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Author Topic: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread  (Read 1449 times)

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Offline bugpeople

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bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« on: December 19, 2017, 08:10:50 AM »
I've searched throughout this forum, and finding you guys know your stuff. Still learning, but finding that there's not a lot of builders using the LHBA style, so I'll share with you. I'm still new on the forum, but I've been building my home since June 2017 (1st log on foundation = 6/15/2017).

I started cutting trees off my property and the neighbors about a month after taking the LHBA class in Vegas in February 2016- their website: https://www.buildloghomes.org/questions-building-log-homes/. I've cut down nearly 100 trees so far, mostly SYP. They are on average about 50 feet long, 22" at the base, and about 10" at the tip. I calculate them to weigh around 5,000 lbs each. Moving them has been quite an experience. I learned how to weld and made a log arch to lift them onto my trailer. My ridge pole is still growing in the woods behind the property- it's a 70' oak, with a 24" base (probably 22" breast height). I hired a guy to dig holes for my pier foundation in N. Alabama, but I've done everything else myself- site survey, layout, moving trees, peeling logs (my wife helped with this part a lot), pouring concrete, designed our own plans: took the stock LHBA plans, put them on my Linux computer, "deleted" everything but the walls and roof, went through 30 iterations of our own floor plans, and finally committed one of them to the printer and got them approved through the city. I treated the logs with a LHBA solution, built my own concrete forms, installed lifting poles (had the guys from church help with this), even made my own block and tackle ($45 is a lot cheaper than $350 for 5,000 lb lifting blocks). I'm using a 1967 ford 3000 diesel tractor to maneuver the logs. I bought an Oscar 121 sawmill from a buddy in the LHBA organization (21" throat). I'm not sure what I'll do with it but I do need it to flatten my log rafters on one side. I may have enough trees to make some flooring with the leftover trees, but I've never cut anything with it. I still need to extend the track from 12' to 28' to accommodate my logs (plans call for minimum 26' x 4 x 12 rafters or bigger).

I'm a big believer in the power of positive thinking, so I may ignore haters (I don't expect that from this group, but boy, youtube is a mess!) My goal here is enlightenment, not conversion- to present information you may not have considered. I expect y'all will do the same for me (in fact, I hope so). Obviously, I'm not going to change horses in the middle of the stream. But to give some more background, I studied all log building styles I could find, and settled on the butt & pass method about 10 years ago. I've been researching it for 15 years, so I was an armchair expert by the time I stacked my 1st log :). I settled on the LHBA method because it's:
  • cheaper- about $20/sq ft. Also no mortgage needed to build it- I'm using almost all handtools, except for my tractor
  • stronger- My plans have been "wet-stamped" by a professional engineer
  • longer lasting- LHBA is in its 6th generation of builders. These structures don't experience settling.
  • faster (if I was building full-time, I expect I would have the roof on by now, but I'm using lifting poles, and 3 hours max a night after working my full-time job). One of my buddies just finished putting the roof on one (he builds professionally) after starting stacking a week ago.

As we say in LHBA, when building a log home, you can choose 2: cheap,fast,good.

With all that said, I'm not a builder or a contractor. I've worked at a couple of cabinet shops, but that's about it as far as employable training. On the other hand, I've done parts of every part of construction- foundation, roofing, electrical, framing, hanging windows, doors, installing hardwood flooring, cabinets, etc. Just not all at once. Just letting you know I'm not a professional builder.

I've got a https://loghomejourney.wordpress.com/ going, and I try to add to it as I go (it feels like molasses right now on my build). I'm almost 14' up, with 6' to go (about 6 more courses). Then I'll put in the RPSL's and the ridge pole and girder log. Then the rafters, and finally the roof. Then comes the floor joists and subfloor for 1st and 2nd floor, then electrical and plumbing, chinking, and finish work. I'll move in before I put the full wrap-around porch on the thing. Hoping to move in before the end of next year, but we'll see how the money holds out- we'll own this 3000 sq ft home outright when complete, and it will be our only residence.

Building a log home by hand, using trees I cut myself.

