Skip to main content

Build Your Own Log Cabin

June 2024
1min read

THE FRANKLIN CABIN


Rustic Replicas, Inc. (7606 West Vine Street, River Forest, IL 60305), log cabin kit, $45.00. CODE: RUS-1

THE FOLK ARTIST GEORGE DE MILLE wanted to re-create on a smaller scale the craft and difficulty of pioneer cabin building, so he devised a roughhewn assembly kit for the serious child or adult who might otherwise be piecing together model battleships. It requires the same meticulousness as gluing tiny plastic pieces and the same tools you might use to make a Pinewood Derby racer. The thirteen-by-thirteen-inch cabin’s materials arrive in a thirty-pound box. Its miniature pine logs need to be whittled, sawed, and fitted at the ends. There are planks and timbers for a modest porch, a bag of plaster of Paris to seal the walls, and a bag of stones for the chimney. Cedar shingles finish it off.

De Mille hopes the project will give children “an appreciation for the courage, hard work, ingenuity and craftsmanship” of early pioneers. While you won’t have the satisfaction of chopping down the trees yourself, the rest of the experience is convincingly authentic. Our dexterous colleague Jon took the heavy box home with him, where, with patience and his own set of blades, he and his wife built an eerily persuasive wilderness cabin in their living room.

Enjoy our work? Help us keep going.

Now in its 75th year, American Heritage relies on contributions from readers like you to survive. You can support this magazine of trusted historical writing and the volunteers that sustain it by donating today.

Donate