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Log vs timberframe buildings?

 
Posts: 5
Location: Alaska
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Considering building a workshop and house and am trying to decide between log building and timberframe building. Anyone have any thoughts as to the pros and cons?

I have built homes before, milling the lumber with a chainsaw mill, I have the tools needed for both types of building, I have logs and trees available at the site but the logs would need to be hauled mostly by hand. Trees are spruce or western hemlock. I like the log option because I wouldn't need to spend an eternity milling siding and interior wall coverings as I would with a timberframe, however the logs will be a lot more work to get to the site because of the hand hauling. Timberframe would need expensive insulation where log would not. Timberframe might go up faster and would certainly entail less heavy hauling of wood. I have built small buildings both timberframe and log so I am familiar with both methods and comfortable doing either but this would be the biggest project I have tackled yet. Both buildings would be two story and around 1,000 sq feet each.

One main goal would be to use as little purchased materials as possible and all of the lumber would be milled with the Alaska mill on or near the house site. No building codes here.

Any input at all would be great!
 
master pollinator
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My only comment is that it depends on how long you want the building to last, and how much maintenance you're willing to do to keep it free of rot and destructive insects.

I know people with a large log cabin on a lake. It's now 40 years old. Gorgeous, but the annual maintenance on that thing is ridiculous.
 
Chris Panagiotou
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Douglas Alpenstock wrote:My only comment is that it depends on how long you want the building to last, and how much maintenance you're willing to do to keep it free of rot and destructive insects.

I know people with a large log cabin on a lake. It's now 40 years old. Gorgeous, but the annual maintenance on that thing is ridiculous.



Thanks Douglas, that is a very good point to consider that I had not thought of!
 
pollinator
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Have you considered logs with an external covering to improve its life?
 
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Chris Panagiotou wrote:Considering building a workshop and house and am trying to decide between log building and timberframe building. Anyone have any thoughts as to the pros and cons?

I have built homes before, milling the lumber with a chainsaw mill, I have the tools needed for both types of building, I have logs and trees available at the site but the logs would need to be hauled mostly by hand. Trees are spruce or western hemlock. I like the log option because I wouldn't need to spend an eternity milling siding and interior wall coverings as I would with a timberframe, however the logs will be a lot more work to get to the site because of the hand hauling. Timberframe would need expensive insulation where log would not. Timberframe might go up faster and would certainly entail less heavy hauling of wood. I have built small buildings both timberframe and log so I am familiar with both methods and comfortable doing either but this would be the biggest project I have tackled yet. Both buildings would be two story and around 1,000 sq feet each.

One main goal would be to use as little purchased materials as possible and all of the lumber would be milled with the Alaska mill on or near the house site. No building codes here.

Any input at all would be great!



I built a 900 sf traditional timber frame home 40 years ago.  Ir ia insulation is on the outside that stops  deterioration to the timbers.  Traditional timber frames are 500 year old because the structure is separate from the insulation.  I once lived in Kind Henry's  the 7th hunting lodge in Watford, England and loved this typed of construction from the 1500s.   I ended up co-writing the first traditional timber framing book in 1980  as a DIY manual (Building the Tmiber Frame House by Benson with Gruber). I was the engineer and all of the detailed how-to drawings.    I am now involved in the Pemies site due to a second book:  "Building Community" that is featured under the City Repair Forum.

So...I recommend Traditional Timber Framing...if you want to build once for a structure that will last 100's of years (if done properly).  It is also a great community event when you raise the frame!

Best,

Jim
 
Douglas Alpenstock
master pollinator
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I love the look of the traditional Yukon and Alaskan log cabins.

What strikes me is the massive overhanging roof that protects the log structural elements from essentially all moisture. Brilliant, and it also creates practical space.

I also note that saturating the logs and joints in borax solution, and renewing that regularly, keeps the whole spectrum of squatters and decomposers from taking hold.
 
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Location: Fennville MI
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They are such radically different approaches that it's really hard to "compare" the two. With a log cabin style build (in any of the innumerable traditions for building them) you will use more timber than with a frame, but you're getting the walls as part of the construction. Raise the four walls, put on a roof and you have an enclosed space. Timber frame, you use less timber but once the frame is up - that's it, you have a frame. The actual enclosure of your frame is a whole separate animal, with lots of choices. We're building our house with round wood timber frame and straw bale infill. Going with a metal roof as well. The strawbale will get rendered with lime plaster. That whole process is its own build ;)
 
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