A log wood shed

Finished log shed
What is the difference between a bunch of dead trees and fire wood? The difference is a lot of manual labour put into cutting and splitting trees, and two years in a well ventilated and dry place.

I have LOTS of dead trees and can supply the manual labour, but I did not have a place to properly dry large quantities of wood.

You can put wood under a tarp, but soon ants will colonize your woodpile, wasps will make nests in it and porcupines may try breaking open your logs to get at the grubs.  Yes these are all things that happened to my wood pile.

Foundation and walls


Since we plan on mainly heating our cabin with wood (we'll have a masonry stove), we thought a wood shed was in order. And since our cabin will have a log cabin look, we figured the shed should match it.

I spent a few hours googling DIY log cabins and found a few good references here and here.
Door and roof structure are up, shown off by two proud builders 
To start, you should keep all logs from the ground by using some sort of stone or concrete piles. I used concrete pavers which I put directly on the soil. Sure you could dig a hole, fill it up with gravel and then put the pavers on top to better protect against frost heaving, but the entire log shed is pretty light and should be able to withstand some heaving so I didn't bother with gravel.

Next, you need logs of around the same diameter and length. I cut about 40 logs of 12 feet in length. You then start stacking the logs as you can see in the pictures, carving a notch in the bottom log before you put the next log on.
I used a saw, a chisel and a draw knife which turned out to be an indispensable tool for working with logs.

The weight of the logs alone will keep them from rolling out of their notches, but wood will shift and warp over time, and that could make your log shed fall apart after a few years. To prevent that, you use rebar to tie each log to the one underneath it. You drill a hole right through each log and halfway into the log underneath it, then hammer a piece of 10MM (or #3) rebar in as deep as you can.

This rebar technique is also used to connect the door frame to the wall logs, to attach the ridge joist to the end posts and attach the rafters to the ridge joist and the walls.
Rebar to fasten a rafter

 Next, you cut a hole in one of the walls for a door with a chainsaw and put in door posts (which must also rest on pavers, no wood should touch the ground).
Find a sturdy end post to go on the side opposite the door, and attach it to the walls with rebar. I chose to put the end post inside the shed, but you could put it on the outside against the wall as well.

Raising the ridge joist is the most difficult and dangerous job of this project; the joist should be fairly heavy to hold up the substantial rafter logs, purlins, the roof panels and the weight of any snow (although the roof pitch is steep enough to shed most snow I would think), We put in temporary rebar and added 2'x4' braces to keep the ridge joist from moving.
Chiseling out a notch
The rafters are 9 feet long 3" diameter logs that were fairly straight. But fairly straight is not straight enough to attach roof panels, so we bought 2'x4' dimensional lumber for the purlins, to ensure we had a semi flat surface to work on. We used a lot of shims to screw in the purlins to work with rafter warping and knots.

Finally, the roof itself is made of corrugated asphalt panels made by Ondura. Those are great because they are flexible and can warp a bit. The ridge cap created quite a challenge and involved using a reciprocating saw to trim back some rafters and an extra log on top of the ridge joist to hold the ridge cap nails.

Purlins attached to the rafters

Spacers between the rafters and purlins were needed.


Inside view

Draw knife in action, observed by dog.
We will observe this log shed this winter and see if any snow or rain makes it into the shed through the open end walls. If so, I may add two canvas walls.
This log shed was a great project. It is always rewarding to build something with materials at hand.

UPDATE October 7th 2016
Firewood in the shed
I finally cut the dozens of logs in front of the shed and stacked them inside. It's not nearly enough wood, but a good start for this year.

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