"Cutting trees is more important than thinking about cutting trees or planning to cut trees."
~F. David Stanley

Online starmac

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2017, 12:45:13 AM »
What about the method makes it stronger?
What keeps it from settling?
Is it cheaper, just because it is faster, or is there other reasons?
Just trying to learn something here?
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Offline bugpeople

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2017, 09:03:19 PM »
What about the method makes it stronger? My engineer said from his research, it's the pinning method with rebar, every 2 feet that makes it so strong- the FAQ's page on the LHBA (buildloghomes.org) website explains more about this.
What keeps it from settling? Again, it's the rebar- all logs shrink- but they shrink towards their center. Using rebar to pin the logs in place ensures that the logs shrink around the rebar, instead of the log below. This obviously creates cracks in the chinking, which is why the  LHBA method includes chinking the structure twice- once when complete, and once a year later. After that, the settling is pretty much done.
Is it cheaper, just because it is faster, or is there other reasons? It's cheaper for a lot of reasons- using peeled logs (as opposed to processing them into d-logs or other shapes) means less cost. The ability to use crooked logs that would normally only be good for 2x4's is another. It's also cheaper because no skilled labor is required- you don't have to be an expert to use this method. There are thousands of first time home builders in our organization.
Just trying to learn something here? Mostly, I'll need advice when I get my sawmill up and running- it's an oscar 121, and I don't know what I can expect from it as far as how many boards I can get out of a tree, proper handling, tips and tricks, etc.

thanks!
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Offline JJ

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #3 on: December 20, 2017, 09:15:32 PM »
welcome to the FF
+2 on the power of positive thinking..

        JJ

Online starmac

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2017, 05:26:24 PM »
Interesting, It is not the finished look I would personally want, but I can see where it is fast and easy.
I am not sold on the stronger part either as many folks use the rebar with other methods too, but in such away that the logs are not shrinking away from each other.
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Offline customcutter01

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #5 on: January 02, 2018, 11:25:14 AM »
BP  good luck with the build.  I had seen one of your video's on You Tube, where you were lifting a log with the tractor and drilling and inserting rebar.  Stay safe.  Still waiting to hear from Al Ag Credit on this end.
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Offline kantuckid

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2018, 10:01:58 AM »
As a woodworker and having built a pine log home, I too know that wood shrinks. One of the challenges of wood joints! and wood log walls.
I believe the operative word is "trangential shrinkage" here?
Positive or negative,  I cannot wrap my head around the wood drying around a rebar? Try as I might.
Like, how do the windows and doors build into those walls? Headspace?
 I've made chips and dust out of many, many types of wood and they all shrink and most crack to the center as the drying takes place. The lone exception in my experience is catalpa, out of which I carved many bowls, by hand using a gouge and carvers mallet. Not one has ever cracked which is why it was a wood of choice for "cigar store Indians". One of the worst woods to develope radial cracks as used in larger timbers is yellow poplar. As I sit here and look away at the log ends of winter cut SYP, I do see a few cracks, some logs more than others but not enough to bother the structures integrity, no rebar.
Interesting build! Good luck! One of my DIL's is from down below Decatur.
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Offline bugpeople

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2018, 03:18:05 PM »
https://loghomejourney.wordpress.com/2017/12/27/shipping-container/

I bought a shipping container to store stuff in, but I'm currently dealing with 3 broken vehicles- water pump on my honda civic (daily driver), putting a new motor in my toyota pickup (waited a month for the new motor to ship- so steamed about this), and yesterday, the starter went out on my 1979 Ford. We haven't been above freezing for over a week here in Huntsville, AL (although I know you northerners are snickering- this is rare for the South). Without a garage to work out of (need to thaw out the Honda before I can check for a blown head, etc.), I'm kinda dead in the water right now....

I'll be storing building supplies in the container, and I'm going to pick up some 2x2x1/4 angle steel tomorrow if I can get the truck fixed. I'll be welding up a track extension so I can cut up to 28' rafters.

