How to Build a Primitive Log Cabin

A primitive log cabin can be a hunting getaway, a place to camp out of the elements, or a kid's playhouse. Primitive log cabins are rough-hewn and lack amenities like electricity, plumbing and glass windows. Make sure you have skills with an ax and the strength required to raise logs to create walls. These instructions are for a simple square log cabin. The size of your cabin will be determined by the length of the logs you use.

Build a Primitive Log Cabin

Step 1

Clear the ground where you intend to build the cabin of brush, trees or other obstructions like rocks. Level the ground and then stake out the outline of the cabin.

Step 2

Decide what height you want the cabin to be and use that measurement to determine the number of logs you'll need for the walls. Take an average girth of the logs, multiply that by the height, and then multiply that number by four.

Step 3

Leave the bark on the logs as you cut them. Cut each log two feet longer than the size of the inside of the cabin.

Step 4

Lay two logs parallel to each other on opposite sides of the staked area. Cut notches at each end of two more logs and lay them over the ends of the logs resting on the ground, one foot in from the end. You should now have a square base.

Step 5

Notch and lay logs until you've formed walls that are the height of the doorway. Use a saw to cut out an opening for the doorway and then continue to lay notched logs until you've reached your intended roof height. Use the same process if your plan includes windows.

Step 6

Create a roof by notching logs and laying them across the opening. Chink the spaces between the logs with clay or mud mixed with clippings and let it dry. Add thatching, lay boughs across the roof or nail boards, and shingle them.

Step 7

Chink the gaps in the walls with the same mixture of mud and clippings. Feather it onto the logs about ¼ inch and then smooth it out with a damp rag.