Designing and assembling a hand-scribed log cabin is an undertaking requiring an eccentric love for the method of construction. The nature of the building presents two major challenges that would give anyone pause for thought, before you even begin to consider relative costs.
Firstly, jointing logs together to form walls means that it’s impossible to alter the building after construction, so most of the details which may affect the log walls needs to be definite from the start, forcing you to plan ahead more than you might for a block or brick building.
Secondly, the walls themselves cannot be represented accurately in a drawing – exact dimensions are known only after construction, and even then the log walls shrink and settle, possibly by several inches in the vertical plane. This means that all windows, doors, staircases and internal stud walls need to be designed to allow vertical movement. As each log is different, it also means the builder needs to have a feel and an eye for what he’s building – he has an overall plan, but it needs to be fluid in order to bring out the features of individual logs.
These two apparently conflicting factors encourage you to think differently, setting some firm parameters at the start, but leaving others open to change as you progress.
30 years ago I stayed for a weekend in a simple cabin with friends in the wilds of Idaho, and loved the feel of it – somehow the care and attention put into the building transmits itself subtly. We’ve been very lucky to find Matt and Ian, of Log Cabin UK, (www.logcabinuk.com) based less than 100 miles away in mid-Wales – from the first meeting with them, I knew our project would work, and since then easy communication and a stream of good ideas have meant that potential headaches tend to transform themselves into imaginative detail. If you stay in our cabin, and feel anything for the building, a huge proportion of that is down to Matt, Ian, and the LCUK team, who between them have helped shape the design into something more than the sum of its parts.