View Full Version : Milling timbers for log house

Thomas Little
08-18-2015, 6:28 PM
Hello everyone,

I would think this should be a well talked about topic but am having trouble finding any actual info or more importantly experience.

My brother fell 50 large pine and spruce trees in the winter 3 years ago they were mostly peeled over the course of that spring and summer. Since then nothing has been done with them they are all monster logs with 24-30 inch butts and 40-60 ft lengths with minimum 14 inch tips. They are all up off the ground but no covering. Ants are crawling all over some of them and some are getting a little rotty on the bottoms. I believe they are too far gone to build a full scribe log building.

What I have been trying to talk him into is getting a bandsaw mill (used woodmizer lt15 most likely with 2 extra bed sections) and the Logosol LM410 wood planer/moulder. and making tongue and groove 8x8 or 8x12 timbers that can just stack like legos. saves trying to turn 50 logs up on the walls and all the custom precision work. How ever youtube shows neither of the wood mizer mp100 or the logosol lm410 working without it being a promotional video and/or boringly useless.

What I would like to know is when do you use the moulder, and when do you build? Do you saw, mould, and build one right after the other. Do you Saw, dry, mould, build. Or Saw, mould, dry, build? I can not find anything on that subject.
I would think the best would be to saw, mould and then add it to the building as quick as possible. That way they all dry together and will prevent each other from warping, cupping, and bowing when they are all bolted down to each other.

Another possibility
What are the challenges of sawing the logs s2s so you have a flat wall inside and out and filling with chink instead of full scribe.

If you are thinking that is pretty expensive ($20k for used mill, extra bed sections, moulder and knives) for just one house well If he gets it I will slowly pay to get a half share or buy it off of him. to build my house (ideally timber frame with milled log home a close second), maybe another cabin or two and possibly a new work shop along with sawing lumber for my woodworking business.

as always with me lots of questions far and wide and lots of options.

Scott T Smith
08-18-2015, 10:21 PM
Tom, the first step is to discern if the logs are salvageable. The easiest way to do this is to cut several inches off of one end and try to stick either a flat blade screwdriver or a knife tip in them. Neither should go in more than about 1/4" or so. If they sink to the hilt, the logs are probably too far gone.

In my opinion, the butt logs are way too large for either an LT15, but it's doable. You're going to need some strong long handling equipment such as a forklift, etc for handling and turning the logs. For building a log cabin something like a Lull or other telescoping lift is a great asset.

Large logs are not going to dry quickly, and yours have already seasoned for a few years. Your best bet would be to mill, mould, and build and let them continue to dry in place. S2S is a viable option, but the T&G setup that the Logosol provides is hard to beat for strength and minimizing air flow through the logs.

As far as the expense, if you buy used, take good care of it and then resell it when you're done the cost should not be too bad.

Thomas Little
08-19-2015, 12:51 PM
Thank you Scott

I think on a few of the logs it might go in a bit more then 1/4 of a inch but probably not much more. fortunately for the logs we have been in a drought the last two years not so good for the farming though.

as for equipment we have two loader tractors that can lift 2800+ lbs upwards of 15+ feet off the ground. a smaller loader tractor that can lift 2100 lbs almost as high i think as I have not used it yet. We do have a old P&H lattice boom crane that if I got working would lift quite a bit higher then that. Just need to get the engine running and repair some of the lever controls.

He is not too huge into wood working and does not really like building. I mean he might if its his own place but for the most part he hates it, He likes to see progress and at a good pace. another reason why i thought the t&G idea would be good that way if he cuts something too short it could be used else where. Far easier to build a house in stages (additions) with milled logs. Also with him not being a wood worker doing the milled logs would be easier for me to manage even by myself.

Dean Van Dolsen
09-23-2015, 1:16 PM
If you end up getting the mill, I'd just cut off two side of the logs and make a dovetail log home if it was me.
All you have left to do is chinking but of course that's easy for me to say. ;)