Making a Living Building Log Cabins

How Trooper Tom Emonds became financially independent building log cabins, including floor layout of his log mansion, and chart with approximate material costs for a practical two-floor house.

| November/December 1986

How I built eight houses and became financially independent building log cabins.(See the image gallery for diagrams of log cabin building directions and building costs).

Making a Living Building Log Cabins

My situation was this: I'd just gotten home from spending 1968, '69, and '70 with a band of marines in a crazy Asian war. It wasn't easy to drop back into America in the early '70s. Vietnam wasn't a real popular thing to have done, and a high and tight haircut was a real turnoff to most people.

They say busy hands are happy hands, so I decided to spend some time with myself—building. I'd saved a little money (not much), but getting a construction loan proved to be impossible. Low-interest loan programs for low-income housing weren't available to veterans, because we were eligible for veteran loans . . . at six times the interest rate.

The real problem, though, proved to be my job: After the three-year Asian interlude, I'd gone back to smoke jumping for $4 per hour before taxes. Parachuting into forest fires is seasonal work and is considered high-risk. People behind desks decided that my government job was too undependable to merit a vet loan. Banks in the area pretty much laughed at me: no "real" job, little money, no conventional plans.

It was a cinch that I was the only one who was going to bankroll my therapy of building log cabins. Despite my lack of funds, I did have a couple of valuable assets:

1. Time—lots of it. Smoke jumping kept me real busy in the summer, but the government laid me off every winter.

7/6/2016 7:09:28 PM

I want to build a subdivision of log home : how do I start or what kind of land do I look for? Thanks , Debora

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


Next: April 28-29, 2018
Asheville, NC

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!