One of the reasons we love log cabins so much, is that we get to play with grown-up blocks for a living. Once you’re out there in the wilderness, looking out from your porch at the forest floor, it hits you that you can do anything– there’s nothing you can dream of that you can’t build. This leads to a whole batch of new opportunities for experimenting with building techniques and materials.
Take a look at this beautiful wood floor, for example. Assembled much like a terracotta-tile floor would be, the builders instead used cross-cut ends of logs as the tiles! An excellent use of what would otherwise be wasted wood. If you’re looking for inspiration for your building projects, this is an excellent place to start– there are a lot of materials left over after construction is finished, which can be repurposed to make beautiful additions like this.
When you start a project, it’s important to consider the nature of the materials you’re using
Of course, whenever you start a building project, it’s important to consider the nature of the materials you’re using. As with any project out in the wilderness, you should expect to work around a whole separate set of challenges than projects in more urban and suburban environments. For example, what wood are you using as a tile? If the answer is “Whatever’s around,” you get half credit, and a whole bunch of termites and mold. However, if you’ve got a good idea of what type of wood you’re using, then you stand a much better chance of having your projects stay around for a good long while.
Did you know, for instance, that hardwoods can be insect and fungus-resistant?
It’s got to be the right cut of wood, though, as cuts that are largely sapwood tend to be more susceptible to rot and pests. Hardwood will last much longer for a project like this, though–as with all organic building materials–you’ve got a certain lifespan in which to work. Take a look at resources like this University of Minnesota outdoor construction guide for more information on specific types of wood and their uses. Likewise, make sure to read up on different applications of wood; a decorative cedar is used for different things than a structural heartwood redwood! Likewise (on a more serious note) pressure-treated woods may work well for outdoor structures, but avoid using them in gardens as the chemicals used to make them pest-resistant are often poisonous to humans.
As with any other project, though, make sure to experiment! You’re not out in the wilds to follow the rules– you bought a cabin so you could get away from all that. There’s a difference between learning best-practices and limiting yourself to what you know how to do, and that difference often comes with playing with grown-up building blocks. Be safe, read up, but try new things! And, as always, feel free to contact us with any construction or preservation questions you may have.