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Author Topic: square hewn log notching.....  (Read 18253 times)

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Offline Papa

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square hewn log notching.....
« on: April 21, 2014, 01:59:00 pm »
So.....I got my granfors brooks 1900... i got 65 good straight white oak....after i hew them square i need to notch them....looking for some input on notching styles and links to free jig plans or etc. ...shooting for maybe 2 1/2 to 3 in gap between logs dont want to spend a fortune on chinking....i like the uniform look to the corners with the v notch or the square notch...they seem easier too but could go with the half dovetail if i had to. Does anyone have diminsions etc to cut these notches or could tell me how to figure it out without having to buy plans like i seen for the half dovetail notch.

Also...i planning to build with hewn logs a 24 ft by 16 structure which is going to be a canning kitchen and dining room then i want to go off that structure in stone as i have a good supply of really awesome building stone..does anyone have any ideas how to connect the log structure into the stone . Only thing I can think of myself is to nail lots of nails up and down the inside corners of the log structure and leave them protruding out and maybe stick some chicken wire over them and mortar into that area and start a wall of stone from that but that doesnt sound like a very good idea  :-\  ?

Offline Roger Nair

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2014, 05:03:06 pm »
First off, I'm a timber framer not a log builder, so for what it's worth... I have a serious reservation over your log wall to stone wall connection, a green log wall will have a high degree of shrinkage in height as the logs season, the chicken wire and mortar detail is, imho, doomed to serious degrade.  Whatever details you come up with will have to allow for the logs to slide and bypass the stone as the logs season or in the long view, the building phases could be staged to allow for seasoning but that can require a few years.

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Offline D L Bahler

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2014, 09:33:00 pm »
The best way to connect log to stone is to incorporate a vertical timber member. This timber is grooved and into this groove fit tenons on the end of the wall logs. The wall logs must be allowed to move freely in this groove, to account for settling. If a space is desired between log courses, stack blocks between them just beside the vertical member.

The member must be cut short of the top plate of the walls, the exact amount calculated so that it will just close with settling.

The stone then connects to this upright, thus the whole connection remains unaffected by settling.

You then cut a V notch on the upright where the stone wall connects. The mortar is keyed into this notch. This then will provide a fairly good seal. But structurally, the log and timber walls do not and should not be working together due to the very different natures of these materials.

Offline Papa

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2014, 11:33:04 am »
thanks for the help.....im still a bit confused ....ok when you have a log wall and you cut out to make a chimney from stone...do folks use timber members to connect the stone to wood in that situation? cant you mortar stone directly to wood or? I planned on letting the hewn logs dry for 2 to 2 1/2 years would this make for less shrinkage problems or do the logs need to dry upon themselves stacked to help settle everything together......sorry ...very new to building stuff.   :-\

Offline D L Bahler

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2014, 12:26:24 pm »
The logs will dry some in 2 years, but not through.
There will still be some settling.

Generally, a stone chimney is not attached to the logwork. It should not be. It must be built to be self-supporting.
Also the joints themselves will settle and compress. The amount at any one joint is slight, but overall it does make a difference.

If you use the upright method to attach anything else to it, you can mortar stone to that (but the wood must be 'keyed' because mortar does not bond well to wood.)

Offline Roger Nair

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2014, 01:42:04 pm »
Papa, there are a few facts you must get your head around concerning the drying of wood.  Basically there are two types of wood/water relationships when evaluating moisture content of a log, that is free water and bound water.  Think of a log as a household sponge, take a dry sponge, dip it in water, the sponge expands, wring out the sponge until no more water pours out, put the sponge on a window sill, the sponge dries and returns to it's original size.  The water that was squeezed out of the sponge is free water, removing free water from a sponge or a log has no effect on the size of the log.  The water that remained in the sponge is bound water that has integrated into the cellulose and plumped up the sponge, so the sponge shrinks as bound water is removed.  The same goes for logs, timber and boards.

Good reference material, for free download, is available from the USDA Forest Products Lab, look for The Wood Handbook.  From a library or bookstore look for Understanding Wood by Bruce Hoadley. 

White oak is slow drying by nature, requires shade, proper stickering, air circulation and end treatment.  The rewards come slowly and in the later stage of drying.

An optimist believes this is the best of all possible worlds, the pessimist fears that the optimist is correct.--James Branch Cabell

Offline Thehardway

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2014, 02:18:31 pm »
Papa,

You have chosen well for your logs.  White Oak is a great material for log or timber building if you can deal with the weight of them and the deep checking they a likely to exhibit as they dry and are exposed to sun.

There are plenty of good notching methods out there. Spend an evening at your local Barnes an Noble or library and you should find several books on log home building and how to do the different notches.  from there you can decide which one fits your needs and skills best.

White oak does shrink but primarily laterally and not longitudinally.  For this reason, one must allow for shrinking, settling, and then seasonal movement of expansion and contraction.  Best not to connect directly to the stone, allow a bypass system with room for expansion/contraction joint.

In many old masonry/wood structures a wood to masonry connection was made by embedding attachment wood in the mortar joints into which fasteners could then be driven.  This was more used for panelling, mouldings and siding than for structural wood.  This method did allow for some variance in movement rate.

