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Author Topic: log cabin repair HELP!  (Read 6189 times)

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Offline dzeilbeck65

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log cabin repair HELP!
« on: July 25, 2011, 10:50:35 PM »
My family has owned a log cabin in the Upeer Penn. of Michigan for over 80 years. There has been repairs before but the people who used to do it are long gone and I did not know them. The bottom log on the front of the cabin has turned to mush and has been pushed out from from the weight from above. The second and third logs are also bad and need replaced. There is a door and two windows in this wall. I know I need to jack up what is good and lift it off the logs that need replaced. What I don't know is exactly how to proceed. I am a cabinet maker by trade and have done lots of construction over the years.
If i had a fork lift it would be easy. The cabin is remote and only gotten to by boat or a 15 mile hike through the forest, I use a boat. No utilities, etc. I can firgure how to do everything except where to strat on the jacking process.
HELP.
Dan Z.

Offline LOGDOG

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Re: log cabin repair HELP!
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2011, 11:25:12 PM »
Hi Dan,

Welcome to the Forum. Just so you know, this thread might get movved to the "Timber Framing/Log Construction" section of the Forum. If it does you can find it there.

On you log rot scenario ...that's going to be a chore. What are the overall dimensions of the building? Do you have any pictures of it and the areas that need replacing? What diameter are the existing logs?

Sounds like a neat location and a historic property. I hope you'll take a lot of pictures and keep us in the loop as you work through it.  :)

Offline beenthere

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Re: log cabin repair HELP!
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2011, 11:31:26 PM »
Welcome DanZ

If you have time to poke around the local towns (sawmills, lumber yards, hardware stores) and even those others who own log cabins, you will likely run into someone with experience doing what you need to do. Sounds like you have a pretty good idea. Jacking up at doors and windows may be a place to start. Then hope for some good footings to place the jack or winch. I believe there are a variety of them.

But also you may be able to use a long pole as a lever and get a start at lifting in places to start getting blocking under to hold up the cabin until you get new logs in place. There will be a lot of planning.

Basement? dirt floor? crawl space?  Whatever you have you will need to go to a good earth foundation for support. Pics would be great, and the project looks very interesting.
south central Wisconsin
 It may be that my sole purpose in life is simply to serve as a warning to others

Offline John Woodworth

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Re: log cabin repair HELP!
« Reply #3 on: July 26, 2011, 12:29:00 AM »
I also live in a log house and have been repairing logs for years, how bad are the second and third logs? there is a 2 part epoxy that I use you drill hohes in the log and flow the epoxy in and it saturates the wood. A lot of boat yards have it but the best place to go is to Perma Chink on the web as they have every thing for log homes. Your end notches will be your biggest problem depending on stile for replacing logs. I'f you can save the upper two logs why don't you just replace the bottom with concrete you could do it in sections and if you wanted put a side cut off a log it's size over it on the outside.
Two Garret 21 skidders, Garret 10 skidder, 580 Case Backhoe, Mobile Dimension sawmill, 066, 046 mag, 044, 036mag, 034, 056 mag, 075, 026, lewis winch

Offline dzeilbeck65

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Re: log cabin repair HELP!
« Reply #4 on: July 26, 2011, 12:37:17 AM »
Thanks for the replies so far. The cabin is 14 X 18, one room. Full round logs, basic saddle knotches for joints.

It is setting on logs dug into ground like a fence post. They are large about 14 to 16 accross. There has been shiming over the years. The cabin sits about 20" off the ground and has about a 6' clear area on sides and back from the woods. The front is clear and sets back from the river about 40'. The land is about 5" of top soil on a couple feet of sand and then solid lime stone under that.

The bottom log was about 14" across and is know kinda of rectangle shape about 4" thick, the second and third rows are still round but I can put a screw driver right into them like a tough sponge. I will post some pics from previous trips there. I am going this coming weekend for a week to repair roof and remove mold and bedding. I have not been there for three years. I cousin went up last week and spent there time in a tent as the mold affected their breathing.

Offline LOGDOG

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Re: log cabin repair HELP!
« Reply #5 on: July 26, 2011, 08:33:15 AM »
Dan,

Here are a couple videos to inspire you.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50eT9USwRrc

Commentary isn't much on this one but the apparatus for driving the new log in seems to works well.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57jIWs3oVLQ&NR=1

You also might find some good stuff on this site: http://www.restorelogs.com/
They have quite a few YouTube videos out there of projects they've done.

Offline Ron Scott

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Re: log cabin repair HELP!
« Reply #6 on: July 26, 2011, 11:28:45 AM »
Where is the cabin located in the UP?
~Ron

Offline dzeilbeck65

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Re: log cabin repair HELP!
« Reply #7 on: July 26, 2011, 08:43:03 PM »
The cabin in located on the Manistique River, about thirteen miles up river from the harbor town of the same name in Schoolcraft Co. Michigan.

Again thanks for replies and info. But I am still not seeing a video or getting the info I had hoped for. Is there a special kinds of jack or jig that is used. I have a couple of floor jacks for working on cars. The only thing I see in my minds eye is a fork lift. How do I make any jack act like a fork lift? I have seen some bottle style jacks in videos holding up walls once logs are out. But how do I get to that point?

