Building with Logs: Log Framing

If you're long on logs but short on cash, consider these four practical homestead projects, including log rail fence, hoisting derrick, swing set, pole shed, diagrams, endless possibilities.

| March/April 1985

Several years ago, my family's back-to-the-land dreams came true when we moved onto a chunk of rural acreage in Utah. There was a house on the property, but neither outbuildings nor fencing — both of which would be needed for the menagerie we planned to assemble. Fortunately, one thing the place did have was a large stack of peeled pine logs left behind by the previous owners. The logs were all exactly 24 feet long and ranged from 4 to 12 inches in diameter.

After getting settled into our new home, I began mentally casting about for ways to construct the fencing, outbuildings and other homestead structures we'd need, using, as much as possible, the materials I had on hand ... meaning that big stack of pine logs.

But there was one small problem with the idea of building with logs: Although I had construction experience and was familiar with standard framing, those logs were round. Obviously, I'd either have to mill them into lumber — which was out of the question — or find some way to use the logs "in the round" to build the structures I needed.

I discovered the solution to my problem one day as I was driving through our valley. A neighbor had recently built a log rail fence, and the unusual method of construction caught my eye: The logs weren't attached to the sides of the posts, as I would have expected, but were somehow suspended between them.

I stopped for a closer look and was delighted at what my inspection revealed: My neighbor had drilled holes into the ends of his log rails and bored matching holes horizontally through the upright posts. He then used pins made of lengths of 1-inch-diameter galvanized pipe to peg the rails to the posts.

Since then, I've worked extensively with this unique log-framing technique, and I've found it to be both easy to work with and inexpensive. Once you collect a few basic tools — an electric drill or hand auger and bits, a handsaw or chain saw, a hacksaw or bolt cutters and a sledge (or the back of a maul) for driving in the metal pins — you're in business.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: September 14-16, 2018
Seven Springs, PA

Whether you want to learn how to grow and raise your own food, build your own root cellar, or create a green dream home, come out and learn everything you need to know — and then some!


Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

Money-Saving Tips in Every Issue!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard