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Author Topic: Want to build a log home  (Read 1748 times)

Offline customcutter

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Want to build a log home
« on: November 26, 2017, 07:45:06 PM »
We are looking for 50+ acres in Alabama, to build a 2-3000 sq ft log home on.  I'm buying a used Cooks AC-36 mill tomorrow that is capable of cutting 21' logs.  There are pines, hickory, and white oak in the area.  I'm not sure how straight hickory and white oak grow, so it will probably be pine construction.  In this area, temps run from 20's in the winter to 90's in the summer.  So I'm hoping to find some mature pines that will be a minimum of 18-20", and making cants cut on 3 side's.  I've never cut a board on a mill, but I'm hoping to get can't approximately 12" high by 15" wide (wall thickness, for R rating).

I've done a little research, so I know I have to protect the logs from rain and dripping water splashing up on the lower logs.  My wife wants a covered porch all the way around all 4 sides of the house.  So I'm thinking, if I extend the roof off the lower eaves a minimum of 6' and off any higher peaks maybe 6-8', that it would kill two birds with one stone.  Question is can I do that on a concrete slab, or do I still need to do that on an elevated foundation?

Another question.  I was thinking that when I do find property and trees, I would ring the bark around the base of the trees I want to harvest.  Then come back in a few months after they have died and harvest them, they will be much lighter and easier to handle.  Does this degrade the quality of the logs, insect resistance, etc.?  Or should I cut them and stack them off the ground for sawing later and treat the ends to slow the drying process to prevent cracking?

thanks,
Ken

Offline drobertson

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Re: Want to build a log home
« Reply #1 on: December 22, 2017, 07:17:17 AM »
I've sawn a few cabins in the past.  Several different types, ranging from the D-logs, to beams with dove tails, to just squares. Everyone has different wants and desires for their dream home.  I will say using a 12 x 15 is heafty under taking. And maybe slightly over kill, but I'm no expert for sure.  8" was the thickest wall I've seen used, with 7" being pretty common.  I'm not too sure how the trees will react to the girdling in regards to the bugs.  I will ask some friends that do this and get back with you on that, he has extensive experience all through the south in TSI work.  Of the ones I've done, the trees were a mix of green felled to felled and stacked for a spell.  Having the bark to slip makes a difference for many reasons, so the bark will need to be removed.  As I'm writing this just off the cuff, early in the morning with just now finishing my first cup of coffee,  yea, we slept in today, I'm having all kinds of thoughts  coming to mind about log cabin builds.  I will get woke up, an check back in to see if you have any added any more discussion topics.  All said, it should be fun, exciting, and you may want to do some sawing and learning  how timber reacts before diving in a cabin project..

Offline Ox

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Re: Want to build a log home
« Reply #2 on: December 22, 2017, 09:53:31 AM »
Sounds like you have a man in the log cabin side for experience, customcutter! 

Forums really are fantastic tools for people.  The total knowledge is unbeatable.  As long as said knowledge keeps evolving to include newer technologies and knowledge bases and not revolve around a single blade and mill for all purposes... ;) lol!
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Offline drobertson

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Re: Want to build a log home
« Reply #3 on: December 22, 2017, 11:35:44 AM »
Touched base with Willy before he headed out to blow lines this morning.  The way he stated it, was what I was thinking, when we girdled trees they were of the bigger sorts, very undesirables, and mainly the focus was on using these for den trees.  Falling dead standing trees have a bit of hazards that tag along when felling.  All this to say.  If I were to go about such a venture, I would pic the best of the best, liked sized timbers, with 2" or less in taper from end to end.  I also would consider smaller timbers, and figure of getting two D-logs from one saw log.  Just me, and as well, there will be outside lumber to recover.  From the wedges I sawed off, these were then put back on the mill and 2x4's and 6's came off and were used for the over hangs covering the covered porch.  There are so many options, that it's impossible to discuss here. The steps I would take would be this.. Have a real good ball park number on the design, at least for the drying in portion.  Clear an area and lay bark free timbers down, old ties would be perfect and cost effective.  Bugs are a killer, stack and allow to dry.  Sawing cants and stacking bring there own set of problems, such as molding and such during the warmer seasons, SYP can really grow the mold,, like I said, lots to work out on planning, it's been done and can be done. It just takes planning.

Offline customcutter

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Re: Want to build a log home
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2017, 08:06:20 PM »
drobertson, thanks for the input.  I've been trying to figure this out from the beginning, and the more I learn, I realize the less I know.  I have seen a cabin made of cants that were 12-16" deep, don't remember the width, but they had 2-3" of filler between the cants and looked so rectangular or square that they had to be mfg.  There was no way they were 2 sided cants, inside and outside. 

