Archive




TimberKing Sawmills



Please visit this sponsor

The Largest Inventory of Used Chainsaw Parts in the World

Toll Free 1-800-582-0470

LogRite Tools

Logosol

Forest Products Industry Insurance

Norwood Industries Inc.

Sawmill & Woodlot Magazine



Wood Processing equpment. Splitters, Processors, Conveyors

Your source for Portable Sawmills, Edgers, Resaws, Sharpeners, Setters, Bandsaw Blades and Sawmill Parts

Portable Sawmill and Planers Made by Logosol.

EZ Boardwalk Sawmills. More Saw For Less Money!

STIHLDealers.com sponsored by Northeast STIHL

Woodland Sawmills

Margeson Insurance

Peterson Swingmills

Forestry Forum Tool Box

Author Topic: log cabin logs/hemlock  (Read 4030 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline JimMartin9999

  • Full Member x2
  • ***
  • Posts: 173
  • Location: south central NY
  • Gender: Male
  • I need to edit my profile!
log cabin logs/hemlock
« on: April 07, 2003, 05:35:02 am »
In the summer of 2004 I want to build a 800 square foot cabin in centra NY, using hemlock logs from my woodlot.
I have two questions:
I was told that  the logs would warp into prezels if I saw them into  Dīs this summer and try to dry them for a year.  I though that sticking and stacking them would prevent that.  What is the truth here.
I was also told that I could simply butt the corners and spike them, or use lag screws.  "Fancy" corners (saddle, V, and dove-tale joints ) are just for looks and cost a lot of work.  Again, what is known for sure?


Jim

Offline L. Wakefield

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 1285
  • Age: 62
  • Location: Hollis Maine
  • Gender: Female
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2003, 06:23:43 am »
   Hmmm..I'm quite interested in this too. The one tree that no one has touched on my place is the hemlock- got a bog full of em- and a lot of acreage that could use a cabin or 3.. so seems like a good match.   lw
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline Minnesota_boy

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 1776
  • Age: 62
  • Location: near Bemidji, Minnesota
  • Gender: Male
  • Some like 'em short, but I prefer looong!
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #2 on: April 07, 2003, 06:49:48 am »
When log houses were built by necessity instead of aesthetics, labor was cheap and steel was expensive.  They used the fancy joints to avoid the expense of the steel.  Now labor's expensive and steel is cheap.  Use the spikes or lag screws unless aesthetics overcome the desire to contain costs. ;D

Wish I had some Hemlock to experiment with.  I was told that the old timber framed barns in the Bruce Peninsula of Ontario were framed with white pine and sided with hemlock boards, and those boards stayed straight for near 100 years.
I eat a high-fiber diet.  Lots of sawdust!

Offline L. Wakefield

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 1285
  • Age: 62
  • Location: Hollis Maine
  • Gender: Female
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #3 on: April 07, 2003, 09:48:39 am »
   That's what I'd heard..not the prettiest wood, but rugged as heck when used in barns. And to me a log cabin for seasonal use in and about the woods needs no great aesthetic subtleties. I mean, I don't like splinters, but I don't honestly need hardwood flooring either.  lw
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline Tom

  • In Memoriam
  • *
  • Posts: 25853
  • Age: 71
  • Location: Jacksonville, Florida
  • Gender: Male
    • Toms Saw
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2003, 10:03:18 am »
can't help with Hemlock but you'll find that "Butt and Pass" is, and has been, a valid log building procedure forever.  I built a small cabin with pine and used half dove tails.  It wasn't too hard and was really sturdy.  Termites ate it up though. :D
extinct

Online Jeff

  • Lead Administrator
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 38626
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Harrison MI
  • Gender: Male
  • 1920's Sawmill Hand
    • THEE Forestry Forum
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2003, 12:57:14 pm »
Here is something that Don P and I put together a couple years ago on butt and pass.  Where the heck is Don P? He could help here. He is our Log home builder extrordinair!

http://www.forestryforum.com/windyhill/tutorials/buttandpass/buttandpass.htm
I don't need to know everything, I just need to know where to find it, when I need it - Albert Einstein
Forestry Forum Founder and Chief Bottle Washer.

