Log Cabins

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mudflap
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Log Cabins

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If there's any interest, I'll post log home stuff here. I'm kind of a nut about log cabins. I'm a member of the Log Home Builders Association (LHBA), which teaches a method of building a log home debt-free that almost anyone can do (with the right amount of sweat and blood)...

Here's a home of one of our members he built after taking the famous 2-day class:
Image

Before he built this, he says he built a chicken coop and a dog house. He built it because his former (non-log) house burned down:
Image


Of course, I'm building one, too, and writing about it here:
https://loghomejourney.wordpress.com/

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mudflap
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1 year ago this weekend.....

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mudflap
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Meanwhile, over on the LHBA forum:

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Michelle
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Last edited by Michelle on January 4th, 2020, 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

layer8prob@gmail.com
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Re: Log Cabins

Post by layer8prob@gmail.com »

I'm not sure I'd want one as a primary residence but as a second home it'd be awesome. I love the look and feel of them.

Allison
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Post by Allison »

How do they hold up in earthquakes? I've always thought they were gorgeous.

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mudflap
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layer8prob@gmail.com wrote: December 11th, 2019, 10:39 am I'm not sure I'd want one as a primary residence but as a second home it'd be awesome. I love the look and feel of them.
:) I love the look and feel too.

I used to have a cabin (a frame built cabin- not made of logs) as a second home- it didn't work out. Two homes require double the maintenance, cleaning, upkeep, etc. It's what made me want to live in one full time- just one home to maintain.
Allison wrote: December 11th, 2019, 10:50 am How do they hold up in earthquakes? I've always thought they were gorgeous.
from the FAQ page of the LHBA org:
As indicated elsewhere in this web-site, Skip’s log home was 1,000 yards from the epicenter of a 5.7 (Richter Scale) earthquake – with virtually no damage to the home. As far as we know, there is no jurisdiction anywhere in America that does not allow log homes to be built because of earthquake concerns. When a log home is built correctly it can withstand the biggest earthquake, and pass the most stringent building permit issuance process. We even have members who built their home almost directly on top of the San Andreas Fault in Southern California. They had no problem meeting local earthquake requirements.
my bishop (also my local engineer), after reviewing a 50 page structural report on my plans so he could give me a wet-stamp said, "I've never seen plans for a stronger built home than this one- unless it were made of concrete. I think if you follow the plans, that thing should be able to withstand an F4 tornado". (Earthquakes aren't much of a concern here in Alabama, but tornadoes are)

In layman's terms- Instead of being held rigidly in place by way of a concrete footer beneath the piers (which is the standard and modern way of building), the 1st level of logs takes the place of the concrete footer.

I have about a half mile of rebar installed in this house.

rebar jack-hammered into place, but still needs sledge hammer to finish pounding them all the way in:
Image

here's the jackhammer doing its job. if you zoom in, you can see the sticks of rebar sticking up out of the log, waiting to be hammered:
Image

Allison
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Re: Log Cabins

Post by Allison »

mudflap wrote: December 11th, 2019, 12:23 pm
layer8prob@gmail.com wrote: December 11th, 2019, 10:39 am I'm not sure I'd want one as a primary residence but as a second home it'd be awesome. I love the look and feel of them.
:) I love the look and feel too.

I used to have a cabin (a frame built cabin- not made of logs) as a second home- it didn't work out. Two homes require double the maintenance, cleaning, upkeep, etc. It's what made me want to live in one full time- just one home to maintain.
Allison wrote: December 11th, 2019, 10:50 am How do they hold up in earthquakes? I've always thought they were gorgeous.
from the FAQ page of the LHBA org:
As indicated elsewhere in this web-site, Skip’s log home was 1,000 yards from the epicenter of a 5.7 (Richter Scale) earthquake – with virtually no damage to the home. As far as we know, there is no jurisdiction anywhere in America that does not allow log homes to be built because of earthquake concerns. When a log home is built correctly it can withstand the biggest earthquake, and pass the most stringent building permit issuance process. We even have members who built their home almost directly on top of the San Andreas Fault in Southern California. They had no problem meeting local earthquake requirements.
my bishop (also my local engineer), after reviewing a 50 page structural report on my plans so he could give me a wet-stamp said, "I've never seen plans for a stronger built home than this one- unless it were made of concrete. I think if you follow the plans, that thing should be able to withstand an F4 tornado". (Earthquakes aren't much of a concern here in Alabama, but tornadoes are)

In layman's terms- Instead of being held rigidly in place by way of a concrete footer beneath the piers (which is the standard and modern way of building), the 1st level of logs takes the place of the concrete footer.

I have about a half mile of rebar installed in this house.

rebar jack-hammered into place, but still needs sledge hammer to finish pounding them all the way in:
Image

here's the jackhammer doing its job. if you zoom in, you can see the sticks of rebar sticking up out of the log, waiting to be hammered:
Image
That's amazing! It sounds like a fantastic last days structure.

