Small log cabins are simply smaller log homes which still hold the quality, uniqueness, and beauty of their larger counterparts. It is a huge misconception that log cabins are made from inferior products. This is not the case. Instead our handcrafted log cabins and machine cut cabins are built from the same materials that a sprawling 20,000 square foot luxury log home is made from. Smaller does not mean less in anything except square footage and total building cost of the home.
Most of the smallest log cabins start out in the 300 square foot range. Our smallest stock log home floor plan is the Cessna, weighing in at 320 square feet. The smallest footprint of a cabin would be the Firefly. It measures a mere 16 feet by 16 feet 6 inches. Many times these smallest of cabins are designed for specific purposes instead of individual home owners. The Firefly was originally conceived as a remote outpost cabin, complete with log ladder to a small sleeping loft overhead.
Another unique line of our small log cabin plans would consist of the “Airplane Models” (featured in the >1000 square foot section of our Log Home Plans page). Specifically these cabins include in order by square footage, the Cessna, the Beaver, the Matson, the Beechcraft, and the Otter. Someone who is familiar with light aircraft might soon realize that these names are also names for bush planes. These cabins were constructed so that they could be transported in loads by the aircraft. Instead of framing and log siding to cover the gable ends of the cabin and framed interior walls, all of this was converted into solid log. So in essence these little cabins are solid log ‘boxes’. The sub-floor, walls, and the roofing are all flow in with Otter airlifts. The cabins also assembled in a matter of days instead of weeks. By all framing being eliminated with the solid log walls, interior walls, and gable ends the small log cabins go right together into their finished state. Also these fly cabins are designed with a square timber ridge pole instead of standard trusses. This also keeps the cabin construction time to a minimum. These cabins are in use extensively as remote hunting cabin kits and fishing cabin kits for fly in outfitters. On the other hand, solid logs everywhere does drive up the cost of an airplane model. For owner of small cabins who are satisfied with standard trusses, framed interior walls, and framed gable ends, then a less costly cabin can be laid out.
Another interesting interesting style of cabin is the Scandinavian Log Cabins or handcrafted log cabins. These are made in the image of the larger handcrafted log homes, just once again on a smaller scale. One of our most popular small cabin plans is the handcrafted Calico. Standing on a footprint of 20×24 with a total square footage of 720, this little cabin is a darling. A handcrafted log truss also decorates the front of this home. Over the years this cabin has served as a getaway cabin, a summer home for one couple, and also for commercial uses. One resort purchased a Calico to act as a guest entrance booth. Another customer fell in love with the design and decided to ship three of these to Fairbanks Alaska and open summer cabin rental business, modifying one to suit his own needs.
With the handcrafted log cabins, there is much intrinsic beauty that makes them far surpass the machine cut log cabins, in the eyes of the owners. Someone would rarely purchase an Eagles Pass cabin plan with loft for their year round residence, but several people have purchase the handcrafted version of it, the Calico. The handcrafted log cabins have the trade mark draw knife pattern to all of the hand peeled logs. The logs all range between 12 and 15 inches in diameter. Scandinavian Full Scribe method is used to craft each log for placement within the walls. The corners are also finished with full saddle notch and our unique diamond saddle notch corners. We also offer the diamond cut nothing pattern and the now very popular Staggered End Flared Corners with either diamond or saddle notching. This is where more of the ends of the logs are preserved when the logs are harvested. Large fluted or flair bases are then incorporated into each wall of the home. A style such as the staggered flaired look gives an extremely rustic look and feel to the home.
There are a few differences between the small cabin kits for each of the machine cut and handcrafted log homes. The handcrafted log cabin packages do not include the first floor sub-floor. This is because the sub-floor should already be in place when the logs arrive. Then the logs can be stacked directly off of the semi and onto the foundation. Logs can become easily damaged if off loaded onto the ground, driveway, or cement. To prevent this from happening we recommend that the sub-floor, whether it is a full basement, crawl space, or cement slab is ready to receive the logs.
With a milled log home the package comes banded in log bundles, so the load can be taken directly off of the truck and left on pallets while the sub-floor is put into place. Machine cut logs are only up to about 15 feet in length while handcrafted logs can reach lengths of 50 feet. A 15 foot log is much easier to handle than a huge 50 foot one with a 13 inch mean diameter. This is why handcrafted log cabins and homes require a crane to be on site until the entire shell and roof system is in place.
Also unique to both styles of our small log homes is our fully pre-cut and pre-drilled electric box holes and wire holes. Also all of the logs are recessed to receive the switch plate covers and outlet covers. So as soon as the shell is in place, and the cabin dried in, the electrician can go to work. Many contractors have smiled hugely when they see the electric box holes and wire holes all ready. The vast majority of the time these box holes have to be cut in with chainsaws and drills. This means that someone is cutting on your new home. Chain saw marks, rough drilled edges, and scarring to the logs are all too common. So it is very reassuring to know that instead our master craftsman cut these into place and hand sand all of the surfaces before the log cabin ever arrives.
One very nice amenity for a log cabin is to have 1×6 pine tongue and groove flooring included with the log cabin kit. Also 1×6 pine tongue and groove can be installed for all of the interior walls, ceilings, and soffits. This removes the need for any drywall finishing over head or on the walls. And having 1×6 T&G on the ceilings only seems right in a log cabin.
For our company we tend to define log cabins as simply floor plans under 1000 square feet. Often log home owners will refer to their home as a ‘cabin’ even when it reaches luxury sizes of 5,000 or even 10,000 square feet. The term cabin just gives a rustic, woodsy, outdoorsy feel that no other word can quite convey. Christmas Cards are wonderful at portraying a cabin by a mountain lake, a small cabin with a horse drawn sleigh tied out front, or a cabin in the midst of a snow storm. Log cabins are a part of Americana. They are part of what people think of and dream of when they are contemplating a trip out west, a weekend getaway, or being 100 miles from the nearest Walmart. Dreams are very real and dreams are the substance that have kept many future log home owners going in the current economy. If you are one of the many who have had their dreams delayed because of economics, don’t despair, your log cabin is still waiting for you. And just perhaps it will make it even a little sweeter when you get to realize your dream and build your small log Cab-In-D-Woods.
** Pictured above is the Queest which was built in Colorado and Idaho.
Thanks as always for reading!
Building Log Dreams,
Mike and Sue Lemmon
Cowboy Log Homes