The Log Homes Info

News and information about log homes and log cabins.

Monday, April 11, 2005

What other log home bloggers are doing?

I mentioned that my father had managed to overcome some regulatory hurdles. Here is a funny description on similar situation with the exception that it is not a log home in question. Meanwhile on other log home blogs things are also getting interesting:

  • Webmeister broke ground and utilities are being installed, but you can read all about it at his blog.
  • One couple moved in to their newly built log home and things are going rather well.
  • On the other hand, this couple doesn’t have too much fun in their new log home. Hang on, it will get better.

New manufacturing technology at Katahdin

Here we are offered a wonderful glimpse into the world of Katahdin Forest Products, as Jen Lynds at Bangor Daily News is writing about David Gordon that is the company president of Katahdin Forest Products.

Mr. Gordon’s father and his two friends started the company. He himself started to work there as a forklift operator and log shaver. This hands-on background and his dedication to studying the industry and experimenting with manufacturing process have gained the company important break through in cedar log home manufacturing.

With the new process they are able to double the amount of manufactured log homes per day. In actual numbers, they are now able to manufacture two log homes per day, compared to the earlier one per day. He claims that the process is not only faster but also of higher quality and easier to build.

Automating the process brings some additional advantages. Compared to the old production line that needed 6 men to operate the process, the new line only requires 2 workers. However, they are not laying people off, instead they are hiring more people because of increase in business.

Katahdin Forest Products has come far from those early days of three men working together. Today the company employs more than 100 workers and manufactures about 200 log homes per year. They also have exports as far as Israel, Japan and Scotland. They have also grown out of log homes and produce also some related products like wooden window boxes, toys and planters.

Even the company ships their products widely they gather their supplies locally. Now as the new manufacturing process is benefiting the main log home business every other related business will enjoy the benefits in form of increased production. This will be especially good news on their supply area.

In the article they also discuss about this new production technology, but that I believe you could go and check directly on the source, as it is rather lengthy process description. However, it seems like the industry could be getting a technology boost that enables companies to produce more log homes. This in turn could lower the log home prices as supply increases. All in all, this is good news for the whole industry.

Home inspection could save your money


Here is a story about the importance of home inspection made by professional. Holden Lewis tells in Redding business news that it is usually old homes that get inspections but also newly built homes get occasional inspection.

Inspection is mainly for older houses and the purpose is to give an accurate picture of the real estate’s condition for the possible buyer. Inspections that are done for new buildings focus not on effects of aging but on structural errors and omissions that might occur during the construction process.

My own experience indicates that people who are shopping for a log home or a log cabin are less likely to emphasize inspections. Rustic romanticism still lives strong among the buyers and many people make their pick bit too hastily, thinking that small problems are just part of owning a log home.

This mentality lives especially strong in case of log cabins, which are not going to be used during winter. Unfortunately these kinds of buildings tend to have more problems caused by temperature and moisture changes. Often buyers get their hands busy in all sorts of fixing tasks and if one is really unlucky, there might be problems with ventilation, drainage or insulation that could result into severe structural problems. After reading this article, I can only recommend you to consider getting an inspection if you consider buying a log home.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Midwest Log Creations

I don’t know how long this link is up, but if it is gone, you might be able to find the information by looking for an article written by David Namanny and titled Midwest Log Creations newest business in Kalona.

This news is not so closely related to log homes but instead handcrafted rustic furniture. There is a new business in town Kalona. Owners Tim and Sharon Miner started Midwest Log Creations to offer rustic wood furniture, gift items and accessories to fit just about any room in your house. Their secret is Amish man, Orva Yoder, who does most of the wooden items at Miners’ shop.

Their speciality is hand-carved walking stick, which is always uniquely carved and is intended to bring good luck and fortune to the possessor. Definitely something interesting to hang on the wall of one’s log home.

