building a cabin out of 6x6 timbers

Building a Cabin Out of 6×6 Timbers

building a cabin out of 6x6 timbers

Building a cabin out of 6×6 timbers is a time-proven way to build sturdy and durable small structures. These sturdy little structures are great for camping in the woods, along a bubbling creek or on top of a mountain with sweeping views.

The first step in building your cabin is to create a sturdy foundation. A solid rim of 6-by-6 timbers will provide the foundation you need for the rest of your structure.


The floor of a cabin constructed out of 6×6 timbers is simple, strong and beautiful. This design is also easy to build for a first-time cabin-builder.

Choosing the correct wood for the floor is an important consideration, since the thickness and weight of each board play a role in the overall strength of your cabin’s structure. You’ll also want to consider the species, moisture content and treatment of your timbers.

For the floor of a cabin built out of 6×6 timbers, I recommend using pressure-treated lumber that’s rated for ground contact use. This means the bottom of the timber rim is at least several inches above the soil and should allow natural ventilation to keep the structure strong for many decades.

Once you have the right wood in hand, it’s time to begin the construction process. Start by building a timber rim around the perimeter of your cabin floor area. This is a better option than block work or a poured foundation because it provides continuous support without requiring extensive blockwork and piers to hold the timbers in place.

Next, measure the width of your cabin across the tops of its sides and make sure it matches up to a 14-foot measurement. This is the same width you’ll need to support your floor joists and headers.

If your cabin’s width is wider or narrower than a 14-foot measurement, you’ll need to install a brace plank between each wall. These brace planks will later be removed as you frame the walls.

Then, rest one or two of these spare brace planks on the top of each wall, and spike one end of each in place. This will be a point of reference later, and it’ll ensure that your cabin’s width remains consistent from front to back.

Repeat the process for each of the remaining cabin sides, making sure they’re all at a 14-foot length as well. When the corners of your cabin side rims are located, it’s time to bolt down the timbers.

After the timbers are bolted down, double-check that they’re level by installing shims under them and bolting them down securely. Be sure to check them one last time before you start building the cabin’s walls.


Cabins and sheds are two types of construction that have certain design conventions in common, such as open layouts, cathedral ceilings, walls of windows framing great views, intricate roof trusses and soaring fireplaces. They also share a variety of location requirements, as they often involve remote, rural locations.

One of the most important decisions you’ll make during the construction of your cabin is the exterior wall treatment you choose. Whether you decide to go with wood shingles, boards and battens or wooden panels, the type of material you use will have a big impact on how your cabin looks and how much maintenance it requires.

The wood you use in your cabin will also have a significant effect on the energy efficiency of your structure. If you opt to build your cabin with a solid wood floor and roof, you’ll need to choose a hardwood species that has a good R-value.

Choosing the correct timber for your cabin depends on several factors, including its moisture content, length and treatment. For example, Ipe is a hard and dense timber that’s ideal for outdoor construction and is mildew- and decay-resistant.

Once you’ve chosen the timber for your cabin, start by building a foundation for it. You’ll want to create a base for the timbers so that they can dry properly before you begin assembling them.

After your foundation is ready, lay out the cross pieces you’ll need for your cabin walls. You’ll need enough cross pieces for each of the four sides, plus another piece of each cross for the front and back walls.

Next, make sure all of your cross pieces are square and plumb by using taut strings to check their straightness. Once you’ve done this, it’s time to move on to the wall framing.

You’ll need to frame your cabin’s front and back walls first, as these will be the ones facing the door. You’ll need to cut top and bottom plates out of 2-by-6 lumber that are 13 feet long, so they’ll measure 14 feet wide when they’re installed in place.


A truss roof is one of the more common types of log cabin roofing. Unlike traditional solid or engineered log homes where rows of logs are joined together with lag bolts, a truss roof is constructed from timbers that have been precision-cut to fit together and held in place by wooden pegs.

The type of wood used for a truss roof has an impact on the final weight of the home. Different tree species have different properties, such as hardness and shock resistance. Some are very heavy while others are lightweight but still strong.

Treating or not treating the wood is a factor in its overall weight, as well. Treated wood is usually soaked in chemicals to make it able to withstand weather conditions and pests. The treated lumber will be significantly heavier than untreated wood.

Another factor that can influence the final weight of 6×6 timbers is how they are milled. After the lumber is cut into rough pieces, it will be air-dried or kiln-dried to reduce its moisture content. This process is designed to decrease its shrinkage, so that it can be sold and used for construction projects.

This process also causes the boards to lose some of their original dimensions, but the overall length and width will be the same for each board. This gives the finished product a more consistent appearance and can be a good indicator of how well the timbers will fit together when assembled.

When the wood is kiln-dried, it will dry at a slightly higher temperature than when it is air-dried. This process is designed to prevent the wood from drying too fast, which would cause it to crack or split.

Once the wood is kiln-dried, the final step is to plane and smooth it. This is a tedious and time-consuming task, but it ensures that the final product will have a smooth, even appearance.

There are many truss designs to choose from for your timber frame roof. The classic double posted king post truss is a popular choice, and can be enhanced with radius cuts on the struts, as well as through tenons at the base of each post.


If you’re building your cabin out of 6×6 timbers, you need to be aware that this type of wood can develop cracks or checks. This is a natural phenomenon that occurs when the outer layers of green timbers dry faster than the inner parts, creating a gap where moisture can escape.

To discourage these cracks or checks, it is important to build your cabin out of rot-resistant timbers. You can find these by locating a local timber supplier that sells this kind of wood.

You can also build your cabin out of a solid-wood floor surface, such as three-fourths-inch softwood planks. These are easy to construct and create a beautiful floor that requires little maintenance. They will also give your cabin a rustic look that complements the natural beauty of the timbers.

The next step is to mark the sides of your cabin so that they are exactly square. To do this, hook a large tape measure to one of the corner spikes, then extend both ends so that the 168-inch measurement on one end intersects with the 293-inch measurement on the other.

Once you have your sides marked, you can proceed to the next phase: sink a 12-inch spike in the center of each corner to hold it in place. This will require some help, but it’s well worth the effort to ensure that your cabin is perfectly square on all four sides.

If your cabin is too wide across the front and back walls, it can be trimmed by installing extra brace planks. These planks will come off later, when the rafters and cross ties are added to the cabin.

Before you begin constructing the ridge boards, take measurements of the cabin’s width to make sure it is 14 feet long. This will give you plenty of room to fit the ridge boards in between each pair of rafters, as well as space for the roof sheathing.

Once you have the measurements, it’s time to prepare the ridge boards for their journey through your cabin. You should prepare two lengths of 2-by-10 timbers that will form the ridge board on each end of the cabin. You can splice these together at the ends, as needed. Then, lay them on top of the wall plates and transfer rafter locations onto them.