Your Log House
The On-Site Manual For The Do-It-Yourselfer
What's the book about?

Illustrated Glossary of Terms

  1. Introduction
  2. Why a Log House?
  3. House Design
  4. Traditional Principles & Contemporary Design
  5. Log Acquisition
  6. Getting Started on the Building
  7. Organizing the Site and Equipment
  8. Foundations
  9. Timber Layout
  10. First Logs & Floor Joists
  11. The Chainsaw
  12. Setting Wall Logs
  13. Openings
  14. Framing Walls
  15. Building the Roof
  16. Round Log Piece-en-piece
  17. Stair Planning
  18. Thermal Resistivity of Wood

• Includes 15 House Plans!

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The Book: Your Log House


In the year 2003, it has been 23 years since I wrote the first edition of Your Log House. There have been incredible changes in all human endeavors. Politically, whole new parts of the world have opened up owing to the dismantling of the iron curtain. Socially, we have seen the near disappearance of the traditional family unit immortalized in movies and television of the 50s. It was a world of father bringing home the bacon while mother brought up the children and kept the home fires burning. Economically, two incomes have become necessary for food, shelter, and clothing where one used to suffice. And while the single-family dwelling has, particularly in urban areas, given way to some sort of multiple arrangement, having a house to own is still the dream of most North Americans. Perhaps it is in this very atmosphere of change that some traditions in lifestyle should prevail if we are to avoid total insanity.

A portrait of the author as a young man.

The Japanese have discovered the North American log house in recent years. Japan accounts for the single largest percentage of exports of log homes out of Canada and the United States. Korea has formed a log builders’ association affiliated with the International Log Builders’ Association. These heavily industrialized, high-tech countries have come to see the log house as a bit of sanity in their hectic and crowded lives. Perhaps there is a lesson here for North Americans, as their lives are becoming similarly hectic. A log house is a place of refuge soothed by beautiful, natural, and organic surroundings.

I am seeing an increasing trend in housing. Two generations of families are sharing housing expenses. A family of married children is sharing housing costs with older parents. Two families can afford land and housing where one cannot. I predict an increase in this lifestyle because retiring couples cannot unload the “monster house” they have built because the next generation cannot afford it. They will need to include the next generation in their equity and home site. A lesson here is to build houses that lend themselves to adaptation to multiple family use.

Where trees are available, I can think of no other medium of home building than log building for the family dwelling place. When I first entered this field in the 70s, it was a gentler time, and log building struck a responsive chord in the hearts of the maturing hippie generation. Even though they had traded in most of their beads and headbands for six-piece suits and attaché cases, the organic beauty of handcrafted log buildings maintained its appeal. It seems that we, as did our forefathers, have a place in our hearts for log houses. Increasingly uncertain economic times may urge us to build for ourselves again. Indeed, it may well be that the only way to get a house will be to go out and build it.
In this edition, I have updated or eliminated dated or obsolete techniques and equipment. Most notably, I have included a section of log house plans that I selected from my designs of the past 15 years or so. It is my hope that the plans will provide some design ideas that have worked. The houses are buildable and most of them exist today. My intention is that this edition will be of good value both to the once-in-a-lifetime builder, as well as to the professional.

The book can also serve profitably for the person hiring out the work to a log building contractor. Knowing the terms of the craft, as well as the criteria for good building, should be helpful in negotiating and monitoring the project.

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