Building a Log Cabin With Woman Power

With the right design concept and a bit of gumption, two women are indeed capable of building a log cabin.

| September/October 1979

  • 059 building a log cabin 01 cabin.jpg
    Contrary to the warnings of skeptical acquaintances, two women were more than up to the job of building a log cabin.
    PHOTO: CYNTHIA HILL/ANNE LABASTILLE/NANCY TUCKER
  • 059 building a log cabin 02 cynthia hill.jpg
    Cynthia Hill, posing within a window frame.
    CYNTHIA HILL/ANNE LABASTILLE/NANCY TUCKER
  • 059 building a log cabin 03 nancy tucker2.jpg
    Nancy Tucker, positioning a beam at the corner.
    CYNTHIA HILL/ANNE LABASTILLE/NANCY TUCKER
  • 059 building a log cabin 05  figerglass joints.jpg
    [5] Fiberglass—set between the timbers at the corners—reduces air leaks where the joints don't quite meet.
    CYNTHIA HILL/ANNE LABASTILLE/NANCY TUCKER
  • 059 building a log cabin 04 interior, kitchen.jpg
    The interior of the log structure is rustic and cozy.
    CYNTHIA HILL/ANNE LABASTILLE/NANCY TUCKER
  • 059 building a log cabin 06 floor joists2.jpg
    The floor joists were toenailed in at 16"" intervals.
    CYNTHIA HILL/ANNE LABASTILLE/NANCY TUCKER
  • 059 building a log cabin - diagram.jpg
    Diagram shows the floor plan of the cabin. Hill and Tucker offset the walls and strategically placed doors and windows to minimize the size of logs they would have to lift.
    CYNTHIA HILL/NANCY TUCKER

  • 059 building a log cabin 01 cabin.jpg
  • 059 building a log cabin 02 cynthia hill.jpg
  • 059 building a log cabin 03 nancy tucker2.jpg
  • 059 building a log cabin 05  figerglass joints.jpg
  • 059 building a log cabin 04 interior, kitchen.jpg
  • 059 building a log cabin 06 floor joists2.jpg
  • 059 building a log cabin - diagram.jpg

The warnings of an army of skeptical acquaintances didn't stop my friend, Cynthia Hill, and me from building a log cabin that's sturdy, economical, and—thanks to a few commonsense innovations—a cinch to construct! Despite the "prophets of doom" (who chuckled, "That's an awfully big job. You'll never get it done by winter), we armed ourselves with determination, woman power, and forged ahead.

Cyn and I understood that we knew nothing about building methods, and that we lacked any training in the skills necessary to construct a home. However, we read all the books on log cabin "technology" that we could find and—after creating a miniature model out of toothpicks—felt confident enough to have at it.

The Foundation

Our single biggest home-building expense was the cost of a contractor to pour a full cement basement 28 feet long, 14 feet wide, and 8 feet deep. We gathered all the estimates we could and were very fortunate to find a young, aspiring builder who had constructed homes and concrete block foundations but who'd never poured a basement. The "professional" felt it would be worth his while to do the work—just for the experience—at virtually no profit. So we trustingly gave him $1,000 for the cost of his materials, which was less than half the price all the other contractors had estimated for the job!

Of course, we could have constructed a pier foundation for almost nothing, but time was of the essence. We felt that—considering the low cost of the rest of our dwelling—we could afford to have the best possible understructure.



We were also lucky to run across a local man who had a stand of giant cedars growing right in the way of a planned access road to his property. The fellow cut and stacked the cedar logs for the even sum of $500. (From the start, we had hoped to build with cedar; it's resistant to decay, easy to peel, and comparatively light in weight.)

The cut logs sat for two months—long enough to dry considerably, but not enough time for them to bend. They ranged from 8 to 12 inches in diameter and were beautifully straight. Full of knots, but straight.






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