Preparing to build a log cabin

Before a log cabin comes into being, the timber for building it must be sourced. The wood used to create beautiful, cosy log cabins in the UK comes from FSC-certified sustainable sources. For the log cabins of the future, we need to replace the trees we fell today and replant them.

So, how does a company that builds timber constructions find its trees? It mostly starts with a lot of phone calls, trying to find a tree-growing agency with the correct timber species for the project. This can be anywhere in the UK, but vital timber areas include Wales, Scotland, and Devon. For more information on Portsmouth Timber Merchants, go to

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Log cabins are predominantly made from Douglas Fir, Western Red Cedar, Spruce, or Larch. Thanks to its incredible strength, Douglas Fir is the preferred choice of many in the construction industry. It is often used where designs feature long walls or unsupported spans. Douglas Fir also grows with less taper, so that you can use a long section of it. Western Red Cedar is a softwood but a favourite due to its incredible natural resistance to decay.

Once a supplier is located with the correct timber specification for the project, a viewing will generally take the place of the standing timber to ensure it is suitable for the desired task.

When seeing the timber, it’s essential to look for the following attributes:

  • The diameter specifications of the wood
  • How straight the trees are
  • Ideally, there will be a small number of lower branches
  • How much taper is there on the tree from the butt to the top
  • How much of the timber meets the required specification

The trees that meet the required specification are then marked out. To manufacture hand-made log cabins, the trees must also be hand felled. A harvester will leave noticeable track marks along the side of the tree when it’s delimbing, which is no good for a smooth, seamless, and stunning log cabin design.

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Felling refers to the cutting down of individual trees. Historically in logging, the person responsible for this job was called a ‘feller.’ Hand felling is completed using a saw, an axe, or a chainsaw to bring down a tree. The process of limbing then follows this. Also referred to as ‘chasing,’ removing branches from the trunk once the tree has fallen.

Once the timber has been felled and limbed, it can be transported to the site where the log cabins are constructed. So, next time you’re sitting and relaxing in your warm, beautifully crafted cabin, take a look at the timber around you and think of its unique journey from tree to building.

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