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Why Building a Log Cabin Is a Good Idea

Aug 17, 2007
There may be many reasons for wanting to build your own cabin. I'll give you two that I think are fairly universal: You probably feel sure that you can save money by doing the work yourself. And there is a great deal of satisfaction in doing the work.

Saving money is important to all of us. If you plan your work carefully, have a clear conception of what you are doing, and aren't going to give up halfway through, I'm sure that you can save at least a third of the contractor price for any of the cottages shown in this book. It is possible to save much more. Perhaps that's all the incentive you need.

Let's look at the second reason. As with so many other things in life, the real satisfaction is in the doing. If you have never lifted a piece of timber into place or nailed on a stretch of siding, you've missed something. There's real satisfaction in seeing the puzzle go together, in smelling fresh-cut wood, and in feeling the materials that go into your cabin. You'll find yourself inspecting the color and graining of the pieces you are working with. Wood and stone will have new tones and high lights that you never saw before.

As you begin to feel and work with these raw materials, you'll also become more interested in the craftsmanship of putting the materials together. Instead of covering the underside of the roof joists with just any old material to hide them, you'll consider ways of leaving some of the work exposed so that other people will be able to experience some of the enjoyment you have had in working with the various materials.

Possibly you are thinking about the cottage as a low-cost solution to your permanent housing problem or as a retirement home. All the cottages in this book could be used year-round if properly insulated and heated. But a word of caution: The plans shown are minimal. The kitchens are small, the baths are not large, and some plans will require enclosing porches for sleeping areas. Really decide for yourself how you intend to use the various areas. Summer living is different from winter.

Of course, when the job is all done, you'll find much hidden and real enjoyment in telling your friends how you did it. If you earn your living by a sedentary method, you'll probably tell them that you ate like a horse all the time you were doing the work and that you never felt better. The truth is, you will probably have forgotten about the office for the first time in ages and found yourself creating something that you didn't know you could.

Have I persuaded you to do your own cottage? If I haven't, have a local contractor do the job for you - let him be the healthy one! You can always take over, once you see how much fun it is.
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