Contrasting Handcrafted Log Homes Part II

Sue | June 1st, 2012 - 5:52 am

In our first segment of Contrasting Handcrafted Log Homes we discussed a log shell that is only crafted together at the corners and one that is totally ready for delivery. The open scribe log home can only be sealed with chinking. The Scandinavian Full Scribe home does not require any chinking. So here are the rest of our points to this handcrafted log home shell comparison.

Click Here to View Part 1 of Contrasting Handcrafted Log Homes

7. Recessing of Door and Window Openings for Trim- To us a door or window looks very unprofessional when the trim is simply stuck right on top of the round log.  The wide gaps behind the flat trim board makes the trim look ‘stuck on’ instead of fitted into place. Now imagine a flat board stuck on top of a handcrafted log wall. It would look even worse!


Instead we recess around the door and window openings for the trim. Notice how the trim is flush with the logs. Ledge cuts and other techniques are used to make this possible. Also this is one more process that we apply to our handcrafted logs increasing their value.

8. Pre-cutting of Electric Box Holes and Wire Holes– Electric is a major obstacle in building a log home. Logs cut on the job site present lots of extra work. Each outlet box hole and wire hole in our handcrafted log homes is pre-cut and notched or smoothed into the surface. No jagged marks here!

Precut Electric Box Hole in Log Wall - CLH

9. Pitch Cutting- The pitch cut is the angled cut along the ridge beam, on the top log of the wall, and one one side of a purloin or rafter (depending on the style of roof system). If a pitch has to be cut on the job site is is extremely hard to cut perfectly straight. Also the log must be lifted into place multiple times and then lowered, cut, and lifted once again. This process is repeated until the pitch cut is completed.

handcrafted log homes log roof system

10. Cutting of Interior Log Openings and Archways– Many log home plans have interior log walls. Structurally this is a good idea. Aesthetically it is beautiful. But functionally it is a nightmare to do on the job site.

log archway in handcrafted log home

Recently I watched a DVD of a log home being built on a home improvement show. Two of the interior walls were soild log. The openings to go room to room had to be cut on site. For the larger opening a series of ropes had to be tied into place to maneuver the log. Then the log length was cut free and lowered to the floor by five or six men. This seemed like something that should have been done in the yard, not inside a log home that already had doors and windows installed!

A log opening can also be custom cut into a log archway, swag cut, or for a custom arched door. Some owners even add a wider hallway so the archway can be made wider and more elaborate.

11. Pre-notching for Interior Walls– Where ever a framed wall meets a log wall there must be a vertical channel cut into the logs to slide the framed wall into. A chainsaw is used to cut down through the logs at a specific depth– not a easy job!

Guess what– this is another feature which very few log home companies cut into the logs ahead of time. Here is a photo of a pre-notched wall in a Bear Creek handcrafted log cabin.


12. Recessing for Cabinetry– Handcrafted logs are supposed to be irregular. This is a lovely feature but it does not make it easy to hand kitchen cabinets. The solution is to flatten and recess the logs where the cabinets go into place. A framed wall is affixed to the logs. Then tongue and groove or drywall is hung. Then the cabinets are screwed into the framed wall, not the solid logs. This allows the log walls to move while the cabinets are held rigidly in place. Many precious hours on the job site are lost if this recessing and notching is not done ahead of time.


If you look closely at this photo you will see a section of the log wall is flatted to the right of the doorway. This is how the logs are cut flat for things like cabinets, fireplaces, standing showers, tub inserts, and anywhere else in the home that a flat surface is desired.

13. Hand Sanding of Logs– How do we preserve the draw knife look but not end up with a handful of splinters? Through hand sanding any rough surfaces, along laterals, and notches. The construction marks are buffed out of the logs. Also this reopens the log pores so they take the stain or sealant evenly.

If you desire a cabin then contrasting handcrafted log home shells is a vital step. Digging into the specifics of companies reveals how prepared the logs really are. Many manufacturers say these steps are ‘easy to do on the job site’. If it is so easy why don’t their logs come with this standard of completion?

We disagree. It is much better to have these steps completed before the logs arrive on the job site.  Before you purchase a handcrafted log home you need to ask yourself questions like:

  • “How hard to I want to work?”
  • “Do I want to remove parts of my new home?”
  • “How soon do I really want to move into this home?”
  • “Am I capable of making all of these cuts?”
  • “Is quality craftsmanship important to me?”

The more prepared the handcrafted log shell is before it is shipped to you the more it is worth. So how much will your log shell be worth– and How much is your time worth to you?

Cowboy Log Homes

Any projected costs, cost estimates, material costs, and estimated construction/ building costs, are only the opinion of Cowboy Log Homes and are drawn from our experience. Every home is custom tailored to meet our individual client's wants and desires. The construction of a log or timber home is based on two primary costs: material provided by the log home company and construction costs contracted with Cowboy Log Homes as the builder or another builder of the customer's choice. Final costs are obtained and contracted with each respectively. Cowboy Log Homes is simply the "glue" that helps bring these two together to provide a final culmination of a customer's project. * Please note photos and elevations may differ some from accompanying floor plans.
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