In the Beginning
In chilly Eastern Ontario, November is the best month really.
Old derelict log buildings can easily be seen from the road and access
can be gained, without impediment, over frozen, barren
If you are looking for a challenging restoration project, then
November is the month to make your move. That's what I did
when I decided to find a hand-hewn log building that would become
home to my dream woodworking workshop. For me a workshop must
be an inspiring, creative space. I wanted my studio to make
me grin from ear to ear and make my heart swell at the very thought.
Who knows why, but old log buildings do that for me.
The author had big plans when she purchased
this decrepit log building. Eventually, it would become her
dream woodworking workshop.
Although most historians agree that the Swedes originally brought
the practice of log building to North America, it's generally
believed that the Scotch-Irish were responsible for the abundance
of log structures in the Ottawa Valley (an approximate area that
stretches from Ottawa westward to Algonquin Park). The characteristic
hand-hewn logs and dovetailed corners were attributed to English
or German cabinetmakers-cum-builders, who applied the
familiar woodworking joint to log buildings in the Ottawa area.
In this method of log building construction, a one-to-four
inch gap is left between logs on the wall, and that gap is filled
with chinking a mixture of lime, sand and cement packed
with wood and small stones.
I sourced my building through a dealer in the business of
buying and selling old log houses. When I found it, an architectural
antique dealer had already gutted the structure, leaving only
the exterior logs and floor joists. However, the 22'x26'
one-and-a-half story building suited me just fine.
I had my heart set on dismantling it myself, so, at the side
of the road with the building in view, I struck a deal akin to
buying the Brooklyn Bridge.