Catching up with Building Wild: Log Jam Recap

Spoiler Alert!

If you want to watch this episode and not ruin the surprise, stop reading now!

In rural New York, Paulie DiMeo and Pat “Tuffy” Bakaitis, co-owners of the Cabin Kings are Building Wild and cranking up dueling chainsaws to build a cabin fit for father and son loggers.

Pat and Ryan Sweeney have a father and son logging and excavation business. They don’t just work together when their separate businesses overlap, but they are good friends and spend a lot of leisure time together. However, there hasn’t been a lot of leisure time lately. If they had a dream cabin, they could spend more time with their family and on their own property.

As usual, Tuffy thinks that Paulie has offered more than is possible with their budget. The muddy 45-degree angle road leading to the build site is going to be extremely problematic. All the same, the site, which is next to a pond, is beautiful and there is a goldmine of wood and castaway objects in the Sweeney’s lumber yard. You name it and they have it whether it’s a stove, a pontoon, or a kitchen sink. (Well, or maybe five kitchen sinks.) They are going to have all the materials they need and then some.

The Sweeneys are confident that they can get the materials up the mountain with their equipment, but in exchange for providing the bulk of materials, they want a little something extra, a party barge. (Really, who wouldn’t want a party barge?!) The Cabin Kings don’t make any promises, but all the same, the first thing Paulie does on day two is work on moving the pontoon up the mountain (and direct it right into a tree).  In typical Tuffy fashion, he takes over and saves the day.

From there, the crew strips the pontoon and gets to work on the cabin. The frame, roof and terrace go up, as well as corrugated tin walls.  Paulie has the idea of building a cordwood front wall, mortaring split firewood like bricks to create the face of the cabin. The Sweeneys are loggers, after all. They do love their lumber  and deserve something more special than a traditional log cabin.

It sounds like it’s going to look spectacular, but there’s a lot of work to be done. The wood needs to be cut into logs and then split it into quarters. So why not have a friendly competition? The guys put together two teams and it’s father versus son and Paulie versus Tuffy in a competition to cut, split, set and mortar. Whoever wins buys the beer. When the competition gets heated, Paulie cheats, stacking wood without mortar. (As if Tuffy isn’t going to notice!) Paulie, of course,  buys the beer.

At the 24 hour mark, The Cabin Kings send the Sweeneys off so that all the final touches will be a surprise in the big reveal.  This time, The Cabin Kings’ special extra is something super functional.  Tuffy finds a fresh water spring and engineers a way to get running water to the cabin, something The Cabin Kings have rarely done.  In the meantime, Paulie is working on white cedar steps, rails, cabinets and all the finishing touches.

In the final hours, they guys are short on time and finding more and more new projects. It’s a mad dash to the end. In the nick of time, the “Team Sweeney” cabin is complete. There is running water that is cold enough to chill beer and goes straight to the kitchen sink. The inside of the cabin is complete with a wood stump chandelier, chainsaw wall art, and a view of the lake. And then there’s the party pontoon, the USS Team Sweeney, complete with a bar, a repurposed satellite dish umbrella and a diving platform. Team Sweeney, who has “sawdust in their veins” is as happy as they could be with their new wood-themed retreat and have made memories together that will last a lifetime.

From running water to a floating party platform, you have to wonder what The Cabin Kings will build next. You won’t want to miss the next episode of Building Wild. Tune in to Building Wild: Backwoods Bus on Tuesday February 18 at 9PM et/pt.   


  1. Allen
    North Carolina
    February 15, 2014, 11:48 am

    I like the concept of Building Wild. It’s building like I would have to do by using what I have available. I also really like the front wall in Log Jam episode.
    I hope to see a future episode when the build is accessible to wheelchairs.

  2. Lyn
    New York
    February 18, 2014, 6:11 pm

    I agree with the accessibility wish! One of our family’s favorite vacations was at a cabin in the Adirondacks. Now that we are in need of an accessible cabin if we want to do this again, we are finding it to be quite a challenge!

  3. Dan
    February 23, 2014, 10:52 pm

    My wife and I really like the show. We record it so not to miss an episode. If possible would like to see more pictures of how the stump chandelier was made. we have a cabin that a stump chandelier would work perfectly. Thank you.

  4. Trudy Hellno
    May 10, 2014, 12:55 pm

    Some of the stupidest minutes of my life we wasted watching these jewtards make a spinning cabin. Good luck when the bearings wear out and high winds make it shake in the middle of the night.

    Reality? Crap.