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Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Low-Cost, Log Home Construction the Easy Way!
Traditional methods of log-building have been passed down from a time when people went out into the woods and built cabins with little more than an ax, a saw, and an adz. Those techniques required skill and time to carefully scribe and notch the ends to fit together. The logs had to be notched because it was the only way to tie the pieces together as a stable structure. Some methods included scribing and fitting the entire length of every log. But few people in today's world have the necessary craftsmanship background nor the requisite amount of time it takes to learn this art form. Fortunately you do not have to become a master craftsman to be able to build a high-quality log structure in relatively little time.
Today there are inexpensive modern materials available that greatly simplify the process of log building so you can put up a house with very little in the way of skill, time, or money. With the "butt-joint" method, you use a big electric drill, lots of cheap reinforcing bar (otherwise known as "rebar"), and a sledge hammer to pin the logs together with essentially no scribing, no notching, and no close fitting. The final product is even stronger than a scribed and notched log home.
Structurally, there are many advantages to the butt-joint method versus original log-building techniques. For instance, the traditional scribing and notching immediately weakens the logs at the joints and creates vulnerable places for moisture and rot to set in. Also, traditional log houses tend to "settle" over time, potentially wreaking havoc with doors and windows. These log homes have to be carefully engineered with hidden spaces above doors and windows, so that the logs can settle without destroying the openings.
On the other hand, the butt-joint method has no vulnerable notches for rot to start in, and all the pieces are so shiscabobbed together with rebar that there is no settling. The window and door frames can be nailed directly to the logs without worry.
Renee's family first learned about the butt-joint method through a class with Skip Ellsworth in Seattle. They practiced on our house, then we helped them build their house, as shown here. Complete instructions on the butt-joint method of log-building are included in my book, Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
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