Adventures in Building a Log Cabin

By doing all the work themselves, two men managed to build a pair of log cabins for $100 each.

| September/October 1976

  • log cabin
    This log cabin was built for $100.

  • log cabin

How to move two families from city apartments to country cabins for less than a month's rent. 

Not long ago, "home" to us was an apartment overlooking one of Toronto's busiest thruways. It's hard for us to believe now, but we actually paid $200 per month to live there, listen to the constant roar of cars and trucks, and breathe their noxious exhaust fumes!

Today our families live on 20 wooded acres near a river in Nova Scotia. Our dwellings-a couple of 1-1/2-story cabins that we went 50-50 on—cost us less than $100 each to build. We have everything in the way of conveniences we want ... and as far as we're concerned, the cabins are more aesthetic than any apartment building could ever be.

How did we manage to build our homes for so little out-of-pocket money? There's no "trick" involved. All we did was harvest our construction materials directly from nature and perform 100% of the work ourselves.

Before we built our lodges, we carefully surveyed our future homestead. And we came to the conclusion that most—if not all—of our lumber needs would be met if we could [1] utilize numerous blowdowns (trees that'd been laid on their sides by strong winds), and [2] thin some of the timber on the thickly wooded land. We probably wouldn't have to cut any really "good" trees at all!

Next, we did some inquiring and found that there was a small sawmill just three miles from our property. Since the owner of the mill was about as short of help as we were skimpy on cash, it didn't take us long to arrive at a barter: The two of us would work two weeks of afternoons at the mill in exchange for the "no charge" sawing out of our logs.

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