In the case of your chimney, the chimney should actually be the first thing built.  It should be freestanding, on substantial foundation below the frost line. Easiest way to do it would be to slip form it. This will keep your chimney square, plumb, and within a specific dimension which will make it easy to bring the wall in alignment with it when you build the log portion of the cabin.

Slotted brackets can be affixed to the masonry which allows for settling in the walls at attachment point.  I have also seen iron dowel rods left protruding from masonry to go into vertical wood members that have been slotted to accept them and the ends of the logs that abut the chimney. The function is only to serve to control the wall from leaning in or out over time as it ascends next to the chimney. Settling gaps will need to be left over windows, doors, or anyplace where the wall will settle at a different rate than the main structure.
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Offline jander3

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2014, 07:20:07 pm »
I like 1/2 dovetail.  After hewing, which takes a lifetime....cutting the dovetails in a beam is a pretty quick operation.

 

  

  

  

 
Jon

Offline Papa

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #8 on: April 24, 2014, 10:38:13 am »
those were some great replies fellas, i really appreciate the time took to reply, i have a better idea of what to do now, but still have a lot to figure out yet as well.....right now im trying to figure out how to get this white oak down i cut into yesterday, i knew i shouldnt have tried it without having some help with a tractor and chains, this tree has been in my way of digging out my foundation site, been putting off and cursing thisa tree for past 2 years, and finally yesterday i just had to tear into it and sure enough i screwed it up...it had  lot of lean towards my current house 16 ft away...all the weight and big branches are on side leaning towards my house, notched her real nice and went in with the back cut and it pinched my saw, brely got it out, was dumb enough to try 2 more tries at the backcut and just couldnt get in there before the weight jammed me in. So now since yesterday evening it is sittin there with only 2 more inches of back cut to go but resting on itself and the angled downward dummy backcuts i made. friend is supposed to help with 4wd and chains this evening ...just hope its calm out there today ...live and learn i reckon..if i had that backcut to do again i would have made a small narrow notch ....wedged behind the bar.. and went on with cut...but as dumb as i am i tried to wedge my chain size cut as i got in there....wasnt wide enough to actually wedge...hey ill get the hang of it one of these days. maybe ill get the ole camera out and keep this thread goin so you fellas will have some good entertainment as i try to do things dummies shouldnt try :) thanks again.

Offline routestep

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2014, 09:07:51 pm »
I've cut down a few leaning trees by using a plunge cut into the tree.

I cut a fairly shallow face cut
Then I plunge into the tree, stay way from the face cut and leaving wood on the back side of the trunk
Then cut the back cut mating up with the plunge.

Doing this approach will prevent laddering of the trunk.

I bet there are better explanations with pics over in the other sections.

Offline Frankw

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #10 on: January 05, 2015, 05:16:01 am »
 :new_year:

I am a retired (Dutch) geologist and live with my Filipino wife in the North of Luzon, Philippines on 40 acres of hilly farm land near mountains on the Abra river.
I just joined this forum, planning to build a small log cabin (sauna) LxWxH 10x8x10 feet but haven't got a clue on the notching process. I am cutting some medium pines (1 foot diameter) up the river that I will (partly) peel and cut in 12 feet members but that is about it. I browsed the web but cannot follow the discussions, either too complicated too much advertising and without detailed drawings how to cut a notch. My internet is limited to e-mail only (far from a city) so no UTUBE or video. I had in mind a simple square saddle notch but would like to skip the scribing if possible. No idea how to plug possible gaps as a sauna requires tight fit members....Besides the notching I plan a door above the first member, how to join the members to the door frame? I also need to install an open stone (wood) fire place 2x3 feet with a brick chimney (or metal ducting) on top and a small window (same technique as the door I expect). We have a chain saw and basic carpeting tools (and all the time in the world).

Any drawings of simple (layman) notches and tips would be much appreciated.

Thanks a lot.

Frank


Offline fred in montana

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #11 on: January 05, 2015, 06:41:33 am »
I am the owner of the log jig plans site. Just a FYI- if you send photos of your cabin after you are done, you get your money refunded.
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Offline Magicman

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2015, 08:23:02 am »
Welcome to the Forestry Forum, Frankw.   :)
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Offline jander3

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #13 on: January 05, 2015, 11:40:25 pm »
1/2 Dovetail Layout for 6" x 8" Timbers (3 1/2" overhang)

The layout takes a forever on the first timber.  After you have done 3 timbers, layout is fast and easy <5 minutes per timber.  Then, with a chainsaw, a hand saw, and slick it takes 10-15 minutes cutting out the notch.   

Make the template out anything stiff that is about 1/4 or 2/8".   You can vary the gap will vary depending on the width of the timber and the angle you choose for the dovetail  .   



  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 
Jon

Offline BCsaw

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #14 on: January 06, 2015, 12:58:11 am »
I agree with Jander, the half dovetail notch is king! Water repellant and it looks good. I have a site that allows you to play with your dimensions of the notch and your gap. Will find it and post.
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Offline Frankw

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #15 on: January 06, 2015, 04:04:15 am »
Thanks Jander, Dovetail looks very rugged but maybe more fitting for square timber, my logs are round and also vary in diameter from 9"-10" so I have a far more primitive notch in mind as attached?

Frank

[attachment deleted by admin]

Offline jander3

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #16 on: January 06, 2015, 08:11:18 am »
Frank,

If you can cut a saddle for your notches, the fit will tighten up over time.     



