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The Trapper's Shelter


The life of the professional trapper is a life of hardship and
severe exposure, and a man not only requires considerable courage,
but also great bodily vigor, in order to combat successfully the
dangers of such a wild, adventuresome existence.

The cold and the storm not only imperil his life, but he is often
exposed to the attacks of wild beasts. A shelter, therefore, in one
form or another, becomes a necessity while it is always a decided
comfort, in comparison to a campaign without it.

The reader will find below descriptions of the various shelters
alluded to in other parts of this work, and used by trappers throughout
the land.

The most substantial of these is the log shanty, commonly known among
trappers as the home shanty, on account of its being constructed
as the only permanent shelter on the trapping line.

It is used as a home, a place of rendezvous, and a storehouse
for provisions, furs, and other necessities and valuables. Other
temporary shelters, known as bark shanties, are also constructed
along the trapping lines at intervals of five or ten miles, as
resting places. These we describe under the proper title.

Although, to the amateur trapper, the log shanty is not likely
to become a necessity, we will nevertheless describe its mode of
construction, in order to satisfy our more earnest and adventurous
readers, who aspire to a full taste of wild life.

Our illustration gives a very clear idea of such a shanty.

It may be constructed of any size, but one of about twelve by ten
feet will be found large enough for ordinary purposes. Select straight
logs, about eight inches in diameter. The whole number required
will be thirty-six. Of these one-half should be twelve feet in
length and the other ten. These should now be built up in the square
form, on a level piece of ground, laying the ends of the logs over
each other, and securing them by notches at the corners, so deep as
to allow the edges of the logs to meet. Lay two short logs first,
and continue building until all the thirty-six logs are used, and
we will now have four symmetrical sides about six feet in height.
The place for the door should now be selected. The uppermost log
should form its upper outline, and the two sides should be cleanly
and straightly cut with a crosscut saw. The window openings, one or
more, may next be cut, commencing beneath the second log from the
top, and taking in three beneath it. Replace the logs above, and
on the ends of those thus cut, both in windows and doors, proceed
to spike a heavy plank, driving two nails into each log, about
five inches apart, one above the other. This will hold them firmly
in place, and offer a close-fitting jam for the door, and neat
receptacle for the window sashes, which latter may now be put in
after the ordinary manner.

The gable ends should next be built upon the smaller sides of the
hut. Commence by laying a long log (notched as before) across the
top of the frame work, and about two feet inside the edge. This
should of course be done on both sides of the hut, after which
they should be overlapped at the corners with logs eight feet in
length. Next lay two more long logs, parallel with the first two,
and about a foot inside them, notching as before. The ends of these
should be spanned with beams eight feet in length. Two more long
logs are next in order--let them be one foot inside the last two.
Overlap these with beams five feet and a half in length, and in
the exact centre of these last pieces chop notches for a heavy
log for a ridge pole. The gable outline, direct from the ridge
pole to the eaves, should now be cut off by the aid of a sharp
axe. This may be done either while the pieces are in position, or
the line may be marked with a piece of chalk, and the logs taken
down in order to accomplish it. The roof is now required. This
should consist either of strips of bark or the rounded sides of
logs split off and hollowed into troughs. The latter method is
preferable, on account of its greater strength and durability,
but the bark will answer the purpose very well, and is much more
easily obtained. The manner of adjusting the roof pieces is clearly

shown in our illustration. The first row is laid on with the hollow
side up, securing them at top and bottom by nails driven through each
into the ridge pole and eaves-log, care being taken that one of these
pieces projects well over the gable, on both ends of the hut. These
pieces are now overlapped by the second row, and with the addition
of the large piece which covers them all at the ridge pole, the
roof is complete, and will stand a heavy rain with little or no
leaking. The crevices should now be stopped with moss, dried grass
or clay, after which the log cabin is complete. When the bark roof
is made, additional poles may be inserted beneath as props. They
should be three or four inches in diameter, and run parallel with
the ridge pole, at intervals on the slope, notches being cut to
secure them.

Our engraving represents a chimney, which may be constructed if
desired, but the necessity of this may be done away with by using
a small camp stove, and making a small opening in the gable end
of the hut for the passage of the pipe. If it stove should not
be at hand, and our amateur should decide to rough it to the
full extent, he may build his fire-place and chimney as follows:
It will be necessary to cut away an opening in the logs at the
gable end, as was done for the door and windows. This should be
about three feet square, and the fire place should be built of
stone and clay, or cement, to fill the opening, and project inside
the hut.

The chimney may then be built up outside in the same manner,
sufficiently high to overtop the gables.

Inside the hut overhead will be found abundant room for the hanging
of the skins, and any number of cross-poles may be rested across
the beams. There are facilities for the swinging of a hammock,
if desired, and, in fact, a hut constructed like the foregoing
is a perfect one in its way. There are other methods of building
a log cabin, but we will content ourselves with what we consider
the best way of all, and pass on to the

Next: Bark Shanty

Previous: Food And Cooking Utensils

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