Making Lincoln LogsTM
by Ernie Miller

When constructing a set of Lincoln Logs, I like to make large sets of at least 16 pieces of every size with an even number of pieces in each size. I make all pieces from ¾ inch wood stock.

First, I cut all the logs to length and cut the notches except the smaller pieces. The small pieces will have notches cut to length. In order to make safer cuts use a dado blade. All logs should have a ¾ inch shoulder on each end with one or more ¾ inch notch with four inches between notches. I use a radial arm saw to cut the logs with a stop block to keep from measuring each one. A power miter saw or other saw will also work. The logs need to be cut in the following lengths: two notched logs should be five and a half inches, three notched logs should be 10 inches; and four notched logs should be 15 inches. Cut extra logs to allow for replacement in case of a defect.

After all the pieces are cut to length the notches can be cut in. Again I use a radial arm saw with a dado blade set to slightly more than a ¾ inch and set a stop block in order to cut notches ¾ inch from the end of the boards. The blade should be ½ inch above the top of the table so a ¼ inch notch can be cut out. All the boards will need to be cut on each end and turned over and cut again. At this time you can cut some of the cut-off pieces that were not quite five inches long on one end for the single notch logs. When you have cut all the boards you will have all the two notch logs finished.

Reset your stop block on the radial arm saw so it is five and one-half inches from the dado blade to start making more notches. The three-notched logs will only need cut on top and bottom but the four-notched logs will need to be turned around so you cut notches from both ends.

Now it's time to cut the single logs to length. Set the table saw to rip the boards to a width of ¾ inch. I set a large box on the far side of the saw so the pieces fall in the box as I make cuts.

At this point, you need to cut the ends for the roof pieces. I don't worry too much about the pitch as it depends on the width of boards I'm using. First, I cut the boards to the same length of the three longer logs. I usually make two pair of roof pieces for each size and cut the pitch using the radial arm saw or a taper jig. After the pitch is cut, I use the dado blade on my table saw to cut notches ¾ inches wide and ¾ inches from each end. The roof pieces are made out of 1/8 inch masonite that is one inch longer than the logs and one-half inch wider than the length of the pitch on the ends. I use two-inch clear box tape to fasten two of the roof pieces together and fold over the top of the ends.

Now it is time to sand all the logs. This is what I consider quality control time. Spend the time and effort to make the logs look good. If you notice one of the longer logs with only one end is flawed, you can always cut it off to make the next smaller size log. You can also make several single notched logs. Be sure to round the edges to prevent splinters. If you plan to use a Lincoln Log router bit, this is the time to use it and sand if needed.

These can be made from scraps and don't represent a large cash outlay. When making a set for loved ones, please make an extra set or two and give the to Toys for Tots organization or donate to needy children.

Use your imagination to make extra features such as a chimney for the roof. I am currently determining the right size of set and box to hold a log set.

If you have any questions or comments please contact me.