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Author Topic: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?  (Read 2480 times)

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Online jake pogg

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #20 on: June 03, 2021, 10:39:10 AM »
Sorry,i didn't mean to come off "preachy" like that.

Good question,as you're quite right about "Alaska"(Alaska is huge,and has all these different climates,some are technically a rainforest,but my area here-the Middle Yukon valley-is so dry as to be often called an "Arctic desert").

Yes,it's very dry here.The 50-some year old cabin that i posted a photo of above had the bark left on the logs...To no apparent detriment,as only some length of tails have rotted off,the ends that protruded beyond the roof overhangs.
(and that roof was poles and moss,for most of it's life,only in the last decade or so someone has casually thrown some tin over it).

The logs Will deteriorate if any moisture is ever added to them:Recently i was hired to remove and replace a part of a log wall that was located behind a fuel tank next to the building.
The drip from the roof was deflecting off the rounded tank surface right at that wall,and the wood was completely gone,you could take chunks out of it with your fingers.
So any driven moisture will make your wall-logs go away.

So a very good question-why bother with the surface,if it's all only the matter of protecting the logs,i.e. strictly the roofing issues.

I have no clear,maybe not even a rational answer...:(

It's some type of a chip on my shoulder issue...Competing with all those synthetic materials,vinyl siding and other crap?

Not that they're any challenge in a Practical,functional sense,it's the Perception of it all that i guess i mean...
Trying to fight that prejudiced views that would have all of us in the (roadless)Western AK villages as poor and shiftless and 3rd World?

That,+ a builder's vanity?..."Pride of craftsmanship",if i tried to hide behind something loftier-sounding?  

Yes,a Very good question indeed.   
"You can teach a pig anything,it just takes time;but what's time to a pig?"
Mark Twain

Offline kantuckid

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #21 on: June 03, 2021, 11:22:41 AM »
Denali NP actually meets the criteria for a desert precipitation wise. 
I bought the DeWalt power planer to use on my wall logs underbelly. I went for the higher amp version off an ebay buy vs. the more common box store DeWalt. 
Kan=Kansas;tuck=Kentucky;kid=what I'm not

Online jake pogg

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #22 on: June 03, 2021, 12:03:07 PM »
I bought the DeWalt power planer to use on my wall logs underbelly. I went for the higher amp version off an ebay buy vs. the more common box store DeWalt. 


"Underbelly"-as in the bottom contact surface?

And do you mean something that Don P mentions elsewhere-running a relief on center of a flat surface,with a 3" plane,to allow for better contact?

Good for you though,sounds like a nice tool,hope it serves you well.

Speaking or aridity,it's raining pretty steadily here for second day in a row.Me and the tractor had to build a tarp-shelter,to hide under to plane,as wet shavings`stick in the plane's exhaust shute,really annoying cleaning them out every couple minutes... 
"You can teach a pig anything,it just takes time;but what's time to a pig?"
Mark Twain

Offline kantuckid

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2021, 12:30:46 PM »
Not just contact, it helps focus the drying, i.e. season cracks in an unseen area. 
Kan=Kansas;tuck=Kentucky;kid=what I'm not

Online jake pogg

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2021, 12:07:07 AM »
Not just contact, it helps focus the drying, i.e. season cracks in an unseen area.
"You can teach a pig anything,it just takes time;but what's time to a pig?"
Mark Twain

Online jake pogg

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2021, 10:27:26 AM »
I screwed up the above post,sorry.
What i meant to add is that kerfing of whatever sort to direct the future checking is a very good idea.

Unfortunately it is yet another instance where the D-logs prove to be a misbegotten concept:The way they're cut to begin with already does that-directs all checking toward the inside of the house. 




 
"You can teach a pig anything,it just takes time;but what's time to a pig?"
Mark Twain

Online jake pogg

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #26 on: June 19, 2021, 10:02:49 AM »
 

 

As the project advances i discover yet more nonsense about D-logs in general.
The latest-and most destructive by far-is that a D-log wall will always tend to lean outward.
I should've foreseen that,obviously the round side of a timber cut asymmetrically and with heart left in will shrink more than the opposite side,tangential shrinking,duh...

I'll probably wedge the outer seam temporarily while building,and after the tin is on will have to resort to some form of medieval Eastern European method of chinking,something along the lines of a hemp rope....Beetle and chinking iron,the works...
(i'll to forge the irons,no problem with that,just feels ridiculous already.....). 



