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Copyright, Canada, 1972, Second e d i t i o n , B. A l l a n Mackie & Ida Mary Mackie
P. O . Box 1205 Prince George, B. C
in the twentieth century
displaying this determination
to find peace
is [oined in history
to every pioneer
who set himself to carving a homestead
in a new w o r l d .
Y o u ' l l know how it looked as it f e l l to the ground. Indeed. they are entitled to this image even though they may never have seen a tree f e l l e d . The rest was accomplished w i t h a good deal of innovating. later. The length of time it took you to build w i l l be recorded in the faint darkening of the rising logs as they became drier and less easy to p e e l . concealing the holes again i f . the nails are removed. knowing it to be a discussion. echo. if undertaken at a pace that permits full appreciation of the undertaking as a once in a lifetime experience. Very few frame structures can compare. First. most durable. whether its trees had few limbs or many because of where it grew. Perhaps this comes from log construction being old in Canadian history. There is a deep sense of peace. for there are always different ways to do each task. No stripped. In s t y l e .Most Canadians think of themselves as natural born axemen. a log house is one of the most aesthetically satisfying in which to l i v e . the builder. and those who admire solid timber construction as one of the strongest. for a home to be proud o f . or otherwise manufactured product of industrial technology can give y o u . chipped. and these only when the timber framing approaches the stoutness of logs. compressed. o i l i n g . Above a l l . treated. And savings w i l l occur both in the centuries-long durability and in the very low cost of building maintenance. The house sketched on the back cover of this book was b u i l t at Southbank in 1953 for a total cash outlay of two hundred dollars. l i v i n g in a house made of natural trees. a work of art. A log building ties time honoured tradition into our sometimes uncertain todays. Harsh household clatter does not strike. This should not deter the family able to afford what pleases them most. limb lines. This is part of the craft. giving a sense of continuity and stability that is unusual in modern housing. Pressures of fashion have never succeeded in making the log house look outdated. This book is intended to encourage those Canadians who would leave the suburban reservations to live part of their lives at peace w i t h nature. Third: log construction is the only contemporary construction method which enables an individual to exchange his own labour and ingenuity. spar varnish. The second advantage of log construction is d u r a b i l i t y . and rough lumber. None but the log house provides its own sweet incense of sap and resin. and neighbourly cooperation — all activities which are still permissible in many parts of this country. It Is what helps to make each house unique . scrounging. The scrubbing. In the end. The natural brown tones are restful to the e y e . You w i l l remember a log that chased you down the skids or one that humped its back before it was subdued and fitted into place. the log house w i l l be as costly as frame or masonry construction. the most appropriate building material in any landscape. Solid timber walls have an acoustic quality that makes music sound richer. . and perhaps varnishing w i l l warm the colours and highlight the textures of the new walls — revealing curbes. it is work not at all beyond the strength of most families. It is In timeless good taste even in a most simple building as well as in the dramatic designs in logwork coming into being. . This harmony is due entirely to the logs themselves. rather than cash or a mortgage debt. the log building w i l l rival concrete in its long l i f e . There are three prime reasons for using logs in house construction. roofing. They can savour it as no other. such an awareness of each living tree as it once stood. Building w i t h logs does require hard work but it is pleasant and healthy work and. there is a quality of snug security in the fortress-thick walls. perhaps the lacework of bark beetles or the clawmarks of a bear — all signs of nature to be saved and treasured. The only purchased items were glass. and a wide overhang to shelter against rain and snow soakings. to hold up a picture or a fireplace poker. You w i l l remember long after your house is b u i l t . Every axeman w i l l find many new answers of his own. cooked. the family that builds a log house knows their home as a work of a r t . W i t h a good foundation to protect the wood from the composting urge of e a r t h . But where the use of logs requires not only the purchase and delivery of all materials but also the hiring of the builders. Logs also can absorb nails. and bounce as they do from plaster surfaces. A scar may remind you of the day the logs were skidded to the building site. the log house has an amazing d u r a b i l i t y . . for it is still possible in this country to develop w i t h pride these skills which were practised by our surprisingly recent ancestors. and beautiful building forms known. trading. Logs bring the natural world back into our lives in a way that is becoming more necessary than ever to our survival as thoughtful human beings. Let us begin the discussion of how to build with logs.
They were thought to look better. with industrial technology. obviously. In the agrarian past. or it already was using land which could otherwise provide food crops. This Is why a log house remains so cool during the summer. I f . The forests are vanishing. and why it takes many days to c h i l l off if left for a few days during the w i n t e r . Many of us. And that harvest was in full swing less than a century ago. It is slow-growing. perfect. THE TREE. so that only the barl" ll removed but no gouging. Vapour control is taken care of. O u r enthusiasm carried us ever onward. A close look at the tree's physical properties will help overcome both these hang-ups. When the tree is felled and the vital fluids have d r i e d . w i t h chemicals. "Where are the trees?" And good. trees must havo many seasons to mature before reproduction is possible. if the tree is peeled c a r e f u l l y .THE TREE. And so it is that some people approach the building of a log house with the idea that the tree as it stands is not quite right. allowed to dry a g a i n . in nature. that is considered a triumph of forest technology. It is for us to grant the tree the respect it deserves.t r i a l . the tree was an enemy.l i k e or brick-shaped. and why music floats softly through the rooms of a log house. AS A D O O M E D SPECIES It is also good to keep in mind. and government w i l l be Ion ed lo ask industry to provide employment — with natural resources as the raw . During the summer of 1972. in the past. either t u b e . As for " f i n i s h " . Even so. and above a l l . That is one hang-up. The other one I've called cultural for. Under a microscope. f u l l y to appreciate the smoothness. the agrarian instinct is so strong in most people. as we approach the study of solid timber construction. have two hang-ups: agrarian and c u l t u r a l . First. big trees are hard to find even in the regions of the legendary lumberjack. Farmers waged a constant war to eradicate them from the land and. and given a single oiling with boiled linseed o i l . the log is washed free of d i r t . the surface becomes not only satin-smooth but waterproof. packed closely together. So. it was more of an equal b a t t l e . Unlike herbs which can reach maturity and spread seed within a single season. before a hand is laid upon I t . trees continued for perhaps 500 years to reach maximum growth so large we can scarcely comprehend the yellowing photos of them. If a tree can be brought from seed to harvest in only 50 years. In f a c t . There is no point expecting human nature to change. in British Columbia. the body of the tree is composed of hollow c e l l s . too. But with the bulldozer. burning them as we would burn rubbish. next. the tree as we know i t . proven successful. It is also why sounds are absorbed. scarring. it usually takes 100 to 150 years for the trees we are now harvesting to have grown. But our ancient urge for land is not easy to Curb. lalhoi than work. that it should have (as a longtime logger said to me) "some kind of f i n i s h " . People w i l l demand employment. is incapable of lUltalnlng the pressure. And I often wonder if this urge i s . they began to put wax on turnips. in f a c t . via the log ends llierefore. now almost e x t i n c t . It constantly threatened to invade fields and pastures. capable of this — and it is my opinion that this tree is the product of millions of years of t r e e . < tearing and breaking forest lands which should never have been expected to grow anything else but timber. the wood w i l l dry to the sort of satiny finish that invites hands to stroke i t . household moisture is not absorbed to any degree by the log and y e t . AS B U N D I N G MATERIAL I am going to ask that this discussion of log building begin with a close look at the tree as it stands. heaping them u p . and the whole IWeet-natured peaceful legion of beings who brought swift cash to the men who thought such plenty could never end. I travelled from one end of Canada to the other and kept asking. for example. And the tree is slow to reproduce. any which does exist w i l l find its way out as it always d i d . the farmer gained the upper hand. with llie need for profit to supply assembly-line employment. the sea otter. resurfacing now as a thoughtless. the tree as it exists in nature is already an almost perfect building material. unconscious contempt for the t r e e . the trumpeter swan. or scratching of the wood itself is allowed to occur. when they arrived at the grocery store. we've been shaped to believe in a finished product. they resemble a honeycomb. It is d i f f i c u l t for us to accept the possibility Ity that one of life's necessities could be found. we tend to forget that In a virgin forest. we ruihed headlong about the landscape toppling trees. and use i t . that the log builder is in an enviable position where he can preserve what is being harvested of an endangered species. A few years ago. Like all those others. A tree is far too much like the b u f f a l o . I know of no sawn or cut wood of any k i n d . with human encroachment. the tree has no self-defence. these t i n y airpockets seal — becoming a most peile< My insulated building material. For trees as a species are not equipped to survive the competition with machinery.
showing the woods in the v i c i n i t y of Vancouver as the white man first found them. I his f i n e . There were no power saws in those days. these f a l l i n g axes having long. I realized when visiting the Convent of the Grey Nuns in St. It seemed to me a national tragedy. as I travelled this land of giant timbers.material from which are made the finished products — the newsprint. narrow bits and handles up to 4 feet in length. This. or a butt diameter of 25 feet. either. about 1900. Lower left: A western Red Cedar of similar size. the fake w«il I board. Lower Right: Putting the undercut in a western Red Cedar at M y r t l e Point. The back cut would be put in w i t h a crosscut saw. about 1924. and the lumber. B. His work w i l l l i v e o n . Left: August 1895. four storey building of hand-hewn oak stands as perhaps the only reminder the nation has of these oaks as they once grew on the banks of llie Red River in M a n i t o b a . The man who can take the equivalent of one logging truck load of timber and spend his labour shaping and f i t t i n g a log house. This Douglas Fir stood 417 feet tall with a clear 300 feet to its first limbs. It requires a high level of axemanship to put in this kind of an undercut entirely w i t h an a x e . the t o i l e t tissue and paper towels. C. preserving l-i future generations the beauty and strength of the logs we still have. . the wrapping paper and cartons. Note the two-man crosscut saw held across the top of the stump and the springboards on which the men stood to work in order to be able to saw above the wide flare of the roots. Centre: A stand of Douglas Fir. does have the personal satisfaction of performing creative work and a valuable product is the result. finding only such fragments of the mighty chapter of architectural history that might have been written in Canada had the timbers been valued for the unique and beautiful building materials that they are. The circumference at the base was 77 feet. Boniface. Below are four photographs provided by the Provincial Archives of British Columbia.
Tools Te tie hackers ad h n s h a k e splitters who moved into the bush to work the winter not so very many yours ago were said to have had their sawmills on their backs.. This was true, inasmuch as they could build their own accommodation for the winter with the tools they could carry double bitted axe, a broad axe, a crosscut saw or framesaw, an auger bit (the handle to be made in the woods), plus a piece of sheet metal for the stove and a small packet of shingle nails. This, along with a bedroll and a lew days' supply of groceries, set a man up in business. Conditions in the woods have changed greatly . . . for loggers. But for the lone woodsman, the basic tools — with the exception of the power saw — have changed l i t t l e . Because your building w i l l be larger and of a more permanent nature, there is need for a somewhat expanded list of tools. The most important of these, in addition to a basic set of carpenter's tools, is a log scriber, a peeling spud, and a pair of log dogs.
5 H Logs can be peeled with an axe or a spade but a peeling spud is best. This can be made from a piece of truck spring with a socket welded to it of a size to take a regular spade handle. The spud should be about 3 inches wide and heavy enough to cut off small knots.
Log dogs can be made by the same welder. Use 3/4"' square steel about 36" long. Sharpen each end to a chisel point and bond about 3" of each end down. These, when driven into the building at one end and into the log on which you are working at the other end, w i l l hold it firmly in place. A smaller and lighter pair ol log dogs, about 12 or 14"' long, are also very handy.
The tool that can do the most for you is a power saw and in spite of the fact that it is noisy, smoky, and dangerous it must be recommended for its speed and tremendous versatility. I don't really favour one brand of power saw above another because almost any saw gives good service if It is looked after correctly. But in general a very big saw is too dangerous to handle in high or awkward places on a b u i l d i n g , and the itty billy saws developed for Cheechakos are, in spite of the manufacturers' claims, good for nothing. Use a moderate sized saw of 4 to 4 . 5 cubic inch displace ment and with a relatively high cutting speed and a bar length of 16 to 20 inches. The shorter bar is good for working on the building but the longer bar is needed for falling trees. Some saws have a high noise characteristic and, out of respect for your eardrums, should be avoided. I recommend, as protection against the noise and against sawdust flying into the eyes, the wearing of a crash helmet with full plastic screen across the face. To look after a power saw, observe two rules: mix the gas and oil properly and keep the chain sharp, properly tensioned, and well o i l e d . Most power saws require a 16 to 1 mix (16 parts gas to 1 part oil) mixed by measuring 3 gallons of gas into a 5 gallon c a n , then pouring 1 quart of oil into 1 gallon of gas in a separate c a n , stirring and shaking this mixture until the oil is well suspended before it is added to the previous 3 gallons making a total of 4 gallons of mix. If all the oil was not mixed, pour a l i t t l e back into the smaller can and stir again. When pouring this into the gas tank of the saw, use a strainer funnel. The chain f i l i n g and tensioning is best done according to the manufacturer's directions for each saw. The riling is to do it f a i t h f u l l y .
Axes are, to a large extent, a matter of personal preference. ! use 3~3/4 l b . double bitted axes because I l i k e t h e m . One has the helve cut off to 16" and the other is the full 3 6 " buf shaved down until if is limber enough fo ease the shock of impact on timber. Many people prefer a single bitted axe because if is safer. A heavy axe head (4 to 4 ~ l / 4 lbs.) with a very short handle is most useful for n o t c h i n g . Axes should be kept sharp. File into the b i t , " c u f f i n g " the f i l e with the a x e . A good handle on the f i l e prevents cuts if the f i l e slips. Start f i l i n g a distance back from the edge and work out to the edge. This w i l l keep the blade slim and parabolic in shape. Too thin an edge w i l l chip or bend, but an axe must be sharp as a dull axe can slip or glance off the wood. The owner of a good 2 inch auger is lucky for this is not an easy tool to f i n d . The only care it needs is protection of the edges from g r a v e l , d i r t , or naiJs. Grease it well before storage to prevent rust. In use, a hand auger should not be expected to bore through more than one log at a t i m e . Unless if is very l o n g , it w i l l fam up with chips and, once taken out of the c u t , it is hard to start a g a i n . Bridge augers w i l l d r i l l deeper, particularly if power d r i v e n . Holes may also be cut with a gouge type of c h i s e l . This chisel has a long curved blade and is sharpened on the inside. If should have a heavy shank so it may be driven with a hammer. I first saw this type of d r i l l among the tools used for making Red River carts, in the Duck Lake museum. Nowadays, as in the 1800's, this fool would have to be made by a blacksmith.
A good pair of scribers w i l l be a great help. These can be made from a heavy pair of machinist's or tinsmith's dividers. They should be strong enough to be able to cut a good clear line in the log but handy enough to f i t close to the log on the corners. They should have a way to set the distance firmly without danger of s l i p p i n g . " F i n " type scribers can be made by a blacksmith and very good scribers of this kind can be made from a N o . 4 coyote trap (which has the added advantage of keeping the trap from being any further danger to coyotes). Cut the eyes of the spring through at right angles to the spring so that they have a fishtail cutting edge. Heat and squeeze the spring to a sharper bend and put a keeper around i t . In use, the cutting points are set at the desired distance with a small block of wood and the keeper is driven up t i g h t l y . Good scribers — that is, ones which the builder himself finds efficient — are the key to perfectly fitted logs. Their helpfulness cannot be overestimated. Many types and designs of scribers have been made, generally by the individual who is to use t h e m . So, just as a g u i d e , I w i l l include later a dimensioned diagram of the scribers which I have found to be most successful. They were made from an old power saw b l a d e . A broad axe is necessary if any hewing is to be done. As the name suggests, a broad axe has a wide cutting edge. The face side is f l a t and it is sharpened from the other side o n l y , something l i k e a chisel. O n l y a broad axe w i l l make the straight faced cut for a relatively even planed surface. As these fine axes are no longer available from any supplier I know o f , I am including (under the section on hewing) a dimensioned drawing so that a good blacksmith could make o n e . Another helpful marking device is a chalk l i n e . obtained at any good hardware store. The kind that reels into a closed container f i l l e d with powdered chalk is good and can be
An adze or a l i p adze can be a useful tool but also a very dangerous o n e . axes — they can be handy but are not strictly necessary.
Some builders use quite a variety of short handled adzes and
The builder w i l l also need a peevee or cant hook to move logs, 200 to 300 feet of 3 / 4 " polypropylene rope and a single shive snatch b l o c k . This list of tools is sufficient to construct a log b u i l d i n g .