 

 

 

To learn the basics about log cabin building Alan Mackie's building with logs provides enough information to get started.

I would fine some practice wood and try to cut a few notches.  Scribbing and cutting takes a day or so to get down.  A chainsaw speeds up the job; again, cutting and brushing the notch takes practice.   

Forum post on building the Stump Ranch (Full Scribe Log Cabin)

http://www.forestryforum.com/board/index.php/topic,33283.0.html
Jon

Offline Frankw

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #17 on: January 06, 2015, 08:10:05 pm »
Jon

I am doing that right now with some 2 inch sticks and I can mimic the primitive cut that I have attached earlier (and your lower picture) but my notch looks very different from your top picture (saddle) that shows the cuts at the sides of the upper member fitting in a V type cut in the bottom member, are the cuts for the top and bottom members perhaps different?

Frank

Offline jander3

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2015, 10:52:35 pm »
Frank,

I don't have any decent photos that show how to cut a saddle notch. Below are some photos that give you an idea about a saddle notch.  The groove running lengthwise is the lateral groove so that the log above fits tight.  In your design, with chinking you would not scribe or cut this groove.   

This notch is a round notch with a relief cut at the top.  The saddles are cut into the log before you cut the notch.  That way, the notch from the log above will fit on the saddles for the log you are cutting.  Somewhere around the house I think I have some hand written directions and sketches for notching.  I will check tomorrow, if I can find them I will scan and post them for you.

Jon

 

  

  

  

  

  

 
Jon

Offline Frankw

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2015, 11:30:32 pm »
Jon, thanks for the pictures, it explains the lateral groove well that I was also wondering about. Would appreciate any drawings like I have attached. At the moment I plan to make the notch as illustrated on attached figure 165 A+B+C with some scribing (lateral groove) are you OK with that for the tropics? Our type of pine tree is probably Caribbean Pine, almost no bark (white) probably planted by the Japanese (WWII), no resin-no odor.

Frank

[attachment deleted by admin]

Offline Fundyheather

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2015, 07:42:19 pm »
Hi Frank, others

If you are hewing square anyway, perhaps consider reviewing this long film showing a joint used in Northern Europe and Russia:

 

I used this joint in my sauna, with foam sill gasket spiked down hard between the 'logs' as a seal.  I was using the cores of red spruce in the build, and there was very little shrinkage, maybe because I removed most of the sapwood. 

You need a steel square, measuring tape, circular saw, buck saw, 1" square chisel and pencil to lay this out and cut it.  Sometimes I lost my pencil in the snow and just used a nail.  Sometimes because of a knot, the notch didn't plow up so well using the circular saw; so I cleaned up the slot with an electric chainsaw rather than the 1"chisel.  I have had good luck doing this in 5x5" and 4x5", but I think in the film they are using at least 6x6's.  Kept me in heat all last winter.

jim

  

 

Offline Fundyheather

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #21 on: January 07, 2015, 07:55:00 pm »
and this other film is on the same joint:



jim

Offline jander3

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #22 on: January 07, 2015, 11:30:05 pm »
Frank,


I found some photos from a little project that might give you an idea on how to cut a notch. Let me know if this makes any sense, notch cutting is hard to explain.  In this case I am scribing the lower member. On a log wall, you would put the log on the building, scribe the log, then, either roll the log back or remove it from the building and cut it.  I take the log off and cut on the ground, but a guy could put up some scaffold bucks and cut with the log rolled back on the building. Anytime the log is on the building, make sure it is dogged in place,  It never ends well if you find your body between a log under the influence of gravity and the planet.

Jon

How to Cut a Notch
For Chinked Cabin With a Chainsaw

The base will be scribed and notched to accept the 1/2 log on top.

 


Log Scriber, set up for normal use, with the pencil on top, for scribing the notch in the bottom a new log.




Before you use a scriber, check it on a level line (draw a plumb line on a surface that is plumb).   You set the desired gap on the scriber. The gap is the amount that you want to drop the log. For example, if you have a 6" gap when you put the new log on the building and you want 1.5" gap for chinking, you set the scriber for 4.5".  The setting might be different on each end of the log as the gap will not be equal when you put the new log on the building.  You want a setting that gives you a generally uniform gap after the log is in place.  The scriber points are placed on the level line and the level is adjusted until the bubble is centered.    You can see in this photo that I reversed the point and the pencil because I will be notching the bottom member.

 


Scribing the line.  Hold lightly, pull toward you; keep the bubble centered. Easier said than done.  Scribing takes practice, stay with it.  Practice a few notches on some crap wood.  I use pencils with indelible ink.   I spray the log with water from a spray bottle before scribing, and then I spray again after to set the ink.   

 
 

When the scribing is complete, double check and make sure you have a good line before removing the log, you will never get the log back in the same position for a do-over.   

 


Remove the log (or roll it back), then, score the line with a chisel (flat-side out). Score as close the line as you can, leave the line.  This chisel was a little big for this work, but it was handy. 

 


You want to create a sharp edge that will meet up with the other member when you roll the log in place. The score line is 1/4" or 3/8" deep or so.

 


Remove the waste wood.  On a wall log normally a couple of diagonal cuts (for larger notches split the waste wood down the center with a cut then make your diagonal cuts) and then whack out the triangle pieces with an axe, hammer, or adze.  Stay back from the scribe line.

