was a Nail Puller. This nail puller helped me pull the nails clean out with little effort. It literally saved me hours.
From here, I was able to use a tow motor and load them onto a flat bed truck to deliver them to my house. Again, modern tools like a fork truck and flat bed truck makes things a lot easier than what they would have been like in the 1870s. I am truly blessed and thankful for the hard work that my ancestors showed when they built the cabin from the ground up.
Through this process, I learned a lot about myself and gave me confidence that I can do anything. There is something about just doing hard things that shapes us, and for me, the project of just taking down the cabin and getting it to my house was a major accomplishment. Besides the satisfaction of the accomplishment, doing hard things also strengthens us in a way that enables us to accomplish so much more. Stay tuned in a couple weeks to read part 2 of the hand hewn log cabin.
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