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  • Writer's pictureDusty Keim

Summer Blog 1: Cabin History

Welcome to the summer blog series! Over the next few weeks, I’ll share cabin history, tips and tricks for cabin maintenance, and landscaping and recipe ideas. In this first post, I’ll talk a bit about cabin history and the handcrafting process that makes each Montana Mobile Cabin truly one of a kind. 

Kipp in the early days of MMC

Log cabins have an ancient history, with evidence of the first log cabins built in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe over five thousand years ago. Log cabin design and construction have remained relatively unchanged throughout the millenniums. The tall, straight, hearty spruce and pine trees that grew in Scandinavia and North Eastern Europe made it a particularly excellent place for the art of cabin building to grow and develop. 

A reproduction of a log cabin from medieval Poland at the Muzeum Krakowa - Rynek Podziemny (Krakow Museum in Krakow, Poland)

Early log cabins, like the cabins we built today at MMC, featured saddle-notch logs. Saddle-notched logs are logs that have a “u” or “saddle” shape cut out of the end of the log so that they can be stacked and snugly fit together, without necessarily requiring further reinforcement. This also meant that early log cabins could be disassembled and reassembled if a family moved or if a log started to rot and needed to be replaced. In addition to tightly stacked logs, historical log cabins used mud, moss, and later, mortar, to fill any cracks between the logs. At MMC, we use specially formulated log chinking backed by foam, which is designed to move with the logs as they expand and contract due to weather and other environmental conditions. 

Dry stacked saddle-notch logs and chinked logs

As European settlers immigrated to the United States and tested their luck on the frontier, they brought their cabin-building techniques and expertise with them. Log cabins are therefore a symbol of the pioneer era in America, and they embody the grit and determination pioneers brought west with them. 

A historical cabin in the mountains of Montana

Log cabins are durable and sustainable. In addition to using sustainable, natural materials, cabins make use of reclaimed materials. Like early cabins that could be stacked and unstacked as necessary, modern cabins, like the one pictured below, use both new and old materials to create responsibly built cabins that will be able to be enjoyed for years to come, and repurposed again if necessary.

A cabin made with reclaimed materials, 2006

Cabins are a symbol of tradition, and Montana Mobile Cabins is proud to carry on this legacy through our work. Keep your eyes out for our next blog post, which will include tips and tricks for how to ensure your cabin's longevity.

The MMC Crew, then and now

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