Montana Log Homes

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Building a log home pioneer style

As you might expect, I hear from people who have all kinds of interesting ideas about planning or building their dream log home. The vast majority typically work with a log home manufacturer as few of us have the time, tools or inclination to cut down our own trees and construct a log cabin the way the pioneers had done. But then there is Donny, “The Tree Slayer”…

I received an email and some pictures from Donny telling me about his lifelong dream to build a log home in the fashion of our forefathers. Yup, Donny is cutting his trees, prepping the foundation and doing the construction himself. I thought I’d share his story with you because it is so fascinating to see his progress and share in his excitement.

It started out when I was in high school. I would go from Texas to Colorado for a ski vacation and I would see these amazing looking log homes. I’m not talking about those log homes you see that look like the think was built out of landscape timbers. One semester in college I took off to go work up there and I ate at the number one rated restaurant in Colorado called “The Ranch”. This is a 1930’s homestead log home that is the most amazing place I have ever seen.


After seeing this I got online to find a log home class I could take. I went up to Washington state to take a class from Skip Ellsworth a 4th generation log home builder. He taught me how to build a log home using real logs I myself would eventually cut down and hoist up using block and tackle that fits easily in the trunk of my car. I was amazed that I could erect my log house using tools that could fit in my trunk.

So here I am 15 years later with my own piece of property and the money to spend on timber, a chain saw and a pier cement foundation. Everything is looking good so far. I was able to get my logs for free from my cousin’s husband and the labor and hauling came to around $3,000. The foundation cost about $2500 including cement, rebar and forms. I would say this has been a minimal investment so far. Next stage for me is to hoist my logs onto the foundation using a block and tackle setup. This will consist of 4 vertical poles at the corners of the house with triple block pulleys at the tops and bottoms. I will then be able to pull each log up onto the foundation one at a time.

The whole process of building this log house is fascinating to me and very enjoyable. I will be adding more blog posts about each stage of the project since I’m starting back up on the log house construction project in one week. You can find out more about my project at Donny’s Myspace Blog.
As Paul Harvey says, “soon you will hear the rest of the story“. Donny intends to keep his story alive on his blog at “TheTreeSlayer“.

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