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There is something exceptionally cozy, rustic, and American about log homes, and their rising popularity points to this end. According to the Log Homes Guide, there were about half a million log home buildings as of 2006 [1]. Additionally, log cabin sales have consistently grown since 1995 [2].

It can be a challenge, especially for the uninitiated, to decide whether milled logs are as suitable as handcrafted logs when constructing their log homes. If you hope to switch to the log cabin lifestyle, it is imperative to understand that while log homes can be uniquely beautiful, they require an intricate construction approach. Choosing between machine-milled and handcrafted logs is the most important choice you will have to make before embarking on a log home-building construction project.

Difference Between Machine-milled and Handcrafted Logs

Handcrafted logs for cabins are hand-selected, peeled, scribed, and placed by a human log crafter. The crafter ensures that each log is well-scribed to fit nicely onto the adjacent log. Since each log is crafted by hand, the log cabin building is essentially pre-assembled until the house is complete. The logs are then marked and disassembled for delivery. Handcrafted log home companies also provide floor plan options to prospective clients, but the homeowner can easily introduce new modifications to the design layout because the logs are custom-built.

Milled logs for cabins are sawed to meet a uniform shape and size. Milled log home companies usually deliver the logs in bundles with the applicable construction instructions. Typically, the log cabin owner selects the floor plan design and the log style they prefer. The log home company then packages and ships the logs to the construction site. Homeowners may then assemble the logs themselves or hire a contractor to do the job. Unlike handcrafted log homes, the homeowner can implement very few modifications to the design plan they chose earlier.

Below are more differences between machine-milled and handcrafted logs.

Construction Process

Before constructing a milled log home, dead logs are cut and taken to the log mill for sorting by size, shape, and diameter. At the log mill, each log is sawed to ensure that the pieces have a uniform profile and shape. Given that every log is made to fit uniform specifications, the constructor can place any log at any point in the cabin. This feature eliminates the need to pre-assemble the log cabin before shipping.

Before constructing a handcrafted log home, dead logs are hand-sorted at the log mill. The logs are then sent to the hand-crafting section, where they are draw-knifed and trimmed. This process helps to preserve the distinctive look of each log. The logs are then assembled before shipping to the construction site.


Generally, handcrafted log homes are more expensive than machine-milled log cabins. This difference in cost speaks to the amount of time and human effort needed to prepare each log and assemble the log cabin before shipping. However, these increased expenses are worth every penny in light of handcrafted logs’ unique aesthetics and design flexibility.

Design Options

Handcrafted logs are more suitable for those who wish to have control over the design layout of their log cabin. Handcrafted logs are very customizable, which allows log cabin owners to introduce new additions to their design layout. Additionally, having an infinite number of customizable floor plans to select from makes the design process much more fulfilling.

Milled logs do not afford as much flexibility in design. Machine-milled kits may present some limitations to the design, and having a limited number of design options makes the design process less enjoyable. Perhaps the biggest drawback to machine-milled logs is that prospective log cabin owners cannot easily change the look of their log homes to reflect their preferences.

Advantages of Handcrafted Logs

As mentioned earlier, handcrafted logs are uniquely crafted to meet customer-centric preferences. The logs are trimmed carefully to retain the natural feel and look of the trees from which they were made. Needless to say, a few upsides are associated with using handcrafted logs for your log home. Below are three of the most appealing benefits of handcrafted log homes.

Unique Beauty

Handcrafted log homes are increasingly becoming more popular nationwide because they connect us with the beauty of our rich history. Log cabins remind us of past generations who built their homes with nothing more than a saw and sheer determination.

Opting for handcrafted logs means you will be ushering in the raw beauty of the American frontier into your home. Each log brings the unique and natural qualities of the tree from which it was cut. Since each log is tapered and hand-hewn, it will showcase this hand-peeling and the tools used to produce its beauty.

Moreover, depending on your architectural preferences, you may have your most beautiful logs in such areas where they will stand out and magnify your home’s artistic appeal.

Customizable Design

Design customization is the main benefit of using handcrafted logs. Since each log is selected by hand and cut to fit desired specifications, home constructors and architects can enjoy increased control over the floor plan of their log cabin home. Handcrafted logs may be the better choice if you wish to have a unique log home building.

Increased Durability

Like most pioneer buildings across the US, your handcrafted log home can stand strong and proud for a long time. Without a doubt, the thick natural logs mean that your log cabin can act as a solid fortress between your loved ones and the harsh world outside.

Many people might be surprised by this unique fact: that log homes can be more durable than some stone-walled buildings. Since trees can survive unfavorable weather conditions, it is easy to see where handcrafted log cabins derive their durability. Without question, well-constructed log homes can withstand environmental challenges, including tornadoes and storms.

How to Choose?

At the end of the day, choosing between a handcrafted and a machine-milled log cabin boils down to your taste, budget, and timeline. As mentioned earlier, milled logs offer a straightforward construction process less likely to attract hidden expenses. On the other hand, handcrafted log homes are more expensive to construct, but they make up for this with better aesthetics and superior artistic appeal.

Go for a handcrafted log home if you wish to have full control over the design of your log cabin. Handcrafted logs offer more flexibility in design and layout, which affords prospective homeowners a chance to implement their preferences to the letter.

A machined-milled log cabin is the better choice if your main concerns revolve around cost. Handcrafted log cabins are typically more expensive because more human labor and skill go into constructing these log homes.


  1. https://log-homes.thefuntimesguide.com/log_home_trends-2/
  2. https://info.aia.org/aiarchitect/thisweek06/1117/1117p_log.htm

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