I don’t know if talents of Amish people are tapped like this on larger scale, but it sounds like a great way of interaction. They can use their old-time artisan skills to the maximum and we busy modern day consumers can reflect our values through their work. This feels like a good equation for log home owners especially. I think that we are such a breed that really can contemplate this matter.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Nothing important

I would like to warn you first, this post doesn’t contribute much to discussion about log homes, it is just a observation that I did. Remember when I told about James Dulley's article? Well lately that very same article has been bombarding me. Because I use several online news services to deliver me news about log home related issues, I frequently get duplicated notifications of the same news. However, the case with James Dulley article is different from normal “same information from many different channels” case. I haven’t counted how many times it has crossed my path, but I’m suspecting that I’ve seen it five times already. He is using media in a very clever way, because by syndicating his story many newspapers will publish it. As he is a writer, this will also do good for the sales of the books he has written. Internet even multiplies his efforts.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Call from home

Good but tiring news from my dad. The commune where we have a lot for a summer cottage (I suppose that it comes as a no surprise for you when I say that we are planning to build a log home) has managed to finalize plans for general zoning and building code for the area that surrounds the lake where we have land.

This means that next summer (if there are no complaints about this new zoning and code) I will be building a log home with my dad. Father and son, one more time building together. We are doing the whole thing as a mix of log home kit (actually it is only a frame) and cheaply bought supplies and equipment. Project is already 3 years old and still counting, but now suddenly all this waiting (stupid environmental laws – hah, not really as they will preserve nature around our log home) seems to be over.

Maybe I should start a log home diary of my own.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Handcrafted log homes company

The Oregonian had an article, which was written by Jim Kadera, about a small log home company, called Woodwinds Log Homes that relies on handcrafting to build log homes.

This small company of father and son produces 3 log homes every 2 years. Every log home is a labor of love as they try their best to meet customer’s dreams. This dedication increases the price but only for about 15%.

They work so that they first prepare the log home (preparing the logs and assembling the log house) on their work yard and number the logs before disassembling and transporting the house to the owner’s property. While preparing the home might take 2 months the actual assembly process on owners land takes just hours. After that it is time to install utilities, which could take one or two months.

Despite this picturesque image, life offers its surprises and owner Dick Kyser had a serious accident with his first log home, but survived and recuperated.

Burnt down log home store

This article, written by Paul Craig for is about a log home that functioned as a small store (Log Cabin Grocery & Deli) and got burned down in October 2003. It was finally rebuilt and opened again this month. Article tells a nice little story about perseverance and about life in a small town.

Monday, April 04, 2005

Personal log home website added

I added another personal website to the list, lots of good notes on this one. Check it out.

Metal roofing for log homes

In The News-Gazette online, Kirby Pringle wrote that metal starts to outshine conventional roofing materials. The number of people in US who have chosen metal roofing over has doubled from 1998 to 2003. Metal roof is increasing its popularity and the trend is moving from South towards North.

Article points out that the reason for change could be the disappointment that people are having with conventional roofing materials and that metal roofing systems have evolved to be better. Commercial buildings already rely heavily on metal roofing but homeowners are still bit deterred by the high price tag.

Article concludes that a project done with asphalt shingles could cost about 5,000 dollars but the same project with metal roofing could take 10,000 dollars. That is a big difference and therefore metal roofing is essentially chosen to the projects, which need very long durability. What metal roofing loses in initial price, it gains over time because it doesn’t require servicing, saves money on heating and cooling, resists strong winds and hails and finally are 100% recyclable.

I think that this article is a good opportunity for me to introduce you a Finnish company called Ruukki that specializes in value added steel products like roofing systems, façade systems and interior systems with their Rannila brand.

I used to live quite close to Rannila’s Vimpeli headquarters as a child and it sure was a huge factory complex that they had and still have for that matter. Maybe it was because we lived so close to the Vimpeli works that my builder father always relied on Rannila.

Three times I have done roofing from start to finish and I always used Rannila’s roofing systems. They are very flexible, durable, light, fireproof, recyclable and fast to install and you can order a roofing system that is specifically manufactured to fit your roof measurements. They are excellent for green field projects, but bit pricey for short term (10-20 years) project.

If I compare steel sheets to normal tile or asphalt shingles roofing systems, I would say that tiles and steel come up quite even, but shingles just can’t compete with durability and because of this fact, asphalt shingles become more expensive in the long run. Tile roofs could be overall winners as they are relatively cheap and, if serviced correctly, very durable.

My personal favorites are those steel sheets that have been pressed to have waves and therefore look like tiles. It pretty much fools everybody who hasn’t seen tile sheets before. Durability of these tile sheets is very good also they easily handle heavy snow loads and allow you to walk on the roof without fear of denting the waves. Installation is a snap and can be done with moderate building experience. Only problem is the high price of steel.

