Handcrafted Log Home Designs ~ Log Shells

Sue | April 28th, 2014 - 2:27 pm

For a new log home the first component is the log shell. Other materials such as doors, windows, roofing, and framing lumber are all determined based on the first step– the logs.  When building a good set of log home designs can make the difference between an acceptable and an outstanding log home. Let’s look at the below log shell for the small Trapper log cabin.

Log Cabin Designs

For the Trapper log cabin design we have included two options for the roof system. This is a single level ranch plan, so there is no loft floor joists included with the log shell. The log shell for this cabin includes the four exterior log walls, two log king trusses (on the gable end walls), and a ridge beam.

Trapper HC Log Shell with Log Trusses

Trapper Handcrafted Log Shell with Log Trusses

Mike Lemmon, log home designer– and my personal favorite– has taken some extra time drawing out specific details for this handcrafted log cabin. The handcrafted log home shells come fully precut and ready to stack. Let’s first look at the corner detail. (Click on the sketches to enlarge). Notice now the top side of each log is scarf cut while leaving the lower side of the log full round. This allows the log to stay tight. Next let’s look at the door and window openings. Notice that the top and bottom logs of the windows are flattened. Around the door and window openings is beveled back on both the interior and exterior. Also inside the openings is a vertical slot cut into the logs. This is for the 2×4 keyway.

Moving on to the roof system first let me point out the top wall logs. The top wall logs are flattened with an angled pitch cut. This allows the rafters to sit flush on the top of the logs. Next, we move on to the two king trusses. For this cabin a king truss has been drawn into each gable end. The top of each truss supports the end of the ridge beam. The top cords of the truss and the top edges of the ridge beam have also been flattened to accept the framing materials. While not the least expensive way to build this cabin, this is the best log cabin design for this little cabin.

Log Cabin Design with Smaller Roof System

For our next example we have taken the same log cabin plan, the Trapper, and removed the log trusses. Instead we have a vertical support post at each end which supports the ridge beam. While the webbing of the log trusses is very attractive it is more economical to just have a log ridge beam with two posts. Each log trusses costs about $2,800 to $3,200. Also when a log trusses is built into a gable end special triangular glass has to be custom made to go in between the log work. Framing and wood siding could also be used.

Trapper HC Standard Log Shell

Trapper Handcrafted Log Shell

Log Homes Plans and Designs

With every handcrafted log home the logs come with the log work detailed above. The pitch cutting, beveling and keywaying of doors and windows, and scarf cuts of the corners is very unique to the handcrafted logs. Milled log shells do not come with all of the preparation that the handcrafted log provide. Features like beveling and keywaying of the door and window openings is done on site. Any pitch cutting of the logs or top wall logs is done on site as well. One reason so much work is done ahead of time for the handcrafted logs is innate to the logs themselves. The logs are so large and up to 50 feet in length making them very hard to handle without a crane. The milled wall logs, in contrast, are only about 15 feet in length which make them much easier to handle. It is best to have all of the cutting and shaping of the handcrafted logs done by log home professionals before they leave the log yard. This makes the log shell able to re-assemble on the job site in a matter of days instead of months on site.

Log Cabin Homes

Log cabin homes of either small or large benefit from complete detailed log home designs. The need for good drawings is magnified when you are working with a structure like a log home. We have been amazed at how many  log home blueprints are very minimal in details, leaving much interpretation to be done by the log yard, the builder, and the home owners. So we strive to provide the best log home designs for whatever type of log home you desire.

Cowboy Log Homes



Any projected costs, cost estimates, material costs, and estimated construction/ building costs, are only the opinion of Cowboy Log Homes and are drawn from our experience. Every home is custom tailored to meet our individual client's wants and desires. The construction of a log or timber home is based on two primary costs: material provided by the log home company and construction costs contracted with Cowboy Log Homes as the builder or another builder of the customer's choice. Final costs are obtained and contracted with each respectively. Cowboy Log Homes is simply the "glue" that helps bring these two together to provide a final culmination of a customer's project. * Please note photos and elevations may differ some from accompanying floor plans.
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