Last updated: March 24th 2017
When most people think about a log home, what they are really thinking about are log cabin kits. What they don’t know is that kits are relatively expensive and low-quality, and you can save a huge amount of money doing it a better way from scratch instead of using a kit.
You will probably learn more about log homes in the next five minutes than you would learn from talking to a kit salesman for five years. Here are the sections we are going to cover:
- Butt and pass log homes are better than log cabin kits
- Log cabin kits use inferior techniques
- The advantages of avoiding log cabin kits
- How you can learn to build a log home instead
The #1 reason to not buy a kit: there’s a better option
In the next couple of paragraphs we’re going to reveal the deep, dark secret: tight-pinned butt and pass style homes!
You’ve probably never heard about the tight-pinned butt and pass style method of building cabins. That’s a shame, because that method has a lot of positive attributes.
With real Butt and Pass style, you use natural logs that have not gone through any manufacturing or milling process. Less manufacturing = less expense! Your house is actually 100% built on your property, where you can oversee and control the entire process to ensure high quality. The construction process is extremely easy for 2 main reasons:
- These buildings require zero notchwork. You avoid what is normally the hardest part about building a log home.
- A properly built Butt and Pass house will not settle. You avoid Keyways, slip joints, screw jacks, etc, which are all expensive to install, difficult to get right and really hard to fix once things go wrong.
Before exploring how building with real wood is a much better option than a kit, you should first understand why the industry refuses to talk about this fantastic method.
Why the industry focuses on inferior methods
When you pick up a kit magazine and flip through the pages you typically see beautiful Scandinavian Chinkless, Canadian chinkless and saddle notch cabins tucked between a bunch of fake home kits. Why do they focus on these styles of construction? Hint, they all have one thing in common…
Cabin kits can all be pre-built. Companies do all the work in their yard, then disassemble the structure and ship it to your property where it is re-erected. Their primary focus is higher profits through using a Henry Ford ‘factory style’ approach to construction.
The kit magazines are 100% supported by advertising from manufacturers of cabin kits. Therefore their primary focus is on styles of construction that are weak.
A building that is easy to take apart is inherently weak.
Compare that to a real Butt and Pass house. Once assembled, a Skip style Butt and Pass house will simply not be ‘taken’ apart. In fact it is so hard to take one apart, it has to be built on site.
A building that is hard to take apart is inherently strong
Some examples of how strong a good Butt and Pass building can be:
- The Association’s founder, Skip Ellsworth, once drove a bulldozer into the wall his house. A TD-24. Going full speed with the blade at full height. No damage was done, other than a a little scar on the wood which buffed right out (well, sanded out).
- A student built his home on Mt Saint Helens. When it erupted the Lahar picked his cabin up and tumbled it miles down river. It was in one piece, and still square when our student found it. In fact, he moved it back to his property and renovated it.
- A student once built a home at the bottom of a steep hill. A loaded dump truck had a brake failure and it flew down the hill crashing into our student’s house. No significant damage was done to the building.
Advantages of skipping a kit:
If you are planning to build your own home (or hiring a builder to do it for you), then you need to know all the advantages of skipping a kit and building a real one yourself.
You can start by educating yourself about the different styles and methods of building a timber home. Learn all the pros and cons of each style. That knowledge makes it more likely that you’ll have the best possible building experience, because you’ll pick the style that best matches your desires.
For instance, here are just a few benefits of building with this method that may impact your decision. Butt and bass cabins:
- …Are generally the least expensive type — some of our members have built them to code for $7,500 total for a finished house.
- …Are stronger than any other type of wood building.
- …Can easily last longer than any other type of timber house because they are more naturally resistant to water damage
- …When properly designed and built, require less maintenance than your average stick frame house. That makes it unique among all styles of log construction, which require exhaustive maintenance and treatments.
- …Can be built by the average person — without buying a kit or hiring a builder.
As you can see, there is an entire wood house universe out there for you to discover. The more you learn, the more likely it is you’ll decide a real Butt and Pass style house is for you. It gives you so many advantages over a kit.
If you are considering buying a kit, then need to become one very well educated consumer. The right knowledge can save you from making a huge financial mistake.
What should you do next?
First off, if you are thinking about spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on a cabin kit, you should think about spending a tiny fraction of that attending our 2-day class in Las Vegas.
You will learn everything you need to know to build your own house (without a kit). Our primary focus is on helping people who want to act as owner-builders on their project. One mortgage free house per family, that’s the goal.
This class would still have benefits even if you just want to buy a log home, or a hire someone to build you one. You will learn all the tricks the cabin kit industry that companies use against consumers. You will learn a lot of construction short cuts they take in order to reduce the sticker shock on price, but which ensures you must do tons more maintenance down the road. Essentially, by learning how to build it the right way, you will totally understand how to assess everything that is wrong with an existing cabin (or blueprint/design).
This class is for anyone who wants to build or buy the best log home, for the least amount of money.
So here are the next steps you can take today:
- Look at some of the houses built by students who have taken our 2-day class
- Read about our iron-clad, no-questions-asked satisfaction guarantee. If you take our class and aren’t happy for any reason, we’ll give you a full refund even three months AFTER you take the class
- Check our class schedule and sign up for the next available class
- If the classes on our calendar don’t fit your schedule, you can sign up for email alerts whenever we add a new class below
If the choice is “stick frame or kit,” then frankly we suggest that you build a stick frame home.
But if you have always wanted a cabin, then we can share a better and less expensive alternative with you!
Whatever you decide to do, we strongly recommend against buying cabin kits. In our opinion, that would be the biggest financial mistake of your life.