 


Note: Shaving and brushing take some practice, your first notches will be Butt-Ugly.  No worries stay with it, they will improve.  Keep the top quarter of the front of the saw away from the wood or it will kick-back. For shaving or brushing, I would start with safety chain.    Once I learned, I cut the waste wood with full or semi-chisel chain and then shave and brush with semi-chisel or safety chain.   I've never been able brush well with Full chisel chain.

On each side of the notch, split the work into quarters with a shallow cut.  Then shave each quarter close to the line (within about 1/8") using the front lower portion of the chainsaw bar.  You want to get very close to the line but don't over cut . You are shaving to form a slightly concave shape.

 


Once you have all four quarters shaved, the bottom of the notch will still be rough.  You, then, brush the notch with the tip of your saw (bottom) and bring the work right to the scibe line.  In log building, when you are complete, the entire line should be present; however, you want no wood inside the line. If needed, you can clean up to the line with an axe or adze or handlebar gouge.  Brushing to line is easier than you think. As you near your scribe line, you will produce a sharp edge as the wood is brushed away from the scored line you set with your chisel.   You want a generally concave shape; you do not want a soup bowl. When you lay a straight edge across your notch it should touch the scored edges.  If the straight edge touches any material between the edges, this material will need to be brushed away or your log will hang-up when you try to fit it up.

 


Fit up the log. This step might require you to roll the log back a number of times to make adjustments to your notch if you encounter any hangups.  You want to make sure the fit is tight.  In this case, I could have notched the top log into the base.  However, due to the size difference it was easier to notch the base.

 


Fit up completed.  Again, for log building the notch would be in the top.

 





Jon

Offline Frankw

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2015, 12:07:42 am »
Very clear Jon, but what happens to the next layer (your 1/2 log on top) are those logs scribed and notched again into the lower log? Is each log scribed and notched at the top and bottom (both sides) or only on one side (top)?
Frank

Offline jander3

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #24 on: January 08, 2015, 08:19:20 am »
You only notch the bottom of the log.  You put the next log on the wall (Butt to Tip), scribe the notch, and then cut the notch into the bottom of the new log; roll the new log into place and verify fit-up.

 



The previous post was a simple round notch; it works fine.  Notch the bottom of the log, stack it, and move on.  Big logs don't move. Some builders will use a lock-notch for the bottom and top rows.  If you are worried about things shifting, in lieu of a lock-notch, a timber screw placed into the round notch joint would work just as well. Below is a photo of a lock-notch (just like Lincoln Logs). The layout of these notches is a little more complicated.  To cut a lock-notch, the scriber is set up with two pencils and then you establish the lock-notch height and transfer the measurement from one log to the other using your gap setting so the lock notch  matches up when you put the pieces together.   

    



Because a round notch sometimes opens up with time and loosens up, builders developed the saddle notch.  To cut a saddle notch - before scribing, cut the saddles into the new log (you can see the saddles below),  The new log will sit on the saddle area of the log below.  Scribe like above; you will be scribing onto the saddle area.  After scribing, draw in a little 3/8" rectangle at the top of the notch for a relief cut.  Score and cut as above.  The saddle notch method ensures that  the notch will tighten up over time.   The saddle also helps to shed water if the structure gets wet.

To cut a saddle, with the log set up on some notching stumps (about 2 feet off the ground, or whatever height is comfortable to you), use the top portion of your chainsaw bar to make the cut (pull  the saw backwards).  Pulling the bar backward will make the saddle cut much smoother as compared to cutting with the  lower portion of the bar (as you would normally cut). Saddle length is about the the length of a small level 18"-24".  You cut the saddle so there is about 2 or 3 inches of round log on the top and it extends to about 1" or 2" above the bottom of the log.

 
Jon

Offline Frankw

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #25 on: January 08, 2015, 10:39:45 pm »
OK, I think I got it Jon, but did not do that saddle cut as I don't understand it. Below a picture of my exercise with 1" rods. How do you allign the stacking to keep the corners perfectly vertical (square)? I measured the cut from the corners but allignment is not so great.
 

  

 
Frank

January 12, Note that the model is upside down and that I plan to face the grooves and notches downward to avoid water accumulation, I will also cut the saddles before the notching and will post a new picture of the model later (Thanks Furby).

Offline jander3

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2015, 10:42:04 pm »
Frank,

Nothing below.   
Jon

Offline Frankw

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2015, 12:44:50 am »
Jon
I can see 2 pictures that I posted

Frank

Offline Jim_Rogers

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #28 on: January 09, 2015, 09:15:08 am »
Re-trim all ends after stacking to make them all the same, if you wish.

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Offline jander3

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #29 on: January 09, 2015, 01:29:54 pm »
I agree with Jim.

I trimmed these in the log yard where I built the walls to get rid of the overhang.  On this building, once I had the roof line on the structure, I cut the ends again to make  sure the log ends were under the roof.  The log you select for the wall will likely be 2'-4' longer than your planned final length. This gives you some room to move the log for best fit and allows you to trim the ends.

 

In northern Minnesota, there are many cabins with a more random log end pattern.

 


Jon

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #30 on: January 09, 2015, 06:11:05 pm »
Thanks Jim & Jon, I am ready to build my sauna now (3 x 3.5 meter inside). I may still cut those saddles at the sides of my logs before the scribing and notching but I find that the nothing looks nicer without those saddles.
Thanks for your help and when I start my project I will upload pictures of the different stages to this forum. Still trying to find out how to build a brick wood fire stove for the sauna.

