The Cedar Log Cabin
The Story of Living In & Restoring a Settler's Log Cabin
One of the first jobs that I thought should be done inside, was to reinforce the logs in the doorway from the main room to the add-on. Someone had just taken a chainsaw and cut the logs in a shape of an opening. The logs could move side to side, and really didn't look great. My idea was to use 2X6 lumber on both sides as the “trim” around the door, and run half inch threaded rod through each log and trim. Then, using washers and bolts, tighten it all into a straight and solid doorway.
Showing the opening between the main room on the right, and the add-on on the left. Someone had just taken a chainsaw to the logs to make an opening and left it without reinforcing.
The logs were badly out of line.
Starting the reinforcing with the threaded rod.
When all rods were in and tightened, the wall straightened up and felt very solid. Looking straight on it looked good, but when you could see the edges, it still looked like a mess.
The next job was to fill the ends with cement to match the chinking in the logs. First, I had to nail in hundreds of galvanized roofing nails for the cement to hang on to. The next job was the cement itself.
I wanted a door in that opening, but a problem was the entire cabin was heated by a single wood stove in the main room. If a solid door was closed, the heat would not circulate into the back room. The solution was to make a door that would allow air to circulate. I wanted to make the door look like it had been original with the cabin, so I used cedar branches and small trees from the property, peeled the bark, cleaned them and made the door on my homemade wood bodgers bench.
This one doorway and door was a big undertaking. There wasn't a single straight or plumb line anywhere, and the door itself was a tedious project. Getting all the horizontal cedar sticks into the side rails with the glue at the same time was very frustrating. Just gathering, steaming and removing the bark and carving all the ends for the horizontal pieces took a surprisingly long time.
I started the doorway project in the fall of 2006 and it was done by the spring of 2009. It was done in conjunction with the rest of the cabin. In the end though, it was worth it. I loved to look at it, the heat circulated to the back room, and it was one of the first things people noticed when coming in the front door. People even took pictures of it. I understand it was something that helped sell the cabin when it came time, according to feedback from the estate agent.
Doorway edges filled with cement while chinking the logs.
Making the cedar branch door on the wood bodgers bench.
The finished door in doorway.
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