In choosing a site lor a log home, one thinks almost automatically of peaceful, wooded acres. Any home is more ideally situated on spac ious, park Iike grounds but such a setting is no more essential for a log building than for a stucco or siding structure. In f a c t , a well-built log townhouse w i l l often become a landmark attracting many sightseers. A c i t y lot is in no way a deterrent to building with logs although some trees. seem necessary if the traditional link between house and forest is to be preserved. Choosing a site for a log house should, therefore, Its a v a i l a b i l i t y , and so o n . However, I do not feel that a Or high density traffic arteries. Rather, a long and quiet the houses for demolition, none but the log house can have location! COSTS
be done ]ust as for any home: for its personal appeal to the inhabitants, its conveniece log dwelling should ever be subjected to the proximity of high-rises, shopping plazas, l i f e should be planned. But if "progress" suddenly expropriates your c i t y area, marking its members number-coded, dismantled, and reassembled better than ever in a new
The family hoping to live their lives at peace with nature should be free, independent, and in charge of their own destiny. mi mis land and shelter which is their own completely.
To my mind,
I or this reason, 1 am opposed to the borrowing of mortgage money. Because so much advertising is available for persuading people to borrow, I mention here only a few points which only crop up when it is too late: the reasons why borrowing is to be avoided. Most borrowers are i onviiicod by the argument that a loan w i l l give them freedom. My premise is that borrowing destroys freedom. First, prime mortgage money is loaned only to those people w i l l i n g to l i v e on the reservation. This is understandable if a system, such as a city, Is needed to employ, t a x , and manage our lives. The c i t y works closely with the mortgage corporations to restrict and control housing so as to assure attractive profits on mortgage investments. In some respects, then, a mortgage is rather like an Indian Treaty inasmuch as freedom is replaced by a lifestyle which an authorized o f f i c i a l decided would be better for people in g e n e r a l . Not being able to keep a horse or raise the Family Foodstuffs any longer, we take our treaty money to the company store. As the Indian people fry to t e l l us, the full costs are not simply cash. There is a high cost in pride7 initiative, and the creativity which gives health to a family and to a nation. Once we become depend we are at the mercy of a supplier. A family determined to live outside c i t y limits can certainly find a money-lender, though not Central Mortgage and Housing Corporation, to mortgage their land and their future home. But the interest rates w i l l be higher, starting at about the usual bank loan rate and going u p . And in order to q u a l i f y , the rural family too must prove itself to be plugged into the system in such a way as to be receiving treaty money on a steady basis, preferably month by months and to an acceptable l e v e l . The lender is entirely justified in demanding such proof for if that family is merely self-sufficient but has no extra cash this is bad news for h i m . * The second disadvantage of borrowing money is that the mortgage company w i l l also dictate a highly stereotyped interior floorplan. For example, a small house is taboo even if it is being built for a single person. Three bedrooms are almost mandatory, as the president of a local construction firm discovered when he applied for mortgage funds to build a one~*bedroom home for himself and his w i f e . His application was refused. "We preferred a very large living room and an extra large dining r o o m , " he said, "we enjoy entertaining. We simply don't need more than one bedroom." So he built the house with his own funds, the way if pleased h i m . Unless conditions change, anyone who rejects the many limited concepts imposed upon borrowers under the terms of a restricted building covenant w i l l simply have to go it alone 0 A more b e a u t i f u l , human c i t y could well be a result.
And hard. But insofar as special care must be taken in some construction details when using logs. perhaps. For only with land of your own can you truly hope to live in your home at peace with nature.. this means that a small loan of $10. It leaves the borrower. I shall mention here some general characteristics to keep in mind when preparing the working drawings.88. all possibilities should be explored for going it alone. If only a small amount of money is available. the midpoint diameter of the two short logs should be approximately the same as the midpoint diameter of the long ones. he hastened to cheer me up: " N e x t month.000. is certainly the easiest shape for the novice to try first. But there are other costs. they can be kept level by using logs of an average mean diameter — that is. can be cut in the Prince George area from free wood. citizens having more cash. That Canadians should ever have to worry as to how they can acquire enough land for a home is to me a nightmare. & H .S. mortgage insurance. insurance. 0 5 ! " The fourth and possibly the most disturbing aspect of borrowing mortgage funds is that even prime mortgages are being drawn up for only 5-year terms. The best C . Crowding has resulted in Canadians competing. A square building. As it i s . yes. at the end of 5 years. and taxes. The finest of flooring can be hewn. cedar shakes. and planning should be a matter of individual study and choice. When I sold my $22. but in my opinion if they must dictate the size and shape of the house. A few temporary discomforts while a family lives in a small house are not as harmful as the constant anxiety and fear of losing the home if one's health or job fails./ The third disadvantage is the purely cash expense of a mortgage. " Sensing my profound gloom (certainly not at Canada Permanent Trust Company in particular. not so much with each other. Aim above all to buy the homesite outright in order to own completely whatever is b u i l t . took our trees.274. We did own the land and. which is only a fraction of the total repayment period. This is the key to freedom.34 is applied against the p r i n c i p a l .00! thinking a bookkeeping error had occurred. The most beautiful of roofing. this is a price too high to consider. M r . Americans have bid up the prices on private properties just as has happened in the art and antique stores. at no cost. But hard. A city lot in Prince George costs about $7. Crown lands come right up to the city limits but most of the territory belongs to foreign pulp and mining companies. " N o . but with U. mortgage cost ° i % interest when I bought a new house in Prince George in the summer of 1971. . but at the whole desperate situation in general). to find the money elsewhere to pay off the balance in f u l l . from poplar and b i r c h . M . In the mortgage f i e l d . o r . it suggests a future so uncertain that even the dominion government cannot face or control i t . its location. C . This latter exercise is one which I believe is best undertaken right at the outset of any proposed building project. I would again point out the house on the back cover of this book which cost $200 to move into. so that Canadians can no longer readily afford to enjoy what is theirs. for example. It may also be the key to survival. grown. M a c k i e . determined shopping w i l l find some land that can be paid for in f u l l . To give an idea of the interest costs o n l y . with only two options: to refinance through the same mortgage company if possible and under whatever new rules they demand. I am obliged to tell them that log house floorplans are really no different from any other floorplan. determined study w i l l hopefully find a way of protecting for Canadians the land that they need. I had it checked. A mortgage company mi ght offer to do it all for y o u . and the quality of your neighbourhood.000 if repaid faultlessly at $ 100 a month for 16 years would result in a total cost of $19. Conveyancing. Before construction is considered. from i t . I found that the principal had been reduced by only $80. there's no error.000 house after a year. but you must realize that only $7. Perhaps a year's leave of absence from paid employment would result in a debt-free house and enormous longterm savings. Even a small child knows enough to cry " N o t f a i r ! " if his partner tries to change the rules partway along a game. the family lifestyle with regard to employment. temporary discomforts of this nature deserve a better name — involvement.00 of your $186. it would've gone up to $ 7 . to obtain a homesite without going into debt is not an easy task. Or perhaps weekend and evening work might provide a small guest cottage in which the family could spend the first year. THE BLUEPRINT Many people ask me for log house designs and floor plans. But if the floorplan calls for a rectangle of two short and two long walls. and created thereon. Housing is very personal.34 each month. In f a c t . having paid $186.
w i l l . as the wires must be inserted and concealed| in the respective logs as the building progresses. The Royal Canadian Legion hall was b u i l t at Fort St. Or a dining room may be slightly altered so as to open onto a grove of frees for outdoor eating. logs seem to look best close to the ground rather than on a t a l l basement foundation. the phone rings off the wall with enquiries. I do not feel right about cutting entirely through I enjoy the visible interlocking and binding of the members. Another solution might be sought in the method of b u i l d i n g . looking and behaving all a l i k e . . Floor to ceiling windows are something to ponder well before including in the log house. James in 1971 by this method. A t a l l wall w i l l settle more in total than does a less t a l l one. So plan to meet your personal needs and feelings. however. a wall. investigate. Jasper Park Lodge has some massive buildings constructed in this manner. This does create additional axework but it also creates additional interest as well as giving a much more professional appearance than if the logs showed extreme taper. houses are built for the wrong reasons: for assembly line e f f i c i e n c y .. analyse. Good design. at all times. rather than highly manufactured materials. who you are building for. But let a log house come up for sale and. sometimes. halfway along. measure. the plan might be altered slightly to give that wall a j o g . discuss. A log house is the oldest in out cultural tradition and if it was planned to give a certain family maximum personal pleasure. With these few factors in mind. it is essential that space be allowed above doors. as one real estate agent told me. Extremely long walls are built by using the French Canadian method of piece~en~piece construction. Each log w i l l shrink approximately 1/2". In f a c t . be it traditional or highly imaginative. my guess is that if becomes more desirable. to use the new and ever more distasteful products of technology such as simulated woodIgrain wallboard. If a lower storey or basement must be largely above ground. shake roofing. thus permitting the use of two short logs instead of one long one. Certainly the builder need never limit himself to a "log cabin" stereotype. your task is to see the function and purpose of a good home. I prefer to see either log or slab partitions. it is possible to adapt almost any houseplan to the use of logs. The electrical wiring layout must be detailed completely in the drawingboard stage. plank floors and ceilings and doors. t o o . a contradiction in the meaning of home. About all one can say Is to strive for the best way of blending the house into the natural contours of the landscape. Therefore. and so o n . and partitions so that as the logs settle they w i l l not be forced out of position or get a hangup. P L A N N I N G A G O O D HOME Consider. So o f t e n . to create employment. It is not impossible that you might come to understand that your personal concept of pleasing space is one large room. In this case. to a buyer if by some misfortune you must ever put it up for sale. bedding more and more firmly together for about two years or more. however. Discarding the strategems intended to line us all up in rows. windows. But with careful attention to structural support. take into account thai log most natural material and should be used in association with other natural materials.II A house plan showing one long wall might prove difficult if the available timber is either short or extremely tapered. 1 deplore the building of a house for Irs so called resale v a l u e . For this reason. Also. Too often a pleasant view cannot be seen when a simple reversal of all or part of a floorplan would have placed a big window in plain sight. these changes are easily made. Before the working drawings are f i n a l i z e d . Sketch. as was the old HudsonS post in 1806. So it seems to me that people are not fooled for l o n g . such windows are possible. take courage: Erickson lives in just such a house with a blank wall turned to the street. read. let the site be considered as part of the houseplan both inside and o u t . to impress the passerby and. An evening's reading of the architectural philosophy of Arthur Erickson w i l l help a great d e a l . but this is a big stick which both mortgage and real estate firms hold over the heads of the p u b l i c . not lev. I suspect. let it be of rock so that the house may appear to have grown from the site rather than to have been imposed upon the lot or sinking into i t . A vital consideration in the houseplan is to allow for the fact that the logs w i l l shrink and s e t t l e . Exterior design is more d i f f i c u l t but also rewarding. If so.
is simply to show how two of our own homes developed and why. or even by submitting our free movement to any avoidable inconvenience. testing.A-MACKIE SB . B. polishing.9 Perhaps the best form of help I can offer. Your lifestyle may not (unless you are extremely fortunate) require this kind of housing but whatever the particular needs may b e . p a i n t i n g . Uppermost in our minds was the idea that this house should serve its occupants rather than the occupants serving the house by constant repairs. There was no blueprint on the market for a house which could function smoothly for six months at a stretch without a trip to a grocery store. THE SILLOEP HILL RANCH HOUSE The home sketched on the front cover of this book and shown in the houseplan below provides an example of planning to meet unusual personal needs. at this point. the methods of enquiry. and planning w i l l be similar.
. chairs. we first looked at books of houseplans. and UBC. Visitors to any ranch head straight for the k i t c h e n . we thought. plus a woodshed. The university librarians worked d i l i g e n t l y but were able to send us only generalized information as to how to judge the efficiency of a kitchen (quite helpful) plus their good wishes. We knew that no compact kitchen could shelve all our provisions any more than dinette space could accommodate a branding crew. some conventional rooms had shrunk while others expanded enormously. is denied these welcome social contacts because of a "compact" k i t c h e n . It also indicated t h a t . onto trees and quiet pastures. to represent our tables. twos. we hoped. The main room was 12x28 with three adjoining units: a pantry for all dry food storage. Like most people intending to b u i l d . the children could play. The kitchen was c e n t r a l . The key to all the unusual features of the Silloep Hill houseplan was its isolation. asked three standard questions: why didn't you build your house right on the public road instead of two miles in? why is your house so b i g ? and why doesn't your l i v i n g room face the v i e w ? Peace. It's an unhappy cook who. Once having done so. we found no plans for a true working ranch house. weary. This usually had to be explained to guests who.The Silloep Hill Ranch. and the scenery of this area of north-central British Columbia. if they were c i t y people. plus a complete absence of steps w o u l d . Nor did we anticipate any formal entertaining. This convenience. permitting severely mudded boots to be kicked off. or a family group. instead. a double~walled rootcellar for all the vegetables and canned goods. Isolation dictated massive food storage areas. In this big room they could warm their hands over the kitchen stove or relax at the dining table while coffee or a meal was being prepared. hungry. it faced away from the exciting sweep of mountain scenery and looked. But we felt that the adequate provisioning and smooth functioning of the household were essential to the fullest appreciation of this i d y l l i c l i f e . peace . A l l supplies including firewood were stored under the ranch house roof. if we were to avoid irritations now and t h e n . A l l plans were variations of the c i t y bungalow with larger houses simply running to luxury rooms for formal entertainment or recreation rather than to work space or food storage. 2) from imagining ourselves into the blueprint and visualizing entire sequences of indoor a c t i v i t y . school and office — v i r t u a l l y everything — to a family of four. and watch t e l e v i s i o n . We called this room our fortress and 1 built two bunks as window seats into the dining end of the kitchen so that no blizzard or furnace failure could catch us without an answer. . the Silloep Hill house is large. In the final plan. which my wife and 1 homesteaded in 1959. some of which were extremely comfortable and efficient. suitable for private conversation or reading. As its purpose was restfulness. our l i v i n g room dwindled to a retreat measuring 12x14. 3) from using bits of cardboard. and I could be mending a saddle all at the same time and comfortably. our visitors arriving unannounced by ones. In the kitchen itself. required a house adapted to the c l i m a t e . For example. the isolation. we arranged for all possible viewing of the horizon and Nadina M o u n t a i n . my wife and I had no choice but to research and develop our own houseplan. there should be a room where each member of the family could pursue work or study completely uninterrupted. to ensure that it served generously its functions as home. sleep. beds. that's w h y . shuffling these on the houseplan to get . drawn to scale. usually having travelled far they are c o l d . As homesteaders. But even after special enquiries to C M & H . its long walls protected. prevent our having to depart for "easier" l i v i n g in our old age. peace. These were the basic modifications. Isolation also made more subtle demands such as providing room for the whole family to work comfortably together indoors. or snow brushed off quite comfortably before even a door was opened. public libraries. And so that isolation need not mean boredom. We undertook the homesteading of new country in the belief that solitude is a p r i v i l e g e . coats to be doffed. The climate turned out to be milder than expected but these plans made the house all the more comfortable. Climate. Thus. indicated that entry halls should be incorporated into both the front and back door entries so as to afford double-door protection from c o l d . How did we know the size of rooms needed? Our method of developing the room sizes involved 1) observing certain old ranch houses. I recommend it to anyone hoping for a home to be more than the standard cubicles in which we eat. my wife could be cooking. l i v i n g in isolation. Our kitchen was naturally the room which expanded. The back entrance was further incorporated into the woodshed.
