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Log Home Building Information

Jon Adams

Joined: Feb 22, 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
I have just recently discovered your site and I will be asking all sorts of advice and hopefully I can use everyone elses expertise to learn the things I don't know. I figured if you were willing to share with me then I should respond by sharing my expertise with anyone who may want it. I am a log home builder that uses the scandanavian full scribe (cope), shrink fit saddle notch method. I also build all my own roof trusses, purlins and post from round log with a mortise and tenon joinery system( all wood no nails or screws ). This method wastes almost nothing and can be done completely by hand in the bush and requires almost no outside materials. If you have trees a strong back and are good a freecycling (windows, doors, and roofing) you can build a stunning home for next to nothing. If anyone has any questions regarding tools, techniques or materials please just ask and I will do my best to help.


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Mark Larson

Joined: Nov 29, 2010
Posts: 53
Location: Conroe, Tx
Those joints are beautiful!
Jon Adams

Joined: Feb 22, 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
I am starting a new build this spring. It will be my personal home (divorce got my first one). Anyone intersted in some pics and a progress report?

The pictures are my view and the trees I will be using. Most of the trees are split tops (tree grows a second top half way up) so they need to be harvested anyway as they are getting so big they are just splitting down the middle and then become useless. This is also a bit of a bonus for me as I will get a wall log and two floor joists or rafters out of every tree.

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Rich Pasto

Joined: Dec 13, 2011
Posts: 97
that is some awesome craftsmanship! Im always interested in project photos. I may never build a log structure, but I seem to get a lot of good ideas from others building stuff.
Gary Stuart

Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 27
Location: Wakefield, Quebec, zone 3b/4a CAN

This post couldn't have come at a better time, I don't get to check permies as much as I'd like to and this was the first post I saw today. I'm about 45 minutes north of Ottawa and just dipping my toes into the world of log building, so I'd love to see a pic and progress report.

I'm starting small with a saddle-notched 9x5x4 two-bin compost bin set-up, then onto a 9x9x6 goat shelter. So far I have collected and peeled the logs but only rough-cut my first notches, waiting for my next tool delivery from Lee Valley this week before I continue. Harvesting all trees from the land and working with handtools only. In the end I'd like to construct all of our outbuildings (storage, chicken house, compost-toilet outhouse, etc.) from either log or cob.

We're also in the process of buying a patch of semi-forested land this year and thinking of buying a kit from OL Homes and getting a contractor to put it up for us. I'd love to take on the job myself but it is far, far beyond my solo capabilities for now. If you think you'd be interested in any of that process I'd love to talk more.

Our blog/site about day to day life as onsite caretakers of a ranch & retreat, and our journey to become more self-sufficient
Jon Adams

Joined: Feb 22, 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Hi Gary

I will try this again. I think I am having some technical difficulties so if this posts twice I am sorry.

I would be glad to help with any questions you have. If you want to shoot me your phone number I would be glad to chat a bit and give you a few tips to make life a little easier. You are on the right track trying a small profect first and learning the finer points before tackling a house. I hope that you will find out how truly easy this is and forget the kit idea. I live 20 minutes south of Ottawa and will be starting my shell this spring and then moving it to the Calabogie area once it is finished. That said if you ever want to come see the different stages you would be more than welcome. I should have 60 24" top 30 foot logs to peel any day now and you are invite to get yours hand dirty. Just kidding that is the only job I hate. If you would however like to come see how the sills are done or the roof system is built or anything in between just let me know and I would be glad to call as things come up.

Here are a few pics from my first log home.

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Gary Crays

Joined: Feb 26, 2012
Posts: 4
Do you know much about log supports and how to anchor them properly without moisture seeping in like the enclosed photos?

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Gary Stuart

Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 27
Location: Wakefield, Quebec, zone 3b/4a CAN
Hey Jon,

We wont have access to a working vehicle for another 3-4 weeks or so, but if it's okay with you I'd love to come down then and see what you're up to and pick your brain.

There's no way I can do our house project this year. We're going to be in such a rush, and with a farm to run I'm just going to have to bite the bullet and pay to get the big job done while I keep the little projects ticking along. Just one of those things. Maybe the next house though...

So far (early days I know) I have to say I love working with logs. I feel so much more comfortable handling and working with them than I ever have with lumber.
Gary Stuart

Joined: Sep 23, 2010
Posts: 27
Location: Wakefield, Quebec, zone 3b/4a CAN
Jon (or anyone),

If you could try to recommend just one book to cover most aspects of round log building, which would it be?

I don't expect to ever get bigger than 15x15 buildings. Mostly I'm just looking at outbuildings. But I need to know things like how close the doorway can be to a corner, for example. And I still haven't found a good online article covering the entire roof building process from finishing the walls to adding the purlin logs.

Is it possible to get away with just one book?
Jon Adams

Joined: Feb 22, 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Hi Gary

Sorry for the short reply but I am busy in the bush right now so I have limited time omline. If I was only going to have 1 book it would be Building with logs by B. Allan Mackey. I belive it is sold at lee valley.

I usually don't place a door or window within 2 feet of each other or a corner. Any shorter than that and the log can check and actually split in half.
Jon Adams

Joined: Feb 22, 2012
Posts: 8
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Hi Gary Crays

I never allow log to touch concrete and use a felt paper to line any metal to log contact. The questions about post conections is a very difficult one to answer because there can be so many variables. It is also easy to do it wrong and that can be very dangerous. I think your best bet would be to find a local engineer that is familiar with log building and have them design your anchors. Be sure to rememeber that they may have lift load as well to consider especially for a gable end or dormer over a patio. Once they are designed and aproved by your building inspector then just find a good welder and you are safe amd ready to go.
Craig Goodman

Joined: May 28, 2012
Posts: 1
I have a problem with adjusting the screwjacks on a log cabin I'm building.

I checked the wall heights on recently and they are down by 1" from the last time the screwjacks were adjusted. There are five screwjacks. One in the middle of the front wall, which has a 12' opening for 2 patio doors. Two screwjacks on either side, supporting outrigger beams.

My problem is that the screwjacks are getting hung up. The center screwjack lowered by 5/8" and then stopped, the nut moves freely. Only one of the four outrigger screwjacks actually lower, the rest were hung up from the get go.

Looking at the holes, they look like they are smaller than the screw. I was present for the drilling of the holes, and at time of drilling the screws fit just snugly. Is it possible for the hole to have become smaller?

I have reasonable knowledge on how wood reacts to moisture change, but my opinion had always been that a hole would become larger when the log shrank. Is this incorrect?

I hope someone can offer some advice on how to remedy this. Presently I have the nuts backed off 1/4". I left them that way over the weekend, hoping that they would settle over the weekend.

Any thoughts would be much appreciated.

Craig Goodman, Falcon Lake, Manitoba
Matt Stravitz

Joined: Dec 02, 2013
Posts: 1
I'm casting the following project for a major cable network. We are looking for people who want log homes custom built. Check it out!

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Stiletto Television, the producers of the acclaimed show Treehouse Masters, are conducting a NATIONWIDE search for this inspiring and exciting new docu-series!

If you are ready to see the building blocks of your dreams come together please send the following info ASAP to: LOGHOMECASTING@GMAIL.COM

-Contact Info
-Recent photos of you and your family
-Brief description of the log project you are dreaming of
-Why you would be great for our show
Did you see how Paul cut 87% off of his electric heat bill with 82 watts of micro heaters?
subject: Log Home Building Information
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