Cabin Lessons: A Nail-by-Nail Tale: Building Our Dream Cottage from 2x4s, Blisters, and Love


Carpenter Spike Carlsen, his wife, and their recently blended family of five kids set out to build a cabin on the north shore of Lake Superior. Part building guide and part memoir, Cabin Lessons tells the funny, wry, and heartwarming story of their eventful journey — from buying land on an eroding cliff to (finally) enjoying the hideaway of their dreams. Learning as they go, and learning about themselves and each other along the way, they find in the end that they’ve built a strong family as well as a sturdy cabin.

Meet the Author

SPIKE CARLSEN (visit for tips, quotes, projects and information) is an editor, author, carpenter and woodworker, who has been immersed in the world of wood and woodworking for over 30 years. He is former Executive Editor of Family Handyman magazine where he wrote hundreds of articles on home improvement and oversaw the creation of dozens of books including the revised Readers Digest, Complete Do-It-Yourself Manual. He has written articles for Old House Journal, Fine Homebuilding, Workbench, The Minneapolis Star Tribune and other publications. He currently works as Projects Editor for Fresh Home magazine and serves on the Advisory Board for Men’s Health magazine. He has made appearances on Modern Marvels, the CBS Early Show, The Weekend Today Show, WGN-TV, Good Morning Texas, HGTV’s “25 Biggest Renovating mistakes” special, USA Radio and many other national radio and television shows.  

Prior to becoming an editor he worked as a carpenter for 15 years, and ran his own construction and remodeling company, working on projects ranging from energy efficient homes to historic restorations. He and his wife Kat have five adult children and live in historic Stillwater, Minnesota. In his spare time he enjoys biking, restoring vintage radios, woodworking and renovating (and renovating and renovating) their 1850s Greek Revival home. is a hub for booklovers and dedicated to on-the-rise authors that readers may not have heard of. For readers constantly in search of new titles, authors and ideas for their next read, BookTrib will introduce them under-the-radar writers who might be a perfect match. BookTrib has it all: new and noteworthy, exclusive reviews, video interviews, the hottest book podcasts, and all the buzz to enhance readers' understanding and enjoyment of books and up and coming authors. Top-notch contributors. In-the-know content partners. Expert recommendations. Behind-the-scenes peeks. is produced by Meryl Moss Media, a 25-year-old literary marketing, publicity and social media firm. Visit

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