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Old July 12th, 2010, 07:33 AM   #1
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Default How I spent my summer vacation...

...or: How you shouldn't spend yours.

Let's start out with background - bought a log home in 2008 that was in need of finishing - a little bit (or a lot) EVERYWHERE. Inside, outside - you name it, the PO abandoned his custom build and we bought it from the bank for $0.50 on the dollar (had it re-appraised in the shitty economy for a home equity loan and it came in double what we paid).

Log homes, as I later was to find out, are a lot of fucking work if they are not finished correctly. This one was not:

A little of the front was finished:


The west end was not, however, the back was sprayed:


Picture it took to show how big the logs were compared to my hand, totally unaware of the rot evident in this picture:



So, bugs really like logs. Woodpeckers really like bugs. Squirrels just need to fucking die, and we'll leave it at that.
When you build a log home, one of the FIRST things to do is to literally douse the exterior in liquid borate solution. Borates are a non-toxic (to humans / animals) insecticide and fungicide that kill bugs that chew on wood and any fungus that starts in wet wood.

Well, we have "boring" beetles that are emerging out of our interior walls here and there, and on a quiet night, you can actually hear them gnawing at your investment. Come to find out, these are a natural occurrence and the larvae can lie dormant for 20 years in natural logs before coming out. In fact, most of these damn bugs were probably living in the trees before they were harvested for this house. Sweet. The next best thing is to prevent re-infestation, so I had to put borates on my house.

Sounds like no big deal, however, I had no idea what stain the PO put on, or how to match the color. Based on how he did most everything in this house, it probably was something shitty. So, I had to strip the old stain off (about 1/2 of the house) before I could even start.

Herein lies my vacation:

First of all, I had to rent a ridiculously expensive piece of machinery and have it delivered to my house:


I can honestly say that this thing was entirely worth the price (about $1200) and I couldn't have done what I needed to do without it. It is a 4WD dual-fuelled 45' articulated platform lift - and it tried to kill me. REPEATEDLY. But that's okay - we have an understanding now: I don't take it on off-camber hills and it won't try to jettison me.

Stripping the front part of the house:

From L - to - R: Old stain; chemical stripper "working"; stripped surface.

See the log sticking out at the top of this picture?


That's BAD. It is the main support beam that runs the entire length of the peak - it sticks out on the opposite end of the house too. The PO left it to sit out in the elements to accelerate decay and help the house collapse on itself someday. That lead to this type of manliness:


I had to cut the log back nearly 2 feet before I got to "mostly" solid wood. I cut it off in 3" sections (20" diameter log) and the first few cuts disintegrated into sawdust when they fell to the ground. If left unattended, this log would've started collapsing within another few years.

So, after lots of chemical stripping, powerwashing, cleaning, powerwashing, sanding most of the damn house, applying borates and staining, we are here:











I still have another coat of base color to put on a few parts - but I ran the fukc out. I also have to chink the entire exterior, seal all the checks/splits then throw a clear coat on it.

I figure I'll have about $7K in materials and rentals by the time I finish. If I ignore my aching back and arthritic hands, I can actually smile, as both estimates to have this done came in at $30k - $40k!
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Old July 12th, 2010, 07:46 AM   #2
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well, I'll never buy one. Thanks for the PSA
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Old July 12th, 2010, 07:48 AM   #3
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Looks really nice, good work .

How long does the stain/paint last before having to redo it?

You need gutters.

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Old July 12th, 2010, 07:55 AM   #4
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Wow... had heard that log is a lot of work, but man. Nice place, though. Beautiful.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 07:57 AM   #5
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Looks really nice, good work .

How long does the stain/paint last before having to redo it?
Thank you! See why I didn't think I could get to your place and work on your Jeep?

With the clearcoat, the company warranties it for five years, LOL. Sadly, that's the best deal in the bidnezz.

Good news is that applying a new topcoat on the south and west walls every two years and on the rest every four, the stain should go at least 20 years before needing a recoat. Best thing is that the borates stay resident inside the logs and don't go anywhere as long as there is stain on the logs - so we'll never have to go through the stripping / borates BS again.

We're going to follow reddeviltj's example and do one wall a year - that will make it take a weekend/year instead of a couple of weeks every five.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 08:01 AM   #6
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Good Job Scooter, it came out nice.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 08:15 AM   #7
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Looks good.

For what it's worth my aunt owns a very large log home. She has a company come in and media blast it. (Most recently it was corn cob)
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Old July 12th, 2010, 08:29 AM   #8
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well, I'll never buy one. Thanks for the PSA
If you do it right, from the start, I believe it is no big deal. I was forced to learn a lot more about log homes than I wanted - and unfortunately, after we bought. I probably could've negotiated another $15K off had I had the laundry list I do now.
We had it inspected, and the guy claimed he knew about logs, but he didn't know enough.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 12:45 PM   #9
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Shitty way to spend an entire vacation but all the hard work paid off. Your home is now safe from invading insects and the elements. Also, it looks 110% better. Nice job scoot!
So, did ya hit it in the basket?
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Old July 12th, 2010, 04:31 PM   #10
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You sure are good with teh wood!
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Old July 12th, 2010, 04:56 PM   #11
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That looks great now. Beautiful house.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 05:07 PM   #12
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That is a Beautiful house. Even before you did the exterior work. Sounds like you got a good deal on it though. Looks even better now.

The Camp I work at (Michindoh, in hillsdale) has pretty much all log Cabin Siding. I'm not sure if it's just a half log or actually built out of logs. They used to stain them quite often. I mean, there are over 20 buildings on campus so....the rotation was a bit more complicated. They have since then started painting them instead of staining them because it's less expensive. I really miss the true log cabin look but the paint doesn't look so bad. Seeing log cabins like yours makes me miss the old look.
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Old July 12th, 2010, 05:50 PM   #13
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Sounds like it is worth about half of what you paid after hearing about how much of a dump it is, so I that is my final offer.

Looks great, and I know you will appreciate it a ton more doing all that work yourself.

I like it alot.


And enjoy your wifes buns of steel after climbing all those stairs everyday
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Old July 12th, 2010, 05:58 PM   #14
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very nice place
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Old July 12th, 2010, 06:05 PM   #15
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Looks nice, how's your generator doing?
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Old July 12th, 2010, 06:15 PM   #16
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Looks really nice scooter! I am jelous(of the house, not the work) I love log homes!
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Old July 12th, 2010, 06:25 PM   #17
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Looks really great Scot! Nice work!
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Old July 12th, 2010, 08:40 PM   #18
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Quote:
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Looks nice, how's your generator doing?
LOL, I need to talk to you about that - I think I'm running too rich (even after following the instructions in the manual).

Tell you what - the electricity has gone out for a significant amount of time four times this year. The last time, we watched Avitar on our 50" with the AVR blasting the sound - kinda thumbing out noses at all the peasants without power
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Old July 12th, 2010, 08:53 PM   #19
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if you can find it.

use boiled linseed oil to seal the logs after you stain them

boiled linseed oil is toxic to insects when they try to chew on the wood
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Old July 14th, 2010, 01:14 PM   #20
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LOL, I need to talk to you about that - I think I'm running too rich (even after following the instructions in the manual).

Tell you what - the electricity has gone out for a significant amount of time four times this year. The last time, we watched Avitar on our 50" with the AVR blasting the sound - kinda thumbing out noses at all the peasants without power


If its running rich, it's one of two things. The knockdown jet in the regulator didn't seat properly, or the fuel regulator is dialed in to rich. If you can't figure it out, let me know and I can swing in there next time i'm out your way. Preferably when you're not home, but the wifey is

and please place fat tire in the fridge
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