8 Useful Things to Know When You Build a Log Cabin Kit

Things to know before you decide to build a log cabin kit.

  1. Know what you are getting into. The decision to build a log cabin kit is a decision to live a lifestyle. This decision should not be taken lightly. The log cabin life is a peaceful life that draws you in and holds you close.

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    Custom Log Home Kit

  2. There are many aspects to the building process and things should be done in the right order. Do your research. Find out what is included in the kit and what’s not included.
  3. Don’t get in a hurry. Remember this is a project you will enjoy, approach it as the adventure it is. it will take time to complete the kit, you can’t rush your dream.
  4. Use the buddy system. Friends are a great resource for advice and labor. If you have a buddy who is a plumber, electrician, or carpenter, they may have resources for discounted materials or will help you with your project in return for a favor. The barter system is still alive and well.
  5. Shop sales. You can begin early in your project looking for discounted items you will need in your new home. Keep your eyes open for light fixtures, door handles, appliances, windows, doors, hardware, flooring anything you will need to finish your home. Hitting the sales or even scratch and dent stores or the internet can save you a ton of cash.
  6. Know log cabins are not perfect and the material you receive will have imperfections. These imperfections add character and feeling to the home. If you want perfect logs without blemishes or knots then maybe the log cabin lifestyle is not for you.

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    Butt and Pass Corners. Typical logs for a Schutt Oak log cabin kit

  7. The first year is the hardest as far as maintenance. The log home will need to be water sealed and chinked as soon as the roof is on. During the first year, the logs will expand and contract a bit and some of the chinking material may tear. This will need to be fixed. After the first-year maintenance is a breeze.
  8. When your log home is finished, you will never want to leave. This will be a place you will cherish. A place where you will always feel comfortable. Your family will enjoy staying at home. Soon your friends will wonder what happened to you. You will answer with a huge smile, “I am living my log home dreams”.

 

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Corners for Log Cabins

This is a brief description of some of the options for corners in log cabins. They can be very basic or very intricate. The type of corner joinery you choose depends on the style of cabin you are building, your personal preference and skill level.

  • Dovetail: Typically seen on square, hewn, or chink-style logs. A dovetail joint is cut on the end of a log, where it would rest in a corner—one to the right and one to the left; this creates a tight, interlocking corner. Handcrafted dovetails can be “full dovetail” (notch surface slopes in two directions simultaneously) or “half dovetail” (notch surface slopes in one direction

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Dovetail corner

 

  • Locked or Tooth-edged joint: Typically seen in square logs. A lock/tooth joint is where distinct tooth-like profiles are cut at the end of each log for a tight “locked” fit.

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    Locked Joint

  • Butt-and-pass: Unscribed (or milled) logs butt up against each other at the corners without notching.

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    Butt and Pass Corner

 

  • Saddle notch: Used where two round logs overlap each other near the corners; common with the Swedish cope profile

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    Saddle Notch

The kits from Schutt Log Homes and millworks generally use Butt and Pass corners. These are simple to construct corners which look great. For more information give us a call 816-506-5713. oakcabins.com

 

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Cutting Costs on the roof for your Log Home

Are you looking for ways to save money building your log cabin?

Schutt Log Homes has some money-saving tips for the roof of your Oak log cabin kit.

  • Gable roofs are usually the most simple style roof to build as well as the least expensive. A gable roof without dormers will be unlikely to leak if installed properly. 

    Schutt Log Homes Chalet Kit

    1280 sq ft Chalet Oak log cabin kit

  • Low Pitched roofs are recommended. A Steeper pitched roof will be more expensive and more difficult to work on. A steeper pitch will also require more material.
  • We recommend renting a skytrac or lift when it’s time to set the ridge beam and rafters. The expense of the rental will be by far offset by the time and labor savings.

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  • Although dormers are an attractive accent to your home they add a bit of difficulty to the project as well as add to the expense of the roof. Another point to consider is leaks are more susceptible to develop in valleys where roof lines meet.
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Mountain View

 

  • Check with your roofing suppliers to see if they have a mis tint or overstock on any metal roofing. Many of these companies will be happy to offer deep discounts to move the material off their lots. This can be huge savings on perfectly good material. Someone else’s error or change of heart can be a huge score to your budget.Schutt Log Homes

Let us know if you have any other money saving tips when building your roof. We are always looking for ways to make the building process less expensive and more simple.

