Milled Log Homes vs. Handcrafted Log Homes– What’s the Difference?

Sue | December 20th, 2011 - 10:55 pm

To anyone who has taken a few minutes to explore our website Cowboy Log, you may have noticed different style log homes. The two most popular are the milled log homes and the handcrafted log homes. Let’s take a minute to describe the differences.

Milled Log Cabins
Milled log cabins are built with logs that are milled to a consistent diameter from one end to the other. The logs come in either a Swedish Cope log stack or a Double Tongue and Groove log stack. The log sizes include 7, 8, 9, 10, and 12 inch log diameters.  The 7 inch Swedish Cope or the 6×8 milled D-log are the least expensive log diameters. Often we will mix a smaller wall log size with a larger diameter log roof system. The roof system logs include items such as log ridge beams, log rafters, log purlins, and log trusses. Some of the small log home plans only come with a ridge beam, as that is all that is needed structurally. The log home below is the Montana Plan. This design comes with a ridge bean and four purloins for the main part of the home. For the gable dormer on this side we also included a log ridge beam and two purlins.

montana front clh

Milled Log Home ~ Montana Log Home Plan

When a loft is used in a log home usually a king truss is not required, as the log floor joists and support posts supply the needed support for the roof system. When the loft is removed then a log king truss is often needed.

Another option in a milled log home is to use a handcrafted log roof system with the milled log walls. This is how the Montana is built. Here is a photo of the log roof system from the inside.

peak of log home interior

Handcrafted Log Roof System

Notice the ruggedness of the logs. The draw knife hand peeled finish and the irregular shape of the logs and the log railing are hallmarks of a handcrafted log.

There are also log profiles to consider. This is how the log is shaped. A D-log is flat on the inside of the home and rounded on the outside. A flat log profile is cut flat on the inside and outside of the home. And a Double-D is round on the inside and the outside of the home.

A Swedish Cope stack is round on the inside and outside of the home. The underside of the log is cut with a coped half-moon shape.

Handcrafted Log Cabins

If you love really big logs then the handcrafted are for you. These logs range between about 12 to 16 inches in diameter. (Larger sizes are also available). Log lengths are up to 50 feet. Each log is hand peeled with a draw knife pattern. Then each is individually selected for placement within the shell.

january 1st log homes photos

Handcrafted Log Home ~  Log Home Plan

We use either the Scandinavian Full Scribe method or the chink style for crafting the logs together. The Scandinavian full scribe method is where a V shaped channel is cut into the underside of each log. The laterals and notches are lined with an insulating gasket.

For the chinking style log homes an open channel is intentionally left between the rows of logs. Then chinking is used between the rows of logs.

tall handcrafted log home with bell tower

This small cabin is built like a vintage school house. It is a square cut log with dovetail corners and spaces left between the rows of logs for chinking. With a handcrafted log shell almost anything is possible. So be sure to ask.

Overall milled log shell range between about $24 to $28 per square foot. Handcrafted log shells range between about $45 and $60 per square foot.

The choice is yours! Factors such as budget, locations,  and your personal choice dictate what is truly the best selection for your log cabin. Also if you are self building your log cabin basics like these are very important.

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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