Handcrafted Log Homes

Every step of a Sitka Log Home is meticulously and artfully handcrafted

There are many log homeowners but only a few can claim to live in a real handcrafted work of art. Our log homes are all handcrafted.

We do not mill our logs but instead each log is hand-peeled with a drawknife, hand scribed, chiselled and cut with chainsaws to form a perfect fit to the log below.

The process begins with the careful selection of each log.

Our typical house logs are an average of 12 to 14 inches in diameter, although larger is available. The logs are hand peeled using a drawknife, and then carefully scribed their entire length by transferring the natural contour of the lower log with a pencil line to the log above it.

The line is then chiseled by hand and then accurately cut with a chainsaw. Each log is fit with insulation within a V groove, and a Norwegian shrink fit saddle notch is used for the corners. We also build using other corner styles if you desire an alternate notch.

hand peeling deck handcrafting using a drawknife peeling logs scribing a corner notch in a log chainsaw cuts notch corner notches cut by hand Norwegian saddle notch handcrafted log home Click on images to view

Wood Species offered by Sitka Log Homes

Engelmann Spruce logs tend to be whiter than the other species available. It is very uniform, has a limited amount of knots and is very clean looking. However, it also tends to have larger "checks" (cracks) in the logs when the logs finish settling and drying. This is not a structural issue, but an aesthetic one.

Lodgepole Pine logs tend to have many knots, more "natural" scarring such as cat faces and crevices, and has some blue and grey streaks in it. It is generally referred to as more "rustic" looking with more "character", however, that should be qualified by saying that we have had pine log work in some of the most contemporary homes we have built.

Douglas Fir logs are very uniform, have very few knots and a light "orange" hue to the cambium (outside) layer of the wood with a deep orange/red heartwood color. It is the strongest of the species available, but really does not offer anything extraordinarily above the others.

The fourth species we offer is Western Red Cedar. We specialize in building with locally harvested Western Red Cedar.
Canada’s Western Red Cedar is found only in British Columbia and is our provinces official tree. It is sometimes called arbor-vitae, Latin for "tree of life." The native coastal people used all parts of the tree making everything from dugout canoes, clothing and baskets and medicine.
Western Red Cedar can live to over 1000 years old and can grow to 70m tall with flared trunks up to 3-4m in diameter. Its fibres contain natural compounds that act as preservatives and provide natural resistance to moisture, insects and decay.
The soft red-brown timber has a tight, straight grain, few knots and is fragrantly aromatic making it one of the world’s most beautiful woods.
Western Red Cedar is free from pitch and resin and has a low moisture content therefore a low shrinkage factor which makes it ideal for log home building. Its low density and air filled cellular structure make it the best thermal insulator among other softwoods. It does not require heat treating when imported into Europe.
We often use cedar for large feature posts and leave some of the flared trunk on the bottom. It is a beautiful and often stunning feature in many homes.

Occasionally homes have a variety of wood used. The main walls may be pine, the ridges may be fir and then they may have a cedar post as a feature accent log.

flared cedar log ends

Unlike machined log homes, you would never find a butt joint in our log walls. Each log is allowed to retain its character. Only 5% to 9% of the handcrafted log is wasted during construction, compared to up to 50% in some milling operations. That is a lot of wasted R-value. Many manufactured log homes are built using timbers only 6 inches thick or less. Our homes are built using timber an average of 12 to 14 inches thick with 10 inches being the smallest we would go down to. (The International Log Building Standards - a handcrafter's standard allows a minimum of 8 inches) The obvious advantage here being the greater insulation value.

Most manufactured log home companies send their log home kits without any pre-fitting; that is left to the builders you hire on your site. This may take from many days to a few weeks. The pieces may have to be cut and hundreds of spikes must be pounded in the walls to hold them together.

A skilled crew at our construction yard on the other hand, builds a handcrafted log home to exacting tolerances while your foundation is being prepared. Every notch is scribed by a qualified artisan and fits perfectly. The roof structure is fitted and ready to accept roof framing; all the openings are cut out and sanded. The walls and notches are insulated as the home is re-erected and all the through-bolt holes are pre-drilled.

The re-erection is done on your home site under the supervision and help of a qualified employee from Sitka Log Homes, approx. 4 strong men and a crane truck. The whole process usually takes 2 to 3 days to complete. (You can estimate about 1,000 square feet a day)

What is included in your handcrafted log home package?

Your log home package is customized to include the materials specific to your home. We manufacture and specialize in the log work itself. The package we offer you includes the log shell and the insulation and hardware needed to complete the log shell portion of your log home. The following list is typical of what you could expect in your package:

    • accurate production dates and scheduling
    • exact log work costing
    • dependable and ongoing construction consultation
    • on-site re-assembly supervisor
    • hand-peeled log walls of 12" - 14" diameter (larger is available)
    • all logs will be full length with no wall log breaks
    • all lateral grooves and corner notches scribed, fitted and insulated
    • log walls with window and door openings cut out and key-ways pre-cut and supplied
    • all log ridge poles, and log roof purlins cut to accept roof framing
    • log posts for porches, decks, entrance, breezeway etc., including steel settling jacks
    • log trusses, structural or decorative
    • all log work finished with medium fibre conditioning pads. This essentially eliminates almost all sanding of log components by finishers, `ready to stain` except for basic cleaning and preparation required for any wood staining project.
    • mortise and tenon log stairs including log support posts
    • hand-peeled mortise and tenon log handrails where required
    • all rough openings cut-out, notched back, flared and sanded
    • 6" foam sill gasket supplied for log to sub-floor seal
    • plated steel ½" through-bolts drilled and installed for all corners and doorway openings
    • steel ½" X 18" drift pins supplied and installed during re-erection where required
    • all log components sprayed with non-toxic mildewcide to minimize moisture damage during shipping and erection

milled log home vs handcrafted log home
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