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How About That Chinking?

At Schutt Log Homes and Millworks we get a lot of questions about chinking.

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I’m going to take you through the process and hopefully give a few tips and tricks along the way. Although it’s not for everyone, chinking is one of my favorite things to do. Just remember don’t get in a hurry, you want a great looking finished project, so take your time and perfect your technic and you will cruise through it.

Chinking is a very important part of the construction of our Oak log home kits. The chinking is basically the glue that holds it all together. (Not really, we recommend Timber lock screws every 3 feet to hold the walls in place). But the chinking is still way up on the list of most important elements of the log cabin structure.

There are many types and manufactures of chinking out there. We have a few we recommend on our website.  We find the best product is one that remains somewhat pliable after application. This will allow for the shrinking and expanding of the logs without tearing the chinking as time goes by.

The process of chinking is rather simple. But it is time-consuming and must be done correctly to achieve the desired look and properly seal the spaces between the logs used in the walls. Once the technic is perfected the process speeds up quite a bit. As I said the process is simple but takes a little time to master. Don’t worry, while you’re building your log home you will get lots of practice chinking. You will be an expert by the end of your project.

I have never used the caulk gun method. Some people really like chinking this way and say it’s much faster. The steps will be the same other than you won’t need to fill the spaces with a putty knife, you will use the caulk gun to do it.

The materials you will need to get started are:

  • Backer rod- this is a roll of round foam used to fill the chamfered space under the chinking. This creates a better air barrier and reduces the amount of chinking you will use.
  • Chinking- usually a five-gallon bucket. Note keep the lid on the bucket as much as possible to prevent the chinking from drying out.
  • A small pallet (a Piece of scrap wood works great) about 12” x 12” to put chinking on. This makes it easier to walk down the wall and allows the lid to stay on the large bucket to keep the chinking from drying out.
  • Masking tape- The cheapest you can buy. You will be using a lot of tape.
  • Paintbrush- 1” or 2”
  • A container of water- something like a large disposable cup or bowl.
  • Clean cloth to wipe down the wall and clean up any oops.
  • Putty knife- I use the cheap plastic ones. They are flexible but not too flexible.
  • If the floors are finished place something on the floors in the event you drop chink. Cardboard or trash bags work well.
  • Trash bag or bucket to put the used tape in. Buckets work best for the tape

So, let’s get started learning how to chink. I will try to keep it simple and make the process clear.

  • The first thing I do is turn on my favorite music or audiobook. Then pick where you want to start. I recommend in a closet or where cabinets will go, this way it will be hidden if you make a mistake.
  • Wipe the wall to clear off any dust.
  • Pack the backer rod in the back of the V-space created by chamfering. Try to get it as tight as possible and be sure none of the backer rod is protruding beyond the edge of the log. It will show through the chink.100_2915
  • Use the masking tape on the flat side (the side facing you) of the chamfered edge of the log. The tape will keep the chinking off the wall where you don’t want it. This part of the process takes some time to perfect. Try to follow the chamfered line closely. It will not be a perfectly straight line which is perfectly fine. The varying chink line adds to the personality of the cabin.
    • Only tape as much wall as you will finish in a couple hours. If you leave the tape on the wall longer than an hour or two the tape will be difficult to remove. You will get very frustrated.100_2912
  • Use the putty knife to take a few big scoops of chinking out of the bucket and put it on your Pallet.100_2913
  • Fill the chamfered space on the wall using the putty knife. Be sure to push the chinking into the V-space. Use the putty knife to scrape excess chinking to make it even with the log wall. Your lines will not be perfectimg_20160902_114348367
  • Wet the paintbrush with water. Use the paintbrush to lightly brush the chinking in one direction. This step will smooth the chinking and make the edges blend.
  • Wait about 5-10 minutes. Do NOT let the chinking dry before you pull the tape. It will be a mess!
  • Pull the tape being careful not to touch the chinking line.
  • If you do damage the fresh chinking use your wet paintbrush or wet your finger and smooth it out.
  • Wipe any runs off the wall.0714161221a_resized

There you have it. Simple, right?