 
<>

My solution to covering up the butt-joints is working ok,incites a lot of questions,i'm learning to get creative in inventing all sorts of exotic reasons for that.
Some of the outrageous lies that i've invented so far have began to actually seem interesting,like loading and using these somehow,i may grow them out towards the inside in an arch towards the top of the wall and throw a beam across...

"You can teach a pig anything,it just takes time;but what's time to a pig?"
Mark Twain

Offline kantuckid

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #27 on: June 19, 2021, 12:37:13 PM »
Jake, I thought about your D-log concerns with checking to the heart and for a good bit since. Given my EWP source for D-logs is dicey at this moment I was looking on FB Marketplace and have made a few calls to logger/sawmillers near me.

My own log home is YP, built green 40+ yrs ago, 6" thick & 8.5 to 12" dia. with two peeled sides.
 I may do a survey on interior and exterior log ends and tally them up for heart cracks where.  

In looking on FB I see at least 3 sellers with a pile of D logs and several others with sawed timbers. Hardly scientific but 2 piles are milled T&G EWPO so more likely to be KD. Then I've looked at more than a few dried logs myself over the years. The tendency seems to lean heavily toward the crack appearing on the side where the surface is closest to the heart- IMO, of course ;D 

On that crooked wall opinion I'll defer to more experienced log builders. My own challenge was decidedly not that but rather given the 6" thickness being straight off a circle mill (even with a very experienced sawyer!) so height at the corners was a constant check item, while plumb didn't come to hard.  
Kan=Kansas;tuck=Kentucky;kid=what I'm not

Offline Don P

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #28 on: June 19, 2021, 07:27:17 PM »
The major check does tend to follow the path of least resistance which is the face closest to the heart.

I have had to resort to power planer and laser (or a transit would work with a helper) to re-establish a flat plane when the wall is trying to roll. We even had dealings with one milled log home company that I found out finally from a driver was trying to nurse a worn out molder bed. The logs were out of square so began a roll as you stacked. I found a light setting on the planer running it down one side of the bottom and then the relief down the middle bottom kept it plumb, tight and flat. All depends on how much fussing you want to do. As well a checked face is shrinking but is not changing in overall height, the shrinkage is mostly happening in the check not in the timber's overall dimension. The unchecked face is shrinking and is losing dimension. So aside from the radial/tangential issue there is a checked and unchecked face issue piling on as well.

We would set up story poles in the corners that were plumb and braced in both directions for D logs. I would tape measure across them and record the measurements and diagonals on the poles and check them periodically to make sure we were coming up plumb.
The future is a foreign country, they will do things differently there - Simon Winchester

Online jake pogg

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #29 on: June 20, 2021, 01:44:04 AM »
Thank you,gentlemen,all the info above is very edifying and reassuring.

Kantuckid,i believe you're very right about the check running the shortest path heart to outside...Many a full-scribe guys kerf their logs in part based on that assumption

That bit about checked/unchecked dimensionality is brilliant,Don,i wish i was organised enough to take notes of important data like that...

And yes,reference posts/knees are very handy,i'll end up using some devices of the sort,now that i know that i must watch these sticks like a hawk.

It's been very tough,a one-man crew to do everything to these logs that they need.
And i'm in a race against the time as well,before say mid-October i Must have the tin on,even in the rudest/most basic config.
12-14 hr days is all i can squeeze out of this wreck of a body,and so far it's not looking great-maybe a course in 3-4 days.
My boom-truck is late in coming over to the site,so far has been moving everything on the platform by hand.the 20'-ers are not exactly pleasant to handle,even as aged as they are.

Hoping to survive until window height where i'll start burning up the badly twisted ones in short sections.
Once i get through that i'll be nearly done with this set of logs.
It'll be a mixed blessing-milling my own will bring much more control over quality,but will add time and work.

The totally unusable ones i'll take to the mill to make small dimension lumber for trusses,in effect trading these awful,several year old sticks for the greener ones i caught drifting(very poor drift run this year,on top of everything,but i did get a few,maybe even enough to finish this project.

