Traditional cabins are constructed using horizontally laid and vertically posted logs. Rustic cabins consist of one pen surrounded by others in a continental, saddlebag or dog trot formation. Interior partitions create rooms. The Rocky Mountain style includes a covered porch that extends the roof to prevent snow slides from blocking entrances.
The log cabin type of construction comes from structures used by early homesteaders who needed to build shelters quickly. The continental floor plan is three rooms surrounding a pen that includes the hearth. The saddlebag is two pens constructed side-by-side sharing a common chimney. The dog trot is two pens separated by an open passage sharing a common roof. The passage provides air circulation and shelter from heat.
There are several types of corner notching used in rustic cabin construction; however, the most popular crown method extends logs beyond the joint creating a buttress effect. Rough logs from chestnut, white oak, cedar or fir trees are common in rustic cabin construction because they are naturally long and straight with rot-resistant qualities. Additionally, these types of woods are easily worked using hand tools.
Rustic cabin roofs are wood shingle or seam metal. Chimneys are brick or stone. Interior walls are generally exposed logs to highlight the beauty of hand-hewn wood.