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Thread: Building a Log Home By Myself... Is it possible?

  1. #1
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    Building a Log Home By Myself... Is it possible?

    Hello All,

    I've been browsing the forums this last week and have been attempting to catch up on the last six years worth of information posted here. I'm definitely one of you in the making I wish I could have enrolled for the Nov 12/13 class but I'm a few hundred dollars short of being able to afford the entire trip. So I signed up for the class alert and will definitely be in the next class (if the world doesn't end in 2012, that is). I was given a small (very, very small 10,100 square feet) property near a lake and hope to build a 1600 sqft log cabin there shortly after taking the class. I think that's about it for my brief introduction.

    Other than the idea that my log home project would be open to 'volunteers' to exchange help for hands-on experience, it is most likely that I will be attempting this project solo. I've brought it up with my family and friends and have already been ridiculed and made fun of for even entertaining such 'ridiculousness'. I'm 30, female, and petite. I know being a woman has nothing to do with it since I read the link that someone posted about Dorothy Ainsworth http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/ainsworth27.html. I've also watched the documentary on Dick Proenneke's solo Alaska experience and how he built his log cabin solo.

    But from a lot of your blogs and photos it seems that there is a significant amount of heavy machinery involved and that there is generally more than one person involved. I know from the FAQs that I should be able to build a log cabin with tools that are small enough to fit in the back of the trunk of a car and that I should be able to do it by myself (though not as easily as with two or more people).

    Has anyone here built a log home solo?

    Has anyone here built a log home using nothing but the tools that are small enough to fit in the back of a trunk?

    Thanks a Bunch,
    Jane

  2. #2
    LHBA Member Thomas Pannell's Avatar
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    Jane,
    Thanks for that link to the Ainsworth article. It's a great read. She's quite an adventurer, because that's what you have to be to do what we're all planning to do. You can definitely build it yourself and from the trunk of your car if that's what you have available. The power equipment helps a lot and makes things faster, but is not necessary. When you take the course it will become very clear. Also when you take the course and get into the members blogs you will see that you won't be alone unless you want to be. There are a lot of people who will be interested in helping you out, some for experience and some for the sheer pleasure of the adventure. What part of the country will you be building in?

  3. #3
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    Hi Thomas,

    I'm in the Catskills area of New York. There's a woman here somewhere who moved from Florida to the Adirondack region of NY (which is close to me) that I'm trying to track down so I can email her. I'd love to be able to spend some time volunteering on her log home if she's still in the process of building.

    I am definitely a determined adventurer I seriously DON'T want to go at this project alone but the sheer disbelief in the faces of those closest to me when I proclaimed this as my next goal was incredibly heart breaking.

    Thanks for the reply and encouragement

  4. #4
    LHBA Member spiralsands's Avatar
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    Jane, Ainsworth did not actually build by herself. If you read those articles carefully, she had a son and a boyfriend helping her. I am a single woman who is aiming to build. I went to the class nearly 3 years ago after buying land in Central NY and I am bit by bit working my way to my goal. Since going to the class I gutted and rebuilt a bathroom in my Florida house and replaced all the windows by myself and built a beautiful shed by myself to make the house sell. Sold the house and moved to NY in December of last year to be nearer my property and have been doing work on the property, saving money, paying off debts and collecting tools and materials for my build. I don't plan to do it all alone. I know I'll need help along the way sometime but I don't worry about it right now. I'll deal with that when I get to it.

    Don't worry about whether you can do it. You CAN do it. Take that for granted. You just have to learn how. Start by learning about tools and developing a few skills. I was the worst carpenter in the world when I started this but after I finished my shed, I got compliments from men who said that I did a better job than most men they knew. The only reason that you doubt your ability is because you, as a woman, were not socialized to do this kind of work. You have to relearn what culture has taught you about your abilities. You have to overcome fear. You have to overcome a sense of failure when you make mistakes.

    Many men have the same issues when their skills are not so good. But they don't usually site their gender as a reason for self-doubt. Women are so used to siting their gender as a reason for being unable to do things but that is what our modern culture has done. Think of those pioneer women who rode out on the plains with their husbands and families and helped build those sod homes. Their husbands did not tell them they couldn't build because they were women. The men needed the women to build too.

    I have also been the recipient of people's criticism. But now I think they secretly look at my work with awe. Anyone who would criticize you will keep you from progressing. Forge ahead on your dreams and they will be converted. You may even find them coming to you for advice as I have.

    Frances

  5. #5
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    Frances!

    You were the woman I was looking for! I have a feeling you are one of those life-long friend's I just haven't met yet Do you have a start date in mind for your home?

  6. #6
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    Jane - this build was different style and it was the 2 of them mostly and waaay smaller than your vision but in the read she said she could have done alone but the fun factor would be missing.
    I went to school with a gal who built her own cabin - totally by herself - in the 70's. It took her some time but she was an independant soul and determined as could be. I think it was dang near a 2 year build but in MN that means maybe an actual year of working time. lol As best I recall it was about 30' x 28' - not quite a cube I known. Single story with loft. Nice, Sadly a fire took it down in the early 90's when it burned up a chunk of the BWCA area. Guess you or an old fa^t like me can do it alone if we have the time and energy as others have. But ------


    http://www.alaskaantlerworks.com/Alaska_cabin.htm

  7. #7
    LHBA Member Timberwolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jane Doe View Post
    Hello All,

    I've been browsing the forums this last week and have been attempting to catch up on the last six years worth of information posted here. I'm definitely one of you in the making I wish I could have enrolled for the Nov 12/13 class but I'm a few hundred dollars short of being able to afford the entire trip. So I signed up for the class alert and will definitely be in the next class (if the world doesn't end in 2012, that is). I was given a small (very, very small 10,100 square feet) property near a lake and hope to build a 1600 sqft log cabin there shortly after taking the class. I think that's about it for my brief introduction.