I absolutely Love fussing about with wood in general,but can ill afford too much of that at present juncture,so sadly,no draft-dam on the corner notches,nor a few other niceties i kinda hoped for.
For pegs i settled on 1 3/8" sq. i re-saw on the tablesaw from my greenish lumber in a 1 3/4" hole,half in the bottom/half it top log,trying to orient the grain of the peg with that of the log to help prevent eventual splitting.
Hope springs eternal(alas our summers here don't).   
"You can teach a pig anything,it just takes time;but what's time to a pig?"
Mark Twain

Offline kantuckid

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #30 on: June 20, 2021, 07:36:18 AM »
Cuss D logs all you desire as you chase the AK weather horizon, but the fact remains that the relatively flat surface on the inside wall is kind of handy to keep plumb? Lots easier to hang a picture too! Or fasten cabinets onto... etc. etc, etc,... :D
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Online jake pogg

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #31 on: June 20, 2021, 09:52:41 AM »
Oh YES,:)
i loves them Vertical flats,they're wonderful.

Everyone who Could do so,did- flattened the inside and the outside,for a myriad reasons,all of them good.

8 years ago i built a place with a friend,we 2-sided timbers to 8" thickness and scribed them,came out very decent.
(wonder if i got any pictures left anymore...?).

So decidedly yes,but only on the vertical-seems literally crazy to do so on bearing surfaces... 

Some of my catch from a couple weeks ago,a few decent trees in there,i may have about 3 dozen+ good size ones for the mill...

It's a crying shame to mill these to 8" height-wise,as stacked and scribed the rise at each course would amount to nearly a third more...

And still perfectly flat on the inside and outside.





And here's a photo of a place i built 20+ years ago,"russian"-scribe,at the client's wishes.
What we mean by that is simply that the notches are round-not the best way to join round logs as the one inside the notch will always shrink,and the fit at the notch form a gap.
However the reason they did it that way over there is that there was this general tradition to make all joints-notches and lateral-open out,wedge-like,to the outside.
That was so a specialist chinking crew can come behind the builders and literally caulk all seams,boat-like.
They caulked it so tight that often,in consequent chinking(it was a periodic maintenance procedure,done once every 20-30 years),they actually levelled the building with it,adjusting the position of whatever logs they chose.  

 

    
"You can teach a pig anything,it just takes time;but what's time to a pig?"
Mark Twain

Offline Joe Hillmann

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #32 on: June 20, 2021, 10:40:14 AM »
I am also in the process of building a cabin with D-logs.  As they are drying in the pile I am finding the top and bottom surfaces aren't staying parallel.  I left an extra 1/4 inch of thickness to be able to put each log back on the mill once dry to do a clean up cut.  But I have also considered using lots of shims to keep the walls going up straight and even.

Because the d logs normally have so little space for chinking I am thinking of using twine for calking it.  But if I end up using shims there may be a large enough gap to use a cement based chinking.  I am going to have 10 foot eaves all the way around the cabin so I can be less concerned about weather resistance than if I had normal eaves.

Offline kantuckid

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #33 on: June 20, 2021, 02:41:39 PM »
I used what was a new at the time product on my home in 1979/80-Norton Sealants, log foam strips. They are now in widespread use. and I'll do a similar product again -if i ever get some logs... Corr-Tenn in Knoxville has several choices priced right. 
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Online jake pogg

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #34 on: June 21, 2021, 12:43:04 AM »
Because the d logs normally have so little space for chinking I am thinking of using twine for calling it.  But if I end up using shims there may be a large enough gap to use a cement based chinking.  I am going to have 10 foot eves all the way around the cabin so I can be less concerned about weather resistance than if I had normal eaves.


We all so often include Everything in a word "chinking": Weather resistance/air-infiltration,insulation,and with these darn "D-logs" now the structural element to shim the wall straight...

Instead of cement-based mortar that you mention you may consider one of the latex-based products.Water-based,it sticks to the logs very well,and has a very great degree of elasticity.It can last many years without the maintenance that cement mortar mixes would require(though it's comparatively costly).

I used what was a new at the time product on my home in 1979/80-Norton Sealants, log foam strips. They are now in widespread use. and I'll do a similar product again -if i ever get some logs... Corr-Tenn in Knoxville has several choices priced right. 


That sounds interesting..I wonder if it's akin to the so-called "backer-rod",made in varying diameters of a soft,open-cell foam?
"You can teach a pig anything,it just takes time;but what's time to a pig?"
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Offline Don P

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #35 on: June 21, 2021, 07:16:48 AM »
The foam gasket kantuck is talking about is an air infiltration gasket that goes in the relief groove. It is too far in to act as a backer rod.

