How to Clear Your Land to Build a Log Cabin

by Patricia Williams

Do-it-yourselfers with a little land and extra time can put up a weekend cabin like an A-frame or small log cabin for family outings. Part of the “fun” includes clearing the land to build your log cabin.

Before you clear the land, be sure you know exactly where you want to build the cabin. Try to look for a natural clearing in the woods near a location where water drainage is good. Be sure to consider a higher area with a good view, if possible.

How to Clear Your Land to Build a Log Cabin

Moving logs on your land

Clearing your land to build a log cabin often means have to cut down trees and move or remove logs from your property. This isn’t easy work, but if you want to do it right and not have to build around these things, you’ll need to do it! 

Logs and large stones can be moved and maneuvered off your building site without the use of heavy equipment. You can save your money and do it yourself. You’ll need what they call a peavey – a wooden shafted fitted with a metal point and hinged hook that digs right into the log you are rolling off the property. You can buy a peavey at your local hardware store. Another tool you can use is a comealong. This is a hand-held tool with a ratchet mechanism and lever. You can reel it with a cable or chain and it makes it very easy to move large items.

Once you cut and move all the logs to a certain location for building with, or remove them altogether from your land, next comes removing stumps.

Removing stumps and large rocks

Clearing your land to build a log cabin means having to remove stumps and flattening the surface for your building site. Stumps can be blasted away by a professional, or you can grind them down yourself with a gasoline-powered stump grinder. Another way to get rid of stumps is with a strong chemical that can be bought at hardware stores or garden centers. The chemicals usually soften and saturate the stump making it easy to burn it down to the roots. Be very careful to follow codes for burning, especially avoiding it during dry seasons.

Sometimes you have to clear your land by removing large rocks. Rocks that are less than 300 lbs can be drilled into, splitting and breaking rocks apart into smaller pieces. Once the rocks are split and smaller, you can hook up your comealong to them and move them off your property.

Building a log cabin will take time and good materials, but it’s very important to prepare your building site through clearing it and flattening it out. Other things to consider are holes. Do you need to haul in dirt or move dirt to fill any holes along the building site?

Once your land is clear and you’ve established a level building site, now you’re ready to start building your log cabin in the woods!

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