Aging Wood Logs , For house

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by bethlaf, Aug 5, 2004.

  1. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    ok ,
    in september i am going to start cutting down a bunch of trees on our land for use in our timber frame home,talking about 100-150 trees totatl
    we will start building in the next year, ,so it will age for about 8-9 months is this going to be enough time for the wood to "cure", it will be in an open shed,
    ( no walls just a roof)to keep direct rain off it , and stacked off the ground,

    i know in Wis. they reccomend aging wood for burning at least a year.... but this is arkansas. they will be in an open mostly sunny area.. so they will sort of "bake dry" the shed has a steel roof on it ...

    mostly oak and cedar logs, between 6x6 and 8x8, with some as large as 10x10

    the next question is , should i peel them , or leave them alone, and cut them to size when we are ready to use them, i know there will be shrinkage, just wondering if i should cut them within like an 1 1/2 o thier final size, or leave them large
     
  2. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    another part to this question , im trying to estimate how many i will need , so i have enough for the house, the house will require between 60-80 10 foot long beams, and 24 other beams of at least 24 feet, how many extras should i plan on cutting, so i have enough usable logs when all is said and done ....
    hoping someone who has log cabin experience can help me out here
     

  3. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    peeled logs dry better, and promote less cambium decay [rot], and need to be peeled again when you put them up.

    Logs shrink radially not linearly [round not long]. ok exceptions they will shrink a small ampount but not enough to notice, leave 6inches to a foot of trim on each log for good measure.

    depending upon wall hieght, and the method you are gonna use to set the logs, a full scribe method like i prefer will set an 11 inch log gaining about 8 inches to 9 inches each course, figure a 8 foot wall [96 inches high] taking 9-10 logs [no logs are perfect] if you are having a second story then of course you want 14-16 logs high to prevent roofline from ruining usable floor space in the loft.

    If you are having log accents added to a porch, cieling joists, purlings, or making log trusses, you need to figure those in as well for a log count, but over run at least 10% of what you figure you will need, because some logs just wont make it, and you go looking for that perfect fiting log and it is already been used on another wall section.

    Full scribe, saddle notched logs properly cured wont settle much over a 1/2 inch in 10 years.... been there seen it. money in hand if anyone doubts what i say. No chinking, and a tight fit wonty let the elements thru.

    Have Scribe will travel, $45.00 per hour plus expenses.

    William
     
  4. ozarkin'it

    ozarkin'it Well-Known Member

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    what about building with green timber? - any thoughts?
     
  5. Mudwoman

    Mudwoman Well-Known Member

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    We live in Arkansas too. We have wood that has been in a shed with roof and walls for 3 years and stickered properly and it is still up to 45% moisture content. Lots of rain and humidity in Arkansas.

    I'm assuming that you are wanting to do a log cabin by your post. I asked DH about this as he dries wood and has gone to several seminars about wood. He says that the wood will not shrink much in length, but will shrink mostly in diameter due to that is how the cells of the wood lay. Once you fell a tree, you will need to coat the ends with end sealer so that it doesn't split and dry too fast compare to the rest of the tree and you probably need to allow some length to cut off where the ends do split if you don't want that.

    Drying: You need to take the bark off. Your biggest challenge will be to keep the beetles out of them and get them to dry slow and even. So, the logs will have to be stacked so that air can circulate all around them. That means that you need to keep them from touching each other.

    Another thing he commented on. Most log cabins are made of pine or cedar. Both are easy to debark. Both are easy to drive a nail in and will not split if you do. I highly recommend that you read Rob Roy's book "Mortgage Free". Especially his story of using oak at Earthwood. Even though the logs were dried for 3 years, the logs began to split even though sealed. Because of the splitting, the walls began to tilt out of plumb. It took him weeks to figure out that the oak would swell with every rain and then dry and shrink again as things dried out. His quote: "We learned a lot about using dry hardwood which can be summarized in a single word: DON"T"
     
  6. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    actually, were doing a timber frame , with traditional exterior ,
    most of the wood will be inside, and not exposed to the elements, ,im plannong on stacking the logs , and then spend a day or so turning them every month ...
    thought that would work best ....
    sounds like what i figured , most of the "loss" will be diameter , not length
     
  7. tallpines

    tallpines Well-Known Member

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    Hey---enjoy the experience.
    We carried in a 25 foot pine log...about 9 inches in diameter for the only support post in the 46 foot expance of our open lofted home. Also have lots of pine railings, block log stairway and the coolest newal post----all cut right within 20 feet (or so) of our home.

    Our house "talked" to us for a couple of years as all those logs dried and checked. Sometimes rather loudly. I loved it!
    (They had been peeled and dried for months before installation.)
     
  8. Stush

    Stush Well-Known Member

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    Most timber frames are cut green and assembled that way. The resulting shrinkage tightens the joints as they dry. Check out these two books:

    Sobon book

    Chappel book

    I have been building my own timber frame home for the past two years, cutting timber when time permits.

    As for the logs, IMHO I would have them sawn to size now if you are going with a rough sawn frame. If you are going to assemble a planed frame, your idea to have them sawn oversize is appropriate. 1" should suffice, but you could go ahead and have them planed to final dimensions now. Either way, get the bark off. The bark is a great place to harbor insect, rot, etc. Your idea to cover them is good. Don't forget, even stored for 8 or 9 months, your timber will be far from dry. A rule of thumb around here is that wood dries at a rate of 1 year per inch of thickness. Probably a very generalized rule, but the point is that it will be years before your timbers are truly "dry". Plus, you really wouldn't want to do too much chiseling on dry oak! Trust me on this one. :eek:

    Don't forget, precise size is not important if you work from a reference face. Understanding the concept of working from a reference face is critical to successful timber framing. Get the books. Money well spent.

    Ask me any questions that you have. I am not an expert, but have been learning more and more as time goes on and will be glad to share what I can.
     
  9. joan from zone six

    joan from zone six Well-Known Member

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    and, trees cut in winter when the sap is down have a lot less moisture to start with as far as curing is concerned