The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => Drying and Processing => Topic started by: Draco on March 08, 2010, 12:40:13 PM

Title: Red Pine/Log Cabin
Post by: Draco on March 08, 2010, 12:40:13 PM
I bought 12 acres of mixed hardwoods and about an acre of it was planted in the 40s with red pine.  The pines are in the perfect location for a retirement home and that is my plan.  I didnít consider using the pines until after I bought the property.  Now, Iím considering milling some of it for boards and building the structure out of the best logs.  If I have too many pines I can find a use for the extra boards.  The area was planted heavily with these trees, so if I ran short Iím sure that I could pick up a load, or two, for a very reasonable price.

I know a builder who has built 11 log homes, including the one that he lives in.  He also has a brand new mill (donít know the make, but it uses a blade, not a chainsaw).  We both have years of experience taking trees down for firewood and he has plenty of heavy equipment.

I have read that red pine is used to build cabins, but my main concern is how to get the highest quality of materials out of my stand of pines.  Is late fall/early winter the best time to cut red pine in Michigan for a project like this?  I have read that I should immediately treat the cut end of the tree with wax or something to help to control checking.  Also, it seems that I should cut whatever I will cut for board while it is green and get it to a kiln quickly.  I plan to allow the logs to air dry.  I understand that they need to be off of the ground and preferably turned from time to time.  Do I need cover them, as well?  What would be the best solution for seasoning these logs?  Do I take the bark off right away, or wait for a year, or so?  Should it be done just prior to building?  How long should they season before we build?  How long is too long between cutting and building?

How many trees will it take to get good at using this mill?  Iím sure that some are easier than others to get the hang of and Iím sorry that I donít know the make and model.

What are some of the biggest problems that I will run into?  Am I on the right track in planning this?  In other words, cut the trees to be used for board first, get the foundation in and ready for the structure while the logs for the main structure are seasoning?

Thanks to all, in advance.
Title: Re: Red Pine/Log Cabin
Post by: barbender on March 21, 2010, 11:00:15 PM
I think you are better off putting them up asap after cutting, then you can control where they check. If you do deck them up to dry,  I would leave the bark on, spray it with diesel to keep the bugs off, and cover them up to keep the rain off. Red pine can go bad pretty quick, I ended up scrapping my log shell because it sat too long(red pine logs) Thats why I say put them up right away, every day they are not under a roof is another day for rot to start. You are not really gaining much seasoning them, it really doesn't reduce settling that much. my .02
Title: Re: Red Pine/Log Cabin
Post by: jander3 on March 22, 2010, 10:17:14 AM


This shell is buildt out of Red Pine.   I cut the logs in early 2007; I got the roof on the building in the fall of 2009.   The logs were exposed to the weather during this time frame.  I stored the logs on skids with the bark on, until it was time to put them on the building.   

By the time I got the roof on I was getting a little worried about how long the logs had been exposed to some very wet weather.  The logs dried out fine.

Title: Re: Red Pine/Log Cabin
Post by: Dana on March 23, 2010, 08:54:57 PM
Jander3 and Barbender, Don't you guys have a problem with the pine borer or beetle's filling your pine with holes up there? In Michigan, if pine logs are left with the bark on the bugs fill them with holes.
Title: Re: Red Pine/Log Cabin
Post by: barbender on March 24, 2010, 10:22:38 AM
Yes, they will eat the logs full of holes. That either adds character or ruins them, depending on your viewpoint. That is why I said I would cover them and spray the bark with diesel. It keeps the bugs out, but if you don't cover them the diesel will wash off. Leaving the bark on keeps the logs from checking, but again, if you aren't going to cover them up, I'd get the bark off. Red pine can rot QUICK with the bark on, getting rained on. I guess my whole point is that I wouldn't get the logs until I was ready to put them up, I would have no qualms with cutting a tree down and putting it on a wall in the same day.
Title: Re: Red Pine/Log Cabin
Post by: Draco on March 24, 2010, 02:50:07 PM
Thanks guys!  I knew that my plans would change.  Can I drop the trees in late winter, seal the ends, strip the logs and treat them with PeneTreat, or a homemade borax mix to keep the bugs out?  Is there a best time of year to cut red pine for this project? 

I found this:
The logs have to be treated with something, at some point.  This seems like it may be a good way to address everything from the time the tree is down, until I use it.  Then I'd just have to follow up with another coat in a few years.

I assumed that I needed to let the logs dry.  This actually makes my plans much easier.  I appreciate the tips and thanks for the photos.
Title: Re: Red Pine/Log Cabin
Post by: jander3 on March 24, 2010, 03:24:41 PM
Best time to cut for cabin building is winter, when the sap is low.  It also makes peeling the logs more difficult. I use Penetreat wit a little borax mixed in for treating the logs for bugs.  The info below works well for mildew:


Because there has been some confusion about the source for one of the post-log-peeling biocide products, PQ-80, here's the skinny:
5 gallons of the PQ-80 concentrate (a several years' supply that several builders could share) is currently $284.40, plus shipping, which is less to a commercial address than to a residence. The accompanying "Adjustabor" liquid borax product is $50.00 for 5 gallons. ISK Biocides' (the manufacturer and sole course) customer service number is 1.800.238.2523. Even though your usable mixture is mainly water, it is toxic. Never have it where pets or children can access it, wear protective rubber gloves, and carefully follow all of the manufacturer's directions. This is not a preservative as such, but will prevent some of the formation of fungus, molds, sapstains etc. on your freshly peeled building logs.

I am mostly using plain 20-Mule-Team borax from the grocery store mixed with water in a plastic pail and brushed on the logs. Put as much powdered borax as you can into the water, and to keep it in suspension longer, heat the water first. It's still a good idea to keep it out of the reach of children and pets.

Also, there are quite a few good products for treating logs at (i.e. sapstain control)