This is how it all starts; choosing a home site and
clearing the land.  My initial plan was to build the log
home on pillars of cement blocks.  As you can see in
this picture, I had made all the pillars for all the corners
and had begun the laying on the first logs.  But before
we get too much into the process of log home building,
let me explain that building a log home from scratch,
aside from the property and trees, require a lot of time,
patience and planning and little money.  Contrary to
popular wisdom, you don't have to be a lumberjack or a
person of great strength to build a log home; I am 5'6"
and weigh 160 pounds. When I began building my
home I possessed neither one of above qualities nor did
I possessed any helpful skills; it was determination and
the belief that kept me on task.  
Plan on felling your trees in the fall season when the
sap is in the roots, making the trees lighter and less
susceptible to insect damage.  You will also have plenty
of time to peel the bark before the bugs and the hot
weather show up.  Some folks peel a 3"-4" strip of
bark lengthwise on opposite sides of each tree and wait
until spring for the logs to shrink and shed their bark.  
That process did not work with oak trees and in general
does not work all the time.  Following that train of
thought, a person is better off felling the trees in early
spring, cut the two strips of bark, let them shrink and
begin peeling the logs in early fall.  Seasoning the logs
will make them lighter and easier to handle.  Having
been short of time, I just peeled the trees as I put them
up.  If you don't have the trees in your property then a
sawmill maybe a good alternative.  Hardwoods are
heavier and some species like oak are almost
impossible to drive a nail through without drilling it
first.  Soft woods such as pine and cedar are a more
common trees used for log homes since they are lighter
to handle and less expensive.  One of the things that
can help you a great deal in building a log house is
quality tools.  Be sure to purchase the best hand tools
and by that I don't mean the most expensive ones.  
You can save some money, if you have the time and
the knowhow to look for tools in pawn shops and other
secondhand places.  Also, some hardware stores sell
for example the chisel blades for a fraction of the cost
but you have to make the handle yourself; a rewarding
practice..
In deciding the length of your house,
it's best to check and see how long of
logs you can find and make
appropriate modifications.  You can
half lap logs and nail or notch them
together to create a longer wall, but I
have never seen an attractive one.  
Depending on your taste, a log
dwelling can either look modern or
rough or both.  For example, a log
home with partitioned walls made of
timber or 2x4's and drywall would
have more decor possibilities than one
that is made out of logs alone.  In
order to save on having to buy full
length logs, you can plan for your
doors and windows ahead of time and
figure out the length of logs you need
on each side of the openings including
the required length for the notching
and extensions and few extera inches.
EARTH ART AND FOODS
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