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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 2003-08 > 1059850994

From: "macbd1" <>
Subject: [Sc-Ir] Re: measurements, perch (log cabin construction)
Date: Sat, 2 Aug 2003 14:03:14 -0500
References: <>

>From my studies (and profession), the length and width of frontier log
cabins or homes in the American colonies were not limited to 18 feet length
(nor were stone walls for that matter) and there was no magic used with
perch measurements or any kind of dimensional limitations. The length of a
wall and size of a structure was simply a matter of preference. The size of
a 'one-room' cabin varied from square to rectangular, with possibly the more
common measuring (roughly) from 12' to 16' wide by 16' to 20' long -- but
there were many other multi-room and inner-walled varieties of various
larger sizes, some with open breezeways or 'dog-trots' between the 'cells.'
The maximum length of a wall was primarily based on the straight-section
height of nearby trees from which the logs were to be cut, how the log-ends
were to be finished for the corners, and the strength of and number of men
available to handle the logs and help with construction -- so the kind of
wood to be used and its density made a difference as well -- also whether
the logs were to be hewn or the cabin was to be more quickly built of
temporary nature, constructed of round-logs with the bark remaining. The
number of shorter trees that were nearby, or the number that were more
crooked with shorter straight-sections, dictated the length of the
end-walls, along with the weight and handling considerations and building
size preferences.

While the Swedes and/or Germans are touted as initiating log-cabin
construction in America (depending on the source-reference), the
Scotch-Irish popularized it along the frontier or back-country of tree-rich
America, after having primarily used earth-stones, sandstone, limewash,
thatched roofs, etc. in Ulster. Relative to the Germans who tended to 'stay
put,' the Scotch-Irish were more apt to construct more temporary homes as
many seemed to prefer being ready to move on short notice. The style of
corner-notching the logs and the chimney location and its manner of
construction could apparently identify a German vs. Scotch-Irish home as

Neil McDonald

----- Original Message -----
From: "K Powell" <>
To: <>
Sent: Friday, August 01, 2003 2:26 PM
Subject: [Sc-Ir] Re: measurements, perch

> Just to toss in some more vague and likely useless trivia. I've found
perch to
> be used in another way, medieval building. Whether stone or log
> for some reason I either didn't quite understand or have forgotten, 18
feet was
> about the maximum length a wall could be built, and that would be the
> dimension. Inner walls were probably about 16.5. That length was called a
> perch.
> Sorry to be so vague; I can't give a reference because that's so long back
> forgotten where I read that. It would have reference, I think probably, to
> technique and technology of stone masonry of the times. As memory serves
> was the case until the development of the gothic arch and expanded
> Kaye in Texas
> __________________________________
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