Frank

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #31 on: January 15, 2015, 05:07:04 pm »
 

 

2nd excercise with notching facing down and saddle cuts

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #32 on: January 15, 2015, 05:14:54 pm »
I will anchor the base to my foundation with iron bars but I have not yet thought of a good way to connect the roof frame/rafters to the top log, I don't want to use any metal if possible. But that is still a long way down the road and will worry about that later....

 

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #33 on: January 15, 2015, 07:23:59 pm »
Nice.  This is going to save you time when you start your building.

When you cut the logs I would cut the saddles a little narrower on the top (set them a little higher). And they should flare out a bit (the top of the log will have about 2-3" of round log between the saddles.   The saddles extend down to 1" lower than the expected scribe setting.   If you decide to use saddles remember the relief cuts on the notches.

I scribed the rafters and set with a timber screw.   Takes time as each rafter has to be scribed based on the log. I cut the ridge and added a nailer on top, that way I had a consistent dimension to work with on top.
 

  

  
Jon

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #34 on: January 18, 2015, 08:58:32 am »
Jon
Do you mean with "offsetting" he saddle cuts to rotate the logs slightly (see arrows picture) before scribing so that the saddle will not fit properly in the notch (only 20%). If so should I rotate the logs in opposite direction as shown on my picture or does that not matter?

Are the saddle cuts of each log exactly opposite of each other (180 degrees) or is the offset done by cutting the saddles 140 degrees from each other instead of rotating the logs?

What is the purpose of not positioning these saddles fully in the notch (not aligned at right angles), this will make the notch cut slightly wider, is that perhaps the reason?

Frank

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #35 on: January 18, 2015, 12:46:04 pm »
Frank,

The diagram below is a bit exaggerated; however, it should give you an idea of what I mean by saddle offset.  Your saddles look like they are cut so they are lined up on a vertical plane. Saddles should be offset like below.  This will result in a notch that is wider on the bottom and narrower at the top. The notch edges should bite into the saddle.  As your building settles over time, the notch gets tighter. 

 

 

When you cut the saddles into the log I found that with the log set up on your stumps, I rotate the log like you have in your photos and cut out the saddle with the top of the chainsaw bar.

I see that you have lateral grooves cut in the log, if you plan to go full scribe, read up on over scribe settings.  You increase the  scribe settings you used for the notch when you scribe the lateral grooves and flyways.  That way all the weight is on the notch when you put the log on the building. As things tighten up and shrink, the notch gets tighter and lateral groove meets up with the log below.  As you go higher on the building you cut back a some on the over scribe setting because there is less weight on the top of wall.

 

Jon

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #36 on: January 20, 2015, 02:26:31 am »
Jon, I can only get a square notch when vertically inserting the upper log in the lower scribed log (picture). When I scribe a trapezoid where the bottom of the notch is larger that the top the upper log won't fit unless you insert the log lateral like a jig saw puzzle but that won't work with the full scribed lateral grooves. Can you show me a diagram (cross section) of your notch that fits the log with the offset saddle cut?

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #37 on: January 20, 2015, 08:01:53 am »
Try these the notch is scribed to the saddle. The saddle is actually more of a slight oval dish shape cut into the log. The first drawing is a cut away.

 

  




  

 
Jon

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #38 on: January 20, 2015, 08:29:58 pm »
I think I got it figured out, I had the saddle and the notch overlapping (same place) while I now have the saddles above the notch). This results in a V type notch cut without any gaps (see pictures). I was trying to scribe the full log rather than the smallest part of the saddle as I understood that the notch cut should be wider in the log than on the edge which of course is impossible (jig saw puzzle). The shape of the nothches (cut) are now opposite from what I had before; a V type cut with the smaller width in the log and much wider at the edge of the log. I will make the saddles 

  smaller and higher above the notch cuts (see yellow oval on my second drawing).

Frank

  

  

  

  

  

 

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #39 on: January 20, 2015, 10:52:37 pm »
Yes.  You have it now!   Next step over scribe the lateral groove.   When you get a chance try cutting a few saddles and notches on some scrape wood with a chain saw or axe.
Jon

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #40 on: January 20, 2015, 11:31:03 pm »
Update on my sauna cabin project: We cut 15 medium pine trees and 15 Nipa palms for the thached roof (30 more Nipas to go), cut lumber and made the sauna door. Meanwhile the wood burning heater arrived from China and the sauna stones from Finland. Now ready to start cutting saddles.

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #41 on: February 15, 2015, 11:56:52 pm »
Exercise with 10" real lumber, my first groove, saddles and notch

Frank

  

  

  

 

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #42 on: February 16, 2015, 09:56:25 am »
Very nice.  Way better than the first notch I cut.  I guess the modeling helped you figure out what to expect.

Maybe consider...

Score the notch with  a chiesel before your cut it to eliminate the tearout.

Put in a small relief cut at the top of your notch.

You can smooth out the saddles by brushing with your chain saw after you cut it.


Jon

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #43 on: February 19, 2015, 08:50:46 pm »
Nice.  This is going to save you time when you start your building.