Some important tips to remember are:

  • Don’t let your chinking dry out.
  • Don’t leave the tape on the wall very long.
  • After you apply the chink do not let the chinking dry before you remove the tape.
  • Wipe the runs off the wall as soon as possible.
  • If you don’t finish a complete line taper the chinking down so when you continue the joint will be blended and not visible.

 

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Do you dream of living in a log cabin?

As temperatures drop and the snow is beginning to fall we long for the cozy charm of a log cabin. Just imagine sitting in front of the glowing fire on a chilly night with your loved ones gathered close. No hustle and bustle of the world outside, just quiet contentment in the warm peaceful cabin.

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Schutt Log Homes and Mill Works specializes in creating the Oak log cabin kit of your dreams. We will walk you through the process of creating your kit and building your log home. Our goal is to help you create an Oak log home you will love to come home to and hate to leave, a place where families and friends can gather, a home to be loved and cherished for generations to come.

Cozy warmth- Schutt Log Homes and Mill Works

 

If you would like more information about how we can help you turn your log home dreams into reality please check oakcabins.com or give us a ring at 816-506-5713. We look forward to helping you turn dreams into a reality.

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Not to worry if your logs turn gray

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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.0503161029b_hdr_resized

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.img_20160902_113856936_hdr

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.img_20160902_114348367

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Well Stacked logs are the key to log cabin building success.

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At Schutt Log Homes and Mill Works we use either 6” x 7 ½” Oak logs or 4” x 7 1/2” Oak logs. Our logs are rectangular and come in lengths from 8’ to 20’

Stacking the logs for your log home can be an adventure. Each course of logs stacked adds to the excitement of living the log home dream. As the log walls get taller the home begins to show character and evolve into what the finished home will look like.  With great patience and an eye for detail the end result will be a beautiful log home with beautiful straight walls.

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Each step that is taken when stacking logs is an important part of the whole log home building process.

Before the logs are stacked each log gets chamfered on each edge. This is the process of shaving the cornered edge off and making in an angled edge. This gives space for backer rod installation and chinking to be applied which will seal any spaces and increase insulation.

Schutt Log Homes Hunting Cabin Kit

Schutt Log Homes Hunting Cabin Kit

Step one is to get the first course of logs for the interior and exterior walls laid out correctly. Be sure door openings are marked and logs do not cover the openings. Opening should be the correct size to accommodate the width of the door frame and door.  It is also very important to be sure the first course of logs are level. An electric planner can help with this.

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The first course of logs are attached to the foundation with J bolts which are run through the sill plate.

 After the first course logs are attached to the log below using Timberloc screws. The screws are placed approx. every 3 feet. You must predrill the holes for the Timberloc screws using a counter sink drill bit. It is important the head of the screw sits below the top edge of the log. If the screw sits above the top of the log it will prevent the next log from sitting level and will be an obstacle to planning.  These screws are extremely strong and will keep the wall stable during the building process.

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A helpful tip is to build temporary corner bracing out of 2×4 or 2×6 lumber on the inside corners where the log wall will be placed. These braces will be firmly attached to the floor to ensure they are stable and will not move. The logs can then be stacked against these braces to give a guide helping to keep the corners square and straight.

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Typically when we run the second course of logs is when we determine where the electrical outlets, switches and lights will be. Outlets are cut in using a paddle bit and chisel. At this point the electrical wire is run through a channel cut into the top center of the log to the wall outlets. Wiring will also be run behind the door frames to switches.

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As the logs are placed it is important each log is checked with a level to ensure it is sitting straight. As the wall gets taller is will be necessary to use a long level vertically to be sure the wall isn’t walking in or out as it goes up.

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The top and bottom of each log gets planned to make it flat. This helps in leveling the log and keeping the log from shifting. Shims are used to support the log if there is a warp or bow in it. These areas are fine and to be expected.

Log by log course by course the walls go up. As the building process continues the log stacks become a log home. By following a few simple tips you will be building a home that will stand the test of time and be as strong and beautiful in generations as it is the day you finish it.

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