The Southbank house might be considered more romantic than practical unless viewed in terms of cash alone. students. But today. Simply by enlarging all doors. the function and purpose of which was to permit all possible viewing of the beautiful lake at the doorstep. Meantime. In 1959 there was much in the public attitude that made us w i l l i n g to forego a great deal that society offered. guests. with an appropriate counter height eliminating the strain of kneading bread dough or stirring cake batter. I installed no cupboard doors as I had once counted the number of times she opened and closed them (141) in the preparation of a simple afternoon t e a . we had thought it all out so carefully we knew exactly where every item belonged and how to get right to w o r k . Personal planning pays many rewards. any door or partition must nowadays account for itself in solid terms before it is allowed into our home. Not content with having storage for food and f u e l . "Efficiency is one. as world conditions changed so r a p i d l y . a wheeled woodbox also went g l i d i n g through this door to take on a load of wood without our ever having to carry any in our arms. at my wife's request. Conditions have changed. It was a good home.) In this bake centre. THE SOUTHBANK HOUSE AT FRANCOIS LAKE The house sketched on the back cover and shown at left in its floorplan. So wher I say that planning is a very personal t h i n g . We have changed. society has changed. as I did in 1959. we saw ways to make the longterm handling of these items much easier. we felt that our school age children deserved the chance to participate f u l l y in both worlds. scarcely more than a month's mortgage payment. Minimum partitions separated the two sleeping areas so that the big windows facing north could be seen from anywhere in the house at all times. the "outside" one as well as our own wilderness. might be used to illustrate that a house need be neither expensive nor complicated in order to be a good home. It cost us l i t t l e more than the price of a month's rent in an average c i t y apartment. these clearly are not doors or partitions — they are merely obstacles. a matter of individual need and f e e l i n g .a surprisingly clear idea of how work and play would feel in the spaces we had arranged. I can perhaps best explain this by saying that I would not build that house in exactly the same way today. we do f i n d so much that is hopeful in the general outlook especially among young people that we would expect to incorporate much of the "outside" world — visitors. Another great help was a bake counter tailored to hold all the cooking equipment and materials within arm's reach. I never saw a door or a partition to equal such sights. although formal entertaining may never be a feature of our wilderness. This meant that by merely l i f t i n g our heads off the p i l l o w at night we might be rewarded by seeing the northern lights sweeping the sky or the dawn s pink light flooding the i c e . By the time we moved into the Silloep Hill ranch house. (The small children also made good use of this low counter. And furthermore. If it serves no purpose such as warmth or privacy. to which we look forward to returning. O r . We are cured of wanting a large herd of beautiful cattle only to see them shipped to slaughter. for that matter. In f a c t . . It is no longer so isolated in the Owen Lake region. workers — into a good home there now. It is essentially a single large room. I could run a wheelbarrow of vegetables right from the garden indoors to the storage bins in the rootcellar. Twice a day.
and who does not have sufficient timber on his own land for the purpose specified in the permit. C . rugged trees. this permit is readily issued without charge to a Canadian citizen who is a settler engaged in agriculture. a good. always err on the side of bigness for not only do the logs shrink but the added size is helpful in several ways — thicker and therefore better insulated w a l l s . I admire an axeman courageous enough to use b i g . this is g o o d . To cut trees from Crown lands. You can expect to pay more if it is at all d i f f i c u l t for them to sort out the required number of good house logs. I would offer reassurance derived from Arthur Erickson: that there is really no such thing as "good design" or "pleasing design" . move tn close and sight up the t r e e . you'll be able to tell which operator can or w i l l supply properly selected logs delivered to the building s i t e . fewer notches to c u t . the individual is forced to get his logs from a commercial producer. you need only specify the lengths. To buy logs. at right angles to each other. So if you are selecting the trees yourself. A l l o w at least 5 or 6 feet beyond the actual wall length to provide ample material for finishing the log ends and also to overcome the danger of a too-short log coming off the walls when it is being rolled across the b u i l d i n g . If no sweep or crook can be seen in the required length. 1971. Few trees are perfectly straight and. first look at it from a distance of about 100 feet and from two sides. and one end of it f a l l i n g into the interior. according to the kind of area he happens to be logging I n . SELECTION OF LOGS If the building is to be about 30 feet square. Large logging companies may not be interested in sorting out ideal trees. This should be considered in comparison to some Carol Moore Ede. and species. Purchased logs w i l l be scaled and charged for by the cunit (TOO cubic f e e t ) . mark those which measure between 42 and 48 inches in g i r t h . or whatever material the area offers. in my opinion as a builder. Under Section 25 of the Forest A c t . and "the strength and simplicity of a building is achieved through c l a r i t y of meaning. This Free Use permit is a privilege main" tained from the past and should be jealously guarded. It must be very straight to appear so from this angle. of course. To judge if a tree is straight.12 Finally. . . cedar shake blocks. or who holds a Free Miner's l i c e n c e . from time to t i m e . hand split shakes. a more solid appearance and. or from a commercial log producer. Smaller outfits are usually more obliging this w a y . Canadian Architecture 1960/1970. Toronto. p. As a general r u l e . Ideally you w i l l have the trees on your own property. although great care should be taken that the woods surrounding your new home w i l l not be depleted. Suitable house logs may sometimes be obtained here. A log 28 feet long. Burns & MacEachern L t d . A Special Use permit may also be obtained and the payment of a reasonable stumpage and royalty is required for the trees c u t . to assist the person trying for the first time to express his own needs in housing. 3 6 . large buildings seem to demand larger ones. Prices can also vary with the same operator. f i r e w o o d . you w i l l undoubtedly f i n d several logging companies listed in the telephone d i r e c t o r y . sizes. 9" at the top and 12" at the butt w i l l contain 17 cubic feet or about 5 logs per c u n i t . as well as the number required. small buildings require smaller logs. . Forest Service o f f i c e . But as Crown lands come more and more under the control of large corporations. After talking to a few of them. When placing your order. Often a forest district w i l l have a Special Sale area set u p . If in doubt. If you are obliged to do this. on which if is possible to harvest fence posts. a Free Use permit is applied for through the nearest B . be generous in your estimates of the log lengths. . superior strength. Such logs have great beauty. similar to that achieved in a roof of rough. from Crown land. suitable logs might be 14 to 16 inches at the butt. Prices w i l l vary among the individual logging operators depending upon weather conditions and how busy they are. pleasing building is concerned with meaning." 1 A C Q U I S I T I O N OF LOGS There are three ways to obtain a sufficient number of straight logs of uniform and suitable size: from your own property.
joists. But some. and shakes are cedar or Douglas f i r . check your "getaway" path . Such a house should be highly valued not only for its strength of character and dramatic naturalness. is well advised to use the straightest trees a v a i l a b l e .13 machine peeled logs which become so perfectly alike as to seem l i k e a package of drinking straws. rafters. Enqelman Spruce is a white soft wood and not as durable as the others when exposed to weathering conditions. They make excellent rafters. "How should I k n o w / ' he replied indignantly. and you want it to fall where it can be tied onto at the top for skidding o u t . The use of massive and imperfectly shaped logs requires maximum skill on the part of the builder. but also for the craftsmanship which it requires. " I ' m not a bloody prophet! " He must have been surprised when he learned he could indeed have influenced the outcome The term " f a l l e r " . because of their characteristic form. as well as logs. . the most suitable trees for logs. spruce. or colour are more desirable than others. are not worthy of consideration. it leans the same direction you want it to fall . It is d i f f i c u l t to f i n d completely sound wood. in loose order of preference. so unappreciated here. In British Columbia. floor joists. rather than wood-cutter or some such name. But if the tree is leaning too heavily in the wrong d i r e c t i o n . however. first of a l l . is the skill of one who cuts down trees. ridgepoles. After seeing hewn poplar buildings in Saskatchewan still standing true and square after almost a century. . determines the direction of the lean or weight of the tree in respect to the stump. These w i l l be d i f f i c u l t to find in most areas and very expensive to buy since they are always in great demand as power poles. pine. it is not preferred. While suitable for b u i l d i n g . The beginner. I would hesitate to say that even these trees. Hopefully. unspoiled and precisely where it is wanted. d u r a b i l i t y . HOW TO FALL A TREE An early immigrant to this country was asked which way the tree he was chopping was expected to f a i l . Kept d r y . you would be wise to fall it that way even though it w i l l be harder to s k i d . Lodcjepole Pine have excellent form and d u r a b i l i t y and are easy to cut and p e e l . But the Western Red Cedar is very durable and young trees have very good form for log b u i l d i n g . The f a l l e r . Douglas Fir is very strong and durable wood. Balsam is also a very soft wood and is subject to decay if not well protected. The trees often have a distinct sweep. . it is quite serviceable. So if it leans not too heavily in some other d i r e c t i o n . Western Hemlock has good form and is sufficiently durable if kept d r y . SPECIES Almost any species of tree that grows to log size can be made into a b u i l d i n g . does indicate where the skill is centred. But to lay that tree safely on the ground. and is easy to work w i t h . however. N e x t . and balsam. hemlock. since it is very susceptible to decay. . a clear t r a i l to a safe place (nearly always to one side and behind . it may be wedged into the correct lean by driving a magnesium or plastic faller's wedge into the back cut at the right time and p l a c e . generally is very straight. Cutting through a tree seems simple enough.
t h e n d r i v e t h e w e d g e w i t h t h e b a c k o f t h e a x e more f i r m l y i n f o p l a c e . They are e i t h e r miserable to o p e r a t e or t h e y m u t i l a t e t h e log so b a d l y t h a t its a p p e a r a n c e makes me u n c o m f o r t a b l e . a s h o v e l . b e v e r y c a u t i o u s how you t r e a t i t . o r o t h e r w o o d t h a t i t hits may f l y u p . p a r a l l e l t o t h e u n d e r c u t and 1 " t o 2 " h i g h e r o n t h e t r e e . F u r t h e r m o r e . t h e y may t h r o w limbs o r chunks i n your d i r e c t i o n . A n d n e v e r g o o u t a l o n e t o f a l l t i m b e r . Frozen logs a r e n a t u r a l l y more d i f f i c u l t t o p e e l b u t n o t i m p o s s i b l e . m e c h a n i c a l p e e l i n g w o u l d d e p r i v e your friends a n d f a m i l y o f a g r e a t o p p o r t u n i t y t o h e l p . b e i n g h e a v y w i t h sap a t this season.c u t logs peel much more r e a d i l y b u t t h e y are l e f t t o o s l i c k a n d p l a s t i c i n a p p e a r a n c e . w e a r a hard h a t . it is a g o o d i d e a to l e a v e a l i t t l e e x t r a t h i c k n e s s o f h i n g e w o o d o n t h e o f f s i d e . p l a c e t h e u n d e r c u t o n t h e side t o w a r d w h i c h you e x p e c t t h e t r e e t o f a l l . O n c e t h e t r e e begins its f a l l . These limbs are c a l l e d " w i d o w m a k e r s " f o r g o o d r e a s o n . d i f f i c u l t t o c h o p and s h a p e . A s soon a s t h e saw b l a d e i s f u l l y i n t o t h e t r e e . F i n a l l y . The d e p t h o f t h e u n d e r c u t should b e 1/4 t o 1/3 o f t h e d i a m e t e r o f t h e t r e e . A s these tops swing b a c k i n t o p o s i t i o n . c h e c k t h a t t h e cuts are s t r a i g h t a n d t r u e . D o not f a l l trees o n a w i n d y d a y . The b a c k c u t is put in n e x t . l e a v e i t ! D o not waste precious seconds t u g g i n g a t i t . I p r e f e r t h e p e e l i n g spud for most types of w o r k . i t may brush o t h e r t r e e t o p s . i n f a c t . If this is not p o s s i b l e .14 the stump i n respect t o t h e d i r e c t i o n o f f a l l ) w h e r e y o u ' r e out o f t h e w a y o f t h e t r e e b u t t o r a n y debris w h i c h may b e t h r o w n b a c k . w h e n t h e saw w i l l l i k e l y come t o n o harm and i s r e p l a c e a b l e . I f t h e y have b e e n c o m p l e t e l y d r i e d b e f o r e b u i l d i n g b e g i n s . A more serious d i s a d v a n t a g e i s t h a t . This h o l d i n g w o o d tends t o d i r e c t t h e t r e e more a c c u r a t e l y i n t o t h e r i g h t p a t h . a d r a w " k n i f e . t h e y s e t t l e less but are e x t r e m e l y hard a n d . S o i t seems f a r b e t t e r t o put . and w i v e s and c h i l d r e n c a n d o a g r e a t d e a l . t h e y are v e r y s u s c e p t i b l e t o m i l d e w and s t a i n i n g . use t w o w e d g e s . o r a t least p a r t o f a l o g . O n a stubborn t r e e . T o b e g i n c u t t i n g . g e t a n e x p e r i e n c e d f r i e n d t o h e l p . This i n c h i s c a l l e d t h e " h i n g e w o o d " . But o t h e r w i s e . I n h e i g h t . Logs can be p e e l e d w i t h an a x e . you c o u l d say t h e r e ' s n o t h i n g t o i t . b e n d i n g t h e m f o r a d i s t a n c e . t h e u n d e r c u t s h o u l d be 1/3 t h e d e p t h . I h a v e come to t h e c o n c l u s i o n t h a t to s t a c k logs f o r seasoning is to o v e r l o o k t h e i r a b i l i t y t o t a k e a " s e t " a s t h e y d r y . c u t t i n g s h o u l d be d o n e in l a t e f a l l or summer. t a k e t h e saw and make i m m e d i a t e use o f your g e t a w a y p a t h . Y o u c a n o n l y s t r i v e t o r e t a i n some o f the p e r f e c t i o n n a t u r a l l y i n h e r e n t i n a t r e e . Be in t h e c l e a r w h e n you make a release c u t o r . t a k e a set a c c o r d i n g t o how t h e y a r e s t a c k e d . t h e r e f o r e . W a t c h t h e t r e e t o t h e g r o u n d f o r . A l s o . or a p e e l i n g s p u d . t h e y w i l l have a d i f f e r e n t and i t h i n k more i n t e r e s t i n g a p p e a r a n c e . W a t c h and a n t i c i p a t e these p o s s i b i l i t i e s s o t h a t you may step c l e a r . a w e d g e may be p l a c e d in t h e cut to h o l d it o p e n in case t h e r e has b e e n a n y s l i g h t m i s c a l c u l a t i o n a s t o w h i c h w a y t h e t r e e was l e a n i n g . It is t r u e t h a t s p r i n g . Spring c u t t i n g is t h e least p r e f e r a b l e . a s t h e t r e e hits t h e g r o u n d t h e b u t t may r e c o i l i n t o t h e a i r . A h e a v i l y b o u n d t r e e c a n possess tremendous p o w e r . M a n y p e o p l e ask if logs should be seasoned b e f o r e t h e y are u s e d . DIAMETER of thus l i f t i n g t h e t r e e i n t o t h e desired d i r e c t i o n . I f t h e saw sticks i n t h e c u t . PEELING A N D STORAGE O F L O G S Logs are best c u t in w i n t e r w h e n t h e sap is d o w n in t h e t r e e . They w i l l . C o n t i n u e t h e b a c k c u t t o w i t h i n 1 " o f the u n d e r c u t o n m o d e r a t e l y s i z e d t r e e s . i t ' s easy a s f a l l i n g o f f a l o g . f o r this r e a s o n . A n y o n e c a n p e e l a l o g . Logs may be s k i d d e d r e a d i l y on t h e snow w i t h less danger of m e c h a n i c a l d a m a g e . I w o u l d not u s e . I f t h e t r e e i s TREE l e a n i n g to one s i d e of t h e chosen d i r e c t i o n w h e r e t h e u n d e r c u t has been p l a c e d . N e v e r l e a v e p a r t l y c u t trees s t a n d i n g . HOLDING WOOD The t r e e s h o u l d b e g i n t o f a l l i n t h e d i r e c t i o n o f t h e u n d e r c u t . Logs c u t i n w i n t e r may b e p e e l e d a n y t i m e t h e r e a f t e r . t h e r e are m e c h a n i c a l peelers on t h e m a r k e t . Then use t h e spud a t a n a n g l e t o t h e t r e e and w i t h e i t h e r t h e f l a t o r b e v e l l e d side o f t h e b l a d e u p . First c u t t h e knots o f f close t o t h e tree t r u n k . The ones I h a v e s e e n . I f i t does n o t . D o not t r y for t o o p e r f e c t a j o b o f p e e l i n g . A n d i f t h e t r e e comes t o rest w o v e n b e t w e e n o t h e r s . M a k e this c u t as close to the g r o u n d as p o s s i b l e . a n y w a y . I f m i g h t also d e p r i v e you o f t h e c h a n c e t o w o r k s l o w l y and q u i e t l y o f a n e v e n i n g g e t t i n g t o k n o w your l o g s . WHEN TO CUT. a s i t f a l l s . I f t h e logs a r e not p e e l e d u n t i l t h e y are g o i n g t o b e p l a c e d o n t h e b u i l d i n g . and almost impossible to p e e l . w h i c h e v e r is e a s i e r . if it appears t o o d a n g e r o u s . Peeling is hard w o r k a n d .