When you cut the logs I would cut the saddles a little narrower on the top (set them a little higher). And they should flare out a bit (the top of the log will have about 2-3" of round log between the saddles.   The saddles extend down to 1" lower than the expected scribe setting.   If you decide to use saddles remember the relief cuts on the notches.

I scribed the rafters and set with a timber screw.   Takes time as each rafter has to be scribed based on the log. I cut the ridge and added a nailer on top, that way I had a consistent dimension to work with on top.
 

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.) 

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
How are you sealing between the rafters setting on the exterior wall?
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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #44 on: March 03, 2015, 01:47:55 am »
Week 3 into the sauna project: Completed the foundation, cut the saddles and constructed

  the first 2 layers. The 3 half members at the bottom are half notched into the long side members, the first layer is anchored to the 10mm round bars of the foundation. Scribing of the lateral grooves is a challenge as the lumber is irregular in width and shape (crooked) but I kept the first 2 grooves deep (kept all weight on the notches). I am using a 10m level tube/hose and charcoal to chalk the bottom member and to mark where it touches the groove of the upper member, anything else does not work.

  

  

  

 

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #45 on: March 15, 2015, 06:56:13 pm »
Very nice.  Way better than the first notch I cut.  I guess the modeling helped you figure out what to expect.

Maybe consider...

Score the notch with  a chiesel before your cut it to eliminate the tearout.

Put in a small relief cut at the top of your notch.

You can smooth out the saddles by brushing with your chain saw after you cut it.

5th week into the sauna cabin project (50%) and 2 more months to go to complete (estimate). Finished 5 levels out of 10..

 

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #46 on: March 15, 2015, 07:35:49 pm »
Very nice.  Way better than the first notch I cut.  I guess the modeling helped you figure out what to expect.

Maybe consider...

Score the notch with  a chiesel before your cut it to eliminate the tearout.

Put in a small relief cut at the top of your notch.

You can smooth out the saddles by brushing with your chain saw after you cut it.

5th week into the sauna cabin project (50%) and 2 more months to go to complete (estimate). Finished 5 levels out of 10..

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.)

Very nice.  Way better than the first notch I cut.  I guess the modeling helped you figure out what to expect.

Maybe consider...

Score the notch with  a chiesel before your cut it to eliminate the tearout.

Put in a small relief cut at the top of your notch.

You can smooth out the saddles by brushing with your chain saw after you cut it.

5th week into the sauna cabin project (50%) and 2 more months to go to complete (estimate). Finished 5 levels out of 10..

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.)


 

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #47 on: April 12, 2015, 03:37:26 pm »
2 months gone already, lost one week during the Easter holidays but completed the structure (11 levels) and now doing the flooring. 4x4 trusses on top of reinforced concrete beams and cinder blocks followed with 1x4 T&G planks.

  

 
Got some 5 meter long logs for the roof:

  

  

 

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #48 on: April 14, 2015, 08:58:36 am »
Question: How to keep the 3 stacked roof members (gable) on top of the last notched log above the door from falling down before the top (ridge) beam and rafters (2x4) are in place (during the construction). I was planning scaffolding and temporary long 2x2 woods to keep the front and back together. Any tips to the roof construction with 8/12 pitch are welcome, rafters, ridge beam and any other wood scribed or screwed.

Thanks

Frank

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #49 on: April 15, 2015, 08:31:03 pm »
Frank,

Very nice work! 

For the roofing, I've messed with gables and determined, I prefer to install a couple of king posts & ridge in lieu of a stacked log gable. If you extend the roof out to allow a covered porch area, make sure you install screw jacks under the columns to account for settling. I cut a flat on the top log before installing the king; this helps when it is time to close in the gable end.

If you opt for a gable, take the top row off the building, level it up on the ground and build the gable at waist level. Then, install on the building.  A gable would get drilled and pegged with one inch pegs or drive some timber screws home on each round. 

I can't tell from your photos, did you cut some keyways for the door frame to allow for settling?




  

  



  

  

 

 

 
Jon

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #50 on: April 16, 2015, 09:14:07 pm »
Jon,

Without your guidance and tips from the forum I would have never gotten this far.
I would like to use 3 logs for the gable (see picture) with 1" pegs (thick) x 2" (protruding) between each log (including the one above the door) and also with deeply scribed grooves (1"-2") so the gable looks similar to the structure. I have only 60 cm overlap front and back (eaves) so the porch will only be 60 cm deep. The gable will be 75 cm high above the door (275 cm from floor level), stacked on top of level 11 (last notched log above he door on pictures not yet scribed).
The 2x4 rafters will be scribed (50%) inside the logs and the 1x4 ceiling screwed against the bottom of the rafters will follow the flooring (across) so I will need to make squares (2" deep scribed rafters lengthwise and across for the ceiling). No rafters parallel to the roof planned outside (eaves) as that will remain open (no ceiling). I have attached a plan of the rafters but open to suggestions. The idea is to leave 30% of the joists and ridge beam exposed inside the cabin.

 
 

  

  

  

 

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #51 on: April 30, 2015, 08:45:13 am »
The last log in place (ridge beam), happy moment, and the last notch cut after 3 months. Next will be the 2x4 rafters (18) the thatch roofing (Nipa fonds) and then the 1x4 T&G ceiling.....

  

  

 

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #52 on: April 30, 2015, 09:34:23 am »
Progress... smiley_thumbsup

That be Frank and his crew in the first pic?

