The pioneers moved westward to the Appalachian Mountains to settle and start a new life. First, a shelter was needed
for there family.
The shelters was called cabins. Mainly one room, no windows, and a single door with round logs. The chimneys were often
made of sticks and mud. This was only a temporary cabin until a strong hand hewn cabin could be built.
Types of Log Cabins
The Appalachian Cabins were 16x20', had one room, one or two doors with a few windows, and a stone chimney at
The hewn logs were squared with a broad ax instead of being left round. The roof was made of split oak shingles. The
floor of the cabin was either smooth wooden boards or hard packed dirt.
The German Cabins usually had three rooms with a chimney in the center of the cabin. Roofs were sometimes made
To make more room another cabin could be built right up against the first cabin on the fireplace side. The chimney was
used in both cabins. This was called a "saddlebag" cabin.
A second cabin could also be built close to the first cabin. The roofs of the two cabins would be joined together. The
people and the dog could walk between the two cabins. The type of cabin was called a "dog trot" cabin.
The log cabins were held together by notches at the ends of the logs. This was done by hand very carefully.
Different types of notches were Dovetail, Half Dovettail, Square, and Round. These cabins lasted an avearge
of 200 yrs. The ends of the logs were often sawed off next to the building so that the rain and water would not collect and
rot the logs.
The spaces between the logs were filled with mud, sticks, and sheeps fur called Chinking. This helped keep
out the cold weather.
The Axe was the most important tool. With an axe, the pioneer could clear the land, build a cabin, cut fire
wood, and build fences.
Different tools were used to do different kinds of jobs.
A Felling Axe was used to cut down the trees. The logs were hewned with the Broad Axe. The
Adz made the floor boards smooth. The Broad Hatchet - the single-bit axe was the most popular hand
tool used for hewing and notching.