A Log Building Bibliography

Guide to Literature on Trees, Building Techniques, Restoration, History, Philosophy, and Related Homesteading Areas

Compiled and Edited by Ron Brodigan

Eighteenth Edition, 2024 © Copyrights 1975-2024 Ron Brodigan & Great Lakes School of Log Building. All rights reserved.

Published by:

Great Lakes School of Log Building

ISBN No. B0006P2PD4

* Note: Books and articles are listed by author in alphabetical order. Some works which are out of print may often be secured through a book-finding service on the internet or in used-book stores. I would be appreciative of corrections and suggestions for new items.

Ron Brodigan


An informed approach to building with logs assumes a thorough acquaintance with trees, their growth patterns, geographical locations, and structural insulative characteristics of the various types of wood. A few personal favorites are listed here.

Ahlgren, Clifford and Isabel, Lob Trees in the Wilderness. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984.

Brodigan, Ron, ”Growing Logs for Logbuilders,” in Better Forests, Winter 1996, Publ. by Kathleen Preece, PO Box 432, Grand Rapids, MN 55744.

Collingwood, G. H. and Brush, W.D., Knowing Your Trees . Washington: The American Forestry Association, 1955.

Edlin, Herbert and Nimmo, Maurice, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Trees, Timbers and Forests of the World. New York: Harmony Books, 1978 .

Forester, Jeff, The Forest for the Trees; How humans Shaped the North Woods.St. Paul: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2004.

Neelands, R. W. , Editor. USDA Forest Service. Important Trees of Eastern Forests.

Peattie, Donald Culross, A Natural History of Trees of Eastern and Central North America. Boston: Houghton, 1966. Illustrated by Paul Landacre.

Peattie, Donald Culross, A Natural History of Western Trees. New York: Bonanza Books, 1953. Illustrated by Paul Landacre.

Platt, Rutherford, The Great American Forest . Englewood Cliffs, NJ. Prentice-Hall, 1965.

Sargent, Charles S., Manual of the Trees of North America. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. 1933

Sargent, Charles S., The Silva of North America. 14 Vols. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co. 1891-1902.

Sloan, Eric, A Reverence for Wood. New York: Ballantine, 1965

Stone, Christopher, Should Trees Have Standing? Toward Legal Rights for Natural Objects. New York: Avon Books, 1975

Symonds, George W.D., The Tree Identification Book. New York: M. Barrows & Co., 1958

Log Building Technology, Furnishing, Restoration:

Books on the mechanics of log construction have proliferated in recent years. However, some of the older writings are still among the best. Along with their very lucid ”how to” sections, it would be hard to beat Calvin Rutstrum or Bradford Angier for extraordinary doses of philosophical perspective on backwoods log building. Allan Mackie, Vic Janzen, Dan Milne, and Tom Walker, among others, deal specifically with the best scribe-fit methods in a textbook style.

In my opinion, skills associated with log building cannot be conveyed well in writing, although much of the knowledge can. Books are only supplementary to a course of instruction where one can, in the flesh, be taught the many skills which accompany the use of a log scriber, chainsaw, axe, and the other hand and power tools used in the construction of a log house or cabin.

A complete log builder’s education, whether for home-use or a future trade, must be a blend of reading, formal instruction, and experience in log building and related trades, gained by actually working on various log structures.

  1. Log Building Technology

Aldrich, Chilson Darragh, The Real Log Cabin. NY: MacMillan Co., 1928. Recently republished with valuable supplemental material by Harry Drabik, Hovland, MN. Brabik version incredibly good on log restoration elements & cautions.

Beard, Daniel Carter, Shelters, Shacks and Shanties. New York: C. Scribner’s Sons, 1914, 1972. A classic of the outdoor movement of late 19th & early 20th century.

Brodigan, Ron, ”Build a Log House From Scratch,” Backwoods Home Magazine, No. 9, May June, 1991.

Bruyere, Christian, In Harmony With Nature and Country Comforts. NY: Drake Publ., 1975

Chambers, Robert W, Log Building Construction Manual, River Falls, WI: 2016. The foremost textbook on best log building techniques. Get the new 2016 revised version.