Do they get hired by the job, or by the hour and are they a building crew or "pick up" as needed?
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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #53 on: May 01, 2015, 02:32:28 am »
Yes, that is me (Frank), I had a steady 4 men crew (uncles and cousins on my wife's side) and our gardener during the project, I pay them by the day, and they are rice farmers that had never done anything like this before. The last two days I had extra help (field workers) to lift the ridge beam (far too heavy) and keep it from falling down. The carpentry (benches) was done by a neighbour (not on the pictures) and the thatched roof will be made by yet another relative (building contractor). Not one single nail was used only the flooring was (stainless) screwed down to te 4x4 trusses.

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #54 on: May 01, 2015, 07:24:28 am »
Frankw,that sure does look good!
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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #55 on: May 08, 2015, 08:48:58 pm »
A

    
After exactly 3 months since we started the project finally the rafters

  Measuring the roof pitch: 34 degrees (8/12)

 

Frank

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #56 on: May 13, 2015, 08:35:51 am »
...and the 2x2 purlins with the nipa palm fonds for the thatched roof

  

  

 

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #57 on: May 19, 2015, 09:32:01 pm »
Almost 4 months and started with the ceiling: 1x4 T&G scribed with insulation

  

 

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #58 on: May 19, 2015, 09:45:13 pm »
Wow... very neat project.... looks a lot more fun that what I am working on!!!!  :D :D :D

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #59 on: May 23, 2015, 11:33:37 pm »
It's great fun. Hope to try out the heater after a couple of weeks to see if I can get the large space hot enough (90 degrees Celcius). My brother-in-law with a cow on the foreground.

  

 
Frank

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #60 on: May 23, 2015, 11:56:17 pm »
Where is the snow or the cold lake to jump into after the sauna? 
That was one of the enjoyments of having been that hot for a short spell.
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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #61 on: May 24, 2015, 03:29:03 pm »
None of that but I am building a shower next to the sauna (not on the pictures yet). It gets cooler in January here but we are having at the moment a heat wave (39 degrees Celcius).

Frank

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #62 on: May 24, 2015, 08:55:19 pm »
Nice work Frank,

However I agree with been there.  Fire up the sauna, chop a hole in the lake ice.    Sauna to lake water mid-winter, you will never forget.

I am guessing you have one of the only saunas in your area.
Jon

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #63 on: May 25, 2015, 09:18:32 pm »
Thanks Jon and Beenthere,
Unfortunately extreme cold adversely affects my (leg) joints due to gout and arthritis issues. I am interested in learning how to build a small log cabin and observing the drying of a green lumber structure as well as the general sauna health benefits not to forget the taste of ice cold beer after a long sauna bath. But you are correct that this is the only sauna in the Abra province (and possibly the only traditional log cabin in the Philippines).
Frank

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #64 on: May 31, 2015, 11:59:57 pm »
Almost there........

  

  

  

 

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #65 on: June 07, 2015, 07:02:09 pm »
That was a great post. Congrulations on a great build. Stephen
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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #66 on: June 21, 2015, 06:28:03 am »
All that is left is adding the porch and fire it up

  Raining season has started meanwhwile and weather is much cooler now.

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #67 on: July 06, 2015, 08:11:07 am »
My last picture for this post: Taken on July 5 2015, exactly 5 months after starting my sauna project. The first typhoon arrived this year in Abra and the temperature dropped below 25 degrees Celsius with 85% rel. humidity, very foggy, ideal weather for trying out my sauna. It took 6 cu. feet of firewood in 2 hours to bring the temperature inside the sauna to 75 degrees Celsius with 30% rel. humidity (when water was dropped stones hissed). I then stopped feeding wood in the heater to let the fire burn out which took 1 hour with he same inside temperature (75 degrees C.) and humidity (30%) while frequently opening the door, going in and out (showers) and another hour to drop to 65 degrees C. at which point a left the sauna: Excellent insulation of the cabin (almost hermetically closed) and 5 cu. feet of wood is nothing compared to the Philippines electricity costs (4 hours!). I could have raised the temp. to 80 degrees C. in another 30 minutes (by feeding wood) but 75 degrees is my limit. Not sure if I can get it up to 90 degrees but I would not like to stay inside at that temperature. The ceiling is fine too no black ring around the steel casing (chimney) and the steel floor plate stayed cool in front (heater door). 100% safe, no fire hazards, smoke way up never touching the thatched roof and no sparks noted.

Frank

 

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #68 on: July 06, 2015, 09:10:35 am »
Frank,

I’ve enjoyed watching your project.  From figuring it out--to building the model--to completing the final building.  You did a real nice job.  Enjoy your sauna!

Brian
e aho laula

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #69 on: July 06, 2015, 10:06:50 am »
 

 
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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #70 on: July 06, 2015, 10:05:28 pm »
Thanks Stephen and Brian for the compliments and Texas Ranger for the nice image.

