Build A Log Cabin
There are many kits on the market for building log homes, but the cheapest and most satisfying way is to build a log cabin yourself – which is what we aim to encourage because we love do-it-yourself projects.
Remember, first, to check out your local building regulations for log cabin construction – a small log cabin tends to be regarded as a temporary structure and therefore exempt from planning permission, but your local authorities might have different views!
And even though they are simple to build, log cabins must be designed properly from the foundations up and you will need professional plans and advice to show you how to build a cabin properly.
One of my favorite sources of top-quality plans for all sorts of wooden projects, including log cabin building, are the folks at MyShedPlans, and I thoroughly recommend them for not only their plans (actually blueprints) but also the all-important material lists that will save you much time and money. These plans are well worth the small investment involved, and will take care of all the calculations – such as foundations – for you.
Garden log cabins should be at least 20 x 30 ft for proper enjoyment. Choose a part of the garden that is slightly elevated to avoid damp and make a reasonably level area slightly larger than the proposed building. If you decide to lay a concrete foundation (advisable but not strictly necessary) see the advice and tips at Building a Shed Base. Traditional log cabin designs either have a hard-packed earthen floor or wooden planked flooring. The latter method would probably be more comfortable in use.
Your plans will specify the size of logs to be used, and these will be quite rough and not necessarily very straight. Don’t worry – this is the basis for all charming log cabin siding! The method for joining logs at each corner is called the lock-joint, where a notch is cut about one foot in from each end of the log. The notch goes about halfway into the log diameter, and is mated with a similarly-notched log at right-angles to it to give the characteristic log cabin look.
Fix the first tier of logs to your foundation, if you have one, by anchor bolts and ensure these logs are properly leveled. Set joists for the wooden floor into the longer side logs at about two-foot intervals. Continue to build tiers of logs in this way until you reach the planned height of the door (about 6ft 8in). At this stage cut out openings for the door and windows – tacking wooden battens to the logs to keep them steady in the process – and fasten door and window jambs in place. Then continue building the logs until you reach the planned height of the walls.
Now start laying shorter logs on the side walls, the length determined from the plans to give the required roof pitch and mated as before to long logs. Finish with a ridge pole. The roofs of garden log cabins can be planked (shiplap being the most common – see Build Your Own Shed for details) or laid with shingles. Your plans will have various options and how to build them. Fill in the gaps between logs by caulking with a mud and moss mixture – the kids will love to help at this point!
Finish your log cabin by fitting the floor planks, door and windows. You could make your own door from old planks and battens, but these often warp badly over time and it is much better to find an old door in a salvage yard or disused barn and design your log cabin around it. You could decided to have unglazed windows since many garden log cabins merely have shutters but, if not, your plans should tell you how to make suitable opening windows.
Your log cabin interior can be whatever you want it to be, but usually it will be a simple one-room affair. Be careful about fitting a fire, and get advice from your local building control department before proceeding.
Deciding to build a log cabin could be one of the best decisions you ever made. The result will give you immense satisfaction and provide you with many hours, days, even weeks of pleasure each year.
For some great plans and step by step build instructions for building a log cabin, remember MyShedPlans is strongly recommended. Don’t be misled by the title – they provide lots and lots of log cabin designs as well as a huge variety of sheds and other backyard buildings!
The kit comes with a full, no hassle guarantee that makes it a no-risk investment, but its popularity suggests that our own recommendations are not unfounded. Well worth a look.
Incidentally, I have provided you with an independent review of this plans kit – click here if you would like to see it. I think that you will find it both interesting and useful.
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