Featured Log Builder: Sitka Log Homes

Sitka Log Homes are located in 100 Mile House, British Columbia. Their log homes are meticulously and artfully handcrafted works of art. They do not mill their logs, but instead, each log for their log homes is hand-peeled with a drawknife, hand scribed, chiselled and then cut with chainsaws to form the perfect fit to the log that is below. The process of building a log house or cabin building begins with the careful selection of each log. The typical log house logs are an average of 12 to 14 inches in diameter, although there are larger logs available.

The logs for the log homes are hand peeled using a drawknife, and then carefully scribed the entire length of the log by transferring the natural contour of the lower log with a pencil line to the log that is above it. The line on the log is then chiseled by hand and accurately cut with a chainsaw. Each log in the log house is fit with insulation within a V groove, and a Norwegian shrink fit saddle notch is then used for the corners. They also build their log homes using other corner styles if you prefer an alternate notch.

Unlike machined log house designs, you would never find a butt joint in the log walls from Sitka Log Homes. By handcrafting the logs each log is allowed to retain its character. Only 5 percent to 9 percent of the handcrafted log is wasted during log house construction, compared to up to 50 percent in some milling operations. That is a lot of wasted R-value in the log home. Many manufactured log houses are built using timbers that are only six inches thick or less. Their log homes are built using timber an average of 12 to 14 inches thick with 10 inches being the smallest size they would go down to. The International Log Building Standards have a handcrafter's standard that allows a minimum of 8 inches. The obvious advantage of larger logs is their greater insulation value. Most manufactured log house companies send their log house kits without any pre-fitting, that is typically left to the cabin builders you hire on your cabin building site.

The wood species offered by Sitka Log Homes include Engelmann Spruce logs that tend to be whiter than the other species of logs that are available. Spruce is very uniform, it has a limited amount of knots and is very clean looking. However, Spruce also tends to have larger checks or cracks in the logs when the logs are finished drying and settling. Lodgepole Pine logs tend to have more knots, more natural scarring and have some blue and grey streaks in it. Lodgepole Pine is usually referred to as more rustic looking with more character. Douglas Fir logs are uniform, have very few knots and a light orange hue layer of the wood with a deep orange/red heartwood color. Douglas Fir is the strongest of the species of logs available, but it does not offer anything that far above the others. Western Red Cedar is also offered, and they specialize in building with locally harvested Western Red Cedar. Western Red Cedar tree is only found in British Columbia.

More about this story can be found at: Sitka Log Homes

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