Watch this timelapse of a guy single-handedly building a log cabin the woods


I have produced perfect boards by riving logs with wedges and a shorty sledge and planing them afterwards. The planing step is insanely tedious with a hand plane, and would have been done historically by apprentices, with a running plane when possible. But generally you wouldn’t plane any smoother than needed for the project because it is such a mindnumbingly lengthy effort.

I never found a written reference to teach me how to rive out boards, but it turns out it’s mostly a matter of hands-on experience anyway.

Most wood is hardened by firing (thus, the famous “fire hardened spear”, armament of revolting peasants everywhere) which makes it less permeable to water and also to some insects and other wood-destroying organisms. If there are borer eggs or fungus in the wood, which is often the case in green logs, it can kill those as well.

Do it! Mud is a great building material, and it gets better with straw tread into it.



Very nice. That’s the stuff right there. It’s the difference between a how to make bread video and a video of a farmer who milled their own wheat, captured the wild yeast, and baked their bread in their homemade clay oven. One is interesting and informative and the other is an epic illustration of humanities capabilities.

Poo. Poo is the answer. Gross? Maybe. But it will do the job of binding than silt, sand, and straw.


He won’t approve comments for moderation until he has invented the home computer and wireless internet which, at his pace, I imagine he’ll have done by Q3, 2026


reminds me of a Joe Rogan bit…


Thanks to @anotherone and @polizzi for spreading the word on Dick Proenneke and his amazing 30 years up at Twin Lakes. If you wanna see how it’s done, spend the hour to watch Alone in the Wilderness – your local library pbly has the DVD, or it’s $22 here.

I’m only allowed to punch the heart button for your posts once, so this:



ETA proper marking of BBers


The Primitive Technology guy is a fucking genius.


Nice, now make 100 more of them, and three times the length! LOL

Cheapest way to roof are galvanized, corrugated steel panels that you can get at the lumber yard. They are about 10 bucks for an 8 foot by 3 foot section.

But those are not as strong as the $20 pressed rib steel variety:

Nail them in the valley or nail them on the peaks? Doesn’t matter, as long as you use washer nails (or screws).

I’ve never built with cob, so no advice there. If you have bad dirt, go to a garden center and see what they could deliver for your project. I built a straw bale barn years ago with friends, but I never did it again. Always seemed like a cool way to build and have a cheaply insulated structure.

That’s not even an apt comparison. Guy builds this freakin amazing log cabin, by hand with no power tools, but you don’t like what he did with the roof, so basically to hell with the whole thing, wah wahhhh sad trombone I don’t liiiiikkkkkkkke it. That’s what I heard you saying. I went into this long explanation why being sentimental about milled lumber is ridiculous and even gave you another video to watch the guy split his own shakes, but you are still so disappointed about this cabin. That’s what’s confounding to me… the Internet is for every whiner to whine about what they don’t like. What about concentrating on the cool stuff like

guy builds amazing cabin off the grid with no power tools


Who cares if the roof isn’t hand split shakes. What he did was still amazing. I wouldn’t have built the roof the way he did either. I would have found a way to haul steel panels and rolls of insulation up there because they will last longer, insulate better and let the snow slide off. But I’m not going to claim it’s like watching a guy put a kit together. That’s ridiculous. You try hand building one of these things like I have. It takes an unbelievable number of hours and you get about halfway in and you are actively looking for every shortcut you can find to make this thing come together faster. I know I did. It took me 5 years to build mine. I thought I’d be done in a summer. Hah!


I’m actually working on about a 40’ one, but I have to wait for better weather. I lost a 70’ black walnut and I need to rebuild my deck and I can’t get beams longer than 24’ so I’m making my own main beam.

Roofing panels, if you want dirt cheap and quick then yes galv corrugated, but don’t overlook the new(ish) clear polycarbonate panels, they are quite awesome.

Nail the valleys? Heresy. You are a part of the Rebel Alliance and a traitor!


I’ll see what they have at ReStore, but I really want to see how far I can get with all the odds and ends I have around the house, including several chunks of plywood and the leftovers from when we had our roof replaced 5 years ago. I’m seriously considering secondhand boogie boards, which are a glut on the market around here; they’re waterproof and you can buy them for a buck apiece at yard sales. The garden store won’t want to talk to me, because the thing I’m short on for cob is clay to bind everything, and the best source of that would be the art department at the local college, or maybe the artists commune up the hill.


If you are anywhere near Houston, I will gladly help you hew it this spring. I have my own hewing axe & other stuff.

I thought about the polycarbs, but I wonder about discoloration due to sun exposure.

Yes, you can nail in the valley. It’s easier. The panels are 3.17 feet wide. They are supposed to let you put a panel over 18" on center purlins, so that you can nail on the peaks. Well, good luck with that. Your purlins have to be perfectly aligned, and the previous panel you put up has to be perfectly aligned and everything must be just so. And when you nail on the peak, it deforms the panel just a bit when you get the nail snug against it. Well, you know what? Fuck all of that. There is but one solution.

The dark side.

Vader nails in the valley, exclusively.

I propose nailing anywhere ya damn well please.


What about cut up aluminum cans? I roofed a chicken coop with them. I made an aluminum can shingle press. Then nailed them up like cedar shakes. They don’t corrode. But you need a million of 'em.


Hmmmm, interesting. I already pick up the run over cans in the street and recycle them; this would just cut out the middleman. We have hard drinking friends over frequently, so accumulating cans isn’t hard, but I’m not sure they’ll be cheaper than shingles (or boogie boards!) :smiley:


WEAR GLOVES. Aluminum cans are friggin sharp!!!

And I do like the boogie board idea. That would be awesome. How will you fasten them so they don’t fly up in wind?


PL construction adhesive, baby! That stuff is great; I used it to hold together cement blocks for piers so I could backfill them with rebar and cement, then a layer of SBC overall. If the house leaves in a hurricane, those posts will still be there.


Just roof with PL construction adhesive!!! LOL

#37 The term “Shou-Sugi-Ban” is Japanese (焼杉板) and literally translates to “burnt cedar board”. The term is commonly used to describe the centuries old Japanese technique of charring “Sugi” (cedar) planks used for residential siding, fencing, and decking projects.


I’ve seen them used as a rather ingenious ducting solution before. for an indoor greenhouse


Came here to chime in on him. Thanks!


I’m descended from a lot of people who used to do this all the time.