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Old 11-02-2010, 11:30 AM   #1
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Building a Log Home by hand.


Is it plausible (and do-able) to build a log home with "green logs" freshly cut down from the surrounding area? (Northeastern Pennsylvania)

My goal is to build my own house with my own hands. I feel its a shame people just simply buy a house without ever experiencing the process of building their own. I understand you'd want to use dried lumber for floorboards, framing and especially roofing. But what about the "Shell" or walls of the house?

There is no doubt the logs will shrink as the moisture content drops. But using the "Butt and pass" method, will it end up being a disaster?

Also, if green logs are used, does it have to be a whole log or can it be cut up into sections and brought back together for easier construction?

Any advice is GREATLY appreciated.

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Old 11-02-2010, 12:48 PM   #2
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Building a Log Home by hand.


Since you have no experience, I would not tackle it with green wood since the trick of expansion of wood (different in different directions) can cause some major faults in your home that will haunt you in upcoming years. This is especially true with any doors and windows, so you have special details to allow for the vertical shrinkage of the walls. The same can apply to mating green with kiln dried wood.

You can have vertical shrinkage that is measured in inches, not fractions of inches.

If it was not a home, but just a garage or shed, this could be a good learning experience, since you will not be living with it and looking at it for years.

Dick

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Old 11-02-2010, 12:57 PM   #3
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Building a Log Home by hand.


I have experienced this many years ago when I didn't know better, we skinned the logs and hand hued the beams and all. When the timbers dried they shrank, split and bowed. On a windy day the wind would turn a page in a book on the kitchen table. It is one thing I would never want to do again, it took years of fighting the movement of the wood before it settled down.
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:24 PM   #4
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Building a Log Home by hand.


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Originally Posted by jiju1943 View Post
I have experienced this many years ago when I didn't know better, we skinned the logs and hand hued the beams and all. When the timbers dried they shrank, split and bowed. On a windy day the wind would turn a page in a book on the kitchen table. It is one thing I would never want to do again, it took years of fighting the movement of the wood before it settled down.
I worried about this. How would cutting them down and air drying them for a year do? Could that sacrifice the quality of wood?

Or perhaps is it better off to get an Alaskan chainsaw mill, cut them into timbers and air dry them. Then frame the walls rather than stack logs?
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:49 PM   #5
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Building a Log Home by hand.


believe the word he used was ' years ' but its your house !
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Old 11-02-2010, 01:55 PM   #6
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Building a Log Home by hand.


My wife and I are building our own log home by ourselves. We've been at it nearly 2 years and it's almost finished. All we've subbed is the metal roof and the foundation. Trust me, unless you have a lot of experience, time, and stamina, you'd be far better off buying a kit. Even then, do you know anything about plumbing, wiring, roofing, tiling, etc., etc.? Is it even legal for you to do some of those things without being licensed? And how do you intend to pay for things? Without a licensed General Contractor, you'll never get a builder's loan.

I don't mean to sound so negative, but this is my tenth house since 1976 (second log home) so I've pretty much seen it all.
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Old 11-02-2010, 02:06 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by md2lgyk View Post
My wife and I are building our own log home by ourselves. We've been at it nearly 2 years and it's almost finished. All we've subbed is the metal roof and the foundation. Trust me, unless you have a lot of experience, time, and stamina, you'd be far better off buying a kit. Even then, do you know anything about plumbing, wiring, roofing, tiling, etc., etc.? Is it even legal for you to do some of those things without being licensed? And how do you intend to pay for things? Without a licensed General Contractor, you'll never get a builder's loan.

I don't mean to sound so negative, but this is my tenth house since 1976 (second log home) so I've pretty much seen it all.
Yes, I actually do have a lot of experience in plumbing, wiring, etc.

How are you constructing your own home?
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Old 11-02-2010, 02:10 PM   #8
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Building a Log Home by hand.


knuckleball -

You are the one that wanted a log home.

You also have the option of wood framed or real masonry if you want to do it yourself. Both can be DIY projcts with a little training or exposure.

I watched a pair of 65+ year olds build a 100% brick home (NOT VENEER) of 1800 sf over a one year period. They did it because they had a brick family room addition that was so comfortable and easy to heat in the winter, they wanted something like that for the old age.

Building a house is a major undertaking and can take a lot of time and learning, no matter what materials were used.

I worked for a company that had a rule than anyone that built a home themselves would be terminated since it takes too much time and learning. I got around the rule because I built a second/lake home 140 miles away and used a customer (concrete and mason contractor) for most of the walls and foundations. I was given a company pick-up and fuel for weekends to haul materials and commute. Since it was far enough away, I was allowed to get away on my own time. I did have the trusses made and hauled 140 miles and had local carpenter to set the trusses, set the 4 sliding doors and roof it. I also has a licensed contractor install the septic system. I drove the well with local help and did all the interior carpentry and drywall and wiring after the service and breaker box was installed. I ran the romax from the 200 amp service and my 12 year old son did most of the connections to switches and outlets. I ended up learning a lot and got a good investment out of my contacts and sweat equity. Only two inspections required after the $15 building permit - Septic and electrical by the state inspector. The septic inspection may never have occurred since the contractor call the inspector and left the site open with perk test reports, materials and and a drawing - the permit arrived two weeks later. The electrical was also easy after the inspector saw the fireplace conduit with 5 colors of THHN and then just looked at a couple of outlets and they were not "back-stabbed", but screwed (in the right direction) and I did not tell him a 12-year old did the hook-ups.

There is a lot more to building a home than just deciding on the structure and structural materials, so be prepared.

Dick
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Old 11-02-2010, 07:04 PM   #9
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Building a Log Home by hand.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Knuckleball View Post
Yes, I actually do have a lot of experience in plumbing, wiring, etc.

How are you constructing your own home?
Not sure what you mean. We have literally built it from the foundation up. Girders, floor joists, decking, log walls, framing, rafters, doors, windows, drywall, plumbing, electrical, flooring, cabinets, etc., etc., etc. We have done it all ourselves. We set up our RV on the property and lived in it while doing the work.

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