Canadian Woodworking

A Home in the Woods — Part 4

Author: Don Wilkinson
Illustration: Mike Del Rizzo
Published: April May 2015
wood chuckle
wood chuckle

I’m Baaaaaaack!
I realize this may be a disappointment to some, but following the release of the last issue, when my fan realized I would no longer be writing for Canadian Woodworking, a stunned silence was heard round the world (I’m not sure how that works, but regardless).


Word spread quickly from ear to ear and shop to shop and somehow, somewhere, a major letter campaign was launched pleading with me to reconsider and I was inundated with two letters and a teletype (New Brunswick). One of the letters was writ­ten by my wife, I think. The other might have been from my editor who didn’t want to ask other writers to take my place. He doesn’t like to be laughed at.

Once I had wiped a piece of tear from my eye, I sat down with my wife and pon­dered long and hard over my decision. Apparently I decided it would be better for all involved (meaning her) that I con­tinue writing my column, we would stay married and peace would reign across the known universe. And possibly a few not yet discovered. (I think she’s afraid I’d stay home and bother her.)

Now that that’s out of the way, I sup­pose I’d better write the actual column before I get fired. I’m already a full week past the deadline, but it’s less than a week before Christmas as I write this, and I’m hoping my editor will forgive me. ’Tis the Season, and all that.

In this issue I’m hoping to wrap up the tale of building my log home in the wilds of the Yukon. I probably won’t, but I’m hoping. Writing about it is taking longer than the actual construction.
In the last segment I mentioned that all attempts at lifting 20,000 pound logs using a cable strung between trees didn’t work as well as the books promised it would, and I couldn’t afford a crane or forklift. What I could afford was a beat up old Chevy 4×4 with a winch I had cleverly installed in the back. I ran the winch cable to the top of a pole I’d erected in the center of the cabin site and then down to whichever log I needed. Or more likely, whichever was handiest. At the top of the pole the cable ran through a snatch block, so-called because I had snatched it from a friend’s garage when he wasn’t looking.

I next leaned a pair of trees against the house as a ramp for the chosen wall log to slide up. The entire setup worked a treat and I was soon happily lifting those massive logs high into the air, where one or more of the coolies quickly swung it into place before I could drop it on them. (The winch brake didn’t work well.)

Once on the wall, I began to scribe each log to the one below. For those of you who don’t know what scribing is, it’s a means of tracing the contours of one log onto the surface of the next using a very sharp and pointy tool that would much prefer to skewer you than trace a line on a log. It looks like one of those geometry compasses you make circles with in high school math class. Or so I’ve been told. It seems I missed that class.

Once the entire length of the log has been scribed inside and out, it needs to be turned over and the piece of wood between the lines removed. This is done using a chainsaw, a tool designed by surgeons specifically to provide lots of work for themselves so they make more money, and can then hire people like me to build them a log house. Hopefully before we’re in need of their services.

After the wood is removed, and the corners notched, the log needs to be turned over, put into place and inspected to see where exactly you screwed up. Which you have!

And so have I. It looks like you’ll just have to come back next issue to see what happens next. It’s exciting, trust me! After all, have I ever lied to you before?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Other articles to explore
Username: Password: