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Author Topic: Dovetail Log Cabin  (Read 13203 times)

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Offline shelbycharger400

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #20 on: February 13, 2015, 09:47:25 PM »
Yes, i know of a jig that clamps to the log, and stops are built in so you dont cut into it. Ill have to do some digging. I cant remember the maker. But it was $300-500, .

Offline 4x4American

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #21 on: February 13, 2015, 09:54:31 PM »
 looks awesome!
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Offline shelbycharger400

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #22 on: February 13, 2015, 10:12:22 PM »
Guess i was way off on $.  Dream dovetail jig .   $800

Offline fred in montana

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #23 on: February 14, 2015, 05:25:30 AM »
I built mine for about $50 in about 2 hours and have built three cabins with this set.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #24 on: February 14, 2015, 07:53:56 AM »
If/when I build, it will be with Fred's jigs.  :)

My first priority is finishing the bedroom on the Cabin Addition, and then hosting a "Chickin Crispin".
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #25 on: February 14, 2015, 09:39:01 AM »
Fred, how uniform do the logs have to be for your jig to work and will it work on two sided logs with the curves on the outside and inside? 
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Offline fred in montana

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #26 on: February 14, 2015, 02:08:29 PM »
If you are planning to have zero gap then the log dimensions have to be very consistent. I prefer a chink joint myself. If the logs are to be chinked then the log dimensions can vary a lot. You could also go with two sided logs (flat on the inside and outside).

If you want the flat sides to be on the top and the bottom and want to use my jig system, you have two options:

1. Cut a third side to make a D log. The jigs need to attach to a flat face. They attach to the side of the log that is the interior face.
2. Instead ofcutting the interior face full length, you could flatten an area about 2 feet long at each of the log. This will be enough space to attach the jig. The two flat areas would need to be in the same plane.This would be a pain to do I think.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #27 on: February 14, 2015, 02:14:28 PM »
If I cut my logs on three sides, I'm afraid they will fall under the required dimensions to meet code. My logs are mostly 9" or slightly bigger in diameter
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Offline jwilly3879

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #28 on: February 14, 2015, 02:59:29 PM »
Jeff, where is the inspector getting the the required dimensions from? Or is it an energy code thing? Lincoln Logs uses a butt and pass system and they are solid all over. There is also another home company that uses 4x8" timbers for their packages with 4" thick walls.

Offline D L Bahler

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #29 on: February 14, 2015, 03:02:09 PM »
You can make a gapless/chinkless cabin without having consistent dimensions in the logs. People do it all the time.

'Verzinkter Block' or dovetailed log cabins built in eastern Switzerland and Austria do this all the time with no problem -these being the ancestor of our American dovetailed log cabins which are something of a simplified Austrian style.

The thing is when doing this, you have to figure the sizing and location of the top and bottom of the joint on each log separately.

What I do -I use interlocking corners, but the same idea will work with dovetails- is this:

Starting with a staggered joint, you measure from the point where the top log will come on the bottom log (which is perpendicular) Then you measure the distance from the bottom point up to the top of the bottom log. The center of the slope of your dovetail must come to exactly half of this measurement, then you cut a corresponding joint on the bottom of the adjoining log.

When you do this, you will create a joint that fits tight, and allows your logs to fit tight along their entire length.

This though requires that the top and bottom faces of our logs be milled and planed very flat.

If you don't have very accurate faces, you must instead lay out each wall on the ground with the logs butted against each other as they would be in the wall once assembled. This way, any inconsistencies and deviations from perfection are accounted for.
So now, instead of measuring to the top and bottom of our logs we have to go by reference lines that are chalked down the middle. We go up the walls, transferring information from adjoining walls so that each joint is unique and accurate.

This is how the Swiss have done it for several thousand years. It is, more or less, a method of log scribing. It's done this way even if the logs are planed to super accurate dimensions, as they tend to do, because you should never trust wood to be perfect. 

Offline Jeff

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #30 on: February 14, 2015, 03:14:28 PM »
I don't want to spend an entire summer trying to learn how to cut joints and probably ruin several logs in the process. I need the kiss method.
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Offline D L Bahler

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #31 on: February 14, 2015, 03:29:03 PM »
In that case, the American appalachian style is the right thing. This is exactly why it exists, being an adaptation of the more complicated European methods to a situation where it was more important to get a house up fast than it was to build a super nice building. Pretty much, they just eliminated the most complicated parts of the process.
It's the rough, rugged pioneer house, and as  such the style has a certain rustic charm.

Offline D L Bahler

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #32 on: February 14, 2015, 03:33:22 PM »
I recommend the Appalachian method to people who want a good DIY project without having to master a difficult concept, and who don't have the luxury of a lot of time to do it. The trade off is, it will keep you busy down the road with maintenance, adjustment, etc. 

I recommend the European methods for people who can put more time and effort into it (or pay me to do it,  8)) and who want a building that once it's up, you don't have to worry about it any more. The trade off here is, if you are doing it yourself then it is a lot more complicated and you are more likely to make a mistake learning it.

Offline Roger Nair

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #33 on: February 14, 2015, 03:54:17 PM »
In my area, the Appalachian (with earthen chink) style log house that have survived the best with simple maintenance are the ones that have been sided or brick veneered.
An optimist believes this is the best of all possible worlds, the pessimist fears that the optimist is correct.--James Branch Cabell

Offline landscraper

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #34 on: February 14, 2015, 06:54:01 PM »
Jeff could you use a log corner connection like this? 

 

I drew it with square logs but I think it could be "2 sided" logs (top&bottom milled, sides still round) too.  I got this idea from another post somewhere, the guy mentioned putting a few squared up logs at a time on the deck of his mill and cutting in at 3" so that there would be good consistency in notch height.  It uses a cheater log on the bottom and top courses to finish out the odd 3" interval.  It could be scaled to whatever size logs you are working with.  When I drew it I had 6" square logs in mind for a little hunting cabin in the woods, not a full time residence.  Probably still some chinking involved.

I can't speak to the merits of this type of notch vs another as I've built exactly zero log cabins.  It just looks like a simple system of joining logs at corners. 
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #35 on: February 14, 2015, 07:05:34 PM »
I'm thinking with smallish logs that might not be the strongest for me. Looks to me like lots of places for moisture to lurk though.
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Offline landscraper

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #36 on: February 14, 2015, 07:21:09 PM »
Yeah that's a concern for sure - I think only the dovetailed or coped joints really "shed" water, even butt & pass has a vertical seam that coincides with an inside corner every other course that I wondered if it would be an infiltration point.   Back to sketchup.
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Offline D L Bahler

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #37 on: February 14, 2015, 08:10:55 PM »
Have you considered a passed lap joint, like:
 

 

It's really quite simple and very fast to do, far less complicated to lay out than a dovetail joint
It also locks the timbers against twisting and creates a tight joint.

Roger,
in Indiana all the log cabins were immediately clad with siding. The pioneers would bring a barrel of nails and a wagon of wood siding with them into the forest, lay up a cabin and put siding on it.
Quite a few of these are still standing today, often surrounded by an expanded structure as the original house was built onto over the years.

They used a modified v-notch that I'm rather fond of, which made a good secure and tight joint.

Offline fred in montana

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #38 on: February 14, 2015, 08:38:15 PM »
The (half) dovetail jig method is KISS.

Snap a chalkline down the center of the log. Attach jigs to each end, at the correct distance apart.

Saw all of the notches in less than 5 minutes.

Each log in a wall is interchangeable.

When the logs are stacked, the distance from chalkline to chalkline is always a constant. Each chalkline is level.

This is true even if the logs have varying heights or if they are just sawn on the inside and outside face.
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Offline Jeff

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Re: Dovetail Log Cabin
« Reply #39 on: February 14, 2015, 08:45:47 PM »
But I need to saw on the top and bottom face to keep my wall thickness up.  If I put my sawn sides in and out, because of my available log size, they become to narrow to meet the code. Doesn't that leave me out?
Just call me the midget doctor.
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