Before I got all the logs on my property, I first had to plan out where to put the log cabin. I asked a landscaper friend of mine to help me with an overall plan for my property, and he showed me the perfect place to put the log cabin. Although I wanted to do most of the building myself, I knew how important the foundation was, so I asked one of my friends from church to dig the crawl space and then to lay up the foundation. Once that was completed, I framed the floor with oversize floor trusses because I want the cabin to last another 150 years.
From here, I started with the bottom log and because it was in the hardware store the bottom log was already cut flat, so I could use it with modern dimensional lumber. Most of the bottom logs were installed with my father-in-law using no modern equipment and with manual labor. My dad helped me frame in the door and window openings, and I pinned the corners with a lag screw. Since all the logs were numbered and labeled (this step was extremely important) from when I disassembled the cabin, I was able to get the logs back to the right placement. It didn’t take long for the cabin to take shape, and with modern equipment like a skid steer with forks, I was able to have the logs in place in probably four working days or a month’s time frame for me since I was only doing this one day a week.
It was late in the fall at this point, so I wanted to get the cabin as covered as possible. I recruited a friend from church again to frame out and install a steel roof on the cabin. Just because I loved the work and process so much, I jumped in and helped as much as I could. When winter hit, I just tried to cover up the cabin as much as possible until spring hit again. As it started to warm up, it was time to start chinking. I can say I really wasn’t looking forward to this part because I knew it would take a while, but I never dreamed it would be as difficult as it was. Thankfully a friend of mine from Hartville Hardware had also put a cabin together and helped me get the process of chinking started.
The chinking process taught me a lot about myself and gave me an appreciation for the past and how our ancestors would have built 150+ years ago. There are a lot of different materials you can use for chinking, but I found the easiest and the look I liked the most was simply mortar with water. I know it’s not authentic, but I really liked the gray with the browns on the cabin. My process with the chinking was to install a wire mesh on one side of the cabin in between the logs and then to install the mortar on the mesh and smooth it out with a wet sponge. I then insulated the inside of the mesh and installed the mesh on the other side and repeated the process on the other side. The chinking process literally took us a year of working.
After the chinking, it was the inside finishing touches, and thankfully with my wood burning fireplace, I could at least keep from freezing. During the winter I was able to complete the flooring, trim the openings, and finishing the loft. A wood burning fireplace does not adequately heat my cabin but a wood burning stove would easily heat the cabin (I have my great grandma’s old one in the cabin but a new stove would be much more efficient).
Through it all the thing I needed the most was all the support I received from family and friends because I couldn’t have done it on my own. My wife helped big time, my parents helped, my brother and brother-in-law, and of course my father-in-law who was right there through it all with me. No matter how my father-in-law felt he was always excited, or at least he acted like he was, to help. I really drew close to him during the process and his servant heart comes right from his faith in Christ, thank you Paul.
Other products I intend to buy for the cabin but haven’t pulled the trigger on:
Note: Did you miss Part 1 of this series? You can find it here.
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