A backer is just behind the caulking/chinking. Ideally that joint is adhered to the upper and lower log and is tooled thin over the bond breaker of the backer. This 2 point adhesion and thinner non adhered center section creates a joint that can stretch with log movement. The typical "pump it full of goo" caulk joint has what is called 3 point adhesion. It is thick and stuck to everything so when things need to move it really cannot stretch and has to tear loose somewhere. On stuff too tight to backer even a strip of mylar tape will create that bond breaker and create a 2 point joint with a stretchy area in the middle.

On cement, portland based cement doesn't allow drying so tends to create rot. The old lime based chinks and renders usually behave better with wood if you want to go that route. Usually that is for wider jointed chink style buildings though. Personally I've never shimmed flat on flat logs, i think it works better to remove the offending high stuff and get things to sit down tight.
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Online jake pogg

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #36 on: June 21, 2021, 10:02:42 AM »
Thanks,Don,that's very interesting about the modern sealing systems.
Portland cement as well.
That wide-seam/dove-tailed style common in S.E. US is very attractive,and practical.Always wanted to try it out,and don't understand why more people,if they must have two-sided sawn logs,don't do That with them...

As far as shaping the flats to fit-if they shrank differentially once,then what's to keep them from doing so again?

Possibly,humidity inside relative to outside  et c. differs across the country,but here,and with the woodstove heat especially,even the most "seasoned" logs will not attain that degree of shrinkage that they will later,once the house is closed in and heated.

So maybe only some form of over-scribing would work...(sounds even weirder than wedges tho...)...  
"You can teach a pig anything,it just takes time;but what's time to a pig?"
Mark Twain

Online jake pogg

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #37 on: June 21, 2021, 10:11:53 AM »
P.S.

Apropos of nothing in particular other than chinking in general,
i helped a friend last year to build a tiny,8'x12' sauna.
We milled a bunch of cottonwood(Balsam poplar) for the walls,and i nagged him out of using any synthetic crap in it,plywood or plastic or anything that'd off-gas as it'll get hot.
For chinking i made him order that wool "rope" stuff,always wanted to try it.
At $150 per 10# box it sounded very expensive,but turned out there's a Ton of it length-wise,we never used a quarter of that box...
I fell in love with the stuff,it just felt Lovely...And was incredibly sturdy-you could Not rip it by hand,insanely tough stuff,and evenly shaped,and Everything about it was uber sexy...(no idea how it's used and by whom...). 
"You can teach a pig anything,it just takes time;but what's time to a pig?"
Mark Twain

Offline Joe Hillmann

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #38 on: June 21, 2021, 12:42:02 PM »
Because the d logs normally have so little space for chinking I am thinking of using twine for calking it.  But if I end up using shims there may be a large enough gap to use a cement based chinking.  I am going to have 10 foot eaves all the way around the cabin so I can be less concerned about weather resistance than if I had normal eaves.


We all so often include Everything in a word "chinking": Weather resistance/air-infiltration,insulation,and with these darn "D-logs" now the structural element to shim the wall straight...

Instead of cement-based mortar that you mention you may consider one of the latex-based products.Water-based,it sticks to the logs very well,and has a very great degree of elasticity.It can last many years without the maintenance that cement mortar mixes would require(though it's comparatively costly).

I am not a fan of the looks of the latex chinking.  And if it was cheap I would probably go that route, but it expensive and ugly(in my opinion) so I want to avoid it.
I want to play around with using twine to calk it like old wooden boats were calked with hemp. 

Offline Joe Hillmann

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Re: "Lugged" half-dovetails as cabin corner notches?
« Reply #39 on: June 21, 2021, 12:44:16 PM »
P.S.

Apropos of nothing in particular other than chinking in general,
i helped a friend last year to build a tiny,8'x12' sauna.
We milled a bunch of cottonwood(Balsam poplar) for the walls,and i nagged him out of using any synthetic crap in it,plywood or plastic or anything that'd off-gas as it'll get hot.
For chinking i made him order that wool "rope" stuff,always wanted to try it.
At $150 per 10# box it sounded very expensive,but turned out there's a Ton of it length-wise,we never used a quarter of that box...
I fell in love with the stuff,it just felt Lovely...And was incredibly sturdy-you could Not rip it by hand,insanely tough stuff,and evenly shaped,and Everything about it was uber sexy...(no idea how it's used and by whom...).
Could up put up a link to the type of material you are talking about?


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