Kantuckid-
Tangential shrinkage and radial shrinkage are both involved here since I'm using the whole log with only the bark removed. In a butt and pass structure, remember that the logs are held suspended in place by the rebar, not by other logs. As in all log structures, any shrinkage is towards the center of the log (All logs shrink towards their center from when they are green -> dry). In other types of log structures, the logs support each other (one below holds up the one above). As each log shrinks, the whole structure settles downward. This is why you need header space over windows and doors in a traditional log structure. Butt and pass also settles, but because the rebar is holding the log, the log shrinks (and potentially cracks the chinking) towards the center - which is held in place by rebar pins, but the entire structure remains at the same height (due to the pinning method). Eventually (after about  a year or 2), the shrinkage nearly ceases (always can settle by millionths of an inch, but it is negligible after about 2 years). In a Butt and Pass home, you just re-chink the cracks in the chinking between the logs. Screw jacks for the roof and header space is not necessary.

It may be hard to believe, but I've seen it with my own eyes. There are hundreds of these homes all across the U.S., and no header space or screwjacks are necessary.
Building a log home by hand, using trees I cut myself.

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Online thecfarm

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #8 on: January 04, 2018, 05:01:46 PM »
bugpeople,this non grit eater ain't a laughing at you. Have not been in the above double digit for 5-6 days here.  :( We are at least prepared and expect below freezing weather,just not for so long. Thes cold snap set a record here in Maine. Never been this cold for so long. Nothing above 15.
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Online starmac

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2018, 01:52:49 AM »
By thaw out the Honda, I hope you don't mean it didn't have enough antifreeze.
One of my customers brought me a toyota with a bad timing belt once. It turned out the reason the belt stripped was the water froze, and warped the head enough the cam would not turn.
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Offline bugpeople

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2018, 08:41:28 AM »
By thaw out the Honda, I hope you don't mean it didn't have enough antifreeze.
One of my customers brought me a toyota with a bad timing belt once. It turned out the reason the belt stripped was the water froze, and warped the head enough the cam would not turn.

crap, I hope not. The mixture wasn't 50/50 (I had topped it off over the summer one hot day in a walmart parking lot). It starts and runs, and no water out of the tailpipe, thank goodness- stupid thing just overheats. I took the radiator out and put in the bathtub with really hot water for about 20 minutes, just to be sure no ice in it. Then I took out the thermostat to test it- it didn't open in a pan of water on the stove until the water started boiling (I've heard they are supposed to open around 170-190, not 212), so I replaced it, but it would still overheat. I took the cap off and watched for any movement while it warmed up- I didn't see any flow. I took out the thermostat and started it again- still nothing- doesn't look like it's circulating. Only thing left is to take off the return hose, rev the engine, and see if anything shoots out. If not, I'm guessing it's the waterpump, which means I gotta pull the motor. Only thing is- there's no weeping from waterpump that I can see, and it doesn't make the whiny noise I've heard on other motors. Buddy of mine says they can go silently, so, I don't know......
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Offline bugpeople

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2018, 08:47:32 AM »
bugpeople,this non grit eater ain't a laughing at you. Have not been in the above double digit for 5-6 days here.  :( We are at least prepared and expect below freezing weather,just not for so long. Thes cold snap set a record here in Maine. Never been this cold for so long. Nothing above 15.

Yeah, I'm from Utah, so should be used to cold, and I shouldn't complain.

Side note- I used to go snow caving in Utah- lots of fun. -20 outside, but that snow cave would get up to 38. coldest temperature I've ever experienced was driving through Beaver, UT back in the 1990's- they reached a low of -38 one night. And a fun fact: the coldest recorded temperature in the lower 48 was recorded in an area I used to go snow caving- Peter sinks area of Logan canyon- I think it was something like -70. They asked the guy who's job it was to record the temperature what it's like- he said when you first get out of your car, imagine someone comes up to you and hits you in the face with a frozen cookie sheet- that's what it feels like. Hoping it will warm up soon.
Building a log home by hand, using trees I cut myself.

