Log Homes: What's So Special About Log Homes
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A friend of mine, who knows about my passion and fascination with log homes, recently asked me why I was so captivated with log home living. "Why a log home", he asked. "What's so special about a log home that looks like Abe Lincoln built it?" His question reminded me of a slogan made famous by a Milwaukee Motorcycle manufacturer that said, "If I have to explain, you wouldn't understand". But let me try anyway...

"Why log homes"... is a question and a statement. The question is obvious, but the statement may need some explanation for urbanites that prefer to live in apartment buildings or cookie-cutter housing developments. Personal taste is the #1 driving force that compels one to choose a log home over other more 'conventional' styles.

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A Log Railing 'Quick-Fix'
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There are two ways to repair most things. 

The right way, and the... "I'll do it the right way later" methods.

Time, money or convenience often dictate when maintenance projects get handled.  Some chores, such as a roof that leaks require immediate attention regardless of the timing or inconvenience, but others can be put off if proper stop-gap measures are taken. 

Log Home Railing & DeckWhen you are looking at rotted or insect infested wood, there is only one way to attack the problem and that is to replace the wood and seal it properly.  Water is one of woods worst enemies and if it is left to pool or soak into raw (or untreated) wood, the wood will begin to deteriorate almost immediately.

Anyone that deals with log homes knows that wood checks (splits). This checking does not usually affect the member's strength, but if the checking appears in such a way as to collect water, it can become a big problem - very quickly.  Most log home owners know that when such checks appear, especially on horizontal surfaces, the opening should be filled (caulk, etc.) as quickly as possible to prevent damage or deterioration.

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Log Home DIY Maintenance
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Log railings and much rustic furniture are typically available in two varieties, clean peeled or skip-peeledClean peeled logs have all of the bark and sub-bark removed, but the trails left by the drawknife used to "shave" the log remain visible - not sanded away.  This results in a clean looking log with visible tracks left by the drawknife or spokeshave (a smaller version of the drawknife).

Drawknives - click for prices (new window)Skip-peeling does not remove all of the inner bark.  A skip-peeled log will have patches of the dark interior bark exposed, which produces a more rustic look and feel.  Your taste, or the preferences of the builder dictates the peeling method used to remove the bark.  Peeling has no structural consequence on the finished piece. 

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DIY Log Corners and Accent Lighting
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Support beams or faux accents?

Log accents can do more than just add character to a setting.  In this project, the logs actually provided a place to mount lights and concealed the wiring.  An interior room with plaster walls was given a facelift by adding quartered log accents in the corners.

The quartered log section fits nicely in a corner of the room.  Because a plaster wall is seldom flush or 100% squared, I removed approximately one inch of wood from the back of the log (the "V" that meets the corner).  This permitted me to seat the log firmly between the two adjoining walls.

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