When discussing log homes, most people think of log homes as made from pine. When we think of log homes, we only talk about oak!
As you look to log home manufacturers, you should consider a lot of things. The most important is the type of wood that will be used. There is nothing more compelling than trying this test yourself. Find a piece of pine scrap wood and a piece of oak scrap wood. Pick them up. Can you feel the difference? Did you notice how one is heavier than the other. The reason is the density of the wood.
Here’s another one to try. Find two nails and a hammer. Pound a nail into the pine piece of wood. It goes in very easy because it is a soft wood. Now try pounding the nail into the oak piece. Did it bend the nail? It probably did. That is because oak is a hardwood.
The strength of oak is unsurpassed in the building world. It is durable, strong, easily maintained and has a beautiful appearance. At Schutt Log Homes, we believe the choice is clear. Oak out performs all other species for log home building. Please keep in mind though, logs are grown not manufactured. This means there will be knots, checks, surface cracks, areas with light bark and etc, these blemishes in no way affect the integrity of the log, in fact, they add to the rustic warmth of a log home. If you are looking for select logs, our Oak log product is not for you.
Schutt Log Homes specializes in homes of solid oak. If we were building a log home for a friend or a family member, we wouldn't consider anything but oak. And for good reason. Oak is special! Whether you are an expert in lumber or not, you know that oak is renowned for strength and beauty. Just look at any fine cabinets or furniture and you'll see oak in the forefront. Oak floors are the standard in wood flooring. Have you ever seen a pine floor? There is good reason.
"So oak is special... I bet it has a special price too?" Have you ever priced the difference between a piece of pine and a piece of oak at the lumber store? The difference is huge. So, why would we use oak? Oak is a native Missouri hardwood. It is plentiful and an incredible natural resource. Because of the availability of oak, we can sell oak homes for the same price as pine homes. This “all oak” concept would not work anywhere else in the United States.
Caring for oak is a breeze. Oak logs do not require chemical treatment to maintain durability and prevent decay. Pine logs should be treated with chemicals a minimum of every two years (for the life span of the home) to prevent decay. In addition when you power wash the exterior of the home, the oak logs will hold up against the highest psi you want to use! This makes the exterior cleaning easier and faster. Last, it typically does not take as much sealant for oak logs because the cellular structure of the wood is denser, meaning it will not absorb as much product.
A common question we get asked here at Schutt Log Homes and Mill Works is “what about log shrinkage as the Oak logs dry?”.
Oak logs shrink there is no getting around that fact. When the Oak is selected and handled properly the drying process is seen as giving character and quality to the log home. As Oak dries it becomes much denser making it harder. Basically Oak gets better with age. With proper chinking and sealing the log cabin will remain insulated and water tight through the shrinking process.
When an Oak tree is sawn it has a very high moisture content (MC), sometimes up to 80%, where a dry piece of timber inside a building can have a MC as low as 8%. In the beginning as Oak dries it loses what is known as ‘free water’ from it’s cell cavities. Once the ‘free water’ is evaporated the timber is said to have reached its fiber saturation point (FSP). In Oak this is around 30% MC. Next the Oak will begin to lose what is called “bound water”, this is the water contained in the cell walls. When the bound water evaporates is when the shrinkage in the timber begins.
An Oak log in a home can typically reach a MC of about 12% after several years. The rate of the moisture loss will affect how much an Oak log will shrink. The faster Oak loses it’s bound water in the cell walls the more it will shrink. Oak contains longitudinal cells called vessels which are straw like. When these vessels are allowed to dry very slowly in a stable manner shrinkage is drastically reduced.
Schutt Log Homes and Mill Works allows our Oak logs to dry naturally to keep the drying process as slow as possible. When our logs are shipped the moisture content will generally be between 20-25%. This will allow the logs to dry slowly and naturally in their new environment.
Patrick Schutt Schutt Log Homes and Mill Works 816-506-5713 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org