Tricks you must know before building a survival log cabin
Building a log cabin is a great challenge and when you go about it in the right way, you are bound to obtain the best possible result. Mainly because if you are in the position to build a shelter in a survival situation, time is for sure the most important asset. So gleaning as much information as you can before you face this fact, will sure put you one step ahead.
This means you need data about the wood you will use, how much it will take to build and things like that. The best advice often comes from those who have done that. If you ask for details from someone that already built one, you will find things that will save you a lot of work. This is also why we usually encourage everyone to share their prepping and recruit others.
In this article we focus exactly on that. A lot of knowledge on how to build a wooden house and not on steps to build a log cabin. Before any of that you must have a plan.
How do I build a log cabin?
When they first arrived in America, pioneers had minimal tools to hand, still their build technique was impressive. The earliest cabins were built in the mid-1600’s probably in Delaware by Swedish settlers. They had already developed their skills through years of practice and they were greatly refined by the time they brought the building techniques to the US.
As affordable as a log cabin can be, you can make it even cheaper with a little pre-planning. Keep it simple and stick to a plan. There are a lot of sources to find a log cabin plan from local libraries and even online. Get the one you like most and print it. If you don’t plan to build the cabin right now, you never know when you will use it.
People who don’t thoroughly plan ahead may have to go back and spend more time on a part of the home they had not considered. Usually this happens with important things like the fireplace, the place to cook or place for gear and utilities.
We will not put here too much details on the tools you need to do that. Of course, ideally is to have all the tools that you need, but most probably you will rely on just on an axe and a knife. You can use any paracord or rope as a log carrier. Carrying a 20-foot long log up a hill can very be challenging if you are alone.
When you plan to build the log cabin, make sure you remain focused on the energy efficiency. Your overall design will reflect how efficient it will be. Build your cabin with the face to south. The main reasons for this are that the sun will warm your home and that you don’t have to worry about drifts covering your door.
Just have in mind that the design will have a great impact on how energy efficient it will be. Make sure also that it’s not too high as heat rises and you will loose a lot of it. This is definitely something you’ll want to bear in mind when choosing the way you build the homestead.
What logs are the best for log cabins?
It’s likely that when you want to build a log cabin your main challenge will be to find straight, long trees that are around 10-12 inches in diameter. The species of tree you choose will depend on what is most widely available in the area. A very important thing is that you must keep your logs as dry as possible. The ideal logs will be from the wood because that wood literally dried out over the time.
Pay attention to the tree and note that you will need to debark them. Just notice that if you cut the trees yourself don’t let them like that more than 1 day. The bark will begin to adhere to the tree and you will have more to work.
Trees from a relatively high altitude are ideal for these buildings; they are slow-growing with tight growth rings. Tight growth rings produce dense wood, which generally results in less cracking or checking as the log dries. You can tell how tight a tree’s rings are by looking at the cross section of a cut log.
It is easier to use full-length logs, not pieces, in walls where doors and windows will be placed. After the logs have been notched and pinned to at least one course above the opening, mark and cut the rough opening. This lends stability to the wall and to the log as you are working on it.
What about the cabin’s flooring?
Your foundation should be a rock wall up to 2 to 3 feet tall. Build stone walls in rows at 4- or 6-foot intervals all across the prepared and packed dirt within your outer walls. These will allow you to lay your girders on the full length of them and give you anchors for your flooring.
Note: Leave a 3-foot section of each girder support wall open and unbuilt. If you ever have to crawl to the center of your cabin under your floor, you’ll have a path. Stagger these openings so that one side of your cabin doesn’t have less support that another area.
Most pioneer log cabins were simple one-story structures that often consisted of only one room. Your shelter must copy those log cabins as they are very resistant to bad weather. To make it warmer and stable you can fill the cracks between logs with mud (daubing) or sticks and rocks (chinking).
These are mainly some tricks to build your log cabin as traditional and well-made shelter as your ancestors did.
One of the best things about building in the wilderness is that you can do things your way. You will discover some things by yourself and you can be creative with almost anything. There are a multitude of ways to have your shelter ready and not necessarily a “right way”. If in the end you have a shelter where you can sleep, cook and keep things dry, that is all you need.
Remember small things you learned, work safely and don’t rush things.
If you have built a wooden house by yourself and faced some issue and want to share, please feel free to do it below. I am sure that a lot of us will be grateful for learning new tips on how to build a log cabin.