My dad and I had talked about building a log cabin for a long time. We finally decided to do that in the late '70s on lakeshore property I owned adjacent to the family farm in Carlton County.
We decided to build the 16-by-28-foot cabin in the stockade style, using wood harvested on our farm or in the area (including balsam fir, cedar, white pine, spruce and tamarack). We used pieces of steel and iron that we found when taking down old buildings on a farm, bringing strength to the footings and foundation especially in the corners after making sure that everything was square. Dad peeled most of the balsam fir logs that we had bought from a local wood hauler. He took them afterward to a local sawmill to be flattened on each side to join the adjacent logs. We selected large logs for the corners and had them flattened at 90-degree angles to receive the logs from either side. Still, it left a rounded outside corner. Joists were made from balsam fir from our farm as well as for the floor once it had been planned. Rafters were made from spruce and tamarack (not a good choice) that had to be flattened on one side to receive the roof boards. White cedar was used for bracing, and we made the front door out of white pine from our farm. A concrete slab was laid under the floor, and a barrel stove made by a local artisan was installed as the heat source.
The cabin has served our family and friends well as a hunting, fishing and getaway place for more than 40 years. A journal has been kept since the beginning that includes all sorts of entries from families and friends.
Norm Hanson, Roseville