in the days of the Barr Colonists of which he was one. As most of the drying takes place in the first year a tree is c u t . they w i l l take on the permanent set that the builder is working f o r . the logs might be allowed to dry as walls without windows e t c . 1 choose this one because I know from experience that the farther you are removed from any hope of assistance. anyway. most of the settling w i l l occur in the first few months that green logs are up on the b u i l d i n g . . the point that safety is the responsibility of each i n d i v i d u a l . The only other consideration is c h e c k i n g ."Don't stand in the b i g h t ! " This old logger's axiom means to never stand w i t h i n the bend of a line under tension. yet only t w i c e came close to serious i n j u r y . always take a slow practice swing w i t h your axe to ensure that there is no obstruction to the backswing and that a glancing blow w i l l endanger no o n e .Before starting to chop. And there are a few hazards peculiar to working with logs. . using green logs. A l l o w nobody to work or watch from below y o u . . should be grooved and set on the b u i l d i n g . logs may be washed w i t h brine and protected from direct sunlight to avoid severe c h e c k i n g . the fewer accidents occur. then they should be decked in tiers on two or more skids depending on the lengths. settling w i l l be no problem if adequate header space has been allowed above all doors.Roll a log always toward the center of the building to work on i t . When your axe is not in use. perhaps because the foundation cannot be put in until spring. A log near the edge could f a l l and take you w i t h i t . cutting his boot and two pairs of sox but not his s k i n . in particular. I think this is because you place the concern more squarely on your own shoulders. make sure it is driven f i r m l y into a position where it cannot f a l l . drove a broad~axe between his great toe and second t o e . you are on the outside and clear to move to safety. The method of building w i t h a groove in the bottom of each log w i l l localize checking to a large extent and this is perhaps another reason why logs. If it is not possible to store the logs in the form of w a l l s . Here are some guidelines: . drive it into the wall one log down with the blade flush to the wall so you cannot possibly bump into it or step on i t . . He took the rest of the day off. My wife and 1 spent six years w i t h two small children in the Owen Lake area. But waiting is not at all necessary. If logs are piled more than one tier high. I do not consider these small splits to be a problem and certainly not a disfigurement. If desired. We were 78 miles from the nearest doctor and 26 miles from a telephone.15 the green logs up on the building where. Skids are simply small logs laid on the ground or between layers. Even if the work goes straight ahead from start to f i n i s h . Hard'toed caulk boots would be the ones recommended by my father who. however.Wear shoes that afford a good grip on the logs. if the rope comes loose or the skid slips. . windows. while still green. SAFETY Much has been written about safety in general terms and I agree w i t h most of it . anticipating more f u l l y the consequences of your movements. Perhaps if a summer's spare time work got only the walls up and the roof o n .Place sharp-edged tools w e l l out of your w a y . Personally. . accidents can be avoided — particularly if you understand the hazards. Thus. as they dry and settle. Any failure in equipment when you are in this position places you in grave danger. . the skids should be positioned directly over the ones below so that the weight of the upper logs w i l l not bend the lower ones. so much the better if the building has to wait a few months before work goes forward a g a i n . The reason for this low incidence was. . If you plan to keep tools such as the peevee and auger up on the top l o g . Ideally. the added care used when it is not possible to c a l l for h e l p .Stand outside the skids to adjust the angle of the log being raised. This w a y . I b e l i e v e . and partitions.
heat. The Gobar (gobar meaning "cow dung" in the Hindi language) Gas Research Station has meticulously documented and recorded their experiments over the past 12 years and this information is available in two booklets (The Bio Gas Plant and Some Experiments with Bio Gas). Though some plans and locations favour the use of a basement. issuing no further pollution of surrounding waterways or soil either through sewage systems or septic tanks. O r .00 the instructions and drawings. 7 D n . And take time to build a well "constructed outhouse well back from the water supply so that it may be of permanent use. and unless they have good stairs and ample head room. the barbaric cubbyholes known today as bathrooms w i l l be banished from the house entirely and human waste. and perhaps because of poorly drained sites. I wonder i f . ) beyond the chosen corner. ( 5 x 5 f t . warmth is no problem. or a large rock at each corner is an adequate foundation. poor root cellars. But frost affects foundation walls only if they are poorly drained and the need for deep footings has been greatly exaggerated. England also need the resulting compost for its vital organic nutrients in agriculture. in a future and more enlightened age. the set costing $5. the front line may be marked 20 f t . w i l l be put to work producing methane gas. ) . (3x5 f t ) beyond where it crosses the corner location and adjusted until the hypotenuse measurement between them measures 25 f t . drain rock compacted around drain t i l e is sufficient f o o t i n g . Etawah ( U . it was felt that the footings had to be dug down fairly deep and that only a l i t t l e extra depth would supply much added space in the form of a f u l l basement. (4x5 f t . On a well drained or sloping s i t e . Blackawton India. A v o i d .PREPARING THE B U I L D I N G SITE 16 The location of the building should be clearly in mind before any clearing is done. G e n e r a l l y . along w i t h leaves and vegetable peelings and so o n . u g l y . the destructive bulldozer and prepare by hand only that area w i t h i n the foundation l i n e .00 from: Gobar Gas Research Station A j i t m a l . a nation having twice as many cows as people. to be good. A safe campfire area is important to prevent sparks from f l y i n g a n y where near the tinder dry chips created by the logwork. a concrete pier. The fourth batter boards may now be located by measurement and the squareness of the building checked by confirming that the diagonal measurements are w i t h i n 1/4" of being e q u a l . Certainly a cedar p i l i n g . . but they TQ 9 . Other foundation lines may now be located easily by measurement. the side line marked at 15 f t . it is good to provide a comfortable campsite. Thus. I agree w i t h Frank Lloyd Wright who considered basements to be expensive storage. one corner or one wall is chosen as a starting point for the building's position. Those which were supported by a rock at each corner might have fared better had they not been banked up with earth and suffered in consequence. Devon exploration of methane gas p o t e n t i a l . basements came to be considered an essential part of housebuilding. can be obtained from:Harold Bate Pennyrowden. P . Erect batter boards around three corners and at least 4 feet beyond the outside of the foundation l i n e . Perhaps some of the i n i t i a l experiments with rockwork and concrete could take place at this cooking area. for this humble establishment can greatly assist in reducing river and lake p o l l u t i o n . a good and complete foundation is important. which is similar to propane. even if the house is open under the floor. and concrete or masonry walls may be built d i r e c t l y upon this. plus a carburetor conversion device for switching a car onto methane f u e l . if at all possible. The corner can be squared by using a triangle measuring in the proportion of 3 and 4 on the sides and 5 on the hypotenuse. That is. a hazard to l i f e and l i m b . In preparing to b u i l d . can provide l i g h t . . If a basement must be d u g . need not be expensive or complicated. and the power to run cars. It is possible for a household to meet its own power needs in this way. almost by default. A foundation. But in the case of a family home or any log building where its maximum lifespan is to be r e a l i z e d . despite its s i m p l i c i t y . is currently pioneering the active Totnes. for $27. A plank table and benches are well worth the effort for the refreshment and relaxation they provide when the work gets heavy. The Department of Agriculture has a certain amount of information on methods of producing methane gas. so long as earth and moisture are kept from touching the logs. Methane. let it be done with the least possible disturbance. as long as the floor is properly insulated. Not only does India need the fuel and power. In bygone days when hot air gravity furnaces were used. ) India FOUNDATIONS Many early log buildings have fallen into disrepair largely because they were built without foundations.
17 LOCATING BUILDING LINES .
This may have a slab floor as illustrated in Fig. then add the least possible amount of clean water to obtain a workable m i x . The material w i l l have settled in strata with the light organic material on t o p . shown at r i g h t . This is easily checked by half f i l l i n g a glass jar with the sand or gravel to be used. If it is not practical to obtain the use of a portable cement mixer. Let it stand overnight after adding water and shaking thoroughly. Both sand and gravel must be c l e a n . Some builders have tried to put a I" layer of concrete on the top of the foundation and sink the top log into i t . but one of the other styles might oe preferred. 2. M i x the dry material f i r s t . A generous overhang w i l l keep moisture away from the sloped w a l l . In the foundation of the Silloep Hill ranch house. or use a line l e v e l . it is just as well to use concrete between the rocks. It is perhaps better to grout concrete around the log after the building has gained a few rounds in height. or a footing as in Figs. The next logs should now be placed at right angles to these first ones. This is a platform about 6 f t . striving for an appearance of rough. with the butts again a l l one way as illustrated. I used local rock. to keep the building close to the ground. This is hard work and mixes should be small if used for rockwork as this material sets up q u i c k l y . This w i l l generally place them on the long side of the b u i l d i n g . you can cut out the notches for the floor joists if they are to be of logs also. f i l l i n g in between the stones and the foundation form w i t h concrete as the wall goes u p . A flat foundation is suggested for dry locations. The inexperienced mason need not fear laying a rock faced wall if he places the inside half of the foundation form up first and fits stone on the outside o n l y . FIRST LOGS A N D FLOOR JOISTS Concrete is considered to have obtained f u l l strength in 28 days but it is not necessary to wait more than 5 days before placing the first logs. Level points may be obtained by using a transparent garden hose f i l l e d w i t h water and plugged at each end so that a few inches of air space remains. . get your sand and gravel from a supplier. 1.l i n e is run level the length of the side logs so as to locate the bottom bearing for the joists. A prepared mixture called masonry cement is available to use with sand and water to make a mortar suitable for stonework. However. A few shovels of coarse and fine aggregate are placed in the centre of the platform and cement added. square. a c h a l k . If the foundation is not b u i l t up at the ends. This is very hard to d o . the job of mixing the cement can be done w i t h a sweat board. Individual notches may be cut at 2 f t . this space can be grouted in when the side logs are done. if the wall is to be f i l l e d behind the rock with concrete. 5 on the opposite page. But if you are in doubt about the q u a l i t y of the material otherwise a v a i l a b l e . Ready mix cement w i l l not be possible for the small amounts you w i l l work with at any one t i m e . Now begins the iob of notching the corners of the logs soundly together. artless solidness so that the finished foundation would be scarcely n o t i c e d . The butts should all face one way and the underside of each log is well f l a t t e n e d . The first logs placed on the foundation w i l l be on the side wall at right angles to the direction which the floor joists are to r u n . If the top layer of mud or organic material is more than 1/8" t h i c k the sand or gravel must be washed. A ratio of 5 to 1 is generally adequate unless the aggregate is very f i n e .18 Low rockwork foundations are most complementary to log buildings. End walls may have 4 or 5" extra height added to them to meet the bottom of the end logs which w i l l be higher than the side logs. In this case. When the first round is in p l a c e . or a f u l l length "step" may be cut with a power saw to give a bearing surface about 2 or 3" w i d e . centers as illustrated. or 3. The notch shown in the illustration is a round n o t c h .
It s best to run another log down the center for them to rest on. some builders block up each joist with a rock or concrete block and wedge. After they have been hewn to obtain a f l a t surface of at least 2" in width for the rough f l o o r i n g .l i n e stretched between t h e m . N e x t . a l l the rest can be aligned to a c h a l k . the joists may be cut to exact length. the floor may spring s l i g h t l y . Bridging could be put in but is d i f f i c u l t . and which can be supported in several places. Run a length of mesh or chicken wire over the joists and "pocket" it down between the joists to support the insulation and protect it from damage. Below: the dining room end of the large Silloep Hill ranch house k i t c h e n . The first two rounds are in place and notches cut to receive the floor joists. When there is no basement. Plastic may also be used in this w a y . Log floor joists w i l l be moderate sized logs of about 6 or 8" diameter. By placing the joists at opposite ends of the run first. . Floor insulation is highly recommended. If the span of the floor joists is greater than 10 f t . Any unevenness of the bottoms can be taken care of with wedges.20 The picture at right shows the start of a log building that was prebuilt for reassembly at a different l o c a t i o n . flatten the under surface for a few inches back from the end to make the joist height equal for all joists. . with hewn log floor joists in p l a c e .
and let it snap smartly back into p l a c e . a c t u a l l y .. probably on a short log under each end and dog it to the short l o g . To make a chalk l i n e . as illustrated on the opposite page. or roof beam. simply l i f t it up — straight up — at about midpoint. ceiling joist. The chalk line w i l l be needed. drive a small nail into the end of the log at the point where the hewing line is to originate ( a ) . it w i l l be necessary to acquire a broad a x e . Snap a chalk line where the cut is to be made. if the timber is very l a r g e . This. sledge to drive them and. first. But because these are so d i f f i c u l t to o b t a i n . It w i l l i n f l i c t a perfect line of powdered chalk where it strikes. This is a single bitted axe which w i l l weigh 5 to 7 lbs. A scoring axe is also used in hewing.22 HEWING In order to hew a log to serve as a floor joist. . I include here the dimensions so that a blacksmith can make one u p . t o o . No other axe w i l l make the straight faced cut and smooth surface as well or as fast as the broad axe does. and should have a 3 6 " offset h e l v e . with an 8 l b . This should give a readily visible line to hew. e a r l i e r . As mentioned under the heading of Tools. Loop one end of the chalk line around the nail ( a ) . and t i e it securely at the other end of the log to the nail ( b ) . Now stretch the line t i g h t l y to a second nail in a corresponding position (b) at the other end of the l o g . is "hewing the l i n e " . the broadaxe should be about 10 or 12 lbs. letting the container hang freely. One or two log dogs w i l l be handy. Place the log in the desired position. With the chalk line now stretched in line w i t h the hewing surface. splitting wedges w i l l be useful.
s k i l l . and an admiration for the oldtime axemen is q u i c k l y learned. An indication of their skill and strength was that the log bunk house for this t i e camp at Priestley was erected in one day by the 30 or 40 men waiting to get to w o r k . They say he appeared to work very s l o w l y . by chopping vertical cuts about 6 to 8" apart along the side of the log to the depth of the chalk line for the f u l l length of the l o g . and slice off the slab according to the chalked l i n e . right. use strong strokes that are nearly straight down. they wanted to start w o r k . R . The day after that. the t i e hackers seemed to make a l i v i n g . Ties were 8 feet long and 10" on the face and. as indicated below. cuts may be made to the chalked line every 3 or 4 feet and the excess wood split off w i t h wedges before finishing with the broad a x e . Others packed moss." the camp boss told me. and strength. 50 railroad ties a day was the winter's average cut by one of the best tie hackers working near Burns Lake when the C . or made bunks e " N e x t day they built the cookhouse. when I mention t i e hackers. "They had t o . it took a 3 or 4 foot slab off the l o g . Two fallers in the woods nearby skidded out the spruce logs with a team of horses to two men on the site who cut the horns off and sent the logs up to the 6 or 8 men on the b u i l d i n g . " It saddens me that these men are so forgotten that sometimes. score cut it as shown above. Stepping back along the log as work progresses. lost in puzzlement. line was being b u i l t . But each time his broad axe dropped. prepared the scoop roofing. Hewing requires a good e y e . .While standing on the l o g . Now the broad axe is used. N . I see someone examining my n e c k t i e . at 17$ apiece. If the timber is very b i g .
