preparing a log for a log structure next year

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Paul Wheaton, May 29, 2004.

  1. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    I'm thinking of cutting a few trees where trees need thinning. Probably stick to grand fir. And then I was thinking of setting these logs aside for log structure projects next year (a proper porch!)

    How do I prepare them?

    I need to get the bark off of them, right? What is the best way to do that?

    Do I need to paint the ends? I've heard of doing that for lumber.

    And I need to cover them and plan on then getting a couple of inches shorter, right? I have some metal roofing stuff. I was thinking I could just nail some of this stuff to the log pile. Would that be okay?
     
  2. Travis in Louisiana

    Travis in Louisiana Clinton, Louisiana

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    I have prepared logs for log furniture, but not house building. I guess it would be the same. When I cut the trees, I took a draw knife and slid the bark right off. Don't let the logs dry out or it is harder to get the bark off. The trees with the small branches comeing off them would cause the draw knife to catch, making it hard to cut the bark off or I should say slow the process down. After doing several logs, I took my electric hand planer and adjustd the blades as deep as they would cut and took the bark and twigs right off. I later used a 7 inch to 9 inch disc grinder with a heavy sanding disc to take the bark and twigs off. I have read where someone used a pressure washer to knock the bark off. I did not paint the log ends while they were drying. I just took the bark off and stacked the logs in a lumber rack to dry for about six months to a year. The logs I used were between 3 to 6 inches in diameter. I did not care if they split or not by uneven drying, the splits make the furniture look rustic. They say it takes one year for every inch in log diameter. Iwould probably prepare my logs for a home or shed in the same way, but would not wait for them to dry completely. Just my two cents.
     

  3. Paul Wheaton

    Paul Wheaton Well-Known Member

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    Do you use the sander to take all of the sawdust off? Doesn't it quickly plug up the grit?
     
  4. Travis in Louisiana

    Travis in Louisiana Clinton, Louisiana

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    I would mainly use the drawknife to remove the bark and the disk sander to remove the twigs that stuck up out of the log that the drawknife would not cut through easily. The sander would take the bark off also, but the disc would not clog bad. I tried my 3x21 belt sander, but that did not work good at all.
     
  5. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    Log shrinkage occurs in general radially, not linealy..... they can shrink a small amount lineally, but not noticable.

    I myself would not use grand fir [also known as white fir or hem-fir] in an application where the finished product was exposed to constant splatering or dripping or standing water, it seems to absorb water and swell if not treated with a moisture resistant product, or used inside a wall.

    I have used grand fir as rafters [2x10] when building in Colorado a fews back, an actual unkown to me since i was used to building with only red fir for rafters here in Idaho, but as long as they dont get wet they are just fine.... and dry fir is lighter in weight than red fir and larch which was used in the stair stringers there.

    If you are going to try to keep these logs dry for the year, then using 2x4 stickers would be appropriate to keep them off each other and allow for air circulation.

    painting the ends probably would gain an advantage, but if you choose to do so the log sealers with parafin inthem stay on espeacially well which is the product used on lumber to prevent ends from excessive checking and is fairly expensive.... a propane torch and some parafin can achieve similar results if you think it needed for much less cost, i usually only do this on black walnut and cherry which will be used for gun stocks in 5 - 7 years from cutting dates and need to be check free and extremely dry.

    Hope this helps some

    William