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    Welcome To Western Log Home Supply Blog
    Monday, October 5, 2009
    We would like to introduct ABRP as one of our newest suppliers.

    American Building Restoration Products, Inc. is a think tank.

    Borne out of the building restoration problem solving arena, American Building Restoration Products, Inc. (ABRP) is a system developer for the restoration and preservation of wood, masonry, metal and glass.

    We offer surface restoration/cleaning systems using environmentally safe, economically practical and contaminate specific products. Surface preservation products that provide protection from organic and man made atmospheric pollution, graffiti, water intrusion and debilitating micro organisms like fungus. This means we have taken into consideration the future of the surface being restored. It is not good enough to just restore or clean a surface. The surface should be protected. X-100 Natural Seal for wood, Hydro Seal 100, 200, 300 for masonry and the original POLYSHIELD for protection from graffiti staining.

    Implementation of proper maintenance procedures and restoration methods are just as essential to the integrity of the surface. Too abrasive a method of restoration and the surfaces integrity will be compromised. Using one of ABRPs preservatives, water repellents or graffiti barriers will allow you to use less aggressive cleaning measures, thus minimizing the abrasive nature of surface cleaning. We have developed surface restoration/cleaning systems utilizing researched technology, statistics and facts backed by results from five to ten years of market performance per product line. We take the R&D off the table, saving you start up costs at the same time adding value to your business. X-100 Natural Seal®, Log Gevity finishes and their complement of restoration products for Log and wood sided homes are product lines designed to bring service life and sustainability to your homes exterior.

    X-100 Natural Seal® Wood and Log Gevity formulas consist of essential wood protecting ingredients blended in an oil that is non-sensitive to ultraviolet rays. Both product lines finishes are designed to penetrate the wood. X-100 Natural Seal® and Log Gevity finishes protect wood against cracking, splitting, cupping, curling, sapstain, mold and mildew. The X-100 Natural Seal® Wood Preservative unique oil-borne system is E.P.A. registered and V.O.C. compliant.

    X-100 Natural Seal® and Log Gevity finishes are for use on all vertical wood surfaces susceptible to moisture damage including cedar, redwood, pine, plywood, T1-11, cypress, fur, dimensional lumber, logs and roofs. X-100 Natural Seal® and Log Gevity finishes are available in ultra transparent stains and natural oxides. The ultra transparent technology enables the natural wood grain to show through allowing for a natural wood finish.

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    by: Western Log Home Supply
    Thursday, September 17, 2009

    Pueblo West, Colorado forester and log home builder shares expertise on log homes



    Clyde Cremer calls himself a "wood technologist."

    The Pueblo West businessman holds a master's degree from the Yale University School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, but he doesn't spend much time in the woods with the trees. Instead, he concentrates on wood as an ages-old building material; he's an expert on trees once they've been harvested and he's designed and built log homes for more than 30 years. He started American Log Homes in 1977 in Missouri and opened a second plant in 1984 in Pueblo West.

    Now Cremer, 66, and his son, Jeffrey, have written a book about Clyde's favorite subject. "The Complete Guide to Log Homes" includes everything a person needs to know about living trees, about logging and timber preparation, about buying an existing log home and caring for a log home - and why building a log home yourself might not be the best idea.

    "I don't really recommend people building (a home) themselves," says Cremer. "In the book we say to be very honest with yourself." It might seem like the picture of pioneer spirit to build the log home of your dreams in a clearing in the forest beneath the stars, but can you cut rafters with a framing square, Cremer asks. Can you put down a subfloor? Can you size joists and rafters to be structurally sound for snow load, wind and other factors? Do you know about electricity and plumbing - and what about local building codes? How much time can you devote to the project?

    Cremer's intent isn't to throw cold water on weekend Daniel Boones, just to inject a large dose of common sense into the log home-building process and to impart his years' worth of knowledge and experience.

    Sitting in his office at American Log Homes, Cremer says he already was writing a book about a relative who fought in the battle of the Argonne Forest in France during World War I when Jeffrey urged him to write the log home book. The younger Cremer, who's company vice president, helped with the book's graphics and charts and worked with the publisher to get it released. Jeffrey lives in Colombia, where he operates his own business, Western Log Home Supply, via the Internet.

    Clyde Cremer says log homes account for a small percentage of the houses built in the U.S., but they remain popular because they are durable and can be energy-efficient. It's hard to say whether they are more expensive than conventional homes because people often want amenities that drive up the price, such as a fireplace, cathedral ceiling, large windows. There are cheaper packages for people who want "a little home in the hills," he says. The 2009 price list has a model that costs $26,000 in pine and one that's nearly $150,000 in red cedar, and many models in between.

    "We do mostly custom homes. We go over a person's plans and ideas, tell them what's most efficient, what's feasible. We can do the blueprints and get it engineered if it's (being built) in Colorado. We can get the logs graded, if required, and can ship them out on a tractor trailer. It takes one to two trailer loads for a house."

    Pine and spruce are most often used, though western red cedar is best, Cremer says. The trees are cut in Colorado and Utah and some in Canada.

    Log homes appeal to people all over the U.S., not just in the West, and Cremer says potential customers e-mail from as far away as Belgium. He's also gotten inquiries from Israel, Spain and Turkey.

    In their book, the Cremers offer advice on many aspects of buying and building a log home, including the tree species used in log homes; how to estimate costs; construction concerns; evaluating and purchasing an existing log home; and the threats to log homes, such as decay, termites and other insects, and fire. The book has checklists and a glossary and provides illustrations and questions to ask at different stages of the construction process.