Offline Tom

  • In Memoriam
  • *
  • Posts: 25853
  • Age: 71
  • Location: Jacksonville, Florida
  • Gender: Male
    • Toms Saw
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #6 on: April 07, 2003, 01:18:53 pm »
Don keeps going and coming. I don't know where he is.   :-/  I was looking for his website and couldn't find it though.  It's not on his profile anymore.  Where is it? ???
extinct

Online Jeff

  • Lead Administrator
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 38626
  • Age: 52
  • Location: Harrison MI
  • Gender: Male
  • 1920's Sawmill Hand
    • THEE Forestry Forum
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2003, 01:47:43 pm »
The link I left is his if he wants it!
I don't need to know everything, I just need to know where to find it, when I need it - Albert Einstein
Forestry Forum Founder and Chief Bottle Washer.

Offline Ron Wenrich

  • Forester
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 11133
  • Age: 65
  • Location: Jonestown, PA
  • Gender: Male
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2003, 03:34:55 pm »
The biggest problem with hemlock is that the R factor is lower than white pine.  It is also prone to shake.  That could be a problem.  I've only heard of a few cabins made from hemlock.  Usually, pine is more available, and easier to tongue and groove.

We saw hemlock construction wood for farmers and some builders.  There doesn't seem to be too much concern for using them for floor joists or 2 x 4s.  We also sell a lot of boards for siding.

Don't try to make logs out of crooked logs.  They will try to assume the crook.  Box the hearts and don't split the logs.  That will give more stability.

Butt and pass is as good of system as any.  You can nail them or lag them.  Nailing will be a lot easier, but you may still have to drill a hole for the nail.  You should put something between the logs - caulk or urethane strip or both - to help prevent the wind from blowing through.

I have seen units that have a threaded rod run through the logs from the bottom to the top of the structure.  Then, when you get shrinkage, you tighten up the rods.  

The cabin stock we sell usually has been put on sticks for about 6 months or more.  You want to get as much shrinkage out of it as you can.  You'll still have shrinkage, and should make adjustments for settling around your doors and windows.

Hemlock has gotten a bad rap over the years.  It used to be harvested for the bark - high in tannic acid.  The logs were just by products.  The older hemlocks had shake, and I think the reputation has stuck.

The problem with hemlock in the forest is that it is a climax species.  Very few trees other than hemlock can survive under the dense overstory.  If you don't get rid of them, that's all you'll have until the wooly adelgid gets too them.
Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Offline C_Miller

  • Full Member x2
  • ***
  • Posts: 204
  • Age: 56
  • Gender: Male
  • yes, we have trees in New York
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2003, 09:13:38 pm »
I guess the reason hemlock isn't used more for log homes is the weight and shrinkage  White pine is much lighter and doesn't shrink near as much as the Hemlock. The Hemlock bark is much thicker and the logs are harder to peel.  I've seen more shake in Hemlock cut out of a bog than on a hillside.

 The pulpwood guys are always looking for Hemlock to use in making white writing paper.

C

 
CJM

Offline IndyIan

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 345
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Campbellford, Ontario, Canada
  • Gender: Male
  • Weekend Woodsman.
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2003, 09:09:49 am »
From what I've read the one advantage of doing one of the fancy joints is that they can be designed to shed water from the joint.  They can also be done wrong and pool water in the joint!  I think all joints open and close with humidity changes so having one that will not collect water could add a few years to the life of the cabin.
Just something to think about.
Ian

Offline MrMoo

  • Senior Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 462
  • Age: 58
  • Location: Barrington, NH
  • Gender: Male
  • Do you have a spare log dar
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2003, 11:21:44 am »
Interesting that folks talk about using hemlock for siding. The people I know around here always speak of it in terms of dimension stock.
I guess its good for both. I would think it might be a bit more insect resistant than pine.