Construction Safety Association of Ontario, Rigging Manual. Information at 416.674.2726.

Hunt, Walter Bernard, How to Build and Furnish a Log Cabin the Easy – Natural Way Using Only Hand Tools and the Woods Around You. New York: MacMillan, 1974. Not particularly useful for building construction, but nevertheless a classic of sorts.

International Log Builders’ Association (ILBA) Log Building Standards for Residential, Handcrafted, Interlocking, Scribe-fit Construction, Lumby, BC, 2000. Presently undergoing a revision to be known by a new title. Go to for a copy of the older version, or to the Chambers book above.

Janzen, Vic, Your Log House , Muir Publishing Co. 4th edition recently published. Contact Schroeder Log Home Supply, Grand Rapids, Minnesota.

Kylloe, Cabins and Camps. Salt Lake City, Gibbs Smith, Publ., 2002

Langsner, Drew, A Logbuilder’s Handbook. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1982. Something of a quasi-classic.

Leitch, William C., Hand-Hewn: The Art of Building Your Own Log Cabin.Chronicle Books, 1976. Typical 1960s-70s back-to-the-land genre.

Mackie, B. Allan, Building with Logs. Prince George, BC, Log House Publ. Co. Ltd. See also Log House Plans, Picture Book of Log Homes, Notches of all Kinds, Log Span Tables, and the more recent account of building in eastern Ontario –The Owner-Built Log House. See also his nine instructional videos published by Daizen Company of Vancouver Island, BC

Mason, Bernard, Cabins, Cottages and Summer Homes. New York: A.S. Barnes Co. 1947. Useful for ideas.

Milne, Dan, The Handbook of Canadian Log Building. Muir Publ. , 1984. Becoming dated and was never revised, but a useful how-to textbook nevertheless.

Rempel, John I., Building with Wood and Other Aspects of Ninteenth Century Building in Ontario. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1967

Sloan, Eric, A Museum of Early American Tools. NY: Ballantine, 1964. Classic on hand tools.

Walker, Tom, Building the Alaska Log Home. Anchorage, AK: Alaska NW Publ. Co. 1984, 1998.

  1. Furnishing

Angier, Bradford and Vena. How to Build Your Home in the Woods. (and many other books).New York: Sheridan House, 1952.

Bruette, William Arthur. Log Cabins and Cottages: How to Build and Furnish Them, by Practical Architects and Woodsmen. 1934.

Carlson, Axel R. Building a Log House in Alaska. Fairbanks: University of Alaska, 1977. Good chapters on permafrost building and furniture construction.

Hunt, Walter Bernard. How to Build and Furnish a Log Cabin the Easy Natural Way Using Only Hand Tools and the Woods Around You. New York: Macmillan, 1974 .

  1. Restoration

Aldrich, Chilson Darragh. The Real Log Cabin. New York: The Macmillan Co., 1928 (written by an architect who built many log and stone structures in the Minnesota backwoods. Also see a newer version edited and annotated by Hovland, MN restoration expert Harry Drabik, who has lived in and restored some of Aldrich’s buildings.)

Hutslar, Donald A. Log Cabin Restoration: Guidelines for the Historical Society.American Association of State and Local History, Technical Leaflet No. 74. Write to them at 1400 8th Ave. S., Nashville, TN 37203.

Friedman, Renee, and Goodall, Harrison. Log Structures; Preservation and Problem Solving. Nashville, Tenn: Association for State and Local History, 1980.(One of the best on restoration – long out of print, but there are copies around – if you look hard.)

Protecting Log Cabins, Rustic Work and Unseasoned Wood From Injurious Insects in Eastern United States. Farmers’ Bulletin No. 2104, USDA, Wash. DC: Government Printing Office, Dec., 1962.

Rempel, John I. Building With Wood and Other Aspects of Nineteenth CenturyBuilding in Ontario. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1967.

Schroeder, Gary. The Log Home Maintenance guide; A Field Guide For Identifying, Preventing & Solving Problems.                                      Woodstock, VT: The Counterpoint Press, 2003

Wood Handbook, US Forest Service Forest Products Laboratory, Madison, WI. Available From US Govt. Printing Office, Wash., DC

Timber Framing:

Benson, Tedd. Building the Timber Frame House. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1980 (and other works).

