This section is from the book "Spons' Mechanics' Own Book: A Manual For Handicraftsmen And Amateurs", by Edward Spon. Also available from Amazon: Spons' Mechanics' Own Book.
Where timber abounds this is the simplest and cheapest form of house. The logs are cut to the length determined on for the walls, and merely squared on 2 opposite faces, as in Fig. 1403, to make them lie close. Where doors and windows intervene, shorter lengths are laid, to afford the necessary space. The vertical position of the wall is ensured by driving posts into the ground and building the logs up between them; or by spiking the logs together with large nails; or by the employment of squares of board, as in Fig. 1404, secured by nails or treenails; or by laying the logs so that they cross alternately, as in Fig. 1405, where the side log a comes between the 2 end logs b, the ends of all 3 being protruded 1 ft. or more from the comer, while the inter mediate end log c only comes so far as to abut against a: corner posts driven down both inside and outside the corner render it very strong. In forming the roof, provision must be made for sloping it, so as to throw off the rain and snow. A convenient height for the walls all round is 8 ft.; when this is reached, the amount of slope required in the roof is determined, and from this is deduced the extra height to which one of the walls (say the front) must he carried.
A rod b of the required length is fixed to the top a of the side wall (Fig. 1406), and from the top of b a second rod c is laid with its lower end resting on the back wall. Then the front wall must be taken up as high as the top of b, while the side walls are built up of logs d of diminishing lengths within the triangle described by a b c. The remaining spaces e can be filled up afterwards with odd bits of wood.
The ever necessary fire is best supplied in the form of a stove, the smoke pipe from which is carried through a large hole in the roof and well surrounded with clay to prevent any possibility of the rafters being ignited. Failing a stove, an open fireplace must be built, of bricks, stones, or other available fireproof material. The method of constructing a fireplace is shown in Fig. 1407: a b are the logs constituting the back wall of the hut; in them a space 3 ft. high and 2 1/2 ft. wide is cut out; at the back of this is placed a frame c of any hard durable wood, measuring 18 in. from back to front, 3 ft. 3 in. high, and 2 ft. 9 in. long; a board f on the inside of the hut completes the fourth side of the frame, enclosing a space d, which is rammed full with good binding clay; when this is quite firm, an excavation is made in the clay, of the shape indicated at e in Figs. 1407, 1408; g is the front of the fireplace formed by inserting iron bars; h is the combination of the wall of the hut; i is the smoke flue, better illustrated in plan in Fig. 1409, and made by inserting a smooth wet pole about 10 in. diarn., round which the clay can be packed, and which can be readily withdrawn after the shrinkage due to drying.
Bricks or squared stones may be used to carry the chimney a little higher than the roof.