Place the log accurately over the position it is expected f i n a l l y to occupy and mark the position on the end log where it is resting. Scribe both the inside and the outside of the l o g . the edge of the notch is cut f i r s t . if rests about 1" above and parallel to the log on which it is to f i t . The log w i l l " b e l l y down" because it is supported only at each e n d . at right angles and higher. 5) that extends past the w a l l . I prefer this one for its simplicity and strength. The cutting points are kept v e r t i c a l . when the log is turned d o w n . it must be done accurately and leaving just the scribers' line showing. Use the divider ends for marking around the . its a b i l i t y to shed water. First. Mark the log carefully its f u l l l e n g t h both inside and out including the notch and corners. A perfect. Scribers are also used for finishing work along floors. the log w i l l f i t the log below it very t i g h t l y . cut a rough notch in such a manner t h a t . when the notched log is turned over into its final position. Now cut the V~shaped groove the length of the log adhering always to the scribed lines. These logs w i l l rest on the end walls which are. If this work is well done. but to obtain the exceptional f i t that is possible. much more important. partitions. The depth of the notch w i l l be equal to the distance between the log to be notched and the log below it when the notch is up (Step 1 on the opposite page of illustrations). F i g . Now bring out the scribers. takes these measurements with utmost attention to d e t a i l . Work only to a width of about 3 / 4 " (see Step 4) on both sides of the n o t c h . Suitable logs (generally the largest at th< bottom) can now be rolled up onto the side walls of the building with the butt ends the opposite way to those of the first logs. windows and doors. 5) and on to the end of the log ( b . The scribed line is carried up over the notch in the case of a round notch ( a . It w i l l be apparent. the b e l l y or bow w i l l be up and this slight hump w i l l be forced down and straightened by the log's own w e i g h t . trace it carefully with a fairly sharp p e n c i l . This f u l l length groove can be cut w i t h either a power saw or an a x e . of course. we w i l l be transferring the pattern of the log below to the surface of the log above. that the width of the notches w i l l be the width of the log on which it is to rest. It is best to work on the log m that position for two reasons: it would require blocking o dogging to make it stay in any other position while chopping the notches and. directly above one another and the handle is held in as perfect a horizontal position as you can manage. The scriber points are set to the widest space showing between two logs. and for the fact that the finished log still looks l i k e a natural l o g . .WALLS The real work of building may now go forward . In log work. When the log is turned back u p . that is. and here we w i l l expect to use a round n o t c h . now. . ensuring that the log w i l l bear its weight upon the edges. MORE ABOUT USING SCRIBERS The purpose of a pair of log scribers is to transfer a predetermined measure" ment d i r e c t l y from one surface to an adjacent surface w i t h a high degree of f a i t h fulness. a saw cut no deeper than absolutely necessary may be made from the top (at about the midpoint of the hump) to let the log down l e v e l . Even the slightest sweep in a tree w i l l make it swing downward. weatherproof f i t is well w i t h i n the a b i l i t y of any axeman w h o . If the scribers' cut is not sufficiently d e a r to see. Next cut the centre wood out to a depth which w i l l give the finished notch a concave shape. If the bow is too pronounced for the log to be expected to straighten. first of a l l . F i g .
therefore. Structurally this is bad even if the top log ends up d i r e c t l y over the first l o g . This is a wall that creeps outward as the building goes u p . you w i l l have a greater choice of style in finishing them. The style you choose w i l l be one of the marks of distinction by which your work w i l l seem a work of a r t . are well worth your thoughtful sketching and inventiveness. then creeps back in when the correction is attempted. For instance. These may be alternately vertical and horizontal (as in photo at left) and may also be staggered in l e n g t h . A better method is to erect a straight pole or a 2x4 as a sight (see photo below and F i g . Great variety is possible here and much can be done to obtain an atmosphere of i n d i v i d u a l i t y and charm. I prefer a more rustic appearance obtained by tapering the logs to a chisel point. or whether to line up the centres of the logs. to achieve properly aligned w a l l s . Apart from appearance. 8 or 10 inches from the w a l l . . sometimes only 1/2" w i l l do the j o b . It is better to be ruthless and make the required correction as soon as the deviation is n o t e d . and others to be discussed later. if a log has a slight sweep to the outside. to give a buttress e f f e c t . A workable method is necessary. They can be kept longer at the eves or at the foundation. . a convenient distance from the building . If the log to be aligned is rough notched and in place near its final position. This gives reasonable results if the material is uniform in s i z e . so as to prevent any log from springing or settling out of p l a c e . it is important that the weight should bear as nearly straight down as possible. It should be possible to judge this log in relation to the real centre line and in respect to the general developmer of the w a l l . it w i l l be possible to sight the centre line of the log from a position beyond the end of the wall and slightly above i t . nor are they always entirely straight. F I N I S H I N G THE L O G ENDS If the log ends are permitted to run well beyond the corners. or b o t h . placing the centre of the top log directly over the centre of the butt d i r e c t l y below i t . It w i l l look better in the long run and w i l l be more stable. lining up the centres assures that the weight is better balanced and gives a natural appearance on both sides of the walls. giving much satisfaction. Many people cut them straight o f f . But logs are not uniform in size or shape. This is neat and the ends are more easily painted if this is desired. Or log ends may be sharpened to a pencil point with the a x e . I think that One method of aligning a wall on the centres is to use a plumb or carpenter's level on every second log at the butt end. This sighting pole may be placed at one end of each w a l l . 1 on opposite page). . Decide first whether you wish to line up the inside or the outside of the walls. perhaps 20 feet away to be out of the main a c t i v i t y .L I N I N G UP THE WALLS A good looking building must have walls that are straight and plumb. A bulged wall is probably one of the most common errors in misalignment. much can be done to even out the general appearance by moving its two ends slightly inward. Log ends are generally finished as each log is placed so that the scooped portion of the log can be scribed to f i t the contour of the log b e l o w . These finishing touches.
CHINKING Sometimes log buildings are put up w i t h the intention of driving the chinking material into the seams between the logs w i t h a caulking tool after the building has been completed. One wall at a time is done. Indian mothers of yore used it for diapering their babies.d r y i n g . taking special care that the moss is very evenly spread — too much moss. Use only sphagnum moss. The logs are not too cleanly peeled in order to avoid a " s l i c k " appearance. this is the material specially prepared for the j o b . The best method is to chink while b u i l d i n g . and it is pleasant to handle. to drive two large wooden wedges between the first and second round of logs as shown in this photograph. Its feathery l i g & t q u a l i t y makes it highly absorbent yet q u i c k . But i f . it is pleasing to the e y e . I used a power saw. fiberglass. Many materials have been tried for this job: lime-cement mortar. mechanical abuse or appetites of mice. When the next f u l l round of logs is on the b u i l d i n g . One cannot deny its inexpensive nature or its a v a i l a b i l i t y . coming in bales of 25 or 50 lbs. if wisps of it show here and there in a w a l l . it not only creates a g r e a t deal of extra work but detracts from the finished appearance of the logwork. The space between the logs has been f i l l e d with moss right over the round n o t c h . The variety I use ( o f the 375 known) grows in the shade of spruce or pine stands where the snow melts last in In the above photograph. and to be capable of retaining its position for many years. very durable and. . ( L i f t i n g only one round might be slightly easier but there is danger of slipping without this additional w e i g h t . newspaper soaked in water. you have no alternative but to hammer in c h i n k i n g . cow dung. Or if the chinking material is held in place by split wood strips or slim poles nailed horizontally into the c r a c k . for some reason. ) This method gives a completely s o l i d . when the first three rounds of logs are u p . and so o n . It is loosely twisted coarse hemp fiber l i g h t l y tarred. Continuing experimentation may result in the discovery of an ideal m a t e r i a l . I again drive the wedges to l i f t the upper two logs and moss the second seam. sunlight. I pack this space loosely with moss. But chinking applied this way w i l l probably fall out and have to be repaired each year. It is relatively expensive. one of the large wooden wedges can be seen l i f t i n g two rounds of logs and the first round of mossing is under w a y . To be better than moss or oakum. the top of the foundation wall is level and the side wall log was cut in half. it w i l l have to be unaffected by temperature changes. perhaps because it is part of the same forest environment from which my trees and rocks have also been gathered. It was used by pioneers as a quick dressing for wounds. strips of m e t a l . l i g h t . alum and salt? a sawdust and flour mortar. the moss w i l l be almost entirely hidden from view once the finished walls are clipped and trimmed. shrinkage of wood. Moss is the material I find most suitable. binding it ever more f i r m l y into the walls as the building settles. permanent placement to the chinking material. In this v i e w . prevents the upper log from coming back down into its p r e . Oakum is a good material used for caulking the seams of ships. however.f i t f e d seat. or moss in lumps. Because of the log's upper groove. The way I do it is.
find a newborn family of mice in a batt of fibreglass which had been left at the building project by a student wishing t a c t f u l l y to introduce me to this material. As y e t . extremely clean young m i c e . had the satisfaction of observing eight mice emerge from the pink fibreglass in an excellent state of h e a l t h . I had never been aware of any cause to question my wife's attitude toward sanitation and considering my uninterrupted good health for the past twenty years of marriage. . Up to that point. for any reason. but I f i n d the wetness desirable as it causes the moss to form itself more perfectly to the contours of the logs. Moss can be gathered far in advance and stored in sacks almost indefinitely Fresh moss is handled more easily than dried out moss which becomes b r i t t l e . So the whole family can be pleasantly busy for most of a day stuffing moss into sacks. They w e r e . To have been used as a bandage for wounds. The top layer w i l l be pale green but underneath it turns to brown. If weather permits. I d i d . I have found no example of a moss mouse nursery by which to make a comparison. I feel that the implication is not v a l i d . an expedition should be planned for collecting the moss for not only is this a good place for a picnic w i t h blueberries nearby at the right time of year but also a great deal of moss is required for even a small b u i l d i n g . Students in my log building classes have expressed more skepticism toward the use of moss than toward any other aspect of log building including my positive dislike of mechanically peeled logs and indoor t o i l e t s . It dries again q u i c k l y once it is stuffed into the walls. however. in due course. A l l of it can be used as it w i l l most l i k e l y peel clean from the ground. Good moss forms a blanket about 4 to 6" deep with only a few wood l i l i e s or lady slippers growing through. I admit. "But doesn't it attract mice and bugs' they persist. moss has to be unusually c l e a n . I was able to protect these rodents from accident or unjury and. the moss does become dry before it is used. By placing some heavy logsaround the fibreglass. but I have never seen t h e m .spring. watering it restores its former f l e x i b i l i t y immediately. Perhaps so. One expert builder confided in me that his wife would never permit him to use moss in her home as she was a very clean woman. Plastic bags t i e d at the top w i l l retain the moisture but i f .
that fibreglass or mineral wool are not good materials. The saddle notch is favoured because it is strong and sheds water e f f e c t i v e l y . given moisture. But I do believe that all manufactured materials should be avoided when a free and equally good fibre is a v a i l a b l e . Indeed. so I note here that 1 have also seen moss used as successful floor insulation. This surprised even me. v r " i v > t tree I U J ivYVK I I • produces these q u a l i t i e s . By simply changing the angle of the cuts slightly so that they slope inward. This notch can be used with round logs drawn down and grooved to give a tight f i t for their f u l l l e n g t h . particularly if the log is to be hewn f l a t . however. This is not to suggest. But it is a rapid way to b u i l d . however. Second. It is unstable and does not allow the logs to settle firmly together. destroyu much of the effectiveness of the j o i n t . Another surprise was to note the state of preservation in the wood surrounding the moss chinking. is that it would be very d i f f i c u l t to groove the logs for the tight f i t which is so important. the extra time required to recut the corner might just as well be spent making a dovetail corner which would be stronger and more securely l o c k e d . OTHER NOTCHES Many types of corners have been developed and t r i e d . could l i v e in almost any forest substance. w i t h a good vapour barrier on the inside of the b u i l d i n g . Several of the more common types are illustrated on the opposite page. I can't say I actually understand t h i s . my opinion of the value of moss has simply increased. the logs must be straight grained and not given to compression wood because if thei N ^ C i has ugrownV onv nanw^\p-* *-*. a naturally locked joint is formed. The log ends may be left long in order to give a more casual appearance. It is formed by spiking logs to boxed upright planks at the corners. well suited to hewn timbers. A locked joint or "egg crate" joint is easily made and gives a good appearance. the hewn face w i l l run out to round and a less pleasing appearance w?H result. in spite of the obvious soakings and resulting r o t . and the fact that it is f r e e . Therefore. First. Because the logs cannot s e t t l e . this opinion is well j u s t i f i e d . sometimes it has proven impossible to lower a log to meet the one below because the top end was too s m a l l . there are pitfalls to consider before taking the final decision to use a dovetail corner. for I understood that insects. If the timber is given to excessive taper.J have become so curious about this widespread skepticism toward moss that I have made a point of examining old and roofless log buildings and. The saddle notch must be carefully fitted to avoid an amateurish appearance. this style is not suitable for anyone wishing 'to draw and groove the logs to a tight f i t . The Hudson's Bay corner is sometimes used but is not illustrated here. any more than I understand why fiddlehead fern and mushrooms go to waste in the woods while people buy them all faded and frozen and at high cost from a store. It is strong and stable. it was firmer than the wood in the rest of the l o g . This. . MORE ABOUT DOVETAIL CORNERS These are considered by many to be the ultimate in log building construction a n d . The dovetail corner seems to be a natural outgrowth of a lapped corner. I can only guess that skepticism is actually a lack of confidence due to the unfamiliarity of moss as a building material. the log may twist in its carefully and laboriously fitted position. it is necessary to have very high q u a l i t y timber to make a good job of this corner. In other words. Lapped corners are easily and q u i c k l y done and may even be done with a saw or power saw so that these are generally used where speed is important. t o o . not ing to mention the appearance of the work. 1 have round no sign of insect association w i t h the moss. While the drawn f i t could be accomplished. This leaves a gap in the wall which must be f i l l e d e f f e c t i v e l y if a warm building is to be hoped f o r . I use it as insulation in floor and roof. from certain points of v i e w ./%•*« * Jsite whichi exposed • i *_. either out of tradition or to f i l l a particular need. A drawback to this s t y l e .
Fig. it is perhaps better to do this work on the building. These logs may be cut slightly longer than the wall and flattened at the ends to wall width while still on the ground if there is some mechanical means of raising them onto the b u i l d i n g . Now the log is turned so that the flatted ends rest on the blocks in a horizontal position. F i g . If the layout has been done with accuracy. When the ends have been flattened. that is. 4 ) . make the vertical cut ( d . select a wall thickness which can be accomplished by all the logs ( F i g . If the log is not sufficiently large or if a power saw is not used. some extra length should be left on the log). D2. 4) and secure it in place with a log d o g . in order to produce a suitable face w i d t h " a " . use the f u l l l o g . A) that are to be included in the w a l l s . For a 6" w a l l . the smallest top diameter should be about 9 " . which is 1/4 of the log diameter down from the t o p of the log ( B . 2 ) . flatten this surface. When a l l four corners of the building have been treated in this manner and the first two logs are on the building w i t h the butt ends the same way. Fig. Suitable measurements usually range from 6" to 8" but thicker walls may well be considered. the two butt ends meeting the two top ends on the one side. slope a line downward at about 5° from level and toward the centre of the log to intersect the vertical line marking the width of the wall (C to C l . much judgment is required to produce a satisfying job and this may be one of the main reasons why an expert axeman may choose this s t y l e . a few experimental corners. The hewn face must be t r u l y v e r t i c a l . then of course this is not necessary. N e x t . Slight irregularities can be corrected by slipping the t i p of a hand saw into the joint and working off any excess w o o d . F i g . the log may be turned oyer and the cut made. d i r e c t l y above the corner. . The bottom of this cut w i l l slope up 5° from point Cl (lines may be extended to the end of the log to assist in obtaining an accurate cut and. and the ends hewn for a distance of about 12" to 18" to the wall thickness selected ( A . then the log may be flattened down w i t h a broad a x e . I would recommend the construction of a small building f i r s t . 1) and the log split in half w i t h a power saw. F i g . Smaller logs have certainly been used but the skill required to place them becomes increasingly demanding. the following is intended as a g u i d e . It is strong. and two butts coming down on two tops on the other side). however. D3. one half to be used on each end of the b u i l d i n g . Dl to D2 and D3 to D4). With a sharp handsaw. Carefully transfer this measurement to the positions D l . the corner w i l l show an excellent f i t . From this point. But there is a great deal to recommend the dovetail corner. If the walls are to rest on corner blocks o n l y . in any case. 2 ) . When this has been done on each end of the l o g . To b e g i n . by way of practice and experience. Place a log on the foundation wall at each end of the b u i l d i n g . F i g . stable. turn the log b e l l y up and in the exact position relative to the final position it is to occupy ( F i g . the side logs are ready to be placed with both their butt ends pointed in the same direction (the second f u l l round w i l l have the butts at opposite ends. So for those who prefer this style of construction. 2 ) . determine the distance the log is to be lowered (at each end) to meet the foundation ( D . The finished surface should slant 5° from the horizontal both toward the centre of the log and toward the outside edge ( F i g . locate a point on the outside face of the l o g . If this style is to be attempted for the first t i m e . a centre line may be marked on the log ( " b " . O r . 3 ) . Certainly. assuming that the timber is large. and D4 (on the inside corner) and join these points w i t h a pencil line on the hewn face of the log (for example. This measurement w i l l be about 2 / 3 to 3 / 4 of the diameter of the smallest log at the small end. Then place a mark equal to the wall thickness back toward the centre from each end mark ( C I . creates a tight and weatherproof f i t . It sheds water well and. By means of a pair of dividers. 1). Lastly. By means of a chalk l i n e . Care must be taken that the ends are made straight and t r u e . If the logs are to be rolled up onto the walls. F i g . 2). The log to be shaped should be blocked up at each end so that it w i l l b e l l y down. F i g . 1.Third. 1. and w i l l stand square and true longer than most. it is a challenge to the skill and judgment of even a practised builder. at the very least.