Your bottom log layer is not on the ground, but on some kind of concrete blocks! Will the house stay up on those?

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mudflap
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Allison wrote: December 11th, 2019, 12:32 pm
That's amazing! It sounds like a fantastic last days structure.

Your bottom log layer is not on the ground, but on some kind of concrete blocks! Will the house stay up on those?

thank you, we're pretty humbled we've gotten this far. Those concrete blocks are the foundation. most of them are 12" in the ground (req by code). they are about 4' from top to bottom, and about 3' square on the bottom, only about 2' is visible in this pic because the ground is higher on this side. there's 3 other piers that hold up the roof supports- they are 5.5' tall, nearly 6' across on the bottom, and are buried 2' in the ground. they support the 70,000 lb roof, and semi-support one of the logs holding up the second floor.

When the concrete was poured, we stuck a piece of rebar in each pier where a wall log would go. The 1st log then gets holes drilled in it, then sits down on top of the rebar sticking out of the pier. the rebar is then bent over the log to hold it fast to the foundation.

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mudflap
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https://loghomejourney.wordpress.com/20 ... of-change/

3 years ago this weekend...
The most exciting development right now is getting our utilities installed. This is a huge development. Whereas right now, we have a piece of land with logs, getting utilities installed means we can apply for a building permit. It means commitment. We are on the cusp of paying for this. It will be a major step in this process. There are a few things we have to nail down before we can apply...
Image

HeberC
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When we moved here, my family and I camped on the property in a small trailer while I built our log house. I did most of it myself except I hired others to stack the logs.

Log houses are earthquake proof. In a tornado, the pressure drop cause houses to explode. The windows blow out or the roof blows off. I greatly exceeded engineering specs by how I attached the roof trusses to the log walls.

Log houses cost half as much to heat as stick-built houses of the same R factor. My walls will stop handgun bullets.

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mudflap
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HeberC wrote: December 14th, 2019, 2:18 pm When we moved here, my family and I camped on the property in a small trailer while I built our log house. I did most of it myself except I hired others to stack the logs.

Log houses are earthquake proof. In a tornado, the pressure drop cause houses to explode. The windows blow out or the roof blows off. I greatly exceeded engineering specs by how I attached the roof trusses to the log walls.

Log houses cost half as much to heat as stick-built houses of the same R factor. My walls will stop handgun bullets.
very cool!

Where is your cabin?

I really wanted to do this- live in a trailer while building- but the city passed an ordinance forbidding any new trailer permits. I was thinking last night, 'if a tornado destroys our house, I wonder if the city we are building in would grant a temporary permit, so we could live there while we build?"

Stacking logs was one of the most stressful and fun parts of the build - until I got to the roof. We used ropes and pulleys to stack our logs- and made this video of the process:

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How much does my log cabin weigh? Most of it is in the walls and the roof:
Image

Just a guess, I probably forgot something. And I didn't include nails (yes, there's about 120 lbs of nails just in the shingles), screws, etc. There will be probably 1 nail per inch on every row of logs inside and out to give the chinking something to stick to- don't know how much that will weigh.

But just the roof- I hauled every piece of it up there with a shingle elevator I designed and welded. Except the rafters and ridgepole- I hired that out to a crane. The log walls - were lifted into place with ropes and pulleys.

Here's the shingle elevator I designed:

[youtube]https://youtu.be/ZeCXm0BiiTA[/youtube]

mahalanobis
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Post by mahalanobis »

I recently watched a great video comparing timber frame homes versus stick frame homes. The guy teaches a similar course and teaches people how to build them. This isn't the same as log cabins, but it's relevant because people can build them themselves and they often do it in forested areas. It's a style of build that can be for a home or a cabin, and you can do it yourself.

I'm no expert, but timber frame homes are structurally superior to stick frame homes (what suburban neighborhoods are often filled with). Stick frame homes require way more material, more labor, less insulating, and are easily destroyed in natural disasters. The reason the worse design is used so ubiquitously has to do with unions.

Lastly, you can buy a small plot of forested land the size of a house and have plenty of timber for the timber frame design. You can't say the same for the stick frame design.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2gWxRVqNI3M

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Timber frame homes are so elegant. I love the joinery that they use. I looked into building one at the same time I was looking into log homes. We (LHBA) have a member who is looking into the timber frame method because he can't find logs in his area in his price range.

Mine were free. One reason I went with logs instead of timber frame though was because the LHBA method allows use of extremely crooked and bent logs- not even suitable for timber frame building- logs that would normally just be bulldozed and burned. In fact, that's what was going to happen to our trees before we got them.

Great video explaining the method, though!

