Handcrafted vs Milled Log Homes. What’s the difference?
A handcrafted log home, which is what we ONLY build here at Handcrafted Log Home Design, is the only “true” log home. In a handcrafted building, the log is still a natural log. The only alteration being that it has undergone removal of the outer bark and part or all of the “cambium” or inner bark layer. Because of this, each log still possess all of the uniqueness and character that nature intended it to have. Contrast to this a machine-cut piece of wood – mechanically profiled to be identical to every other piece in the building. It is no longer a log, but a factory run piece of lumber that used to be a log. Because of this, the handcrafted log building has an aesthetic advantage – each log of every building is unique and distinctly different from every other – creating a unique building every time.
The automated milling process is less expensive than hand crafting natural logs, however the cost of a finished milled product is very close to that of a handcrafted. Why is this? Surprisingly, our handcrafted homes are far easier to assemble, saving considerable crane and crew time at your site.
Milled Log Homes
The process of milling vs handcrafted can be confusing as they can look similar but handcrafted has a unique way of carefully assembled logs. A milled log is one that has been put through a saw factory, machine, or planer and has been cut into a particular shape or profile. All milled log homes are uniform in size and look almost identical on the outside.
There are a few different ways milled logs can be stacked:
Tongue and Groove – As shown below
Butt & Pass – Tightly-pinned corners, to remove the need for any notching,
Interlocking – The timber pieces lock together like a jigsaw puzzle
The logs may be flat on one side with a tongue-and-groove design. The sides of the log are usually sanded smooth, but can be left with a rougher or more natural look.
Handcrafted Log Homes
The preferred and most popular timbers at Handcrafted Log Home Design are Western Red Cedar or Douglas Fir. Once brought to the log yard for finishing, the high quality logs are either hand-peeled with a drawknife or water-peeled.
The logs are then cut to fit together, as per the design or floor plan of the log home. in a few different ways.
Scribe-fit is the most popular style due to the beautifully exposed log flares on Western red cedar. In this style, one log is scribed to precisely fit over the log below it. The scribe-fit style needs no chinking and is usually joined at the corner using a shrink-to-fit saddle notch system. Another way logs are fit together leaves a space between each round of logs that will be filled with a backer rod material and chinking. This style is called chinked. Other styles are piece-en-piece and hand-hewn dovetail.
The end result is a stunning log home that will last centuries and reducing the industrial footprint of pollution, energy consumption and waste.
If you compare performance over time and look at the character and thermal mass that is lost in creating machined logs, you can see why our homes offer better value and a higher resale. Many contractors have told us that handcrafted is often less expensive on the total project cost.