Courtesy: John Neeman Tools/Youtube
Courtesy: John Neeman Tools/Youtube

It’s amazing what the carpenters in the video below 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. I am particularly impressed by the traditional “floating” floor, which maybe explains why modern floating floor systems originated in Scandinavia. And I am amused by the idea that the people doing the work could be considered Finnish finish carpenters—because they are in Finland and they did do the finish.

My comments below:
01:18 After the trees have been felled and cut into logs, the logs are stacked on a rack to dry for a period of time. This part of the video was shot in the winter; the construction takes place in what looks to be summer.
01:30 I like how they use a spike to keep the log from rolling as it is being hewed flat.
01:38 The guy chops a series of notches (to a string) to insure the hewed side is straight.
02:42 The gaps between foundation stones are for ventilation.
03:00 The carpenters don’t have a tape so they use a doubled-up board to measure diagonals to square the first layer of logs.
03:28 The joint between the foundation and first layer of logs is air sealed with what looks to be moss or oakum.
04:30 An old-school drill
06:00 I like the way he scribes the joint between logs so they can be hewed for a tighter fit.
06:39 The bottom side of the log is made to be concave so it will fit over the round top of the log below—presumably to prevent rot by shedding any water that gets into the joint.
07:05 They don’t have a tape, but they do have a folding ruler.
09:14 I’ve seen planes pushed and I’ve seen them pulled, but I have never seen them pushed and pulled at the same time.
10:43 A good look at a steel or iron “dog” used to keep logs from rolling as they are hewed in place.
11:34 Nice scarf joint on the ridge beam.
16:38 Birch bark is laid down between and under floor “joists” as a moisture barrier for the dirt that is piled on top of it. The dirt fills most of the “joist” space. I assume it functions as insulation.
18:40 The large gap above the window jamb/frame is there because the opening will get shorter as the logs dry and shrink.
21:00 They look to be installing a solid wood “floating” floor edge-joined with peg or dowels rather than tongue and groove. As the floor dries and shrinks, they can close the gaps by wedging the boards toward one side of the room and filling the remaining space with an additional board.
22:05. Smoothing the floor with a hand plane. This is cool and is how all wood floors (in the U.S. too) were finished prior to the invention of the electric drum sander in the nineteen teens or twenties.
23:00 Installing a board-and-batten ceiling from above exposed rafters.
23:21 This is in the attic. After laying down a layer of tarred paper, they insulate the ceiling with sawdust and wood shavings. The paper keeps fine particles from sifting through the gaps between ceiling boards.