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mudflap wrote: January 3rd, 2020, 8:37 pm Timber frame homes are so elegant. I love the joinery that they use. I looked into building one at the same time I was looking into log homes. We (LHBA) have a member who is looking into the timber frame method because he can't find logs in his area in his price range.

Mine were free. One reason I went with logs instead of timber frame though was because the LHBA method allows use of extremely crooked and bent logs- not even suitable for timber frame building- logs that would normally just be bulldozed and burned. In fact, that's what was going to happen to our trees before we got them.

Great video explaining the method, though!
I'd love to get into this more, but I need a standard family suburban home first (been slaving away trying to get a down payment... That and I'm terrified of buying expensive real estate at the peak top of the market!). I need to be near large cities based on my profession - but after I finally get a "standard" home, I would love love love to buy some remote forested property and build my own timber frame cabin.

Funny thing is: I know literally nothing about it. I grew up in techy white-collar middle class suburbs. I don't know anything about construction or carpentry or cabins. Except for what I've seen in a few YouTube videos. But it speaks to me.

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mudflap wrote: January 3rd, 2020, 2:24 pm How much does my log cabin weigh? Most of it is in the walls and the roof:
Image

Just a guess, I probably forgot something. And I didn't include nails (yes, there's about 120 lbs of nails just in the shingles), screws, etc. There will be probably 1 nail per inch on every row of logs inside and out to give the chinking something to stick to- don't know how much that will weigh.

But just the roof- I hauled every piece of it up there with a shingle elevator I designed and welded. Except the rafters and ridgepole- I hired that out to a crane. The log walls - were lifted into place with ropes and pulleys.

Here's the shingle elevator I designed:

[youtube]https://youtu.be/ZeCXm0BiiTA[/youtube]

Well, at least you won't have to worry about the wind blowing it away.
dc

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mudflap wrote: January 3rd, 2020, 8:37 pm Timber frame homes are so elegant. I love the joinery that they use. I looked into building one at the same time I was looking into log homes. We (LHBA) have a member who is looking into the timber frame method because he can't find logs in his area in his price range.

Mine were free. One reason I went with logs instead of timber frame though was because the LHBA method allows use of extremely crooked and bent logs- not even suitable for timber frame building- logs that would normally just be bulldozed and burned. In fact, that's what was going to happen to our trees before we got them.

Great video explaining the method, though!

Other that the wood itself, and the quality of it, the essence of any wood build is ... the joinery. And the quality of the joinery.

I used to know a fellow named Snug who was very good at it.
dc

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mudflap
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Mahalanobis Distance wrote: January 3rd, 2020, 10:51 pm

I'd love to get into this more, but I need a standard family suburban home first (been slaving away trying to get a down payment... That and I'm terrified of buying expensive real estate at the peak top of the market!). I need to be near large cities based on my profession - but after I finally get a "standard" home, I would love love love to buy some remote forested property and build my own timber frame cabin.

Funny thing is: I know literally nothing about it. I grew up in techy white-collar middle class suburbs. I don't know anything about construction or carpentry or cabins. Except for what I've seen in a few YouTube videos. But it speaks to me.
It spoke to me, too. I'm not a builder either. My background was a technician at the phone company. Sure, I did some hardwood floors in my house and dry wall for my grandpa, but nothing on this scale.

The LHBA method was designed for the complete novice- no fancy joints, no complicated plans- it's stupid simple. At every stage, I ask the other members for advice, and everyone jumps in with great ideas. The LHBA forum is where the power is- in fact, I've never associated with nicer folks online.

Either way- timber frame or log home- avoiding a mortgage is so liberating.

Thanks for the input.

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Three years ago from my blog https://loghomejourney.wordpress.com/20 ... s-company/...

Another law says my walls have to be insulated to R-13 or better. Does that law take into account the 30 studies going back to the 1980’s that show that R-values are not a reliable indicator for how well your walls will actually insulate? Or that log walls, even at half the R-value of standard walls, perform 45% better at energy efficiency (as recognized by the National Homebuilders Association and the Log Homes Council)? No. And No.

A 7″ thick log wall has a R-value of about R-9, yet performs 45% better at heat loss/gain than a standard framed wall (R-value of about R-15). It’s called Thermal Mass, and R-values don’t account for it. Luckily for me, I’m not using 7″ logs. Mine are averaging about 17″, so I’m hoping to beat the stupid R-value requirement with huge logs.

It should be obvious that these “energy efficiency” laws are really about corporations and businesses using the clout of government to take your money. Same is true for the “climate change” nonsense. If they were really all about “green building” and “saving energy”, wouldn’t they be all over themselves and support a guy cutting trees off his own property, with minimal processing/transportation/carbon emissions/at least 45% more energy efficient than traditional building/proven to lower your energy costs by 2/3’s/etc/etc? Yeah. They would.

mahalanobis
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mudflap wrote: January 9th, 2020, 8:51 am Three years ago from my blog https://loghomejourney.wordpress.com/20 ... s-company/...