Offline ohsoloco

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 2042
  • Age: 38
  • Location: Bellefonte, PA
  • Gender: Male
  • Can we stay outside and play in the sawdust?
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2003, 11:48:57 am »
According to one of my timber framing books, hemlock was used quite frequently by the Dutch to build their barns and houses...not so much because it was the "best timber for the job," but because they were used to building with it back home.   Don't know about log cabins, but it worked just fine for timber frames.  

The author of this book has also torn down old barns.  One barn he took down was three hundred years old, and still had sound white pine siding on it...only it had been worn down to about 1/4 inch in thickness.

Offline Ron Wenrich

  • Forester
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 11133
  • Age: 65
  • Location: Jonestown, PA
  • Gender: Male
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #13 on: April 09, 2003, 03:04:43 pm »
I don't know why the joints would hold water if they are put under roof.  All log cabins I have seen have a generous eave.  This also helps to eliminate some of the rain splashing back onto the house.  There could be an accumulation of moisture there if not sealed quite right.  Early log homes had big expanses of chinking.

From what I've read on timber framing, they used to use whatever was handy.  Cutting a large tree to make a beam doesn't make a lot of sense.

First, it would be harder to cut down.  Then, it would be harder to drag.  Then, you would have to cut away lots of outside wood just to make a 12 x 12 beam.

Seems to me they would use the smaller trees.  Hemlock would probably be growing in the understory and be smaller in size.  Besides, any white pine over 24" was the King's timber.  One of the reasons you see 23" wide boards in paneling in early American houses.

Supposedly, the early white pine was more rot resistant.  My house is 150 years old and has white pine board and batten.  The frame is a mixture of species, but primarily white pine.  The only rotten wood I've found is where there were leaks in the old roofing.  The system never did fail.

My summerhouse was built probably late 1800's to early 1900's.  They used rough cut hemlock as framing lumber.
Never under estimate the power of stupid people in large groups.

Offline Tom

  • In Memoriam
  • *
  • Posts: 25853
  • Age: 71
  • Location: Jacksonville, Florida
  • Gender: Male
    • Toms Saw
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #14 on: April 09, 2003, 05:48:34 pm »
I like Ron's house.

extinct

Offline L. Wakefield

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 1285
  • Age: 62
  • Location: Hollis Maine
  • Gender: Female
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #15 on: April 09, 2003, 06:14:50 pm »
Quote


I have seen units that have a threaded rod run through the logs from the bottom to the top of the structure.  Then, when you get shrinkage, you tighten up the rods.  

  Now THAT is a totally wizard idea!  :D :D :D 8) 8) 8) :D :D

lw
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline L. Wakefield

  • Senior Member x2
  • *****
  • Posts: 1285
  • Age: 62
  • Location: Hollis Maine
  • Gender: Female
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #16 on: April 09, 2003, 06:18:06 pm »
Quote


 I've seen more shake in Hemlock cut out of a bog than on a hillside.

    I can believe this! When it blows bad the whole hemlock bog kind of heaves- Mike has seen the tree roots raise up and then set back down as the trees wave around. I guess that'd be 'shake' of one sort, alright!  lw
L. Wakefield, owner and operator of the beastly truck Heretik, that refuses to stay between the lines when parking

Offline Chet

  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 5117
  • Age: 59
  • Location: Land of da YOOPERS Iron River, MI
  • Gender: Male
Re: log cabin logs/hemlock
« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2003, 07:29:54 pm »
The original portion of my home was built using Eastern White Cedar & Eastern Hemlock. It is all hand hewn and dovetailed timbers. It truely amazing how true and plumb it is after all these years.
I am a true TREE HUGGER, if I didnt I would fall out!  chet the arborist