    Other than the idea that my log home project would be open to 'volunteers' to exchange help for hands-on experience, it is most likely that I will be attempting this project solo. I've brought it up with my family and friends and have already been ridiculed and made fun of for even entertaining such 'ridiculousness'. I'm 30, female, and petite. I know being a woman has nothing to do with it since I read the link that someone posted about Dorothy Ainsworth http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles/ainsworth27.html. I've also watched the documentary on Dick Proenneke's solo Alaska experience and how he built his log cabin solo.

    But from a lot of your blogs and photos it seems that there is a significant amount of heavy machinery involved and that there is generally more than one person involved. I know from the FAQs that I should be able to build a log cabin with tools that are small enough to fit in the back of the trunk of a car and that I should be able to do it by myself (though not as easily as with two or more people).

    Has anyone here built a log home solo?

    Has anyone here built a log home using nothing but the tools that are small enough to fit in the back of a trunk?

    Thanks a Bunch,
    Jane
    Hello Jane,

    First off, you are awesome. No seriously. You have the right attitude and drive. It's perfectly normal to have doubts and fears starting out. You will soon be a great LHBA member.

    WHEN (not if ) you take the class, if they still show it, there is a video that includes a lot of fottage of a woman who was at one of Skips original hands on courses, when she started, she could barely drive a nail. She went on to build a whole bunch of cabins (5, 6, 9, not sure) on some property she owned. Believe me, there is more than one way to skin that cat.

    Welcome aboard. You CAN do this!
    As a whole, the LHBA system (and it is a system) of building, is simplicity at it's core, longevity at it's heart and strength throughout.

    Build to your need, and....desire, and.....ability. And be secure in your decision.

    http://picasaweb.google.com/parent.j...gHomeBuilding#

  8. #8
    LHBA Member spiralsands's Avatar
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    Funny! I was writing my post when you wrote that about finding me! I did not want to insinuate that there were not other women who built their own homes but I think the Ainsworth story is just a little misquoted about her doing it alone. I don't intend to everything 'alone' for a few really big reasons. First of all, I want to get into the house in this lifetime. Second, I'm not doing that ridge pole balancing act because I am cluck-cluck-CHICKEN! when it comes to heights. I know a great young man who knows a few other great young men who need work. They are going to do that high stuff for me. Get the roof on or any other stuff I don't wanna do. It'll still be me building though, right?

    I only got up to NY last December the day before Xmas and had to travel with my job most of the spring so I didn't get out to Winterwood until mid-June. Then I had to hire someone to brush-hog the two badly neglected fields. Then I had trouble with my brush cutter. Took me weeks of trying to repair it before I went and bought an industrial size Husqvarna to replace it. Finally got to brush cutting to clear around the pond before it got out of control and to determine where the water was flowing in the stream. I have major stream issues and need to deal with them before I could cross the stream with logs. I have about 13 acres or so of forest on the other side of the stream with fantastic trees but will need to deal with the stream issues before I get a logger out there to cut some trees for my build. So this year I kinda lost a lot of time with these different issues.

    Also, I have no where to stay out there, like a camp or anything so I am forced to drive home everyday. When one does this sort of project with a partner, you have 2 people coming up with ideas and such. But since I have to do all the thinking, it takes me a lot longer to come up with ideas. I need to build myself a camp. To do that I need power. To get that, I need a building permit. It's like the chicken and the egg routine. Do I put my shelter on piers or pour a slab? Need footers or do I put it on skids like I did my shed in Florida? Decisions, decisions!

    Winter's setting in now so I probably have to put off any more site work on the stream till next spring. I need to get part of the stream excavated so it will not jump the banks. I also need to build a bridge over a particular section. I work with a guy who did 4 tours of duty in Afghanistan and he showed me pics of a bridge he built over a river there. The one I need to build is gonna be a lot smaller but the principles are the same. So next year it'll be camp building and bridge building. If you want to get some construction experience in, you'll be more than welcome!

    Frances

  9. #9
    LHBA Member loghousenut's Avatar
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    Jane,

    I really, really enjoy working alone. That said, there are some things a fat ole man who freezes into a statue when he gets too high on a ladder can't do alone. I am fortunate to have a Son who can be buffaloed into thinking he likes being 70% of the log homebuilding team. If it weren't Jake it would be someone else doing the stuff that one person can't do alone.

    Don't worry too much about it. I can't imagine a single gal with a personality so vile that she can't find a way to get some help building her own log home. If this LHBA thing turns you on it'll happen. It's kinda like a terrible drug addiction... It'll affect the rest of your life.

    Take the class. You'll fit right in with this crowd.



    PS... Dorothy Ainsworth didn't build a log home. She built two. Alone or with help, she made the sacrifices and changed her lifestyle however it had to be changed to make a seemingly impossible dream come true. Sure she used little dinky logs that weighed a lot less than my logs but most of them were too heavy to lift. In class you'll learn how to use your brain to lift things that are too heavy for your body to lift. That's what separates us from the lesser primates.






  10. #10
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    LMAO LBN - great chimp my man. Looks just like my BIL (ducking for cover)

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