We have found 55 acres, that has 15 acres of small loblolly pines ready for their first trimming about 8-10" diameter near the base.  They are too small for the log home unless maybe interior walls etc.  However, there are 35 acres of mature hardwoods, white oak, hickory, magnolia, elm (I think), and some mature pine.  Probably some other varieties that I don't know of.  Some of these mature trees are 24-30" or larger, a couple of feet off of the ground.  There is a magnolia that is close to 36" at waist height.  I'm thinking if I drop down to a 8-10" cant that I can possibly get 10 or more cants out of some of the trees.  Or is that a pipe dream????

On the girdling I was planning on dropping the trees as soon as the leaves or needles drop or start turning brown.  2-3 months I would guess not long enough for limbs to die and fall on me when felling the tree.  Somewhere I had read or heard about it and they said that the logs were a lot lighter and easier to handle, the moisture should drain better with it standing I would think?  I would expect fewer bug problems with the tree standing also instead of laying on the ground, waiting to be processed.

thanks,
Ken


Offline drobertson

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Re: Want to build a log home
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2018, 11:43:01 AM »
Really hoping this all works out for you guys,  I do need to say and not sure if I made it clear, but I've never built one of these, just did the sawing for them.. Big difference, the folks like I think John here on the forum, well I would be picking and listening to him in regards to construction. Unless you know others, I know its part art/craftsmanship, science and techniques, with strength of material to boot. Lots of work the have it wrong. There is a place north of me that did what you mentioned, at least how they look from the black top driving by, I'm still pretty sure they are not 12" thick walls but the width of them are, makes sense I guess, takes less courses to get to the top.  The last dove tail one I sawed out he used 8" wide, with a 1" chink gap. I only saw his photos, man he sawed these out close,,looked really sharp.

Offline customcutter

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Re: Want to build a log home
« Reply #6 on: January 02, 2018, 10:02:30 AM »
Before I was thinking of cutting a single 3 sided cant from each 21' log.  However, the more I think about it, I'm thinking that I can cut more cants from a 24" log if I drop down to a 8-10" cant.  I might get 4 cants from the bottom log, 2 from the next 21 foot section of log and 1 or possibly 2 from  the top section of 21' log.  I have a very limited amount of pine, and don't want to cut the white oak (mast for the deer and turkeys).  I'm not sure how big the hickory is, or if it's a good choice.

Offline drobertson

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Re: Want to build a log home
« Reply #7 on: January 02, 2018, 01:50:28 PM »
I'll tell you, now if you were to use 6" x 7" three sided, D-logs, a 24" should easily give you four from each log, and with the average temps down that way, I would think these numbers would supply adequate insulation, with the proper heating and cooling. Log quantity is another matter, but I'm thinking you could still pick these up for a reasonable price where and when needed.  I'm just rambling off here, thinking back, and wishing I still had my mill.  Make sure you get that one running like you like, and get use to it, and the reaction of timber before starting on timbers for a permanent build.

Offline drobertson

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Re: Want to build a log home
« Reply #8 on: January 02, 2018, 05:56:58 PM »
I got to thinking about this some more while splitting some firewood, and I wanted to mention as you did in your earlier posts, about controlling the taper on the logs you choose. This is a good idea, but there is another issue that I ran into while getting more than one for logs of differing and larger diameters than say others where you might get either one or two.  I'm going to try and explain it the best I can, and its not hard to see on paper or even in the dust floor, which is how I did a few lay outs of logs, just for a better mental picture for myself.  If you were to draw them out of some cardboard and make some templates this would help you see the variations as well.  These variations occurred due to the difference in the outer radius of the logs with different diameters.  What these variations result in is either an over hang of one over the other, or an under bite, or whatever it may be called.  This happens when you attempt to keep the inside walls even, and so the curvature of the radii of each log don't correspond with a smooth mating.. anyway, wish I was cutting a log cabin,,,  hope this helps without too much confusion.. I will be glad to try and clear it up if thats possible...  david

Offline Stevem

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Re: Want to build a log home
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2018, 11:30:22 PM »
The math says:
To get 4 D logs 7" x 6" each, you'd need an 18 1/2" diameter log, small end.
To get 2 such from a log you'd need 15 1/2" diameter.
Take the taper out of the center of the log.
Which would pretty much get rid of heart center in all of them. (Heart Center = cracks)

That assumes round straight logs.
Stevem
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Offline drobertson

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Re: Want to build a log home
« Reply #10 on: January 04, 2018, 08:19:54 AM »
Steve, that's right man, no heart, and many like to bow as well, not all, but a fare share, in varying amounts.  Like I said or tried to say, I've only done a hand full, but learned quite a bit in these.  And like other sawing techniques used in sawing lumber from logs, I often times did it far different than many. Which in a weird way got me kick off the other forum site.  I did seemingly wrestle the logs around probably more than most would've or do, but these either boards or logs respectively typically yielded very user friendly lumber/timbers when done.  For me it was not about producing a pile in a hurry but a pile that had very little waste when them hammer met the nail. (not saying you Steve, or anyone else does) make that clear. Straight and round are important for sure, just as is uniformity in log size from head to toe, usually inside 2"'s taper is most desirable. And as I tried emphasized earlier, the diameters and the consistency of such are equally important, in keeping the radii's to match up when stacking begins. Keep in mind, I'm at this point speaking of D-logs where they are stacked without chinking,,