F i g .36 When the log is resting in p l a c e . a clerk's house was added to the Fort St. Shown here is the main trading post of the Hudson s Bay Company at Fort St. The original trading post at Fort St. 4 ) .p i e c e . 1/2 to 3 / 4 " extra width should be set on the dividers at D ( F i g . C post. constructed in the French method of p i e c e . To obtain uniformity in t h i s . Draw a plumb line ( " g " . A chalk line may be snapped onto the top of the log between the flattened ends ( F . later the main Hudson's Bay post in B. now is the time to do i t . Fort St. Many solid and beautiful examples of hewn log buildings still exist in British Columbia. James. built in 1806 by the North West C o . 4) on the outside of the log and measure back the wall width ( G l ) . absorbed the Nor'Westers. a template. Mark off about 1/2 the log diameter on this outside corner ( G ) then mark off the sloped l i n e . B . Of historical interest is the fact that the original trading post and meat cache were built under the North West C o . The meat cache at H . Now set the scribers to the width of the template and scribe the length of the l o g . If a closer f i t through the length of the log is desired. of which Alexander Mackenzie and Simon Fraser were partners. particularly when the saw is in inexpert hands. on Stuart Lake.. 4 ) . Fig. When all four corners have been prepared. some of which are 150 years o l d . James. This photo taken in 1971. either inside or out or b o t h . I include here a glimpse of a roof at Batoche. the top cuts may be made ( E . James establishment and this building (dovetail corner pictured on page 37) was b u i l t by a Scot using quite a different s t y l e . fur traders from M o n t r e a l . C. the second round of logs can be started. The meat cache is done in the same s t y l e . w i l l be useful. Sask. The single plane wall surface obtained this way is suited to a bgilding constructed of large logs. If the builder wishes to hew the logs flat for their full length. the only other example I have seen of this way of finishing the eves. Saskatchewan. The log may now be "scooped" to this line to obtain the tight f i t that keeps a building warm. Some people advocate running a power saw back and forth between the logs to accomplish this f i t but I f i n d this a crude and inaccurate method. of Montreal. A l l three of the remaining structures are in remarkably good repair considering the lack of concern shown by governments toward what was once the chief fur trading post in New Caledonia and the onetime residence of James Douglas who was later to become British Columbia's first Governor. . At Batoche. a template of this thickness w i l l be placed under each end — the same at each e n d . James. as illustrated in F i g . In 1821 when the Hudson's Bay C o . Fig. overlooking the battlefield of the 2nd Riel r e b e l l i o n . 3) and when the log is turned into p l a c e . 5.e n .
A l b e r t a . If is closely relafed fo fimber framing and as such is a direcf ancesfor of modern platform framing. The timbers were usually hewn or sawn square. 1971. -f|£££ -fft>-P|£c£ c^^sfRC/cyioK) Above: Modern piece-enpiece construction. A good foundation is of the utmost importance. as is the settling space above the horizontal members. because of the uneven settling which is bound to occur.Piece-en-piece consfrucfion is an old and honourable mefhod of building in Canada. although round logs can be used equally w e l l . The main advantage of this type of construction is that it makes it possible to construct very large buildings w i t h relatively short logs. The vertical members are slotted to hold the tongues at each end of the horizontal logs. . Left: Clerk's house at Fort St. Below: Piece-en-piece building at Jasper Park Lodge. James showing detail of dovetail corner.
power may be supplied by several men or by a block and t a c k l e . or a t r u c k . A l l parallel logs in a round can be pulled up in sequence.. roll it a few feet onto the walls and then "Cutting" A log back to turn it. The rope is then passed under the log to be rolled up (see illustrations for Placing Logs) and over the building to the power source. On a low b u i l d i n g . shown at l e f t . it becomes more d i f f i c u l t to get luxury not usually found in the lone woodsman's tool cache and besides these machines repair in a year. N y l o n or polypropylene rope is very good. 3 / 8 " cable is g o o d .They should form an angle of about 3 0 ° to the horizontal and. so that when the other end of the log is rolled back it w i l l butt up against the axehead. Logs may also be rolled up on only one side and turned on the b u i l d i n g . For larger buildings. Just before the log goes over the top end of the skids. When the walls get h i g h . 38 Skids. I prefer the method of rolling logs up on skids w i t h one or two ropes. . a t r a c t o r . only short poles are needed to form the inclined plane on which to roll the logs. Have two sets of skids to avoid having to move them from one wall to another. or if the logs are slippery. or a peevee hook may be used for the anchor for the dead end. of course. you may need a horse. A crane or a fork l i f t is a create more mess in one day than a family can readily where the site is open and level enough. or in a situation where the logs cannot be dumped close to the b u i l d i n g . rather than from four sides. To turn a log on a b u i l d i n g . This is very slow and is used only for small adjust" ments of a few inches. In the case of a small b u i l d i n g .PUTTING THE LOGS UP ON THE B U I L D I N G When the building is two or three rounds h i g h . Where the site possible to use an aspect of high lead l o g g i n g . The skid should not protrude much above the wall and may be cut at an angle to assist in keeping it low A rope is tied to the building at some opening. The log w i l l now be across the corner of the building and may be brought around to right angles by judicious maneouvers The log may be moved endwise by driving the peevee hook into it back of the wall on which the log is resting. need not be too heavy. however. Or a log can be bounced over by rocking the log away from you and placing the corner of the axe under the log and prying ahead as the log rolls back. starting w i t h the log for the far side of the b u i l d i n g . drive an axe solidly into the log on which it is rolling (see illustration at right) on the side near the w a l l . but Manila rope is adequate only for very small buildings. it is the logs up onto the w a l l s . This way it is possible to pull up logs on two sides of the building o n l y . The direction of the line pull can be changed by anchoring a pulley block near the centre of the b u i l d i n g . a l i t t l e additional speed w i l l help prevent the log from s l i p p i n g . tough and dry spruce poles w i l l be easier to move. is steep. If it is r a i n i n g . This is sometimes desirable in order to make use of a d i f f i c u l t site or to preserve standing trees. Place the point of the peevee over the wall and " j a c k " the log ahead. are so simple a device as to need l i t t l e description. A small notch in the end of the log on which the skids rest w i l l hold it against rolling off to the side. this end should be placed lower on the skids (as a student and I are doing in the photo at left)so that both ends reach the top of the skids at the same t i m e . It can readily be seen that a few extra feet of log length makes it much easier to keep control of the logs even if they do get a bit out of l i n e . As the log w i l l roll faster at the butt e n d . it w i l l be necessary to have a rope at each end.
as the builder w i l l use i t . Cables should be fastened to trees with a short "tree strap". 5 / 8 " steel core cable is suitable for moving most building logs for a distance of 200 feet but any error on the side of additional strength is a good idea. If a line is to be passed around a tree and shackled back on itself be sure that the shackle pin is in the eye rather than on the line so that working the line w i l l not tend to screw the pin o u t . should be limited to 100 to 200 f e e t . when the site is a d i f f i c u l t one. Cable clamps are not too suitable but can be used if there is no one around who can splice c a b l e . which is a short piece of cable at least as large in diameter as the one which w i l l be fastened to i t . and it w i l l have an eye splice in each e n d . l i f t i n g and swinging the log rather than dragging i t . The line used to l i f t the logs is 3 / 4 " nylon or polypropylene rope. The meihod suited here is the Skyline Carriage w h i c h . Actual high lead setups w i l l not be described as their many systems of cables.40 High lead logging. and spar trees are used to accomplish much more complicated purposes than we need here. It consists of stretching a cable between two points so that the cable passes over the building site and the log pile or somewhere close to the log p i l e . Logging spars require 6 guylines but for our purposes 2 should be enough unless there is to be a great deal of side p u l l . In other words. This difference explains w h y . blocks. or high ground would be suitable. The term "high lead" explains the difference between having the " p u l l " exerted on the log from a source on the ground as opposed to having the pull exerted from a point above the l o g . it becomes desirable to be able to hoist the log clear of obstacles and set it on the building by remote c o n t r o l . Cable ends should have eye splices in t h e m . Other gear such as mainline blocks or skyline is shackled to the protruding e y e . The anchor points are most often good trees although A-frames. borrows o n l y those ideas and materials needed to l i f t logs from the ground onto his b u i l d i n g . One end is placed around the tree and the other slipped through it so that the tree is " c h o k e d " . for practical purposes. . 3 / 8 or 1/2" rope core line is suitable for the illustrated setup. spar trees.
When the walls are partly u p . door openings should be located and marked on the l o g . but cut it about 1 narrow on both sides to allow for the finish c u t . spike a 2x6 plank on each side of the door or window and cut the opening. Continue the mortise about 10" above the opening and 2" b e l o w . The remaining 8" of space is to allow for s e t t l i n g . This hole should extend 2" into the sill l o g . . A 2" auger is used to bore holes about 4" beyond the door opening on each side so that a mortise groove may be cut later in the l o g . When the walls are a l l the way u p . planks may be spiked to the logs on each side of any proposed opening and this cut out a l i t t l e narrower than final size in order to give you more ready access to the interior of the b u i l d i n g .41 FRAMING THE O P E N I N G S When the second round of logs has been placed. Now draw parallel lines 2" apart down the center of the log ends and cut out the wood to the auger hole. N e x t slide a length of 2x4 up into the mortise and then lodge it f i r m l y in t h e seat b e l o w . and should be bored in each log of door and window openings until the second round above the opening.
The mortise has been cut and a short length of 2x4 has been used to support the logs. is being b u i l t up because only short logs were required on either side of a very large window. you w i l l probably not cut these openings until the roof is o n . acted as an anchor for the rope used for pulling the logs up onto the b u i l d i n g . . on this house. To keep the cut straight and square. in this example. w i t h a vertical post in position in the mortised slot.FRAMING THE O P E N I N G S Top left: When the walls are partly u p . This provides quick entry to the interior of the building while work is in progress. If this work is neatly done there is no real need for either door or window t r i m . planks may be s p i k e d to the logs on each side of a door or window opening. The finish cut is still to be made. ( N o t e the chain w h i c h . Bottom right: This is the same window opening shown at l e f t . and the opening cut out a l i t t l e narrower than final s i z e . Otherwise. ) Bottom left: Window opening. A power saw is sometimes too d i f f i c u l t to handle and tears too much for t h i s . Never cut into either the top or bottom logs. use a crosscut saw or a hand saw.
and have sliding screens as w e l l . The gable end made of logs is held in place by purlins which are simply logs reaching the length of the building but lined up w i t h the a n t i cipated r i d g e . you w i l l have to devise some means of getting them approximately in the right position to line up w i t h the ridgepole. A building 24 f t . GABLE ENDS When the top of the walls are completed. Place a log on the gable end of the building in the usual way so that the end wall is now one log higher than the side w a l l . and are often much more suited to a log b u i l d i n g . Attach a length of cord or better s t i l l . The glass is bedded into caulking material and a 1/4" margin left to avoid b i n d i n g . With the butts to the front and extending as far to each end of the building as the roof is planned to cover.l / 2 " w i d t h . then dropped into the bottom slot without being released from the t o p . above the top log of the w a l l ( w h i c h we w i l l take to be the plate) w i l l have a 1/3 p i t c h . to these nails so that when the center is pulled up t i g h t l y it w i l l reach where the peak of the roof is to b e . So it seems better to install fixed windows — that is. glass bedded in hand made frames — and provide separate hinged openings for v e n t i l a t i o n . This line represents the top of the rafters. then driving a 2" square peg into the h o l e . Drive a small nail partly into the outside of the top logs near each corner. However. glued and nailed to the inside. The problem is solved by placing the purlin on the end wall log where the distance from the wire to the center of the purlin is the average height cf the rafters ( e . Run the purlins straight down the building parallel to the w a l l . have withstood many years of settling without damage. If it is 6" in diameter. Hip or mansard roofs can eliminate the gable end but they are not commonly used on small buildings. the gable ends may be made using logs or framed w i t h lumber or timbers.1 / 2 " battens are set 3 / 8 " into the planks. Single sheets of glass 4 feet square were used in the house at Francois Lake and. This point can be located by measurement from the mid-point of the end wall in accordance w i t h the pitch you have decided u p o n . as the case may be) in winter. The pitch of a roof is arrived at by dividing the total height of the roof above the p| ate ( c a l l e d "rise") by the total span of the roof and expressing this as a f r a c t i o n . We w i l l assume that you are going to use log gables and that you are going to run the purlins parallel to the long side of the b u i l d i n g . if the purlin is 8" in diameter it would be placed just touching the w i r e . g . This would be much less costly and much more efficient in use.b u i l t windows which slide open. Notches for the purlins are cut into the log b e l o w . but in this manner the ends of the gable logs w i l l not be severed when the roof slope is c u t . Following is a suggestion as to how this may be done. This can be done w i t h an extra log across the building placed one log below the top side wall log and perpendicular supports put under the purlins — W braces can be devised if the span warrants them.3 / 8 " net thickness and 7 . with ampleTieader space. The top groove is cut deeply enough that the glass can be slid up into i t . that is. Such a door w i l l not sag. though you may f i n d a way that suits you better. have become extremely expensive. and rolt two purlins up onto these. A l i t t l e adjustment on the notches w i l l take careof any height differences. 3 to 4 " ) . A three-batten door is made from four planks planed to 1 . . Plank doors are solid and very serviceable. . w i r e . Three 1 . A roof having less than | / 5 pitch is not considered suitable for shakes. This is different from the wall logs. If the building is large enough to require several purlins . Thermetically sealed double pane glass can be used as well as single glazed windows and may be placed solidly into a rabbeted window frame. Gable end logs may be pinned in place by boring two 2" auger holes through the log and the log b e l o w .DOORS A N D WINDOWS Door and window frames can be made up on the j o b . Sliding windows can be made by cutting a groove around the frame and placing two sheets of plate glass in the grooves in such a manner as to allow them to slide past each other. it would be placed 1" below the w i r e . A very long building may require support for the purlins in the center. The use of cedar or f i r is recommended. These logs w i l l be lower than the roof line by about 4" to allow room for the rafters. Ready-to-install f a c t o r y . wide w i t h the t i p of the roof 8 f t . shrinkage and warping could occur if the wood is not sufficiently seasoned. lock shut. In this region such windows freeze shut (or open. Our problem is to notch into the end wall log one-half the diameter of the purlin at such a position that the thickness of the rafter remains between the purlin and the wire which marks the roof.
The top end of the rafter is allowed to run out long over the ridgepole. then blocked up about K 2 " when all are in place. a vertical cut between the crossed rafters w i l l ensure a good f i t . Stretch a mason's line t i g h t l y between these and block the l i n e u p about 1 " . should not be fastened down for about a year. It would be w e l l to leave a few extra pieces on top of the ceiling to insert info the space which the shrinkage w i l l create. CEILING » Ceiling joists may be placed in a manner similar to floor joists. Square hewn c e i l i n g joists give a good appearance. it may simply be hiding your carefully selected ridgepole. . whether or not your plan requires a ceiling .RAFTERS The notch in the side wall for the rafters may be cut slightly narrow at the outside (bottom) and the rafter driven into it before if is secured with a 6" n a i l . But consider carefully Ceiling planks shrink excessively a n d . Now when a rafter is positioned in between these. This w i l l make any complicated seat cut unnecessary. In order to align rafters or joists. If mineral wool batts are used for insulation. . position the members at each end first. the vapour barrier removed. This method w i l l prevent the accumulation of small errors. for this reason. . as might be the case if each rafter is lined up w i t h the preceding one o n l y . these can be removed. and the ceiling planks driven close together to tighten up the f i t t i n g . it w i l l be in line when it is 1" below the l i n e .
permitted to sneak in elsewhere. the importance of good insulation.SECTION THROUGH DOOR The walls of your house are now up and you w i l l have put in a ceiling that can be insulated o r . From experience I would say never use sawdust or shavings or insulating particles. A l l your careful logwork could result in a cold and draughty house if cold and draught a r e . It is good. if an open ceiling is more to your l i k i n g . in f a c t . Care should be taken that ventilation is provided. fiberglass or mineral batts are best. It might w e l l be emphasized here. . Strapping for shakes permits ventilation between the ?x4 spacers over the insulation. that the roofing does not build up heavy weights of ice at the eves due to heat loss and m e l t i n g . It is good to be able to put your bare feet comfortably to the floor any day of the winter. Vapour barrier goes under the insulating m a t e r i a l . t o o . the roof can be insulated. Place a screened strip the f u l l length of the eve as close as possible to the lower e n d . These and other problems can be easily avoided with good insulation.
