Dig into the family history of millions of Americans and you will find pioneers who lived in simple log cabins built almost exclusively of locally sourced natural materials. Yet generations of experience and skill made such buildings perfect for the harsh conditions from which the settlers carved out America. This fascinating and charming (English) account of building a log cabin in Finland gives a great insight into the sort of techniques used.
It’s amazing what the carpenters in the video are able to do with simple hand tools. They make their own “lumber” by felling trees with a cross-cut saw and then drying the logs on racks. When the time comes to build, they saw, hew, chop, and plane their way to a finished product that is far too sophisticated to be called a cabin. Everything about the building makes sense: the use of local materials and the tried and true methods of joining logs, sealing gaps with compressed moss, and insulating with dirt and sawdust.
When the early American pioneers decided to move on from such a house, they would often reclaim the few nails that had been used by simply burning the place to the ground and sifting through the ashes. “Waste not, want not!”