peel cedar poles for pole-building?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by RANDEL, Jan 14, 2004.

  1. RANDEL

    RANDEL Well-Known Member

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    i am planning to build a pole-style cabin, harvesting cedar poles from my woods. i know peeling logs is generally preferable when building with them, but my question is, is peeling necessary when using cedar?

    also, can anyone recommend a preservative treatment for the ends that'll be stuck in the ground? cedar lasts a long time but if i could treat em maybe they'd last even longer.

    thanks loads y'all!
     
  2. owhn

    owhn Well-Known Member

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    Hi:

    I think what you want are called Impel Rods. They contain borate and are inserted towards the ends of the logs.

    source:

    http://www.loghelp.com/

    Also, There is a new book by Schroeder by Countryman Press (I think the same guy as in the website above) on log home maintenance which would be VERY useful to read if you are planning to build ... see what CAN go wrong (and there is quite a bit) and design around it. Color Pictures in text are great. You can actually SEE what kind of stain is what ....


    Best luck

    owhn
     

  3. deberosa

    deberosa SW Virginia Gourd Farmer!

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    I just got my new place with an 80 year old pole barn built with unpeeled cedar poles. Now it is 80 years old - but the poles with bark have beetles. The exterminator I had out to take care of house stuff said that peeling would have prevented this damage. He said the solution to getting rid of the beetles now is Borax - mix a solution, but it must be put on the poles when it is dry.

    The beetles make the poles into a honeycomb of tunnels - really tiny tunnels.
     
  4. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    Randel if you can take them to your local Sawmill have the take the bark and Sapwood off a square the to the size you want.

    Instead of putting them in the ground,pour some Concrete,bolt brackets down and nail the post in to them.

    big rockpile
     
  5. Darren

    Darren Still an :censored:

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    A house mover gave me the cedar piling that had been used under a house near the coast. The owner had to have the house jacked up, moved over, new (CCA treated) piles driven and the house moved back to the original position, lowered onto the piles and tied in because the cedar piles had rotted at ground level. The piling ranged from 8 to 10" in diameter. They lasted about 40 years with the bark. When I peeled them, I didn't see any evidence of insect damage.

    Untreated cedar posts will rot at ground level. If you can afford it find a lumberyard that buys treated lumber directly from a treatment plant. FWIW forget about Home Depot, Lowes, etc. You want marine treated (2.5 lb) piling. They'll last forever.
     
  6. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    ANY log will last a whole lot longer if they are placed ABOVE grade.....rather than stuck in the ground. Best case scenairio for any log/post stuck in the ground (preservative or not) is maybe 20 years.

    Set out a couple of courses of block on your foundation. Then use a piece of treated lumber as a sill plate. Set the logs on top of this. Being off the ground, they will last 100 years or more.

    Its possible to leave the bark on cedar logs and build with them, although I'm not sure using this method would keep beetles and other wood boring insects from taking up residence.
    If you peel the logs, you won't face this potential problem.
     
  7. RANDEL

    RANDEL Well-Known Member

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    thanks for the feedback people. i went to the website and the impel or cobra rods sound like the way to go. i can't afford to use them right now but it sounds like i could go back a few months or so and apply them. meanwhile i'll peel my posts, treat them with my precious gallon pf pentachlorophenol which can no longer be purchased, and set em in the ground. i plan to use overhangs and grade as much as i can to keep the ground dry around the posts. thanks again.
     
  8. I can remember 20yrs ago watching my farmer neighbor put his old wood ashes in his cedar fence post holes. I'm sure this leeches lye when it rains and kills whatever is thinking about eating the post.
     
  9. RANDEL

    RANDEL Well-Known Member

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    wood ashes is an idea i've not heard before but it certainly sounds reasonable. and the price is right. i have heard of charring the exterior of the part destined to go in the ground. but since the longevity of the cedar is supposedly based on the aromatic qualities of the resins, i wasn't sure if charring would be an imptovement for cedar. also someone pm'd me and suggested placing concrete in the holes, but applying it dry so that a certain amount of lime leaches into the wood, with preservative effect. the conrete still sets by absorbing water from the soil.
     
  10. johnkl

    johnkl Well-Known Member

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    A couple more considerations to think about in addition to peeling:pack pea gravel around the posts rather than just backfilling with moisture retentive soil. Drainage is good. Along the same lines, 2' eaves will help to keep moisture away from the posts.
     
  11. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Locals use to soak one end in a barrel of creosote (sp?). They were left in long enough to soak it into the wood which would be in ground contact.

    Ken S. in WC TN
     
  12. RANDEL

    RANDEL Well-Known Member

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    ken,
    the only problem with creosote is u can't buy it any more. epa i think. i do still have a gallon of penta which i picked up in a lot of flea market paints. i've been saving it for just such an occasion.
     
  13. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    The $50 under ground house book recomends charring and 5 polyethylene trash bags, taped into place and in rocky soil layers of news paper are used as padding to protect the plastic. They tested this by pounding it with a backhoe bucket, and only the outer layer developed holes.