Benson, Tedd, Building the Timber Frame Home: Design, Construction, Finishing

Graubner, Wolfram, Encyclopedia of Wood Joints. (450 variations on 66 basic wood joints.)

Sobon, Jack, and Schroeder, Roger, Timber Frame Construction, and Build a Classic Timber Frame.

History of Log Construction:

It can be fascinating to trace the development of log building in the northern part of the world from Russia to the Scandinavian cultures, and hundreds of years later, into various parts of North America, old styles and techniques merging with new, according to settlement patterns of the diverse immigrant log builders.

Bealer, Alex W., Photos by John Ellis, The Log Cabin: Homes of the American Wilderness. Barre, MA: Crown Publishing Co., 1978

Bealer, Alex, Old Ways of Working Wood, Barre, MA: Barre Publishing Co., 1972

Benson, David R., Stories in Log and Stone; The Legacy of the New Deal in Minnesota State Parks. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, St. Paul, 2002

Buchar, Robert C., ”The Continental Log House,” Pennsylvania Folklife, Vol. 12, No. 4 (Summer 1962) pp. 14-19

Bugge, Gunnar and Norborg-Schulze, Christian, Stav og Laft i Norge. Oslo: Byggekunst, 1969. Title also in English: Early Wooden Architecture in Norway.(Excellent work on early stabbur and stavkirch construction.)

Clemson, Donovan, Living With Logs: British Columbia’s Log Buildings and Rail Fences. Saanichton, BC: Hancock Publ., 1974. Illustrated by Susan Baumgarten.

Good, Albert H. Park and Recreation Structures. New York, Princeton University Press. A reprint of the National Park Service 1938 edition. (Recently republished by Princeton University Press, this is a comprehensive look at log and stone structures built by CCC, WPA and other programs of the 1930s. Should be part of every log builder’s library.)

Glassie, Henry, ”The Types of the Southern Mountain Cabin,” in Jan V. Brunvand’s The Study of American Folklore. New York: W.W. Norton, 1968. Pp. 338-370

Glassie, Henry, Patterns in the Material Folk Culture of the Eastern United States. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1969

Glassie, Henry, ”A Central Chimney Continental Log House,” Pennsylvania Folklife, Vol. 18, No. 2 (Winter, 1965), pp. 33-39

Gudmundson, Wayne and Winkler, Suzanne, Testaments in Wood; Finnish Log Structures at Embarrass, Minnesota. St. Paul, MN: Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1991

Holan, Jerri, Norwegian Wood; A Tradition of Building. New York: Rizzoli International Publ., 1990. (The best historical treatment so far of Norwegian architecture in wood.)

Hutslar, Donald A., ”The Log Architecture of Ohio,” Ohio History, Vol. 80, Nos. 3 & 4 (Summer-Autumn, 1971), pp. 171-271

Jeffers, Jack, ”Cabins in the Blue Ridge: A Photographic Essay,” Virginia Cavalcade, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Winter, 1975), pp. 116-123

Jordan, Terry G., Texas Log Buildings; A Folk Architecture. Austin & London: University of Texas Press, 1978

Kauffman, Henry J., American Axes: A Survey of Their Development and Their Makers. Brattleboro, VT: Stephen Greene Press, 1972

Klammer, Paul W., ”Collecting Log Cabins: A Photographer’s Hobby,” inMinnesota History. Vol. 37, No. 2 (June, 1960), pp. 71-77

Kniffen, Fred, and Henry Glassie, ”Building in Wood in the Eastern United States: A Time-Place Perspective,” Geographical Review. Vol. 56, No. 1 (January 1966, pp. 40-66

Kniffen, Fred, ”On Corner-Timbering,” The Journal of the Pioneer American. Vol. 1, No. 1 (January 1969), pp. 1-8

LaFontaine, Bruce, Wigwams, Longhouses and Other Native American Dwellings,Dover Publishing, Mineola, NY.

