Crafted In Wood

Editorial & Photography By: Dr Christoper Cooper

A 19th century log house located in Backus Heritage Conservation Area, Port Rowan, ON.

The Morgan-Neff Log Cabin c. 1850 located at the Marshville Heritage Village in Wainfleet, ON.

The woods of the Colchi, in Pontus, [in modern day Turkey] furnish such abundance of timber, that they build in the following manner. Two trees are laid on the earth, right and left, at such a distance from each other as will suit the length of the trees which are to cross and connect them. On the extreme ends of these two trees are laid two other trees transversely: the space which the house will enclose is thus marked out. The four sides being thus set out, walls are raised, whose walls consist of trees laid horizontally but kept perpendicular over each other, the alternate layers yoking the angles. The level interstices which the thickness of the trees alternately leave, is filled in with chips and mud. On a principle they form their roofs, except that gradually reducing the length of the trees which traverse from angle to angle, they assume a pyramidal form. They are covered with boughs and smeared over with clay; and thus after a rude fashion of vaulting, their quadrilateral roofs are formed. Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, c. 80BC – 25BC

Another lovely log house located at the Backus Heritage Conservation Area.

Beneath the lovely period (1832) barn red clapboard lies D. Stong’s second log home. Built in the “Pennsylvania Dutch” style, located at Black Creek Pioneer Village, Toronto, ON.

The humble yet handsome J Scadding Cabin c. 1794, located on the Exhibition grounds, Toronto, ON.

A detail image of the Swedish simple lap cornering. The Swedes are generally attributed to introducing log construction in North America (c. 1638). The Swedes fit their logs so tightly that there was rarely the need for chinking.

A log house with huge logs located in Prince Edward County, ON.

A beautifully restored log house in Port Hope, ON.

The passage above is from De Architectura in which Vitruvius is the author. This is probably the first description of log houses in written history. Our Canadian tradition of crafting in log is a lengthy one and this centrefold acts to celebrate that tradition.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s