Watch: How to Build a Cabin With Hand Tools, From Start to Finish

A strong-but-sensitive lumberjack skillfully builds a cozy winter cabin in the woods — and delivers a foundational ode to nature in the process.

Dave Whipple’s needs during the winter are “a nice place to sleep, a nice place to hang out and read a book, a wood stove to cook on, and plenty of big windows so you can keep an eye on what’s going outside and just enjoy natural beauty.”

A peaceful guitar-picking soundtrack accompanies Whipple as he calmly guides the viewer through every step of building an off-grid cabin in the woods.

Whipple has a sensible manner, a clear understanding of his craft, and a stream of consciousness that gives his performance context without rambling. But the video’s best strength may be its everyman appeal. If you can use hand tools, you can follow Whipple’s building methods. He uses a standard speed square and a 25-foot tape measure; he hand-drives his nails.

He’s also not just hammering and sawing. Along the way, he often explains secondary reasons for why he does specific tasks in certain ways. True to lumberjack form, he lives in a canvas tent while putting the building together.

If there’s a more down-to-earth, directly applicable cabin tutorial, we haven’t seen it.

Runtime: 41 minutes

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Sam Anderson
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Sam has roamed the American continent to follow adventures, explore natural wonders, and find good stories. After going to college to be a writer, he got distracted (or saved) by rock climbing and spent most of the next decade on the road, supporting himself with trade work. He's had addresses in the Adirondack Mountains, Las Vegas, and somehow Kansas, but his heart belongs in the Texas hill country.

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