Log home shell

  • Advertise with us
Project by daltxguy posted 12-06-2007 01:31 PM 3577 views 2 times favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch

At the beginning of November, I left home to eat, live, breathe and dream sawdust and woodchips and to learn how to build a log home for the next 30 days. This was a dream come true. It was hard work, it was hot but it was all worth it as we completed a 8.6m x 6.4m shell which is to be used as a B&B in Te Anau, New Zealand.

I started a blog on this and I promise to get more info up about the whole process and experience and some of the notes I made to myself which I think would be of interest and useful to others as well, but that will have to wait as now we are off on 1 month of summer vacation.

For now, I just wanted to show people the result of 4 weeks of work and instruction. Don’t underestimate the amount of work involved in a log home building. Even though we used chainsaws and some heavy machinery for moving the logs, this is still a handcraft.

As a group of 12, eventually we got into a pattern where there were hours of quiet work where we rotated, adjusted and scribed the logs, then all hell broke loose as the logs were lowered to the ground and we got busy cutting the notches, the long grooves, the deep grooves, the coves on the overhangs, trimming log ends etc. You can imagine the sound of 12 chainsaws running at the same time.

We completed the shell up to the plate logs. We also completed the ridge log but it isn’t up in these pictures as this will be held up with conventional framing gable end walls. The B&B is a 1 bedroom with stairs leading to a loft upstairs. It has an open cathedral ceiling in the living room. The large opening at the front will be facing the mountains and off to the side 2 windows and and a door will look onto a porch which faces a lake.

The owners already have the foundation laid and they hope to have the building completed and erected about March of next year, still in time for some of the summer season. Natural Log Homes of Geraldine, New Zealand will be completing the work ( still to go are cutting window openings, adding wiring, adding rubber seals, drilling holes for drift pins, hurricane rods and securing to the foundation, porches and log framing in the entranceway). Then of course, there is still all of the conventional construction work.

Luckily we got to do all of the fun stuff…

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

16 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18619 posts in 4705 days

#1 posted 12-06-2007 01:52 PM

sounds fascinating: the quiet “in sync” moments vs the wild chainsaw orchestra moments.. very cool

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (, Young Living Wellness )

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4750 days

#2 posted 12-06-2007 02:28 PM

Hello Steve;
—-this is really great!
I will be following your blog story on you log home. I just love reading about workers of wood who work in this form.

Now a question, in your last photo of the three series, there is one man doing the cutting with the Husqvarna chainsaw and then the other one is holding//bracing the front end of the chainbar. Can you explain more on what the man doing the hold//bracing is doing and why-how? I have not seen this before, but would venture a guess that this is a safety feature to guide the bar in the cut or to eliminate the possibility of kick-back….?

And yes, I am happy to see the great detail in all clothing aspects of safety apparel for chainsawing….eye protection, head protection, ear protection and the chaps.

Keep blogging on this story when you re-turn from your vacation….and,

Thank you for sharing.

-- --frank, NH,

View Thos. Angle's profile

Thos. Angle

4444 posts in 4506 days

#3 posted 12-06-2007 03:06 PM

Steve, Sounds like you had a fun and interesting time. The floor plan sounds like the log home my brother-in-law finished a couple of years ago. Log houses are a lot of work. But they sure are neat when done.

-- Thos. Angle, Jordan Valley, Oregon

View CharlieM1958's profile


16284 posts in 4762 days

#4 posted 12-06-2007 05:24 PM

What a big job!

MsDebbie, I think a road trip is in order. :-)

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Brad_Nailor's profile


2545 posts in 4501 days

#5 posted 12-06-2007 05:34 PM

That is so cool! Something I have always wanted to do..go to a timber frame or log house building course. That looks like it was allot of fun as well as work!


View TreeBones's profile


1828 posts in 4567 days

#6 posted 12-06-2007 05:54 PM

Great experience, I hope to do that some day.