Langsner, Drew and Louise, Handmade: Vanishing Cultures of Europe and the Near East. New York: Harmony Books Crown Publishing Co., 1974

Moogk, Peter, Building a House in New France; An Account of the Perplexities of Client and Craftsmen in Early Canada. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, Ltd., 1977. (Good information on stonework and log pieces-sur-pieces construction in French Canada as well as amusing stories on the ubiquitous contractual disputes.)

Museum of Finnish Architecture, The Language of Wood; Wood in Finnish Sculpture Design and Architecture, 1987

Phleps, Hermann, The Craft of Log Building. Translated by Roger MacGregor. Ottawa, Ontario: Lee Valley Tools, 1982. (A book to read and reread – the best detail drawings and a good overview of European log construction through time.)

Roe, Frank Gilbert, ”The Old Log House in Western Canada,” Alberta Historical Review, Vol. 6, No. 2 (Spring, 1958), pp 1-9

Rosenberger, Jesse Leonard, The Pennsylvania Germans. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1923

Shurtleff, Harold Robert, The Log Cabin Myth. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1939. (A study of the early dwellings of colonists on the East Coast; edited with an introduction by Samuel Eliot Morrison. This book and Weslager’s are basic to an understanding of log use in North America.)

Shemie, Bonnie, Houses of Wood, Bark, Adobe, Snow, Skin, Bones, Hide etc. (a series), Tundra Books. Toronto, Ontario.

Weslager, Clinton Alfred, The Log Cabin in America, From Pioneer Days to the Present. Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1969

Weslager, Clinton A., ”Log Structures in New Sweden During the Seventeenth Century.” Delaware History, V (September 1952) pp. 77-95

Stone Masonry

Basic Masonry Techniques, Ortho Books. San Ramon, CA. (Another basic, well-illustrated work on the whole range of masonry topics.)

Basic Stonemasonry, Sunset Books, Menlo Park, CA, 1996. (An excellent, easy-to-understand, basic introduction to simple stonework, as well as brick, cement block and concrete.)

Fine Homebuilding on Foundations and Masonry. Newtown, CT: Taunton Press, 1990

Kennedy, Stephen, Practical Stonemasonry Made Easy. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: TAB Books, 1988

McRaven, Charles, Building With Stone . Garden Way Publishing, 1989. See alsoStonework; Techniques and Projects . Pownal, VT: Storey Communications, Inc. , 1997

Stone By Design; The Artistry of Lew French. Salt Lake City, Gibbs Smith, Publ., 2005

Related Areas:

  • Chainsaws
  • Tools
  • Stoves
  • Saunas
  • Homesteading issues

All of these could come under a heading of ”rural living.” Included also are some works on other kinds of dwellings. A few of the relevant magazines dealing with these topics are also listed.

Alth, Max and Charlotte, Constructing and Maintaining Your Well and Septic System. TAB Books, 1984

Angier, Bradford and Vena, many titles including How to Stay Alive in the Woods, How to Live in the Woods for Pennies a Day etc. Classics their genre of ”how to.”

Arcand, R. D., Log Building Tools and How to Make Them. Prince George, BC: Log House Publ. Co., Ltd.

Bryere, Christian, In Harmony With Nature and Country Comforts. NY: Drake Publ., 1976

Bryere, Christian, and Inwood, Robert, The New Homesteader’s Handbook. NY: Drake Publ.., 1976

Bubel, Mike, Root Cellaring. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1979

Chainsaw & Crosscut Saw Training Course. Almonte, Ontario, Algave Publishing, 2005. (originally publ. buy USDA Forest Service)

Cook, D., Keeping Warm with an Axe – A Woodcutter’s Manual. New York: Universe Books.

Cooper, Jane, Woodstove Cookery. Garden Way Publishing, 1977

Farmstead Magazine (ed.) The Homesteader’s Manual. NY: Tab, 1983

Foxfire Books. Edited with an introduction by Eliot Wigginton. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1972. Genuine classics if you can find the entire set.

Hall, Walter, Barnacle Parp’s Chainsaw Guide. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1977. Slightly dated, but still a good, basic, humorous initiation to chainsaws.

Holloway, Dennis, and McIntyre, Maureen, The Owner Builder Experience; How to Design and Build Your Own Home. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1986

Johnson, Tom, and Miller, Tim, The Sauna Book. New York: Harper & Row, 1977

Kern, Ken & Magers, Steve, Fireplaces. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1978. (A classic work on fireplaces – long out of print, but a gem.)

