The Wise Woman Builds Her House

mala pattersonAfter graduating from college, the normal progression for most women is marriage. But, what is great, or even fun, about being normal? This neo-Laura Ingalls-Wilder, this Backwoods Barbie, embarked upon an adventure. I decided to build a log cabin!
I have had the pleasure of being around log cabins nearly my whole life. I grew up in my parents’ pine, D-shaped log cabin. They had a “turn-key” package; but we, mainly my father, ended up doing a lot of the work. Despite three children, pets, and fluctuating Alabama weather, their home has weathered nicely with little maintenance. Therefore, my parents are supportive of my log cabin, although they enjoy ribbing me about some comments I made when I was about ten years old.
I was ticked at my mother because she did not think that a black and silver waterbed (completed, of course) with a zebra bedspread was suitable décor for a ten year-old girl’s log bedroom. Thus, I declared that I would never have a house of wood. I vowed to have only wallpaper and paint in my house one day. (Never say never!)
Anyway, my adventure started when I found an ad for oak log cabin kits in a classified newspaper. Not wanting to be saddled with a large debt and realizing that I would be responsible for cleaning and maintaining the house, I decided to purchase the approximately 1,500 square-foot kit. The logs arrived safely and beautifully – Missouri oak heartwood dovetail logs.(Say that ten times fast!)
porchSince my kit consisted of only the perimeter wall logs, I drew the interior plans one Sunday afternoon; and Mom and I devised a plan that would allow me to “pay-as-I-go” and have the cabin completed and paid-off in three years. However, I did not realize how much I was going to be involved with the “hands-on” construction, and I never imagined how much I would learn to do and end up doing myself.


applying wood renewI hired an experienced carpenter to oversee my project (I later hired some helpers for a few days). My brother Tubby and the carpenter laid the block, and I started helping with the setting of the logs. Tubby would sing “John Henry” as he swung the sledge hammer! Our carpenter joked, saying he felt like he was building a pyramid. Dad, Mom, and I cut cedars for the porch posts (Mom and I caught poison oak to prove it) and hemlocks for the supporting interior posts. I wanted some octagon windows, but I could not justify the special order price. However, I found new ones (although the wrong color but paint corrected that) at a flea market for 1/10th the special order store price. Mom and I shopped ‘round and ‘round for the additional lumber at the best prices.
houseBefore Mom and I started preserving the logs and additional lumber, Mom and I attended a Perma-Chink Systems workshop in Rome, Georgia. We learned countless tips and acquired useful information that has saved me both valuable time and money. (My father was very impressed when I informed him of what pressure-washing tip, at what pressure, and at what angle I had to wash the logs.) Mom and I painstakingly followed all the Perma-Chink products’ directions. The Energy Seal far surpassed any other similar product in both ease of application and appearance during the sealing of the dovetail corners and joints. This very time-consuming task made me feel like the “Human Dirt Dauber,” and I lost track of how many hours I spent on this job. However, my leaks during pressure-washing were mostly confined to around the windows and doors that had not been trimmed at that time. The Log Wash, Wood ReNew, Armor-Guard, Log End Seal, Lifeline Ultra-2 exterior stain, Lifeline Advance clear topcoat and Cobra Rods were quickly and very easily applied or utilized.
applying chinkingPainting the 2X4’s with Chink-Paint was another time-consuming task. I completed this step fully by myself. If stacking the logs felt like building a pyramid, this step could be compared to engraving the hieroglyphics onto the stone pyramid walls. (One thing I quickly learned during chink painting is that it is much better to paint slowly and clean-up less than to paint quickly and clean-up more!) Mom and I were both surprised and impressed with the Lifeline Advance Exterior Gloss topcoat. When we cleaned out the containers from which we were applying, the dried Lifeline Advance peeled out like plastic wrap. I feel as if my cabin is securely plastic-wrapped from the elements.
side viewThe interior Perma-Chink Systems products worked as well as and look as great as the exterior products. Prelude beautifully prepared the interior logs for the Lifeline Interior stain. The Lifeline Interior stain and the Sure Shine Gloss look fantastic on the many different types of interior wood - oak, pine, spruce, hemlock, and hickory. The Chink Paint also looks nice on the interior walls.
finished houseWith the assistance of good helpers and the employment of recycling, creativity, gifts from generous friends, and affordable Perma-Chink Systems products, the exterior of my cabin is already completed and much of the interior is completed in only six months. My cabin is debt-free and is more beautiful than I ever dreamed that it would be. Before preserving the logs, I was concerned that by doing anything to the logs, I was going to destroy their natural beauty. (Boy, was I mistaken!) The Perma-Chink products are not only protecting, but also enhancing my logs’ natural beauty. Before using some of the products, I doubted the necessity of using them. (Boy, was I mistaken again.) Each easily applied Perma-Chink Systems product is necessary for a beautiful, protective complete finish.
My adventure has changed me both mentally and physically. I am stronger, wiser, more grateful, and more selfsufficient. It has given me a strong sense of accomplishment. When someone asks me about my home, I am able to show them my hands and say that I’ve built my cabin with these two hands (despite the nail polish) and with the help of some good folks and great Perma-Chink Systems products.
"The Wise Woman Builds Her House" PROVERBS 14:1
By Mala Patterson,
Bluegrass Musician
Last modified on Tuesday, 17 January 2017 21:35