My Self Reliance


Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
South Puget Sound, WA
Saw it a few years ago when he was building the cabin. It was educational, but I was surprised to see the logs put right on the ground. Seems like an eventual invitation for rot and insect invasion. Mabe the sleepers were pressure treated?


Minister of Fire
Oct 18, 2011
Western PA
You should check out "alone in the wilderness" by Dick Proenneke. It's a documentary.
I watch these videos about once per year. I'm continually amazed by this man! Packing in tool heads without handles--to be fashioned on site--more of a man than me. Oh, and the carved wooden door hardware--hold my beer!


Minister of Fire
Feb 27, 2014
Marshall NC
I haven't seen My Self Reliance but if he is putting logs on the bare ground he is, as y'all have said, inviting disaster. Rot will begin within 2 years and progress quickly.

We need a foundation of concrete or rock and we need those logs to be at least 18 inches above the ground.

I have built 4 custom log cabins turn key by myself and have worked on a half dozen more. I consider myself another Jeremiah Johnson when it comes to going to the wilderness and building a log cabin. Jeremiah Johnson with a Stihl chain saw and a DeWalt circular saw.

But I have watched the Dick Proenneke show on PBS and I also have the book. Now, this guy is a real bad ass!
Alone in the Alaska wilderness, and he built the cabin by himself using only hand tools. Good God!
And, he made the hinges for his door from trees! Good God I bought my hinges at Home Depot.

This guy is a real warrior and a log artist, my hat is off to Dick Proenneke.

ps Most log cabins that I see here in the Blue Ridge mountains are kits and I despise them. Not custom made. Mr. Proenneke is a real artist.
Or, he was.


Minister of Fire
Feb 12, 2019
SW Missoura
Yeah he was the real deal. I'm always amazed when I watch it of how he made his own hinges. The movie almost gets me down in the dumps like Jeremiah johnson does when I watch im missing out on life. What is equally amazing is the guy was around 50 when he retired and began all this. Not to imply that 50 is old but rather the fact that many 20 year olds can't/wouldn't work this hard for anything. This guy was a stud. Just goes to show you it's never too late to do what you really want.

Edit: Sorry I wasn't trying to steal the thread. I will have to check out"my self reliance".
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Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2017
Rochester NY
I haven't watched that channel but I'll check it out, I've watched a few others here and there. What a time we live in when people can go "mostly" off grid, film videos to Youtube to garner a following and make a few bucks off it to sustain that lifestyle. I don't mean that in any snide way, I actually kind of admire it. When I got into planting a vegetable garden I was watching a lot of Simply Living Alaska.
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Feeling the Heat
Jul 23, 2016
I've only just started watching it in some free time and have not watched him build his cabin yet. I believe he references a visit to Proenneke's cabin as some motivation.
Its just been nice watching someone working in the woods on simple things (and he actually talks very little on one of the channels and just works) during my busy time of the year when I don't get to do much work in the woods myself. Sounds funny but its actually very relaxing to me.