A LOG CABIN IS IRRESISTIBLE. IT expresses the romance of home--that archetypal feeling of warmth, protection, and permanence--like no other structure. It fuels the imagination, making you dream of sinking into your favorite easy chair as firelight dances across log walls the color of honey and a coyote howls in the distance. . A log cabin comeback is under way. Owning a log home has long been defined as living and loving a certain lifestyle. Whether the log home is of traditional design and located on a remote hillside or a totally contemporary model in a resort community, the owners are often independent spirits who enjoy the attention a unique home offers. They love being surrounded by the ambience of natural wood and the feeling of rootedness these sturdy homes imply. Their substantial horizontal silhouettes and sturdily stacked corners seem to stud almost every newly subdivided ranch, contrasting vividly with the thinner, wood-frame construction of conventional houses. Logs embody an alpine aesthetic.
"When we first started our log home renovation with an eye towards opening up the Fish Creek House Bed and Breakfast, , we found that altho we were the hands-on types, still being in California we were very willing to turn the process over to the log home builder, John Benedict once these aspects have been determined. They want their particular log home to look like those they've seen in the log home magazines, but they don't have the time or inclination to make that look happen.
Log home furniture might feature wood frames and intriguing upholstery patterns and colors. The beds and chairs made of logs built from the local Amish community. The lighting fixtures, including table lamps and chandeliers, can be made from antlers or have rustic metal shades featuring cut-out silhouettes. Everything from carved front doors and mantles to log staircases and window frames -- it all comes together for that total log home feel. We were thrilled to discover the variety of furniture and specialty items available to help visualize what the final product would look like.
CHOOSING YOUR WOOD SPECIES
One of the first questions we had to answer was "What kind of wood is the best to use?" There is no one correct answer to that question because quality log homes can be built successfully from many different wood species. Wood has many different [characteristics loghomes/wood/index.html]. Which species is best often depends on which of these characteristics you consider to be the most important.
Characteristics of Wood Species
The characteristics of wood that generally concern log home buyers are appearance, resistance to decay, insulation value, cost and stability--that is, how much shrinking, twisting, warping and checking the wood is likely to experience over the years.
Log home producers share consumers' concerns about these characteristics. They also have to take into account other factors when determining which wood to use. These additional considerations include the availability of the particular species in commercial quantities and the ease with which the wood can be cut and shaped into building logs.
Given all the variables that affect the selection of wood species, you can understand why it is so difficult to single out one species as "the best." A good starting point in evaluating wood is to review the characteristics that both consumers and producers most frequently mention as important.
Appearance. The appearance of wood on the exterior of a log home will change with time due to the effects of weathering. Application of certain wood preservatives also can cause changes in the appearance of wood. The best wood for you in terms of appearance will depend solely on your personal taste.
Decay Resistance. Although the natural decay resistance of various species of wood differs considerably, most producers strongly recommend treating the exterior of log homes with a wood preservative, regardless of the wood's natural decay resistance. While natural decay resistance is definitely a plus, it should not unduly influence your choice of a particular wood species.
R-Value. The following listings provide the R-value of each species of wood. Note, however, that the difference between the species with the highest and lowest R-values is only fractional. As the section on [energy efficiency loghomes/engineering/energy.html] points out, R-value is only one consideration in evaluating the energy efficiency of a log home.
Stability. The tendency of a wood to shrink, twist, warp and check is a valid concern for both consumers and producers. Fortunately, it also is a factor that can be controlled by various producers through good materials-handling techniques. As an example, a wood that tends to shrink can be kiln-dried or air-dried, thus controlling this characteristic. Also, through careful grading of the wood, those logs with an inherent tendency to twist or warp can be identified and rejected. Therefore, the instability of a particular species can be overcome in many cases through good materials selection and management procedures.
Cost. The price paid for different wood species can be significant. Some wood, such as Northern white cedar, is expensive because it is a slow-growing species and is difficult to harvest in commercial quantities. Other wood, such as Southern yellow pine, is less expensive because it is a fast-growing species that is sufficiently available in commercial quantities
Interior Log Home
We have saddle-notch corners (also known as saddle-cope or round-notch), a traditional form favored by handcrafters, get their name from the saddle-shaped notch cut into the bottom of each round log. The notch on the top log straddles the log coming from the perpendicular wall. Both logs extend past the corner. The op posing walls of a saddle-notch corner sys tem start with a half log to ensure the logs do not butt into each other. Energy efficiency is a must for any home. Logs are a natural reservoir for heat energy. To enhance this natural thermal mass efficiency, each log is coped using a Swedish cope. The radius of this cope is slightly smaller than the log diameter to maintain a uniform fit along the length of each log as the logs settle.
Who needs it? Many of the hand-crafted log homes not built in a scribe-fit style are referred to as chinkers or chink style log homes. Several milled log manufacturers also offer log packages that require chinking. These are homes that are purposely built leaving gaps between the courses of logs. The gaps are usually created by inserting small spacer blocks that help hold the logs apart. At the corners the logs are held apart by the notches (usually round or dovetailed notches). When the log shell is erected at your site generally a backer rod (or equivalent) is pushed between the courses of logs and then a chinking compound is applied on the interior and exterior.
THE TWO DIFFERENT METHODS OF log construction are chinked, the more common, and scribed. The chinked approach--which refers to the material used to fill the gaps between the horizontally laid logs--is especially popular now because a synthetic chink has been developed. Previously, chink was a cement-based material that cracked easily and had to be continually replaced. Synthetic chink, an acrylic latex combined with fine sand, first appeared in the late 1970s. The development of the synthetic has helped make log houses more practical, and thus more desirable.
What does chinking do? Quite simply, chinking stops air and moisture infiltration into your home. With the backer rod, it helps insulate your home as well.
What is chinking made of? Traditionally, chinking was a mixture of clay, lime, and sand with variations based on what was locally available. Today we use an acrylic, elastic compound that adheres to the logs and can stretch and contract as the logs settle and move seasonally. Old fashioned chinking often pulls away from logs and cracks, allowing water and insects to enter the logs.
Chinking, (or caulking), can also be used to seal any gaps between logs and notches in scribe-fit style handcrafted and milled log packages that had "gapped" for whatever reason.
We then had our contractor stain both inside and outside, let dry (fortunately it was May here so that worked well )and then e also chinked both interior and exterior.