Keep a High Profile
The size and shape of the logs play a big part in your home’s look and function. Here’s how to navigate your log profile and corner style options.
Understanding the characteristics of wood species is a great start, but it’s only the beginning. Now it’s time to decide how to shape this raw material into an actual building material.
First you need to choose whether you want the look of a milled or handcrafted home. The primary differences here are the size and uniformity of the logs (for a side by side comparison, see “By Hand or By Machine,” p. 36) and the technique used to prepare them.
Handcrafted logs are prepared as the name implies: People — not machines — strip, shape and cut the timbers until they are suitable for log home construction ac- cording to your plans. The shape of the logs is usually very organic and uneven, giving a home a distinctive look.
Milled logs are run through an automated de-barker, then a computerized sawmill that shapes and cuts each timber to a precise, uniform diameter and “profile.” If you are opting for the milled-log variety of log home, choosing a profile is your next step after choosing species.
Profiles and joinery methods will significantly impact how your home looks, both inside and out. (See Log Profiles and Interface Styles, p. 32, for examples.) This also includes how they intersect at the corners. In addition to personal preference, the region where your home will reside may influ- ence your decision. For example, log homes boasting a square profile with dovetailed corners are prevalent in the Southeastern United States and Appalachia. Round-on-round and Swedish-cope profiles with butt-and-pass or saddle-notch corners are highly popular in the Rockies. But don’t feel pigeonholed into regional preferences. Log profiles and corner systems will perform well in just about any climate — and you may want your log home to stand out from the crowd.
With an idea of what you want your log home to ultimately look like in terms of species, profile and corner system, it’s time to start thinking about how inclusive you want it to be. It’s time to consider log packages.