Handcrafted Log Homes – The Process

Sue | July 23rd, 2013 - 12:52 pm

The main ingredient that makes a log home different from a standard conventionally built home is the logs themselves. The logs make a marked difference in appearance, feel, and cost in this type of home. Within the log home world there are two kinds of construction, milled log homes and handcrafted log homes. The process is how the logs are prepared before they ever arrive at the job site.

When you are shopping for a handcrafted log home or a milled log home, the first quote you will probably get is a log shell only. This means that the cost you are seeing is for just the log materials. Most of the time the log shell includes the four exterior log walls, log roof system, log support posts, log floor joists to support the upper level, log staircase, and log railing for one side of the staircase and the loft edge. The only other ingredient that is usually included in a log shell only quote is the construction drawings.

With a handcrafted log home the logs cannot be cut to length and scribe fit together unless the construction drawings are completed. The log shell comes complete with the door and window openings cut, the corners saddle notched together, and the electric box holes and wire holes are precut and predrilled into the log shell. For the log roof system,  which consists of at least a ridge beam, but more often includes purloins and or rafters, log trusses, and dormer ridges, etc. the logs are precut and pre assembled before shipment.

july 11th garage log

Here we see the first round of Douglas Fir logs laid out on the ground to form the perimeter of the home. This log home design is about 1700 square foot ranch with an attached two car log garage. This home has two interior log walls. A half log is used for the first row of logs on the front to back. A full log is used for the first row of logs on the left to right runs.

After the first rows of handcrafted logs are laid out, then more rows are added. The bottom row of logs is kept continuous. When the logs arrive on the job site then the tie logs that run across the bottoms of the doors are cut out.

july 11th row 3 of logs

As the log shell continues we are up to the sixth row in this photo. If you notice the under side of each log has a v-groove shaped channel cut into the underside of the logs. The corners are cut with a scarf cut on the uppers and the log is left round on the under side. The term ‘full scribe’ is only correctly applied to handcrafted log homes.

After the logs reach the 8th row of logs high the top of the doorways are cut into place. This log home has two interior log archways. Here we can see the archways cut into the log row.

july 12th interior log archways

Even though the log shell looks like it is nearing completion there is still much work to be done with beveling back the door and windows for the windows and dimensional lumber.

Once the top rows are in place the log arches on the corners become visible. The top logs extend out further than the lower log ends. Also the door and window openings are finished. All of the precutting in the yard saves a multitude of time and effort on the job site.

Here we see the log trusses begin assembled. These are massive trusses with logs of up to 32 inches in diameter.

july 12th two handcrafted king trusses

Here we see the log roof system contains the ridge beam, two purloins, and two log king trusses. The ridge beam is pitch cut on each side so that the roof framing materials can lay flat against the ridge. The purloins are also pitch cut.

july 12th log ridge beam

So when you get your first quote from a log home company be sure to read down through the quote. Note if it only lists log materials and don’t assume that other things, like doors and windows, are included. The basest base package for log homes is a log shell only. All of the other building materials from concrete to counter tops are the same as are used for standard homes. The logs are what make the difference and set handcrafted log homes apart from other styles of houses.

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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