At Schutt Log Homes and Mill Works, we know all about gray wood and how to handle it. Any wood left exposed to the elements weathers to a silvery gray, and every species of wood does this. Weathered wood Ikeeps this gray coloring until it is cut, sanded or planed to remove the outer layer. This is a natural occurrence and depending on the environment, lumber can gray rather quickly. The weathering of wood which causes the graying is a combination of chemical, mechanical, biological and UV-induced changes. As the wind blows over the wood, dust, pollen, and dirt embed in the colored cells of the wood. Exposure to the sun’s ultra violet rays also greatly affects this process. The graying process can take a few weeks to years depending on the amount of exposure.
Graying of oak logs and lumber in no way means these products are old or not useable. The gray of the log is limited to the surface of the log and a quick plaining will bring the bright fresh grain back. Many people like the natural gray look as well. Whichever look you prefer it is important the wood be treated with a sealer and preservative. A good wood finish helps maintain the woods natural physical properties, durability and strength. If the fresh bright look of the wood is preferred, it is important that very soon after the log is planed it is protected by a wood sealer. It is best to use a protectant with a UV blocker to prevent graying over time from sun exposure.
Oak logs can be stored for several months to several years before being used. As long as the log is stored properly off the ground and preferably with banding. Another point to consider is that since the sun is drying the wood, you can expect to see tiny surface cracks (called checks). This doesn’t always happen, but in sunlight, these tiny surface cracks are pretty inevitable. It is not a defect in the wood, it is a fact of life as the wood dries.
The logs we sell at Schutt Log Homes and Mill Works are rough sawn logs, so after the log walls are built on the cabin the entire log cabin will be planed with an electric planer. This will bring the natural colors and grain back out in the wood. It is recommended by Schutt Log Homes the wood gets treated as soon as possible after it is planed to block moisture and sunlight to prevent the logs from graying again. Today’s products are safe for the environment, homeowner and person applying the product. There are several products we recommend at Schutt Log Homes, please feel free to give us a call and we will be happy to discuss them with you. We do not recommend the use of varnishes, lacquers or other clear film-forming finishes because they allow UV degradation, can crack and peel, and are difficult to remove.