Thursday, July 5, 2012

Building a Log Home, chapter 9

This was probably the most exciting day so far. The giant crane managed to swing the hefty logs into position and two men guided the monsters into place. What took them a week to accomplish in the airplane hangar was re-erected in hours and we had the beginnings of our dream home taking shape before our eyes.

When all of the perimeter logs were set they took sledge hammers and knocked the corners until they were satisfied that every wall would be square. The corners locked together and not a single nail or spike was used. The weight of all the logs, so tightly interlocked, will keep the house on the foundation for a hundred years, probably more.

The logs are mostly Red Pines with a few White Pines mixed in. They were harvested from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and inspected to be sure they were free of disease and insects. The bark was peeled and they were dried for a year or so, but they still retained a certain level of moisture. The log guys told us that each log would shrink in circumference and the total effect of that shrinkage, aside from the loud cracks and pops we would hear for a couple of years, was that the entire structure would settle about six inches. (More about that later.) The effect of the shrinkage would tighten up the whole structure, making it stronger and stronger. The corners would lock so snugly that even if the house were swept off the hill by a flood it wouldn’t come apart. So who needs nails?

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