Another law says my walls have to be insulated to R-13 or better. Does that law take into account the 30 studies going back to the 1980’s that show that R-values are not a reliable indicator for how well your walls will actually insulate? Or that log walls, even at half the R-value of standard walls, perform 45% better at energy efficiency (as recognized by the National Homebuilders Association and the Log Homes Council)? No. And No.

A 7″ thick log wall has a R-value of about R-9, yet performs 45% better at heat loss/gain than a standard framed wall (R-value of about R-15). It’s called Thermal Mass, and R-values don’t account for it. Luckily for me, I’m not using 7″ logs. Mine are averaging about 17″, so I’m hoping to beat the stupid R-value requirement with huge logs.

It should be obvious that these “energy efficiency” laws are really about corporations and businesses using the clout of government to take your money. Same is true for the “climate change” nonsense. If they were really all about “green building” and “saving energy”, wouldn’t they be all over themselves and support a guy cutting trees off his own property, with minimal processing/transportation/carbon emissions/at least 45% more energy efficient than traditional building/proven to lower your energy costs by 2/3’s/etc/etc? Yeah. They would.
Has the government hassled you about this? I mean directly, like sending you letters about violations regarding your specific property?

Just curious

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Mahalanobis Distance wrote: January 9th, 2020, 10:31 am
mudflap wrote: January 9th, 2020, 8:51 am Three years ago from my blog https://loghomejourney.wordpress.com/20 ... s-company/...

Another law says my walls have to be insulated to R-13 or better. Does that law take into account the 30 studies going back to the 1980’s that show that R-values are not a reliable indicator for how well your walls will actually insulate? Or that log walls, even at half the R-value of standard walls, perform 45% better at energy efficiency (as recognized by the National Homebuilders Association and the Log Homes Council)? No. And No.

A 7″ thick log wall has a R-value of about R-9, yet performs 45% better at heat loss/gain than a standard framed wall (R-value of about R-15). It’s called Thermal Mass, and R-values don’t account for it. Luckily for me, I’m not using 7″ logs. Mine are averaging about 17″, so I’m hoping to beat the stupid R-value requirement with huge logs.

It should be obvious that these “energy efficiency” laws are really about corporations and businesses using the clout of government to take your money. Same is true for the “climate change” nonsense. If they were really all about “green building” and “saving energy”, wouldn’t they be all over themselves and support a guy cutting trees off his own property, with minimal processing/transportation/carbon emissions/at least 45% more energy efficient than traditional building/proven to lower your energy costs by 2/3’s/etc/etc? Yeah. They would.
Has the government hassled you about this? I mean directly, like sending you letters about violations regarding your specific property?

Just curious
This was back when I was applying for my building permit. You submit your building plans, and they do their "calculations" to make sure your plans meet "energy efficiency standards". The "reference home" they use to measure new homes against is set for an energy efficiency of 100, whatever that means. Mine had to be 70 or less. The guy at the utilities company called a few days later and said my house comes in around 56. Meaning, for the required R-values (for windows, doors, floors, roof, etc.), my efficiency is predicted to be about 1/3 better (on r-values) than a typical home. **

But I've not heard a peep since then, because I passed the test- at least so far- but there's still the final inspection. I'm cautiously optimistic that my building inspector will *not care*, simply because he's been out once or twice since his initial visit. I asked him questions about the sewer line placement and angle, and he basically didn't care. He looked at my roof, and I said I hope he didn't mind that I substituted 5x12's for the rafters where the plans said 4x12's. He smiled and didn't say anything. But the final inspection includes the infamous "blower door test", where the utilities company does a pressure test for leakage- that's where the rubber will meet the road- that's not my building inspector, that's the power company, so I'm a bit nervous on that one.

** talking to other log home builders who now live in their homes, they say their home is A LOT more efficient than just "1/3 better". I think it's because R-values are a poor predictor of thermal efficiency.

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I have learned that many of the permit inspectors and field inspectors are reasonable and allow for whatever variations might be appropriate.

And that a lot of the requirements fall by the wayside along the way.

And that many of them can be convinced to look at something else after you have given a good explanation for a situation. After all, they don't want to spend their entire life inspecting your property.

I have also heard that there are builders or homeowners who will cover up things that the inspector might not like, and then emphasize other factors that indicate that a good job is being done.

Kind of an art, maybe.
dc

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mudflap
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Image

filing this under "why build a butt&pass log home"

Oh, and I made a new post on my blog:

https://loghomejourney.wordpress.com/20 ... od-floors/

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Re: Log Cabins

Post by HeberC »

My log house is in Heber, Utah.

R -factor is only half of the equation. The other have is thermal mass. That's why a log house, having the same R-factor as a stick built house, will cost half as much to heat.

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