How not to build a log cabin

Beaconsfield library welcomes resident Marc Chabot

By Jim Morrison

The Beaconsfield library welcomed several dozen enthusiasts of building log cabins at a recent lecture from local resident, Marc Chabot.

Chabot got an introduction to building log cabins upon purchasing two acres of land in the St. Sauveur area in 1978. His experience at that point in construction was in late summer of completion of the Dawson College log house course.

Chabot was advised that the budget in building a log cabin was $25,000. He had saved up $35,000 from his career in the corporate world.

At that time, he had no house plans, and little pre-planning to move forward with the project.

Chabot referenced the 1840s model of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States as a guide.

Chabot quit his full-time job and went to work. He cut down trees, a hole was dug, and a foundation was laid.

Considerations include budget, needs, cost estimates, and time needed in commencing the effort. Location is everything when looking to build. Land needs to be close to a city with low taxes, is near water or mountains, and has easy access to drinking water, with electricity, privacy, and resale value.

Questions moving forward with the project are the size of the house, height of cement walls, and the location of windows and doors, water, sewage, and the septic tank.

Chabot’s wife, Patricia, an interior designer by trade, envisioned building a 24 foot by 32 foot lodge that would be built in five months.

The initial plans were thrown out the window because the front door wasn’t properly installed. The couple searched the junkyard where four foot by eight foot church doors were found.

The cabin was built with 20 cedar logs using a plumb line. A plumb line is to straighten or make perpendicular, testing the alignment.

The project was completed during the spring of 1980. Suggestions on tackling such a project include discussing needs, setting a budget, shopping for land, talking to real estate agents, and checking out prices.

Chabot’s objective is in offering a course on How to build a log house, to steer young entrepreneurs to this past time.

More information on How not to build a log cabin can be viewed at

Marc Chabot can be reached by e-mail at
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