In traveling through the history of this nation I have come upon a wondrous array of home styles, each to its own and perfect for the environment they were built in. This piece, by Daniel Beard of scouting fame in Shelters, Shacks and Shanties (©1914) describes a rather ornate shelter for survival purposes, but if you have a mind to create your survival homestead for permanent living out of logs, it will be quite the conversation piece.

One of the things we need to bear in mind when developing our preparedness plans is the aspect of shelter. When we build a permanent structure we have to look at how economy of materials as well as quality of structure relate to our needs and capabilities. Building a log home can be the answer to many shelter problems, provided you proceed with care. A temporary cabin can be built quickly with the bark on the logs, but decay and rot will set in. For permanence you need to peel the logs and dry them, as well as taking other steps to make sure you build a quality and safe survival homestead.

To conserve space I haven’t included allof the illustrations here that Beard refers to, but you can easily find the book for reference at many of the free  e-book sites such as Google Books. I suggest you download this book and save it for your survival homesteading library, even if you don’t have plans to build your home as a log cabin. And by the way, I especiallylike the idea Beard gives to build a little scale model out of sticks of your cabin. It will help you to decide how and what to build before expending a great deal of effort in building a real shelter, and then finding out it wasn’t exactly what you wanted.

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HOW TO MAKE A UNIQUE BUT THOROUGHLY AMERICAN TOTEM LOG HOUSE

American Totem Log House

But if you really want something unique, build a log house on the general plan shown by Figs. 251 and 252; then carve the ends of all the extending logs to represent the heads of reptiles, beasts, or birds; also carve the posts which support the end logs on the front gallery, porch, or veranda in the form of totem-poles. You may add further to the quaint effect by placing small totem-posts where your steps begin on the walk (Fig. 253) and adding a tall totem-pole for your family totem or the totem of your clan. Fig. 252 shows how to arrange and cut your logs for the pens. The dining-room is supposed to be behind the half partition next to the kitchen; the other half of this room being open, with the front room, it makes a large living-room. The stairs lead up to the sleeping rooms overhead; the latter are made by dividing the space with partitions to suit your convenience.

Before Building

Take your jack-knife and a number of little sticks to represent the logs of your cabin; call an inch a foot or a half inch a foot as will suit your convenience and measure all the sticks on this scale, using inches or parts of inches for feet. Then sit down on the ground or on the floor and experiment in building a toy house or miniature model until you make one which is satisfactory. Next glue the little logs of the pen together; but make the roof so that it may be taken off and put on like the lid to a box; keep your model to use in place of an architect’s drawing; the backwoods workmen will understand it better than they will a set of plans and sections on paper. Fig. 251 is a very simple plan and only put here as a suggestion. You can put the kitchen at the back of the house instead of on one side of it or make any changes which suit your fancy; the pen of the house may be ten by twelve or twenty by thirty feet, a camp or a dwelling; the main point is to finish your house up with totems as shown by Fig. 253, and then tell the other fellows where you got the idea.

Peeled Logs

For any structure which is intended to be permanent never use the logs with bark on them; use peeled logs. When your house is finished it may look very fresh and new without bark, but one season of exposure to the weather will tone it down so that it will be sufficiently rustic to please your fancy, but if you leave the bark on the logs, a few seasons will rot your house down, making it too rustic to suit any one’s fancy.

Lay up the pen of this house as already described and illustrated by Figs. 229, 233, etc., and when the sides and front walls have reached the desired height, frame your roof after the manner shown by Fig. 49 or any of the other methods described which may suit your fancy or convenience, but in this case we use the Susitna form for the end plates, which are made by first severing the root of a tree and leaving an elbow or bend at the end of the trunk (Fig. 264). This is flattened by scoring and hewing as is described and illustrated under the heading of the Susitna house. The elbows at the terminals of the end plate are carved to represent grotesque heads (Fig. 253). The house when built is something like the Wyoming olebo (Fig. 236), but with the difference which will appear after careful inspection of the diagram. The Wyoming olebo is a one-story house; this is a two-story house. The Wyoming olebo has a roof built upon a modified plan of a Kanuck; this roof is built on the American log-cabin plan, with the logs continued up to the top of the gable, as are those in the Olympic (Fig. 240). But the present house is supposed to be very carefully built; to be sure, it is made of rude material but handled in a very neat and workmanlike manner. Great care must be used in notching and joining the logs, and only the straightest logs which can be had should be used for the walls of the house. The piazza may need some additional supports if there is a wide front to the house, but with a narrow front half, log puncheons will be sufficiently stiff to support themselves.

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