Red Cedar Log Homes in Dovetails

Sue | April 11th, 2014 - 5:26 am

Log homes showcase to the world the versatility of what can be done with a natural building material– a log. Dovetail log homes are one style which isn’t as commonly seen in the Northwestern United States, but instead draws its roots from the Appalachian log home style. The hallmarks of this are the dovetail corners, flat or square cut log profile, and sometimes chinking. To add a little of both sides of the country, we can take our eastern dovetail style with square logs and use western red cedar wood species. And then we have red cedar log homes in dovetails!

western red cedar chink style log home

Red cedar log homes are built from western red cedar. Notice the deep red of the logs above. Cedar of this variety is only found in the Northwestern US and Western Canada. Red cedar log cabins are so popular that they are even shipped into Europe, Japan, and parts of Asia. The draw for this type of wood is due to the lovely color but also the bug resistant cedar oils this species possesses.

Western red cedar log homes can be either milled or handcrafted log. For now let’s look at the milled dovetail log cabins. A dovetail is used most commonly in conjunction with a square cut log or flat cut log. The logs are milled to a consistent diameter from one end to the other. Between the rows of logs we use a double tongue and groove stack. The logs are usually either a 6×8, 6×10, 6×12, 8×8, 8×10, or 8×12. Then the corners are where the dovetails dwell. The dovetail pattern is an interlocking style. Instead of log ends extending out beyond the corners, the dovetail neatly finished the corner almost flush with the log work.

dovetail corner log home

Dovetail Log Cabins

To me, a dovetail log profile showcases craftsmanship. Kitchen cabinets or dressers with dovetail corners resonate with quality (and price)- so maybe that is the root of my attraction. Others seek out the flat cut dovetail style due to its more modern log home appearance. In the milled log style the dovetails are very uniform and precise. The dovetail log style can be used regardless of the overall size of the log home. From smaller log cabins to commercial log buildings, dovetails accentuate and individualize any structure.

Dovetails with Chinking

In the milled log home style the square cut logs can be made with or without a chinking channel. Instead of an open gap between the logs for chinking, we mill a groove into the logs for a chinking slot. This slot is only for aesthetics and is not structural. Chinking ‘paint’ is applied to the channel to give the appearance of narrow or wide chinking between the rows. The chinking slot can be milled on just the exterior face of the logs or on both the interior and exterior faces of the logs.

dovetal log homes

Western Red Cedar Log Homes

For wood species, western red cedar is the top rung of the log home world. If you imagine a pyramid the pine log homes would be the first level. Then vast majority of log homes are milled log homes and built from pine. The next tier of the pyramid would be log homes constructed from other wood species — spruce, larch, fir, etc. The top tier is red cedar log homes. In cost and in total number of log homes built in the U.S. the pinnacle is the western red cedar log homes.  To get even more exclusive, a very very small percentage of log homes are western red cedar and built with flat cut and dovetails.

Appalachian Log Homes in the Rocky Mountains

When driving around Montana, log homes abound. But the closer you look the more you realize the Appalachian log home style is not very common. If you build one, probably a dozen people will say, ‘Where did you ever get a lovely log home like that!’ Dovetail log homes coupled with the red cedar are solid wood homes with a more organized and modern flavor. So if you want something a little different consider red cedar log homes in dovetails.

Cowboy Log Homes

dovetail square cut log home

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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