Offline Ron Scott

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Re: log cabin repair HELP!
« Reply #8 on: July 26, 2011, 09:16:34 PM »
You might get some advice here. I've seen large railroad jacks used also, but not sure where you would find some available.

http://restorelogs.com/log_home_repair_gs.htm?gclid=CMHix4SsoKoCFeJ65QodsWjdWA
~Ron

Offline LOGDOG

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Re: log cabin repair HELP!
« Reply #9 on: July 26, 2011, 10:08:29 PM »
Isn't that the link I posted ?  ;) Anyway ...Dan, have you ever seen a house being jacked up to be moved? Sometimes they run a beam through doorways or through windows to act as a lift point and then maybe sling the part of the house below the beam up to the beam? Does that make sense? Essentially you have two choices to raise a house. Either get under it ...(excavate a trench, hole, etc) and put the jack under the wall to lift, or get above/over it and sling it/ truss it and lift from above. That could be done by several methods that come to mind. It just depends on the lay of your land, obstacles close to the cabin, etc. If there are stout trees surrounding the cabin, you could get a cable slung across the cabin, overhead between two trees. Have a block and tackle that would travel on the cable back and forth, suspend a chain with a come along to get your lift. You could fish those webbed straps (the heavy ones that cranes use) between the layers of logs or perhaps below the sill logs and bring both points together at the come along hanging overhead. Make sure you have a heavy enough cable overhead and that it's anchored solid. Then just ratchet the come along up one click at a time. Have a ton of blocking and large shims on hand so that you can keep the logs supported as they rise. Just go slow. Doing something like this you have to watch out for your eaves because as the straps come together there's going to be a pinch point which will result in collapse of the eave. I'd probably build a couple sets of heavy deflectors in the shape of a ladder jack that could be bolted to the good part of the log wall with the strap being supported by the outermost part of the triangle. You just need to put some thought into it.

Otherwise, have you seen one of those high jacks that guys with jeeps carry? They'll lift a large amount of weight. You could easily get them started under a corner, get some lift, shim, move to the next corner, and work your way around the cabin. If it were me though, I'd try to take the whole cabin up. If it doesn't have a decent foundation now, I'd give it one while I had it raised. Once you get it up in the air a bit, then you can run some logs or beams all the way across and use those as your lift points. It won't be as hard as you think.  :)

Offline LOGDOG

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Re: log cabin repair HELP!
« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2011, 10:18:11 PM »
By the way, my idea wouldn't be the best if it has a stone fireplace attached. Just thought I'd toss that in there. Does it have a stone fireplace attached?

Offline sandhills

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Re: log cabin repair HELP!
« Reply #11 on: July 26, 2011, 11:58:08 PM »
The first couple of things that came to my mind for a remote location were either manual bin jacks (used to raise grain bins during assembly) although I have no idea how accessible they are in your neck of the woods, or simple screw jacks.  For the size of cabin I would think either one could be used safely with the right planning ahead of time, but I've never seen the cabin.   ;)

Offline dzeilbeck65

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Re: log cabin repair HELP!
« Reply #12 on: July 27, 2011, 01:28:44 AM »
Grain Bin Jacks are COOL. Looked at photos online. Exactly what would work. Now just to find some not new. $1100 each! Ouch!

Thanks, Dan Z.

Offline Hilltop366

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Re: log cabin repair HELP!
« Reply #13 on: July 27, 2011, 09:35:24 AM »
Somewhere I did see a set of jacks for lifting a building made from tractor trailer crank down legs, if I recall correctly they had a piece of heavy steel plate welded to the top part of the leg to put under the building, when the jack was placed on the out side of the wall the piece of steel plate reached under the wall with the foot of the leg on the ground you crank up the top part to lift the building. Perhaps a trip to the big truck junk yard is in order.

Offline Hilltop366

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Re: log cabin repair HELP!
« Reply #14 on: July 27, 2011, 12:13:35 PM »
Also wondering if a jack made from truck legs or that sort of design would work better if it was on the inside of the wall with proper blocking and support under the floor? My thinking is that way the outside of the wall would be free of any jacking equipment.

Offline Ron Scott

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Re: log cabin repair HELP!
« Reply #15 on: July 27, 2011, 03:47:22 PM »
You might contact some of the log home builders in the Rapid River and Munising area which aren't too far from the Manisique area where your cabin is for some advice and assistance. You might also comtact Forum member Chet over at Iron River aalso for some advice and assistance. He's pretty innovative with such wood salvage and repair projects.
~Ron

Offline indiaxman1

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Re: log cabin repair HELP!
« Reply #16 on: July 27, 2011, 08:16:18 PM »
To add to all the knowledgeble advice given, will give my experience....my cabin was on piers..(early 80's)...no foundation.....back log had rotted/sunk....jacked up back at  three points with house jacks (you will lose some chinking at this stage)....dug/poured footer while cabin still jacked....replaced bottom log with 8x8 treated..cabin is round pine..so fit well...set blocks on footer..end of problem for me.....so, you might consider/look at what is available in treated timber...not authentic...but enduring


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