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Offline kantuckid

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2018, 12:47:20 PM »
Call this curiosity not trying to be a pest at all. You got enough on yer plate with vehicles for any 2 or 3 people!
My log house from green SYP settled for the what I thought was typical 7 or so years.
Stands to reason, the same species in the same sizes and winter cut is gonna dry over the same time period unless it's a desert, not the SE USA? I'm interested to see where those re-bar pins are placed?
 At the corners, parallel to the log itself? Like lathe headpost/tailstock?
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Offline bugpeople

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2018, 02:07:49 PM »
Call this curiosity not trying to be a pest at all. You got enough on yer plate with vehicles for any 2 or 3 people!
My log house from green SYP settled for the what I thought was typical 7 or so years.
Stands to reason, the same species in the same sizes and winter cut is gonna dry over the same time period unless it's a desert, not the SE USA? I'm interested to see where those re-bar pins are placed?
 At the corners, parallel to the log itself? Like lathe headpost/tailstock?
7 years? seems like a long time. I imagine the first few it settled by inches, then slowed down to 1/4" or less?
vertically: all the way through the log in question, and halfway into the log below it, every 2 feet, then offset the next log  by 1 foot (so you don't hit a pin in the log below) every layer. I did the first 300+ pins by hand, then got smart and bought a jack hammer. :)
At the corners, they are pinned horizontally to the neighbor log.


Here's another one showing the jackhammer in use (ignore all the OSHA safety violations  :D )
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #14 on: January 05, 2018, 09:22:19 PM »
Bugpeople,
Good to meet another Hunsvillian.  I've lived in and around Hsville since 72, but am now in New Market.  Which part of the county are you in?
Yellowhammer
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Offline dgrover13

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #15 on: January 05, 2018, 11:24:26 PM »
I love the build pics - it appears that you are over half way up.  Gives me great inspiration on my own LHBA structure. 

As to us northerners, we are freezing much like the rest of the country right now.  We have been averaging -5F to -10F since before Christmas.  It was -18 the other day.

I am headed to florida next week for a retreat, enough of this craziness. :snowfight1:
-Darren

Offline Don P

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2018, 11:42:10 PM »
From what I hear there are frozen iguanas falling out of trees in FL  :D
My Mom emailed last night that they got 4" of snow in eastern NC, we just got a dusting out of that one, that's different.

I'm wondering, if preventing settlement is the goal, why is the rebar run vertically? If the rebar were driven at divergent angles down the length of the log it would lock the gap better. Much like driving opposed toenails without holding the boards tight to one another, no amount of pounding will allow the gap to close. Where if the nails are driven straight in it is easy to drive the gap tight.

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2018, 03:15:26 AM »
Man O Man, I never liked running a jack hammer standing on the ground, pretty sure I would not like up in the air. lol

I have a funny story about jackhammers. I worked for a contractor digging swimming swimming pools in the L A area years ago. We dug a pool a day, but on one particular jog we hit solid granite a foot down. We left but a day or two later was told to go back to the same location. When I got there, there was a huge air compressor and 5 jack hammers, the boss ask me if I mind running a jack hammer. I told him no, and he said good, he figured I might, that is when I said BUT, I'm not going to start digging a swimming pool with one. He said yep, that is exactly what I figured.
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Offline bugpeople

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #18 on: January 08, 2018, 08:50:33 AM »
Bugpeople,
Good to meet another Hunsvillian.  I've lived in and around Hsville since 72, but am now in New Market.  Which part of the county are you in?
Yellowhammer

wow! cool. I looked at your website- any good deals on car decking? I'm gonna need a few TONS of it (my roof square footage on the plans is 52x40). I doubt I have enough trees or skill to do it myself.

I'm building in New Hope.
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Offline kantuckid

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Re: bugpeople's Butt and pass build thread
« Reply #19 on: January 08, 2018, 09:32:58 AM »
Bugpeople,
Good to meet another Hunsvillian.  I've lived in and around Hsville since 72, but am now in New Market.  Which part of the county are you in?
Yellowhammer

I'm a senior, life long wood worker, w/dedicated shop & WMLT15 too, who has a life time supply of wood on hand(sort of) and must say I really enjoyed taking a look/see @ your website. Nice operation! Currently sawing a sassafras tree- if it warms up a bit! I didn't realize the walnuts were beetle dying? have to read up on that one. Nice set-up! and good luck selling your lumber. Mike
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