Beside traditional steel sheets, they also have solutions for combined roofing and solar energy systems. This is a great combination that quickly earns the initial investment, not only it provides durable roofing, but it also cuts down your energy bill.

Based on the article in the beginning, I would say that as steel roofing systems gain momentum, there are plenty of chances for enterprising importer/dealer of Ruukki’s Rannila roofing systems. They don’t have operations in the US yet, so you just might have a wonderful opportunity at hand – to introduce superior roofing systems to the US market and gain very sizeable market share of the fast growing steel roofing business. You can find the export manager’s contact information on the website and I am also happy to assist, if you have any questions etc.

Oh, yes, if someone was wondering what this has to do with log homes... Log homes last for very long time and need quite a lot of maintenance. Steel or any other metal roof can significantly ease the required tasks and at the same time provide better protection against elements (fire, water, wind, ice damns). Unlike its image, metal is actually very light roofing material and therefore doesn’t cause extra settling, like heavy tiles could cause.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

Wonderful log home restoration project

Here is just a quick link to an article at Pittsburgh Tribune Review about Ken Watterson, a retired manufacturing executive who lives in the Florida Keys and in Philadelphia. He has done tremendous job in restoring an old estate and is now selling the property. Does anyone have spare 2 million dollars at hand? This estate seems to be a good buy.

Mail order log homes

One special piece of news that has been greeted with content smile (among catalogue lovers) is the recent decision of Orvis to include some Rocky Mountain Log Homes’ models into their mail order catalogue. Orvis is all about lifestyle in the great outdoors. With the log home boom going on, it is no big wonder that they finally made the move. This is a great move because Rocky Mountain Log Homes has one of the widest distributor networks in the States, good match for a nationwide mail order company.

On the countryside (maybe I should say “American countryside” as the business was really booming in the land of great distances), it was very convenient way to get that special tool or rare supplies without riding few hundred miles to the nearest speciality shop. Log homes were very much self-made at that point, because people knew how to build and raw material was abundant. Looking forward to our time, things sure have changed, but what about mail order brides?

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Log home overview

James Dulley wrote an article for the Globe Gazette, in which he discussed about modern log homes, in order to give an answer for reader’s question. It is a good overview to log homes and here I further summarize his ideas.

He starts by saying that today’s log homes are a good and reliable choice and have fine selection of standard plans with lots of room for modifications. This makes log homes more affordable but they also maintain lot of opportunities for individualism.

He singles out three main construction methods for log homes – solid wood log home, half-log wall construction, and log exterior siding. However, he doesn’t mention popular Scandinavian log home building method in which smaller logs are joined together with adhesives, creating massive logs of required shape and size. This method can produce almost any kind of logs (square and rounded) and still costs less than using natural massive logs.

Anyhow, James goes on and explains that solid logs have high thermal mass and benefit from passive solar heating and provide better insulation. Half-logs are split and then attached to an insulated framed wall. Log siding is just for the looks and all the insulation and structural integrity comes in the form of a framed wall.

To improve energy efficiency, he suggests that log home should have a large fireplace or possibly two. Fireplaces look good and give off heat hours after the fire is out.

Friday, April 01, 2005

One personal log home website added

I added one personal log home site to the list. Special feature of the site is that the log home is hand-built. You get to see many pictures of the building process. It looks so easy that it makes you want to try too.

Log cabins destroy nature

Log homes are good for environment in general, but in this specific case, East Lindsey District Council planning officers, in England, recommended that it is no go for the plan to build 19 log cabins near Kenwick Park. Original idea was to build more log cabins and raise the total number of cabins into 81, in order to support tourism. Add golf course, hotel and leisure centre to the big picture and it becomes no wonder that council wanted to protect ancient woodland that is located on area. It was Charles Ladbrook in Louth Today who originally wrote about this.

Layout change

I decided to full justify the lines. The layout is supposed to look better now, bit more uniformed and structured. If you have any opinions, just leave a comment.

The Greater Cincinnati Log Cabin Republicans

The Greater Cincinnati Log Cabin Republicans, appearance doesn’t get much more conservative or what do you think? Despite their name or because of it, they have announced their backing for gay marriages. It is almost like they would like to prove wrong my prejudiced opinions that in general log home owners believe in traditional values. Only thing is that this association goes way back and has always been very liberal in similar issues. It is always nice to notice that there is room for more than one opinion in this world.