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Dovetail Log Cabin

Started by fred in montana, February 07, 2015, 08:22:35 AM

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fred in montana

Thanks for posting that link. I updated it, adding the newer drawing.

Funny- looking at the older drawings, it is hard to believe that it has been almost 20 years since I drew them.
woodmizer lt15, mf 65 tractor

fred in montana

woodmizer lt15, mf 65 tractor


Marty and I rode and looked at dead Cherrybark Oak trees yesterday.  There are just too many of them to let go to waste, but I gotta finish the Cabin Addition project first.
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My question is if you want a 24' cabin and only have 16' logs can you join them mid wall? Do you just stagger them and pin them? Is there any particular joint that is best?
My plan would be to saw "D" logs and to build 16x24 with a loft.

D L Bahler

If you have a chinking gap between log courses, you can't do that.
However, if logs are stacked tight and courses rest atop each other, you can use shorter lengths

The log courses should be pegged together every 2 or 3 feet for strength, even if you have full length logs. Then, you can stagger shorter length logs throughout.

You should have a peg on either side of the splice in the logs above and below to reinforce this joint.

You can use a simple butt joint. I use a butt joint with a spline for both reinforcing the joint and stopping airflow. The spline is also inserted into the log course above and below. This way, my splice joints in my walls are quite strong.

Another way is just to have an upright post in the middle of the wall into which the log ends are set.  This is a very fast way to make longer lengths out of short logs. I also think it is a more attractive approach personally.


fred in montana

You can still splice logs even if you have a chinking gap. Here is one way to do it. You could do this with a D log too.

woodmizer lt15, mf 65 tractor


Thank you.
@fred in montana do you have or know of any place to get a set of building codes and requirements on materials used for the state of Montana or a good place to start. I can ask or figure out how to do most things in life, but dealing with county and state government is a whole new animal.
What books or sites do you guys recommend on a start to finish log cabin?
I've played with the idea of building one and right now have access to most of what I need so am starting to get serious on the idea.

D L Bahler

If you can find a copy of the Craft of Log Building by Hermann Phlepps, that's a great book.
It's not an instructional booklet but rather a survey of different European techniques but it will do great things to help you understand the unique requirements and problems one is faced when building log houses.
It will also open you up to an incredibly broad range of techniques and different solutions to the same problems.



Greeting Fred: Was wondering? The cabin you built in the 1st set of pics- what type of stain or sealer did you use? Sure like the looks of it.Mark,,,,,
It is better to ask forgiveness than permission

fred in montana

Not sure about the codes everywhere in the state but I would suggest checking with the county.

As for the stain, there is a technique to that I have described on this page:
woodmizer lt15, mf 65 tractor


Very interesting thread! If you have larger logs, should one box the heart and use the centers or can you cut multiples from a single log?
I own my own small piece of the world on an 8 acre plot on the side of a mountain with walnut, hickory, ash and spruce.
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PA Walnut- when I built my home in 1979-80 (from an even aged stand of CCC planted SYP) I specked the logs at 6" thick, 2 natural sides, 8.5" small end/12" large end. That yields some narrow boards as off cuts but obviously includes the heart which is not an issue now or then. I know a guy locally who did a large A-frame using big yellow poplar roof beams and remember him being displeased with the amount of large cracks to the heart in his home.
A local company sells and builds EWP log homes which are made in the "hewed look" what with larger rectangular cross sectioned cants and I have seen those homes after some years and very few cracks that would matter.
This time around on a smaller cabin, I'm using self sawed, "D" logs, 6" thick and have Fred's plans and will be making my jigs when the weather moderates a bit! I will definitely go for multiple "D" logs on larger trees and smaller one try for two if they get my width spec of ~8". Some of the smaller trees may saw into the first run which will be 6x7" to allow for slabs to cover the floor system and that first run.

It's been too cold to heat my shop of recent or saw outside. CALL ME A WUSS? :'(
  Todays weather for central FL-in the 70's! We leave mid month for some bicycle weather, my hands are chapped and need a break.
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Fred just posted a new video on his YouTube channel On Beaver Creek 
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