the only visible demarkation between l i v i n g room area and the dining and kitchen areas was simply that of rug and l i n o l e u m . short logs. But to save w o r k . or other suitable materials. There is rich opportunity here for imaginative use of materials: slabs. A space allowance can be left at the bottom of the stringers. Easy stairs have a 6" rise and an 8" r u n . could be seen from any corner of the house. Indians once made a cloth from cedar b a r k . space or m a t e r i a l . Square hewn logs are also g o o d . the main thing is to avoid the possibility of binding of the w a l l . must have ample space left to permit settling of the logs. Stair layout is accomplished by taking into account the total rise and the total run a v a i l a b l e . without partitions. so the available space w i l l have to be a total of 13 f t . For instance. we relented only to the point where a bamboo w i n d o w awning could be lowered as needed. partitions are sometimes framed in when the building is u p . When framing partitions in a log house. To place stairs in a total rise of 8 f t . Rough stairs and simple stairs are generally constructed onasawn-out stair horse — usually from a 2x10 or 2x12 but round logs can be used to good e f f e c t . The groove is wider at the open end so that treads and risers can be wedged into p l a c e . or required. to obtain this rise. . are best made of logs and erected at the same time as the outside w a i l s . care must be taken to allow space for the settling of the b u i l d i n g . Three feet is minimal for a landing. rough-sawn lumber. As the family grew. We postponed f i l l i n g in the b e d room dividers for several years because of the tremendous view of Francois Lake w h i c h . t o o . In our Southbank home. with a riser of 6" w i l l require 16 risers and a minimum run of 15x8=120" or 10 f t . a phenomenon which has been known to l i f t ceilings or upper storeys or to drive the partition into the f l o o r . Whichever method is used. Steep stairs might have an 8" rise and a n 8 " r u n . with the stringers mounted on wedges which can be shifted as needed. STAIRS Stairs. w i t h the advantage in certain plans of providing a backing and chimney for the kitchen stove. Each tread and riser is rabbeted into the stringer.50 PARTITIONS Interior partitions. if they cannot be a v o i d e d . Or a stone fireplace can be a pleasing division of space. poles. or they can be made to f i t a mortised recess in a header l o g . A housed stringer is the best and strongest form of stair. Partitions may be made to telescope at some p l a c e .
to destroy forever lakes. Adjoining auger holes should be drilled to accomplish t h i s . that the building inspector likes to see the wiring before it is covered or closed i n . C.Ida Mary Mackie It is unfortunate when electrical wiring in a log building has the appearance of an afterthought. N o t e . Recesses for outlet boxes are cut info a log at the desired height. land. Specially made coverings for wires can be used to give an unobtrusive look even in old historic buildings. not whisky. to get for ourselves this a r t i f i c i a l warmth. it's electricity we natives crave. rivers. by P. Knight. A copy of the wiring code and much good advice can be obtained from the Electrical Inspector's office when you go to buy the permit needed to do your own w i r i n g . But in a new b u i l d i n g . In our d a y . Other books simplify matters a great deal for the layman. N o . however. The wires are pulled through the recess and stapled to the top of this log and run horizontally to either a door or a window opening. such as Electrical Code Simplified for B.• Now and then ask what right have we. so soon gone. from there to be carried overhead or under the floor to the supply b o x . such coverings are never necessary. . if the wiring layout is f u l l y planned before construction. .S.
t h e n . A large tree is the least l i k e l y to have knots at the b u t t . A skilled stonemason can b u i l d any style of fireplace and it w i l l send the smoke up and the heat o u t . But if you have approached the be building project w i h the intention of completing the fireplace yourself. they are no more of a fire hazard than any other roofing. There are many instant fireplaces on the market. These are simply a lining around which the stonework is done and. t o o .1 / 2 " diameter and about the same length as the blade is secured to one end at right angles to the b l a d e . Shakes are applied in double course runs. may be nailed at each end since the shift for each run is very little. pine. the second course laid exactly atop but "breaking" (covering) the joins. be assured that if you have the . the first course being laid side by side not too close together so as to allow for swelling. A handle of 1 . the longer the shakes that can be split from i t . 3" wide and 1/4" t h i c k . or balsam can also be used. f i r . The amateur mason must study some basic rules. Perhaps the best advice to the amateur mason is that he buy one of the sheet metal fireplace forms available from hardware stores. from the security of the open fire burning at the entrance of the ancestral c a v e . Linger over this part of your house plan. They give the most appropriate appearance.SHAKES Shakes are by far the most suitable roofing for a log b u i l d i n g . the bolt turned end for end each time a shake is split off. Good shakes are 20 to 3 0 " l o n g . The open flame seems to satisfy some basic human need derived. but it also supplies a surprising amount of heat. this increased efficiency w i l l more than justify the cost. An outstanding effect can be produced by cutting very thick shakes ( l . as these usually have arrangements for air c i r c u l a t i o n . Shakes should be split edge-grain off the b o l t .l / 2 " ) and having these sawn d i a g o n a l l y . These. ability to work with logs you are also going to log able to work with stone tand mortar. let the material and design be a matter of your own careful choice. Shakes are especially suited to a steep roofed building w i t h log gable ends. With a proper chimney. The split side is then placed up and the material applied like shingles for an extremely rough-textured appearance. t o o . if he is to acquire the knack — and avoid the possibility of the heat going up and the smoke coming out and the masonry coming d o w n . saw the wood into the lengths that can be split most r e a d i l y . Courses can be run between each purlin and the dimensional change in the roof height due to settling is accommodated by the telescoping effect of the shakes. The tool used for this work is a froe — a blade about 2 0 " l o n g . are extremely durable and may be split on the site by the woodsman at little or no cost. and it is true that the better the t r e e . Most of them work quite well if the chimney is carried about 2 ft. The next course up is overlapped by about 2 or 3 " . t o o . But the building of the functioning interior regions of the fireplace is a different matter. above the roof line. So. Select a large tree w i t h straight grain and clear w o o d . The rounds of wood are split into segments or bolts. FIREPLACES Such great variety is possible in the exterior design of fireplaces that each builder w i l l want to give much thought to what may well turn out to be a family focal point. N o t only does it burn the chips occasioned by the construction. Western Red Cedar makes the best shakes but spruce. but are still useful if only 14 to 16" l o n g . For good reasons. The need for an open f i r e may be inherited but chances are that the know-how was n o t . They are nailed at both ends. My feeling is that a fireplace in a log house is nearly as essential as the roof. The froe is driven partly into the cut w i t h a hardwood mallet and the handle twisted to split off the shake. perhaps.
O b t a i n a well-designed damper from the hardware The sides of the fireplace are drawn together above the throat to form the flue but the slope should not exceed 45° to the v e r t i c a l . direct sunlight. 5. this is formed by projecting the throat as far forward as possible. But the chimney should not depend on the wall for support. Place the entire fireplace within the walls of the house when possible. 2. so that there is room at the top for the walls to s e t t l e . The firebrick should be 2" thick and laid w i t h fire clay mortar or high temperature cement. Rock can be cut and some people lay the rock out on the floor to a f u l l scale outline in order to f i t the desired pattern. galvanized metal t i e straps that w i l l expand or stretch if the wall settles. If the ground is very soft. 1. Throat should be as wide and shallowas possible but contain the same area as the f l u e . Frame the fireplace opening the same as a door or window opening. The chimney w i l l draw better if it is warm and this mass of warmed masonry w i l l keep your house from freezing if you are gone for a few days in midwinter. 4. otherwise the ash drop door can be placed so that ash removal is done from the outside of the house. wider all around than the proposed dimensions of the f i r e p l a c e . The back and sides of the fireplace should be 7-1 /2" thick for walls b u i l t of solid masonry or 12" thick when hollow masonry or stone.Pour a substantial base when the foundation is l a i d . The vertical portion of the back should be about one-half of the height of the opening. supply. Build a smoke shelf to reduce back draught. Front of the fireplace should be wider than the back and upper part of the back should t i l t forward to meet the t h r o a t . Workability is obtained through proper grading of sand and thorough m i x i n g . If the building has a basement. If work is to be done in hot. 7. If you are building the entire fireplace yourself. care must be taken that the walls do not hang up on the stonework. Use a flue liner above the fireplace form and then it is only necessary to "stack" rock around the whole thing to get a workable f i r e p l a c e . The chimney may be tied to the wall with crimped. the following rules may serve as a guide: Flue size depends on the size of fireplace opening. Whether the chimney is inside or outside the walls. Good l u c k ! . The following table is a guide for various soil conditions. 6. Minimum size is one-tenth of the area of the opening but never less than 8 x 1 2 " . The back should be two-thirds of the opening w i d t h . but should be r e i n forced with s t e e l . A raised hearth has some advantage in cutting down floor draught. 1/2 to 1-1/4 parts hydrated lime and 4-1 ^2 to 6 parts mortar sand. A suitable mortar for masonry is ( b y volume) 1 part masonry cement and 2-1 ^4 to 3 parts mortar sand in damp. go deeper and wider. it might be better to choose square-faced rock rather than f i e l d stone. can be incorporated in the face of the structure. some provision must be made to prevent rapid loss of water. Use flashing between the roof and the stonework and leave 2 or 3" space between the roof material and the chimney. A solid base is the prime requirement of a good f i r e p l a c e . 9. loose c o n d i t i o n . even figures. an ash drop door can be purchased and installed in the hollow fireplace base so that ashes are removed from the basement l e v e l . This footing w i l l be about 1 f t . 3. or is 1 part Portland cement (type I I ) . Cap the chimney with For the first try at fireplace b u i l d i n g . a sloped concrete slab through which the flue liner should protrude 1 " . 8. By this means a particular colour pattern.
Guests also feel much more free and comfortable in a separate cottage where t h e i r comings and goings cannot disturb t h e i r hosts. M i d n i g h t o i l . these too w i l l be smaller ones and easily c o r r e c t e d before the more serious construction p r o j e c t begins So much can be learned from a first t r y that I'd recommend b u i l d i n g even a doghouse e x c e p t for the f a c t that no dog of my a c q u a i n t a n c e w o u l d i n h a b i t such a s o l i t a r y and unheated e d i f i c e . There is also the economy of a small separate house. in such a c o t t a g e . So even a speedy and none too painstaking job of b u i l d i n g a cottage w i l l leave something to be enjoyed later as a permanent improvement to the p r o p e r t y .b u i l d e r should consider is the v a l u a b l e e x p e r i e n c e it offers h i m . If errors are m a d e .58 THE GUEST HOUSE There is a great deal to recommend the s m a l l . the beginnings of i n d e p e n d e n c e . Even the most e x p e r i e n c e d log b u i l d e r can o f t e n be heard to say how h e ' d l i k e to b u i l d another house (and a n o t h e r . m o v e . in l a t e r years. . Some builders rent a mobile home or camper so they can move onto the site to w o r k . It becomes. and bad housek e e p i n g become almost u n n o t i c e d if the youngster isn't o b l i g e d to be too close to the f a m i l y at a l l times. Perhaps the most important p o i n t the s t u d e n t . But this is never more true than on the first house. ) in order to a p p l y the insight gained on every b u i l d i n g . the logs w i l l be a l i t t l e easier to h a n d l e . if he c o u l d remain his own boss in his own former h i d e a w a y . and another . prepare a site f o r . On a small b u i l d i n g . but this can run to a surprising amount of time as w e l l as expense to shop f o r .f r e e home f o r the first y e a r . in preparation for a f u l l . if it enables the f a m i l y to move i n t o a d e b t . for y o u . I t h i n k many a young p e r son w o u l d return home.s c a l e log house. and hook up this k i n d of m o b i l e shelter and afterward n o t h i n g is l e f t but a bare scar on your land and a d e b i t in your savings. trumpet p r a c t i c e . A teenager can f i n d . separate house. ft-JD fLt\Jat\Oti . a t r u l y historic site where your estate b e g a n .
and dramatized. space that is uncluttered. as sketched at l e f t .to have been designed for countries where snow is unheard of. or structural necessity. But. the free is a uniqueness deserving to be fitted with care as naturally as possible. Straight young poles w i l l form the bases of most railings and trusses. certainly any trim or other intruder which could not account for its presence in terms of comfort. convenience. I have hoped that the builder would question all frills and discard from his houseplan any door.b u i l t home. Be guided by a feeling of respect for the tree as a l i v i n g t h i n g . This is when the chorus of encouragement w i l l increase noticeably. p a r t i t i o n . somewhat as sketched at right. but there are many twisted and kinky roots and branches and trunks of trees which w i l l lend themselves to special needs. now is the time for door handles. well used. An ornamental wood. is diamond w i l l o w as shown at left as window trim. coat pegs. But. Another ornamental wood sometimes incorporated info railings or furniture is the burl (an abnormal outgrowth occasionally . causing the axeman to wonder how he JL-came to miss harnessing such enthusiasm to a peeling spud some months earlier. Beauty in a house is space . stair railings. on the other hand. highly p r i z e d . This house has had the peak of each gable exaggerated. yet ra-ely is a Canadian house designed f o r this embellishment. I am always surprised by the sudden blossoming of even the plainest log building when the porch railings and other fittings start to go into p l a c e . Diamond w i l l o w is simply w i l l o w that has been i n j u r e d . . . and later forms these unique patterns. as a friend of mine knows — he lives in a subdivision where every winter he receives free. probably b u i l t in the days when workmen put more soul into their buildings. and a bit of f u n . up to this point. the entire snowpack off his neighbour's sloping carport roof. perhaps by moose browsing. and simply acknowledge that in providing a certain fork or curve. The results can be interesting. I saw an altar rail in a church formed. there is a graceful example of snow design in an older home on 7th Avenue in Prince George. by preserving the root crown of the free to serve as footings for the posts. Snow can provide a delightful finishing touch to a snug and w e l l .59 F I N I S H I N G TOUCHES Everything I have described. Most contemporary dwellings appea . Root bends were used as braces for the belfrey of this same log church and short lengths of matched poles framed and outlined the archway of an a l c o v e . For example. has been intended to help the builder create a home as solid and durable as a fortress. giving the appearance of mighty ships cleaving the snowpack as they would the ocean. delivered right to his doorstep. The builder's feelings of reverence toward nature are clearly reflected in such chosen pieces.
As for wages. r i d g e p o l e .l e v e l house w i t h two b a l c o n i e s . from a personal standpoint. I f i n d them as disturbing as any other k i n d of suffering and am uncomfortabi*? in the d i s p l a y i n g of a tree's d e f o r m i t y . w h i c h is tough and more d i f f i c u l t to work w i t h than c e d a r . This. they w o u l d know how to f i t those timbers i n t o the walls and roofs of buildings as precisely as a ship's timbers are f i t t e d . When the o l d log builder saw these trees. To m e . He never need worry about where his next job is coming f r o m .g r o w t h Douglas Fir w h i c h had grown on level ground under ideal conditions a n d . Or a stout curve that forms a knee brace. British C o l u m b i a . Before ending this b o o k . doors and windows) of a simple rectangular b u i l d i n g roughly 30x40 f e e t . I should perhaps try to answer some of the questions I am receiving from a l l parts of C a n a d a . So is the personal satisfaction of work where no two products are ever a l i k e . 2001 Central Street. The log b u i l d e r knows the pleasure of an artist when he finds in these things the right size and shape of material to create his work of a r t . independent l i n e of work possible — f o r . W o r k i n g w i t h f i r . this is a satisfying t h i n g .60 on the trunk of a t r e e ) . Canada Manpower is also w i l l i n g to sponsor students who i n t e n d to learn the igterm employment. b e l o w . in a l l their p e r f e c t i o n .r a t e log b u i l d e r in the Burns Lake a r e a . when he works. O n e f i r s t . He sets his own time to do a b u i l d i n g . Of prime importance is the fact t h a t . according to his s k i l l . as a result. he produced a large 3 . The l i f e of the log b u i l d e r . I sincerely hope that more and more of the most vigorous. of uniform 14 inch diameters. Prince G e o r g e . as shown at r i g h t . having been b u i l d i n g w i t h logs for 50 years. this trainee completed one of the best jobs of log b u i l d i n g I have ever seen (a sample of w h i c h is shown at r i g h t ) . the owner supplying a l l materials i n c l u d i n g the logs. There is a story I l i k e . of course. In four months.b e d r o o m . He had seen many a t r e e . and requests for his work w i l l f o l l o w . Tom Heintzman is now ready to work anywhere as a professional log b u i l d e r . hugging them for j o y . g i f t e d . lere I t e a c h . he ran from one to another. I have personally never been able to use b u r l s . I feel that no time should be lost in preparing builders to a standard of professional competence where they would be able to select t h e i r own standing trees and f a l l them w i t h o u t forest damage. As a p i l o t project to answer some of my own questions. Courses are a v a i l a b l e at the C o l l e g e of N e w C a l e d o n i a . and dedicated men w i l l undertake t r a i n i n g as log b u i l d e r s . The C o l l e g e has g i v e n my work continuous support and encouragement.a c r e stand of o l d . 0 0 0 for the logwork o n l y ( w a l l s . as an example. the log builder is extremely w e l l paid — the more so. they would have the artistic judgment and energy to put outstanding logs to the finest possible use a n d . spruce. concerning the t r a i n i n g possibilities for the professional l o g b u i l d e r . he had been offered a 2 . never f r e e z i n g to the skin as a metal doorhandle does. . once the b u i l d e r has created a log b u i l d i n g it becomes known far and w i d e . Because I b e l i e v e that w e . I hired a young man last O c t o b e r whose a b i l i t y was c l e a r l y e x c e p t i o n a l . charges $ 5 . he is creating a v a l u a b l e work of a r t . s p l i t . He can be free for long periods if need b e . e t c . throwing his arms around their trunks. It is the most f l e x i b l e . But on this o c c a s i o n . . were straight as arrows. have f a i l e d miserably in exploring the architectural e x c e l l e n c e possible w i t h our timber. in C a n a d a . concerning a fine log b u i l d e r who lives in the Langley area of British C o l u m b i a . I understand. p u r l i n s . has a great deal to recommend i t . w i t h o n l y a few branches at the tops. and completing a l l other aspects of the b u i l d i n g himself. Recognition is a reward in i t s e l f . a smooth and h e a l t h y bend of wood f i t t i n g p e r f e c t l y to the g r i p of my h a n d . p i n e . they would meet a l l requirements of the N a t i o n a l Building C o d e .