-- Ron, Twain Harte, Ca. Portable on site Sawmill Service

View mrtrim's profile


1696 posts in 4424 days

#7 posted 12-07-2007 01:32 AM

i can relate to this project, myself and another guy built a log home for a guy up in north georgia about 10 yr. ago . i could lie to ya and tell ya how much fun it was but i wont . it was the most gruelling physical thing i have ever done . the heavy eqipment we had on the job was the chainsaw . everything else was brute strenth and im not much of a brute ! i did lift weights on a regular basis back then but it was still killin me .
glad i did it but i wont do it again . lol

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4458 days

#8 posted 12-07-2007 01:54 AM

Hi Frank,

You are right that in the last picture the second man is holding the bar against a guide. There is a pair of metal guides secured to the chainsaw bar ( an engineered piece of steel tube with cutouts for the chain to pass through top and bottom and bolts to secure it against the sides ). These guides are slid along 2×4 posts which are temporarily nailed to the logs, 3/4” from the cut line ( The 3/4” is distance from the guide to the chainsaw teeth on either side ). The chainsaw is set against the guides and then slowly lowered, cutting a neat straight line on the log ends. The second person is ensuring that the bar stays tight to the guide,ensuring a straight cut. The wooden bar he is holding is attached to a swivel on the metal guide. His job is merely to ensure that it stays tight against the 2×4. He’s not pushing or pulling or guiding the chainsaw in any way, that’s the operator’s job.

I have some better closeups but here is a somewhat better view of the guides on the bar.

Chainsaw guide for straight cuts

I’ll have some more info on this and some other jigs used. Like all woodworking, inventing tools for the job is all part of the fun.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View Karson's profile


35207 posts in 4944 days

#9 posted 12-07-2007 02:09 AM

Great Job. Steve. it will be exciting to see it all being done.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View cajunpen's profile


14578 posts in 4610 days

#10 posted 12-07-2007 05:34 AM

Very interesting Steve. I’ve always wanted a log cabin – never had the urge to build one though – but I’m glad you had the opportunity to follow a dream.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View Dorje's profile


1763 posts in 4541 days

#11 posted 12-07-2007 05:05 PM

Yes sir!

-- Dorje (pronounced "door-jay"), Seattle, WA

View Blake's profile


3443 posts in 4418 days

#12 posted 12-07-2007 07:13 PM

That’s a little bigger than the boxes I usually make, but I really like it.

-- Happy woodworking!

View frank's profile


1492 posts in 4750 days

#13 posted 12-08-2007 05:41 PM

Hello Steve;
—-many thanks for your getting back with an answer to my question! Once you get to know me you will probably come to understand that I have many questions and opinions….but then I have a busy mind that needs to be feed.

Your explanation and then the photo is most en-lightening and speaks much to me. What I originally did not see was the other ‘guide bar’ located at the front of the chainbar, so that there are really two ‘guide bars’. Great down-under way of thinking. I am excited about what you have shown me here, as my mind is all-ready working on an-other way of adapting this jig to a style of chainsaw cutting that I also do. I do some slab cutting with ripping chains and bars, and I am thinking of going up to a 48’’ or 56’’ bar and chain. Most slab cutters will attach a handle to the outside of the end bar, where another operator also stands holding and guiding his//her end of the bar….for straightness, along with the engine operator. This has all-ways seemed un-safe to me since from my way thinking….what happens when//if a chain breaks and you are the one standing out there at the end? I have even asked the folks that manufacture these different mills and when I bring up the question of; ’’what if//when the chain breaks’’, there is all-ways the pause and then the statement that; ’’well all chainsaws and chainsawing is dangerous. Kind of like….duh, don’t you think I know that!

The point I am getting at here is that this jig you have shown me has given me an idea of locating a bar that swivels on the outside of the chain bar, which would put the operator at that end of the bar, who is doing the guiding also ‘back behind’ the bar and more out of harms way, should the chain break.

Next question I will ask is have you any knowledge of seeing or hearing what happens when there is a chain break using this jig you have shown us? And yes I know that the operator on that end of the jig is out of the way, but I am wondering more about how does the jig and ‘guide bar’ react to the breakage?

Beyond this I will wait patently for you re-turn and for any photos on your blog story that is forthcoming, and….

Thank you.

-- --frank, NH,

View Grumpy's profile


25814 posts in 4395 days

#14 posted 12-09-2007 03:12 AM

Nice job Steve. Nothing like back to basics. Good on you Kiwi’s for coming up with something different.

-- Grumpy - "Always look on the bright side of life"- Monty Python

View Kipster's profile


1076 posts in 4297 days

#15 posted 05-08-2008 03:50 AM

A dream house for sure.

-- Kip Northern Illinois ( If you don't know where your goin any road will take you there) George Harrison

showing 1 through 15 of 16 comments

Have your say...

You must be signed in to post the comments.

DISCLAIMER: Any posts on LJ are posted by individuals acting in their own right and do not necessarily reflect the views of LJ. LJ will not be held liable for the actions of any user.

Latest Projects | Latest Blog Entries | Latest Forum Topics