I couple of footnotes before "signing off":

•   The front and back roof overhang of the cabin are tapered, negating covered porches but giving the roof an elegant (oriental) look like the Minangkabau style of Sumatra or Bugis style in Sulawesi.
•   The front gable of the cabin right above the door jumps out 2 inches placing it exactly in the middle of the door frame while accentuating the gable (inside and outside the sauna).
•   The 6" chimney with 5" flu were custom made in Manila from spiral GI metal, the system was designed and welded at home and cap with jacket/flange (inside the roofing) were modified several times to correct rain water and smoke leaks.
•   The outdoor, spiral shaped, shower, without door, was made of 2" split bamboo (with overlapping segments wired together) and one 8" x 9 feet pine log (for the shower stand and roof) all framed by 4 x 1" x 6' vertical GI metal pipes set in the concrete base and welded to 3 x 9 mm horizontal round bar rings fully covered with split bamboo (metal invisible).   

Now ready for another sauna bath, lost 2 kg (liters) yesterday immediately replenished by several bottles of beer......

Frank

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #71 on: March 04, 2016, 12:53:17 am »
After 1 year sauna is getting more mature....
Frank

 

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #72 on: March 04, 2016, 09:37:59 am »
Still looks great and I hope it's getting plenty of use.  I really like the thatched roof too.  Beautiful! 
e aho laula

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #73 on: March 04, 2016, 06:19:19 pm »
Thanks Brian, the roof is made from Nipah palm fonds traditionally used for roofing material in SE Asia. Hereby a side view, we use the sauna twice a month, (more in January) heats up to 90 degrees Celsius in 90 minutes and then stays hot for a full 2 hours without adding any wood, only uses 1 cubic feet of wood.
Frank 

 

Offline ozarkgem

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #74 on: March 06, 2016, 08:49:06 pm »
Thanks Brian, the roof is made from Nipah palm fonds traditionally used for roofing material in SE Asia. Hereby a side view, we use the sauna twice a month, (more in January) heats up to 90 degrees Celsius in 90 minutes and then stays hot for a full 2 hours without adding any wood, only uses 1 cubic feet of wood.
Frank 

 (Image hidden from quote, click to view.)
do you have any pics of them putting on the roof. How long will a roof like that last? How long did it take to put the roof on? I am quite fascinated by thatched roofing.
Mighty Mite Band Mill, Case Backhoe, 763 Bobcat, Ford 3400 w/FEL , 1962 Ford 4000, Int dump truck, Clark forklift, lots of trailers. Stihl 046 Magnum, 029 Stihl. complete machine shop to keep everything going.

Offline Frankw

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #75 on: March 07, 2016, 12:15:45 am »
 

  

 
On page 3 of this post you can see some more pictures of the roofing (Nipah) and also of the leaves when drying in front of our garage.
My in-laws claim roof will last up to 8-10 years when not exposed too much to typhoons (building protected by trees) and it only takes 2 weeks (2 men) to make it. The crest and around the chimney have some metal after the first layer of Nipah and each leave was stapled to the wooden purlins (2x2").

We first planned Spanish roof tiles (hand made) but later noticed how cool the thatched roofs here are (very good insulation) and also saw some pictures of Finnish and Russian saunas with thatched roofs so we went for the (very cheap) Nipah palm fonds.
Frank

Offline TW

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #76 on: March 12, 2016, 02:49:08 pm »
That must be the first ever log sauna covered with palm leaves in human history.
The most common roofing material on Finnish saunas in the old days was birch bark though I think there were a few thathed ones as well.

Keeping in mind that you are a total beginner your sauna looks surprisingly well made. My first attempts at log building did not look that good.
I am sure it works like a sauna though it doesn't look like one. The corner notches are distinctly American and the roof distinctly south east Asian but after all that is just a matter of taste. Well done!

By the way there should be one hole far up the back wall above where you have the termometre and one far down the front wall or in the lower part of the door or just a gap under the door. Both some 10 by 10 cm. They provide ventilation and make the bath more healthy.

Offline Frankw

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #77 on: March 12, 2016, 06:39:10 pm »
Thanks TW, I will consider additional vents; there is already a gap under the door and plenty of air can also escape between the inner pipe flue and casing above the ceiling but a hole near the thermometer sounds like a very good idea. There is no smoke inside whatsoever coming from the heater (well designed) or from above the roof (perfect seal) and a nice wood smell (cedar-pine).
I had plenty of help from the forum with the construction and first made a model with 1" wood sticks before I started the building that helped as lot, keeping the walls and corners vertical and level was the biggest problem with the irregular shaped logs and of course the scribing was not that easy....
I forgot to mention the polyester webbing (black) that is used here to cover thatched roofs, comes in rolls 6 feet wide (green and black) like fish net but a lot stronger and multi-ply that you stretch over the Nipah leaves (roofing) and that gives it that shape.
The American-oriental look of the sauna was done on purpose, my "artistic" contribution.....
Taking sauna baths helps to relieve my rheumatic joints and shoulders and to relax, lost some weight too (27 kg) without any additional methods but it makes my eyes very dry (pink-eye) so cannot do it more than once a week. My wife likes sauna baths too now albeit not longer than 5 minutes at the time, mine are 15 minutes long per stretch.
Frank

Offline Frankw

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Re: square hewn log notching.....
« Reply #78 on: July 02, 2017, 10:56:43 pm »
Already 2 years and sauna is looking better in the more mature yard; had to fill up some minor gaps in the upper layer/gable (not enough weight/scribing too deep) but otherwise no issues, foundation level, no roof leaks and no termites! Hereby 3 pictures I took today, the large tree above the sauna is a Lomboy, fruits like a very sweet, purple-black cherry.