this is how I t h i n k of buildings created from Canadian timbers. c e l l . gives c a b i n as meaning a temporary shelter. and a small one-story low roofed d w e l l i n g of p l a i n construction as a 4 . i n d e p e n d e n t l y . before ending this book: when I t h i n k of timbers as b u i l d i n g materials. the sea o t t e r . The O x f o r d D i c t i o n a r y of English Etymology gives the meaning of c a b i n as h u t .m o v i n g f i r e . t e n t . c a v e . Mostly deserted now.A n o t h e r i t e m . North V a n c o u v e r . rude h a b i t a t i o n . An extremely interesting house is being p l a n n e d . to the word log now and t h e n . There is the enormous Chateau M o n t e b e l l o (the former Seigneurie C l u b ) in Q u e b e c b u i l t o n l y 40 years ago by a crew of 3 . The problem w i t h a l o g b u i l d i n g book is t h a t . N o v a S c o t i a . and shack as synonyms for c a b i n and I agree. Thus. a most interesting feature of that territory of the South Saskatchewan River where the 2nd r e b e l l i o n occurred is the w e a l t h of ancient log b u i l d i n g s . and the tree — t h e Canadian also needs some defense against crowding and encroachment. but several gave the address of a hardware store s t i l l p r o v i d i n g broad axes and other woodsman's t o o l s . A n d before zero population growth is considered. My research is far from c o m p l e t e . Some I have already seen. recently I was shown a stand of pine w h i c h had been k i l l e d by a s w i f t . p a t t e r n e d . l e e c h . The sale of land to c i t i z e n s of other nations must be h a l t e d .l i k e . it has become a matter of great curiosity to m e . I t h i n k that — l i k e the M e t i s . . The wood underneath the b l a c k e n e d bark had turned bright orange and the bark beetles had already l a i d t h e i r eggs under t h e r e . d u r i n g my travels on the Canada C o u n c i l study of log b u i l d i n g s . using t h e m . the word " c a b i n " sends a shaft of pain through me. Being impressed by a m u n i c i p a l or federal c a b i n . Saskatchewan. how the word " c a b i n ' 1 ever managed to f i x i t s e l f . the trumpeter s w a n . 5 0 0 log b u i l d e r s . l i k e the c r a f t i t s e l f . . whenever I hear i t . w e ' l l know how it turned o u t . I t h i n k of m a g n i f i c e n t b u i l d i n g s . l i k e a house. But if t h e i r dream is to be saved. w h i l e others use it compulsively to refer to a l l log structures. my wish above a l l w o u l d be to know that I had helped Canadians f i n d a way to b u i l d the most Canadian of homes. Most letters t o l d of a single axe t h a t c o u l d be purchased. 90 Lonsdale A v e n u e . In f a c t . the b u f f a l o . John's A n g l i c a n Church at Lunenburg.c a b i n . t i t l e d . they are y e t to be b u i l t — but a l l the same. M o v i n g I n t o a sophisticated urban c a b i n . When I checked w i t h t h e m . in a rare and p r i v i l e g e d position to produce magnificent and monumental log buildings from the good timbers we — and few o t h e r nations — s t i l l do h a v e . I f i n d it proper that neither c a b i n nor log c a b i n appear at a l l in the D i c t i o n a r y of Canadianisms. Or a d i n n e r i n v i t a t i o n to a fashionable t o w n . on i t . Their vision of a new nation lives o n . Webster's Third Unabridged D i c t i o n a r y . Stopping o f f at the Empress Hotel C a b i n or the Chateau M o n t e b e l l o C a b i n . in this c o u n t r y . To me. This is Paine Hardware L i m i t e d . Laurent mission of N o t r e Dame de Lourdes near Batoche. A n d a resource p o l i c y should not o n l y make better use of our raw materials but should keep the proceeds from our resources h e r e . compartment in a s h i p . it is never q u i t e f i n i s h e d . By this time next y e a r . the skill and care of the builders was such that they s t i l l stand straight and t r u e . even y e t . for who would take a cabin seriously? Imagine going home to the ancestral c a b i n . But if I k n e w . and b u i l t of a v a i l a b l e poplar. 5-bathroom house complete w i t h servants' w i n g . For e x a m p l e . Therefore.s i d e d d w e l l i n g of logs b u i l t as a home by early settlers of the western f r o n t i e r of north A m e r i c a or by mountain f o l k . that I had to put the last f i n i s h i n g touch to my w o r k for a l l t i m e . But some of the magnificent l o g b u i l d i n g s I have not y e t seen. . I have a r c h i t e c t ' s drawings for a 5 . I would l i k e to thank the many readers who have w r i t t e n to me w i t h information concerning the acquisition of broad axes. h o v e l . in no w a y can I see that this term is suitable for a f i n e log b u i l d i n g . A n d the soaring hammerbeams of the roof of St. These impossible concepts h a v e . or a similar structure serving as the home of a f a m i l y of a servant or p l a n t a t i o n hand in the s o u t h . but one thing is c l e a r — many people never use the term at a l l . these trees w i l l be w i l d l y c o l o u r e d . if they so desire. and seasoned. I suspect. The Riel rebellions ought to have t o l d us something of t h i s . 9 5 . needs a finishing t o u c h . For e x a m p l e . b o o t h . at peace w i t h n a t u r e . TEN R O O M L O G C A B I N ! Roget's Thesaurus offers me words l i k e h u t . on t h e i r own l a n d . Or the small but b e a u t i f u l pine log church at the St. as someday I surely must. This seems a necessary basis if young people are to have the r i g h t . for I b e l i e v e that Canada i s . w a y down the list of huts and airplane compartments.b e d r o o m . Perhaps a b o o k . to c l a i m freely some portion of t h e i r n a t i v e land a n d . I have come to wonder if the use of this downgrading term may have done greater disservice to the possible study of log construction techniques than poor workmanship ever d i d . surely the i n f l o w of immigrants must be measured sanely. By spring. been imposed u n w i t t i n g l y upon a most b e a u t i f u l and desirable b u i l d i n g f o r m . a broad axe less handle was selling for $ 3 6 . Needless to say. to b u i l d their homes and l i v e . The massive and formal t i m b e r frame b u i l d i n g s being reconstructed at t h e Fortress of Louisbourg. d e n . What ambitious a r c h i t e c t in his right mind would commit his career to the s p e c i a l i z a t i o n in log ' c a b i n s " . indebted to nobody — in short. to i n h e r i t t h e i r b i r t h r i g h t .
he writes: "The axeman in the twentieth century. approved by college council at a meeting July 20 will have students under instructor Allan Mackie build a fullsized. she said. In the introduction to his popular book. near the battlefield of the second Riel rebellion. The course deals with surveying. has been awarded a $4. "A log building ties time-honored tradition into our uncertain todays. types of timber. displaying this determination to find peace and sanity. said Mrs. not p i c t u r e d . for example. he said. He has a photograph of a trading post built at Fort St. giving a sense of continuity and stability that is unusual in modern housing. E n r o l m e n t can b e a r r a n g e d t h r o u g h Canada Manp o w e r in P r i n c e George. the money will probably be put into a student scholarship. James in 1806. Archives of the Catholic Church." The Mackies' research will probably start in Quebec. showing how to build one ot the most durable and beautiful forms of residential construction . It was built for the North West Company. "Building With Logs". should not be applied to a properly constructed log house. The craftsmen had been guided by the natural forms of the wood. or about eight months. fully-serviced log house on a city lot to be purchased by the college. for a home to be proud of. Priests there did not appear to know anything of the history of the building. a church built of pine logs. rather than cash or a mortgage commitment. In 1821. Design. the RCMP and the Hudson's Bay Company will be searched for additional information. In his book Mackie gives a brief example of sequence of log building styles. Further on." Axemanship. log building skills and the effects of time and climate will be studied in areas of early settlement to Canada. Root crowns. T h e c o u r s e is taught by Allen Mackie." Strange words in this age of prefabs and mobile homes. after the North West Company was absorbed by the Hudson's Bay Company a clerk's housewas added to the Fort St. history. —Photo by F r e d F u c h s M a c k i e p a u s e s t o l i s t Che v a r i o u s wood p r e s e r v a t i v e s e f f e c t i v e f o r l o g homes. April 12. the log house. in the French method of piece-en-piece. . were footings for an altar rail. a book on the construction of log houses. It was built by a Scot. The end result should be a book tracing the development of log building. It will run for two semesters. is joined in history to every pioneer who set himself to carving a homestead in a new world. THE CITIZEN-Wednasday. determination. Speckeen said excavating and the construction of cement foundations can probably be managed by CNC students but that wiring and plumbing may be left to local tradesmen. Sask. fully illustrated. Because building of the house will be a teaching situation. Most of the basic work on the house will be done by students. but alsoesthetically satisfying. he writes. If any profit is made. blueprinting and other skills of construction technology. James post. with its connotations of inferiority. In addition. will be exposed to t h e work.C a l e d o n i a s h o r t c o u r s e in t h e c o n s t r u c t i o n of log b u i l d i n g s p o s e p r o u d l y a t o p t h e fruit o f t h e i r t h r e e . a fur . new world: that is what concerns Allan Mackie. peace and sanity.w e e k l e a r n i n g e x p e r i e n c e . to short.Allan Mackie. When completed. students from the college's Construction Technology course. a type of construction that slots together relatively short logs. Mackie is probably better known as the author of Building with Logs. and will be offered again in t h e fall. 1973 The enlarged course. when entire suburban developments have even been known to be condemned several short years after they were dumped on a section of raped landscape. to be inaugurated this fall.CNC plans log house on serviced city lot The College of New Caledonia will offer an expanded course in construction with logs this fall. . writes Mackie.000 Canada Council grant to study the history ot log building to Canada. But Speckeen cautioned the college does not expect to make money on the sale of its log house. 1972 CNC instructor to study log houses Allan Mackie. Speckeen said the house will be sold at a r e a l i s t i c price. homestead. "logs bring the natural world back Into our lives in a way that is becoming more necessary than ever to our survival as thoughtful human beings. it will illustrate MaeHe's feeling that the word '-cabin". The Princ George book that has become a Canadian best seller Step-by-step instruction. and that is what his job as a builder of solid log homes means to him. They were impressed with the beauty of a shrine to Riel. His decision to research the development of log building stems from a visit he and hiswifemade last fall to Batoche." It is the "only contemporary construction method which enables an individual to exchange his own labor and ingenuity." ••B.. the work will not progress as quickly and economically as it might if done by a contractor.trading firm from Montreal. showing that it is a method of construction not onlydurable. the house will be sold to cover expenses. Building With Logs 1972 GRADUATES OF A COLLEGE of New. The new log building program will be financed through the Central Mortgage and housing Corporation but will be started with funds from the college budget. ''using quite a different style. Principal Fred Speckeen said Mackie has been given the opportunity to build log houses for developers but would prefer to continue working at the college. a College of New Caledonia logging instructor. Mackie.
iently in number to begin to Senior Secondary School. He is the author of Building With Logs and presently teaches at the College of New Caledonia. In the slide show Mr. you are talking history and tradition. He said the "acoustic quality of the log walls as well as the pleasing sight of restful brown tones add to the snug security of fortress thick walls". 2001 Central Avenue. construction. Mackie gave a slide show and chalk talk at the library Thursday evening and then took about 45 interested Yukoners out behind the building for an hour long demonstration with actual logs.who hauled them to the site. Mackie said that in some places in British Columbia log buildings were desired over the regular frame style houses. to the men who self-sufficient in the face of unity to learn the art for He said it was a pleasure ious sports teams which make performed the initial heavy life in the north where such themselves. Beginning with the morning frost and working through the day for two weekends. and when before long. houses and in some cases •mansions. and he which they worked on. and a responsibility for the Now the community will 15' x 20' structure will be don. Monday. changing room for the var. . given half a chance. The course was a condensed version of similar courses which Mr. he felt. you are talking aesthetics and conservation. B. the classes at New Caledonia have been short and basic. Right CUTTING ALONG the scribe marks that will insure a tight fit between the joining logs is Allan Mackie. The community can also ers qualified by training and. they can be built very cheaply. and others who are just interested. Thanks by the departments also they will be just that struction in a less profess. were two-fold and long-ranging as well as a little unusual. it was both a privilege to make. the increased number of build. a dozen or more local handymen wielded axes and saws and measuring instruments under the practiced eye of instructor Allan Mackie until.C.1973 Allan Mackie says logs are a solution to the housing problem Left. well on its way to completion. Mackie. well made. land Resources who supplied ence between bare economic The course was sponsored the logs. He said log buildings are part of Canadian Heritage and are part of contempory thinking. and .as craftsmen so that not only seem unfortunate that per.Mr.to increase their versatilitj In the meantime.Log Homes: A way of life By Bill Lawson For members of the community as well as the participants. as well as individuals who would like to build their own log home. May 9.construction..was here to instruct.. in a heavily wooded area like B. for solid log housing. .it is intended for use as a concerned have gone out to much more employable and arily deprived of the opport. For Allan Mackie.selves well. solid log construction symbolizes more than just a way of life. Log homes are simple en- The Smithers Interior News — Page 14 — Wednesday. technique. by the time the sessions were over. in the long run. Logs have aesthetics. Therefore. ough to build as to be within the reach of the average unskilled individual who is willing to devote the time.said that they acquitted them. and the finer points of building with Iogs. He said the Yukon has an abundance of trees suitable for building and gave durability as his second reason for log construction. Some transients also interested in log construction came. A GREAT ADVOCATE of building with logs. and to Evelyn Mills survival and a good life. and you are talking versatility and self-sufficiency. because ional sense would be tempor. 1973.learned under Allan Mackie their practical knowledge. Prince George. Up until now. it could and should be. and they ment in Smithers. --Star photos The Log Man May be Back toTeach Mr. Mr. Mackie conducts at New Caledonia College in Prince George. Allan Mackie answered many questions pertaining to insulation. when you talk about log houses. Forestry personnel. In short. The educational demonstration was well a:ttended. experience. Consequently.. practice.2a. the benefits of a short course in building with logs sponsored recently by the Adult Education Branch. and which are aimed at potential professional builders who want to specialize in solid log construction.qualities can mean the differHowever. but sons interested in log con. for a home to be proud of:" He said it required hard work to build a log house but the rewards are well worth it. He said there were three main reasons why he advocated log homes. rather than cash or a mortgage debt. It is not surprising that the number of applicants for such a unique course always greatly exceeds the size of the final group selected to participate in it. logbuildings really could become a way of life. abundance and avoid mortgages He gives his third reason for log construction as "the only contempory construction method which enables an individual to exchange his own labour and ingenuity. July 16. it would local men who worked and have not only the benefits of ated to the Joint Grounds De. He showed how to properly scribe with fixed points along the upper joining surfaces of the log with the one rolled upside down above it.so readily. members of the territorial government and Yukoners from Riverdale and the bush were in attendance. First there is aesthetics. The WhitehorseStar. grasped the fundamentals of ent to Chandler Park School. What Mackie would really like to see would be an intensive course which does justice to every aspect of house construction. require a minimum of maintenance.during the two weekends he also the use of the building purpose. the ers have taken the initiative meet the widespread demand So. His axe skill and chain saw expertise awed many would be log house builders who attended his short exhibition. but velopment Committee for this have new color and meaning been added to their lives. He is convinced that. to work with men who already use of the playing field adjac. Mackie dispelled the "log cabin" idea with shots of many large. this group would benefit by axemanship and who learned A little more by the Adult Education Depart. a small log house stood defiantly beside Chandler Park School.C. one of the principle bases of society as a whole. to act would have produced as tight completed by Jack Manton's feel reassurance in knowing as instructors in the capacity a building as you could hope industrial arts class at the that a number of its membwhich Mackie himself now fills. to Pacific In. Such a course would have to be at least six full months long and naturally would be aimed at training capable foremen who could Instructor Allan Mackie gives final instructions to some of the students with whom eventually increase suffiche worked during two weekends in Smithers to build this small lo g h o u s e . they last for centuries.
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