Jan 212012

So I would like to first state that I in no way consider myself an expert on building log cabins, homes, or anything for that matter. I am just a regular guy who is hoping to find a project worth taking on. I am very good at doing research which is why I have decided to start blogging about it. I figure if anything I may help someone out there who is thinking about doing something similar. Anyways, choosing the right kind of tree to is not as easy so I have created a guide for you which pretty much has everything you need. I have done a lot of the research for you only because I had to do it at one time for myself.

Evergreens are going to be the best wood (pines, cedars, spruces, and larches) when building a log cabin. There really is no “best” kind of wood for you to use as different woods are best for different situations. Most of the time its the most abundant wood available in your area. The most commonly used wood is the Eastern White Pine because of how much is available throughout the lower 48, it’s super easy to work with, and it looks good on a cabin. This is not as true for Alaska though. Other types of wood to consider (if available in your area):

  • Oak – Strong and heavy, has a very tight grain
  • Douglas Fir – Very strong and has a tendency to repel things such as fungal and mildew problems. Its great for structural beams/legs.
  • Sitka Spruce
  • White Spruce
  • Black Spruce

Once you have figured out what kind of wood you are going to use, you need to find trees that are about the same age, height, and thickness. I would worry most about the thickness because you can always cut the wood shorter and its not as easy to make them skinnier. You want them the same thickness because they are going to have to fit right on top of each other. You want to avoid trees with low laying limbs. The range of the size of logs that you want to be using is 8inches – 14 inches. You really do not want to go skinnier than 8 inches because not only will you have to be using twice as many logs to get the job done, you are also risking structural damage in the future buy using a small log. Once you have made your selection, you need to keep the logs about the same width as discussed previously. Allow at least 4 feet extra length so that the logs hang off the sides of the notches. You are going to want to shave the logs before using them because they will dry faster that way. What I will end up doing is probably cutting as many as possible at the very end of the summer and just leave them to dry out over winter. This way I am not as worried about the possibility of mold or mildew. Just make sure you have your wood secured pretty good.