Log cabins were usually temporary structures built from materials available
close at hand.
The log cabin pictured here Log Cabin MBC012 (kuid 431633:109920 on the DSL)
is of hewn logs squared off from the large timber available in the Rocky and
Selkirk Mountains and chinked with plaster. Interlocking ends were notched.
Careful notching minimized the size of the gap between the logs and reduced
the amount of chinking.
More crude structure would have been built with round rather than hewn logs
and chinked with sticks, rocks or mud to fill the gaps. When the first pioneers
built cabins, they were able to “cherry pick” the best logs. Theses were old-
growth trees with few limbs (knots) and straight with little taper. Such logs did
not need to be hewn to fit well together. The logs on the roof might be covered
with sod rather than chinked with materials such as moss. More refined
structures might have tin or shake roofs.