Kirkpatrick, Frank, How to Find and Buy Your Business in the Country. Ponal, VT: Storey Communications.

Lee, Leonard., Complete Guide to Sharpening. Taunton Press

Lee Valley Tools, Sharpening Woodworking Tools. DVD, with Leonard Lee.

Logsdon, Gene, Practical Skills: A Revival of Forgotten Crafts, Techniques and Traditions. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1985. The book to have should you ever be thrown on your own resources. Also Marks (below)

Marks, Vic (ed.) Handbook of Rural Skills and Technology. Mayne Island, BC: Cloudburst Press, 1977

McCallagh, James C., The Solar Greenhouse Book. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1978

Oullette, Robert A., Chainsaws; Buying,Using, Maintaining and Repairing. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: Tab Books, 1979

Roy, Rob, The Sauna. Chelsea Green Publishing, 1996

Soderstrom, Neil, Chainsaw Savvy. Dobbs Ferry, NY, Morgan & Morgan, 1982

Stihl, Inc., Chain Saw Safety, Maintenance, & Operation DVD. Stihl, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA, 2006

Tressemer, David, Splitting Firewood. Brattleboro, VT: By Hand and Foot, Ltd., 1981. (A pragmatic approach to firewood issues with a Jungian Twist.)

Wik, Ole, Wood Stoves; How to Make and Use Them. Anchorage, AK: Alaska Northwest Publ., 1977

Underground Space Center, Univ. of Minnesota, Earth Sheltered Housing Design. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1979

Viherjuuri, H. J., Sauna, The Finnish Bath. Brattleboro, VT: The Stephen Greene Press, 1972

Virtanen, John O., The Finnish Sauna; Peace of Mind, Body and Soul. Owen, WI: Arctic Circle, 1988.

Philosophies and Backwoods Life:

Anyone contemplating the establishment of a recreation or permanent home in a rural or wilderness environment would do well to read again Henry Thoreau’s account of his hand-built hideaway near Concord or Sigurd Olson’s story of the creation of his ”Listening Point” in the Minnesota wilderness. I could not begin to list all of the books that might fall under this category, so just a sample of the more interesting are found below.

Hoover, Helen, A Place in the Woods. New York: Knopf, 1969. Also other books about life on the old Gunflint Trail in Minnesota.

Hubbell, Sue, A Country Year; Living the Questions. New York: Random House, 1986

Keith, Sam, One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey. From the journals and photograph collection of Richard Proenneke. Anchorage: Alaska Northwest Publishing Co., 1973. (recently republished). Also, the movie about Proenneke,Alone in the Wilderness.

LaBastille, Anne, Woodswoman and Beyond Black Bear Lake., New York: Norton

Leopold, Aldo, A Sand County Almanac. New York and London: Oxford University Press, 1949

McPhee, John, Coming into the Country. NY: Bantam, 1977.

Meinecke, Conrad E. Your Cabin in the Woods. Buffalo, NY: Foster & Stewart Publ. Co., 1945. Also, Cabincrafts and Outdoor Living.

Nearing, Helen and Scott, Living the Good Life. New York: Schocken Books, 1970. Also later works: Continuing the Good Life and Loving and Leaving the Good Life.

Olson, Sigurd, Listening Point. New York: Knopf, 1958 (and many other of his books)

Thoreau, Henry David, Walden. Many editions and publishers.

Rowlands, John J. Cache Lake Country. New York: W. W. Norton & Co., 1947. Republished by Lyons & Burford, N.Y., 1990

Rutstrum, Calvin, The Wilderness Cabin. New York: MacMillan, 1972. Illustrated by Les Kouba. Also, The Wilderness Life and others.

Teale, Edwin Way, A Naturalist Buys an Old Farm. NY: Vail-Ballou Press, 1974

Vickery, Jim Dale, Wilderness Visionaries. Merrillville, IN: ICS Books, 1986. Also, Open Spaces. Minocqua, WI: Northward Press, 1991, and others.

Scroll to Top