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Any log cabin experience here?

Keith Newton
Some old friends and I are trying to save the oldest cabin in my home county in South central AR. It was built in 1842 by a fellow that I guess you could call pony-express, since he rode horseback between the two neighboring counties with the mail, and could change mounts at his place each way.

Anyway, it was a Double-pen Dog-trot with each pen about 18' x 18' x 9'. It has been donated to the county, and being moved to the County Courthouse Square to become part of the Museum.

We are planning on using SYP logs of the same approximate size, which we will saw a bit oversize, then hand hewing to match the old logs. More than half of the old logs were too bug eaten to salvage.

The question is, about how much oversize would you leave them for the hand work. It seems to me 1/2" ~ 3/4" would be about right, and anything less might lead to the broadax glancing out, and more would require the first cross chopping to he harder. Any thoughts.

Almost all of one pen was too bad to salvage, so I think we will need to shuffle the deck and use about an equal amount of vintage logs in each to have them shrink down in height to about an equal amount.

Oh, the top and bottom of each logs were left natural edge after de-barkiing with about 2" between to chink.

I had been thinking about just going ahead and working it green from start to finish, but am having second thoughts since the corners are just square notched. I'm now thinking maybe building it dry-run under one of the county sheds then letting it dry for a few years before setting it up on it's final location.

The average log diameter is 14" on the large ends, and 4.5" thickness with the pith centered.

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