Offline furu

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Re: Want to build a log home
« Reply #11 on: January 04, 2018, 10:48:02 AM »
Have you really found that sawing out timbers of the size that is being discussed here actually have less warpage during drying if the heart is sawn out than if left in.  Cracking I can see and understand but it surprises me that you have found less warpage in a full size timber that way.
I have not sawn and dried very many timbers of the sizes 8 x 12 or so as you guys are talking about.
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Offline drobertson

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Re: Want to build a log home
« Reply #12 on: January 04, 2018, 04:23:02 PM »
Yes, I have, the largest being 12" x 20" x 20', and these were in fact heart centered, there were shipped off the day I sawed them, so as to how they behaved,?? no clue, never heard anything either way.   My max length was basically 20', a typical LT-40 frame.  Most beams that were just beams, I've always tried to saw heart centered, with only a few that folks either read something or knew something I did not in regards to FOH beams,  of these I've sawn, they did favor the tendency to bow, and at times twist.  The real challenge in my limited, (I need to stress) experience in beam and cabin sawing, for folks, all of which only a few I did not know from Adam, had a material list and an "X" amount of logs to work with.  So, getting the most, usable parts was the goal. Most of the time I just sawed what size was asked for, whether it was engineered or designed, I have no clue except for a few.  And they were not the big monsters, like 12" x 15".  The big ones I sawed back in 08' I have no idea what they were for, when I asked, the foreman of the yard just shrugged his shoulders, with that look, "who cares?" so that was that. To reduce the amount of bow on the FOH D-logs, whatever the finish dimension was, when I took out the beam, I would make it heavy, by at least an inch, then bark side down, flat on the rails, and bring to size.  From here, proper stacking is required, just like lumber. And just like lumber, there are no guarantee's to  the final behavior,  beams are tougher I think in that for the most part, once of the mill, whatever form they take, its pretty hard to fix.

Offline starmac

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Re: Want to build a log home
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2018, 03:43:37 AM »
Customcutter, I can't answer about your pine, but our spruce here once dead gets bugs and some kind of dewalt imitating grub about the end of spring, beginning of summer.

We do nearly all of our logging in the winter, any log that is intended to be a house log with a natural side is peeled in a pretty short window in the spring.
The bugs don't bother it once the bark is gone, and if off the ground stay good for house logs for three years or so before you have to do something with them.

Wood peckers also work on those dead standing trees, and even those with the bark on in decks.

Offline customcutter

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Re: Want to build a log home
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2018, 09:08:43 PM »
drobertson, yes I understand what you where talking about in your first post as far as cutting the cant and not having it centered with equal chords from the centerline, causing it to have an over hang.  When I was first thinking about this idea I actually wondered if it could be used to advantage by making a drip line in the over hang to keep moisture from wicking back onto the bottom log, but then I decided to build the porch on all 4 sides to prevent rain from hitting the logs.

Another thing that I have become aware of on my mill is that there is only about 8" of clearance between the blade and the cross brace between the housing for the 2 blade pulleys.  So I may be limited to cants that are only 7.5-8" thickness, depending on how I manage to cut them.  If I decide to cut them full width, I can cut dimensional lumber, or make 4 sided cants.  I'm not sure which way to go right now.  Regardless, I'll make sure that the heart is centered or left out completely.

Stevem,  thanks for the math, and or experience.  I'm not really worried about any cracks, just trying to keep the warpage manageable for now and in the future.

starmac, thanks for the info, I have noticed that we got some SYP from a tree removal company a couple of weeks ago.  I picked it up the day it was felled and hauled it to where my mill is set up at my cousins.  It already has small mounds of what looks like dirt where some type of insect has bored through the bark and is attacking the wood in just a couple of weeks.  WOW1  I guess I won't be ringing any trees.

Offline starmac

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Re: Want to build a log home
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2018, 11:44:47 PM »
I don't know about pine in that country, but the grubs that get in our spruce here only go an inch or so deep. I know a company over at Tok sold a lot of house logs that were long dead standing and pretty much dry before he fell them, not sure what killed them.
He was turning the logs on a lathe though, so the holes went away.
The sawmill here keeps logs in the yard as long as three years, and the holes are only in the outer inch or so when they saw them.
I am hopeing to saw out the logs for a house in the next year or so, but am contemplating square logs instead of 3 sided d logs, and it would not be a concern then, not to mention eliminating the peeling process altogether.