22 Wondrous Cabin House Plans with Loft

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How to Make a Trapper Cabin Made of Logs

22 Wondrous Cabin House Plans with Loft – Immediately after a couple of years in Montreal, the urge to leave the cramped city had turn into too effective . . . so my wife and I decided to head our old delivery van north and perform our way up to Canada’s Yukon Territory. After there, we quickly discovered a suitable spot for a wilderness home 5 miles by foot and canoe from the Haines Road. In no time at all we had turn into good good friends with our future neighbors . . . two families, every with small children, who lived in log homes close to the road.

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To enter one of these north woods cabins for the first time was — for us — an unforgettable encounter. The interior, a single, big, undivided room, reflected the closeness of the individuals who lived there and the oneness of their lives and activities. An "airtight" heater reigned in the center of the living space, and anything — the large sleeping loft with its wooden access ladder, the homemade chairs and tables — was built of logs.

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In the course of these early days up right here in the Yukon, we discussed plans for our personal cabin. The possibilities have been restricted — each in design and dimensions — by the reality that we have been only two individuals and couldn’t count on any assistance out in the bush. The standard gable-roofed structure, for instance, seemed to pose pretty a handful of troubles (specifically with the placement of the heavy ridgepole). As an option we thought of a dome, which would be swift to construct and would give us a lot of light. One appear at the cost of the required struts and plywood, nevertheless, made us overlook that program quick sufficient.

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Then a hiking trip into the mountains gave us the answer. In a sheltered valley we discovered an old, dilapidated house, built low and small from rather thin logs and topped with a shed roof. What we have been looking at was a "trapper’s cabin" . . . a structure which combines simplicity, low cost, and the conservation of power. One man can place up a trapper cabin in two or three weeks, even without a chain saw or other power tool. Clearly, this was the dwelling for us.

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Our personal cabin, we decided, would be 15 feet square on the inside and would be built from about 80 logs averaging 18 feet long and six to 9 inches in diameter. ("Averaging" is proper . . . the trees we felled weren’t very straight and generally tapered from eight inches at the butt to three at the other end.)

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The biggest timbers we required have been these for the foundation: two logs 20 feet long and 14 inches in diameter. These we peeled and dried for two weeks just before treating them with a gallon of wood preserver. We also peeled the logs for the roof but not these for the walls. In spring, when the sap is increasing, a tree trunk can be stripped with an axe in 15 minutes . . . but fall was approaching and at that season the exact same job requires 45 minutes with a drawknife.

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The foundation trunks have been laid down — parallel, 15 feet apart, and half buried in the ground — to straight help the side walls and to serve as underpinnings for the entire cabin.

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Subsequent we cut two notches, 15 feet apart, into every of the foundation timbers to get the bottom logs for the front and back walls. Because the trunks tapered, every of the notches had to be individually cut to half the thickness of the end of the log it was to hold.

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At that point we had a square on the ground: the two foundation logs, half buried, and the bases of the front and back walls dropped into their notches and resting on the earth. We have been ready to lay a help for the floor: This consisted of four logs, parallel to the front of the cabin and set into notches cut into the foundation trunks at three-foot intervals.

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Building of our trapper cabin from that stage on was primarily based on a crafty use of the tapered tree trunks we had to perform with. The concept was to alternate the large and small ends of the logs as we built the building’s front and back . . . so that every wall would end up level. In the sides, nevertheless, all the timbers have been set butt forward to make the front wall larger than the back so the lodge’s roof would slant. (You can see what I imply by making two stacks of wooden matches, one lot piled with their heads and ends alternated and the other laid up head on head.)

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Following building continued in the exact same way: The two side-wall logs have been notched and the second timbers for the front and back of the cabin have been dropped into spot, flattened with the chain saw, chinked with fiberglass, and fastened down with four spikes. And so forth.

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Following building continued in the exact same way: The two side-wall logs have been notched and the second timbers for the front and back of the cabin have been dropped into spot, flattened with the chain saw, chinked with fiberglass, and fastened down with four spikes. And so forth.

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Fourteen logs on a side made the structure as tall as we wanted it. At that point the front wall was about ten–and the back around six-feet high, with the sides sloping down — front to back — involving the two. We stopped at that point, cut out openings for the windows and door, and framed them (provisionally) with a handful of pieces of timber.

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As a precaution against roof sag, we laid two peeled rafter logs parallel to the front and back walls and equidistant from them. Then we added more peeled logs, parallel to the side walls and resting on the two rafters and the front and back of the cabin. Such a "ceiling" can be completed off with roofing paper or four-mil plastic followed by a layer of earth . . . or with six rows of two by 4’s nailed across the solid layer of trunks at proper angles, covered with boards, and topped with roofing paper. We chose the second approach.

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The final step in weatherproofing our cabin was made easy by the fiberglass currently sandwiched into the walls. Rather of mixing mud and moss to chink and caulk the cracks which remained involving the logs, all we had to do was push the fiberglass in right here and there with a trowel-tike of wood. Our cabin’s door was made from old lumber but could I just as well have been half-logs held together with boards on the inside. Because we anticipate the creating to settle, we left two inches of space — filled with fiberglass — above the doors and windows. Then came the floor. We have been fortunate sufficient to receive old tongue-and-groove boards which we laid across supporting logs . . . and there have been sufficient of the planks to make a double layer with roofing paper in involving. It was partly this sturdy building that has made it easy to preserve the cabin warm even at 50 degrees beneath zero.

With a living space only 15 feet square, we had to figure out a very effective interior design. One of our tricks was to spin four three-and-a-half-foot-long peeled logs upright on the floor and set the bed frame on top of them. This gave us a very large storage area underneath for most of our food (the supplies close to the wall even keep frozen all winter.) The rest of our furniture is just as simple. A table of thick boards, supported by two by 4’s and three logs, along one wall and two chairs made of split logs and poles. On two sides of the room — for its entire length and portion of its height — we also spiked boards which serve as shelves. The corner opposite the bed accommodates our "airtight" stove. And that’s it. Our cabin ain’t fancy, but it’s home . . . and it blends beautifully with the woods, mountains, and lakes of the Yukon.

Initially Published: November/December 1975

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