Building With Logs - Peeling and Storing Logs

Skills, Tools, Time, Safety | Falling Trees | Log Wheeler | Long Log Construction

All of the logs you have now harvested and transported in some manner to your building site must be peeled.

If you cut the trees down in the spring then the sap was flowing so now this job is much easier. The sap running in the tree forms a moisture layer between the bark and sapwood. This allows the bark to be easily peeled off. If the tree was cut down in the winter then it was dormant and now the bark must be scraped off with a drawknife which is more time consuming.

You have to peel the logs because if you don’t, as the logs dry on the walls of the building, they will shrink and the bark will begin to fall off in ragged long strips. Also bark is a natural incubator for all kinds of insects that will feast on your new log cabin. If the sap was running when they were cut down then after peeling they must be stored out of the sun. If left in the sun and due to the amount of moisture in the wood checking will become a big problem. Store them out of the sun and covered with tarps to slow this drying process down. Winter cut trees have less water content and therefore less checking. Checking is due to uneven drying as the center of the tree dries slower than the outer area. This causes tension and large cracks occur to relieve this tension.

Begin to peel your logs by getting them off the ground and up to working height. Trying to peel the logs with a drawknife or spud while they are on the ground is a back breaking endeavor. Once off the ground and onto supports such as heavy duty sawhorses make sure the logs are secured from rolling by using “Dogs”.

The proper drawknife is important. Most drawknives have a straight blade and handles 90 degrees to the blade. This causes the handles to be turned down when in use and you work with your hands around the log. A proper drawknife has a curved blade and slightly turned up handles that are more than 90 degrees to the blade. This allows you to work with your hands above the log and the blade does not dig into the log as much as a straight blade.

Success in peeling has more to do with limbing than anything else. Cutting the limbs off flush to the trunk will make the peeling very hard as the knot is harder than the rest of the wood so the tools tends to stick on it each time you pass over. When limbing try and dig into the trunk slightly with the tip of your chainsaw to cut the limb core out.

Once peeled they need to be stacked properly so they can dry. Ensure the bottom layer is off the ground and the next row runs crossways to the first and so on in a cribbed manner. Remember that spring cut trees must be stored out of the sun and tarped over to slow the drying down. Next - Long Log Construction


Skills, Tools, Time, Safety | Falling Trees | Log Wheeler | Long Log Construction

 
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