The Making of the Cabin
Before there was the house, there was a dream and that dream started with Moses. He had a dream to build that a high quality hand-scribed cabin from Alaska logs. Every good cabin starts with its logs. In Alaska, this is the real first challenge. Moses was looking for logs that were 45’ long with a diameter from 18-20” to no less than 10 inches.
In Alaska, this can be very challenging because the harsh environment limits the size of the trees that grow that large. And for this house he needed 56 logs to build the house (not counting roof rafters and log trusses on the inside). From Kenai, to Niniski, Nenana to Fairbanks to Talkeetna, the logs were hand picked from around the state. Even then he still bought a lot of logs that had to be gotten rid of.
Once the logs were found and purchased, each log is then peeled with a draw knife. You sit with a draw knife and pull along the log, then you roll it and peel it again. Roll and peel again, until you are left with the raw wood underneath. It then has to be sanded. After this, you set them one atop the other and then look along the contours of the log, then hand scribe the logs to nestle one on top of the other. It takes hours to hand scribe one log. It can easily take one day for a whole log.
Once all the logs have been scribed the logs were hauled from Talkeetna to the build site in Palmer. With a boom truck that had a crane, each log was painstakingly reassembled on top of eachother. The process took a whole day, working through the night to get it done.
The work doesn’t stop there, when building log cabins, you have to consider how the wood will shift as it dries. A house can shrink up to three inches during the drying process, so you have to build the plumbing and the trim with slip joints and hidden joints to adjust for this shrinkage.
This style of building is a labor of love and meticulous care, especially the interior. The interior is covered in redwood. Moses handcrafted redwood diamonds throughout the house, crafting and inserting them directly into the wall. The handrails and stair rails are made from diamond willow. They call it diamond willow because of its characteristic contrasting colors of red and white and the irregularity of the wood’s shape that appear often as diamonds within the wood that is caused by a fungal infection. It can be very hard to find and collect. Moses was fortunate enough to find an old gentleman selling his 30+ year collection from all over Alaska.
Moses couldn’t have done this work without the help of our family and lots of patience and time. It is a truly Alaskan experience to visit. You can view this labor of love on your next visit.