    "Based on many years in the business, we firmly believe that far too many potential customers do not have quality information available when they shop for log homes," Cremer writes in a press release. "This book provides you with that knowledge, enabling you to make intelligent decisions at every step of the process."

    "The Complete Guide to Log Homes: How to Buy, Build and Maintain Your Dream Home" was published by iUniverse and sells for $16.95. It can be ordered at the company's Web site, www.westernloghomesupply.com; through the publisher's Web site, www.iuniverse.com ; or from online booksellers.

    by: Western Log Home Supply
    Sunday, September 6, 2009
    Log Home Repair Steps

    Treating, cleaning, caulking, staining, chinking, clear coating—In what order do I do these? Who should do all of the above and how do I find them?

    The following general steps should always be followed:

    1. Make sure the moisture content of the logs is appropriate for the product that you are about to apply to the logs – and verify this with a moisture meter.
    2. Make sure the log surfaces are really clean and composed of sound wood.
    3. Always apply the products to be used in the proper weather, with the surface temperature of the logs appropriate for those products.
    4. Apply wood preservatives (such as Sashco’s PeneTreat).
    5. Apply the stain (such as Sashco’s Capture / Cascade or High Sierra).
    6. Apply the backer rod and caulking or chinking (such as Sashco’s Log Builder or Log Jam).

    If you have any questions please give us a call at 719 547 2135

    by: Western Log Home Supply
    Monday, June 22, 2009

    In the summer of 1968 I was working for the U.S. Forest Service in southeast Alaska, cruising potential timber sales. During these trips to the various islands, I came across active logging sites with the proliferation of freshly cut stumps. The growth rings on these stumps made me wonder just how old these “old growth” forests were.

    Growth Rings in Living Trees

    Sitka Spruce and Western Hemlock

    In the spring of 1968 I had been on a forestry field trip to northern California and Oregon and saw everything from giant redwoods to slow growing ponderosa pine. A cross section of a ponderosa pine at one of the Forest Service buildings pointed out the fact that this tree began growing before Columbus set sail from Spain. Wow!!

    When I counted the growth rings of the Sitka spruce and Western hemlock in Alaska, I was disappointed to find out that they were a mere 150 years old, plus or minus 15 years. This was an even-aged stand of timber that regenerated after a large die off of the original timber. Even at this “young” age the hemlock was beginning to suffer from rot and the stand was in decline.

    Eastern Red Cedar

    I grew up in the unglaciated region of northeast Iowa and southeastern Minnesota. Due to the lack of glaciation (the technical term for this is a “nunatak” area), the region is quite rough and hilly. Large sandstone bluffs overlook much of the area which is very picturesque when one floats down the Mississippi river on a summer day. Along these bluffs grow Eastern red cedar trees…barely clinging to life as their roots try to pry moisture and nutrients from the sandstone outcroppings. Recently I cut a cross section from a dead cedar growing on the edge of a precipice. (These small, gnarly trees are known by the German word krumholtz.) The growth rings were so close together that it was extremely hard to determine its age, even with a magnifying glass. Simple math gave me a rough figure of 150 years of age. However, some of these trees have been found to be over 500 years old. They grow slowly with very little photosynthetic area and thus, can survive for hundreds of years with little moisture and nutrients.

    Bristlecone Pine

    Another type of vegetation that grows in a very demanding environment is the bristlecone pine located in various areas of California and Nevada. This trees species has been found to have lived a precarious life in the harsh mountains for some 5,000 years. By cross checking dead trees lying about the area, a chronology of tree ring dating has gone back some 7,100 years. When trees grow alone in the absence of any other vegetative competition, the only factor that will limit their growth is moisture. Thus, one can get insight into the climate in that area spanning thousands of years. This is important data for climatologists and glaciologists. Archeologists use tree ring data to date timbers found in ancient dwellings in the Southwest and can accurately determine when a certain building was constructed.


    In the dry western United States, sagebrush dominates the landscape as it needs very little moisture to survive. The big sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) is the major player in these dry areas. Many of these specimens are 100 years old and they too can lend insight into drought conditions for a particular area.


    The giant sequoia of California is not only very large, but very old. Specimens have been found that precede the birth of Christ by a thousand years. The redwood tree also tops the list of trees that can live to a ripe old age. These trees reside in an area with excellent growing conditions including fog and its resultant moisture. Redwoods are quite impervious to rot and fire and can continue to grow with few pathogens to worry about.

    So much for the age of living trees. What about those dead trees that are entombed in the muck and rivers of the world. We are not talking about petrified specimens that have been turned to stone, but wood that has been preserved in an environment not conducive to rot.

    The Fossil Trees of Axel Heiberg Island

    On Axel Heiberg Island west of Greenland, a forest has been found that has been buried for 45 million years in the mud of that cold environment. The trees in this forest once grew to be 150 feet tall and lived to be 1,000 years old. However, the existing climate changed and they died and were buried. For 45 million years they lay where they fell, covered in sediment and waiting to be discovered. Remember, these trees are not petrified, but are still real wood that one of the researchers probably used to brew his coffee. There are many layers of trees and tree stumps in this location and some were able to be identified as dawn redwoods even though over the fallen tree trunks of an earlier forest, a new forest grew up.

    The Terminal Moraine of Long Island New York

    When the glaciers retreated from the northeastern United States, they left behind a terminal moraine which is now known as Long Island, New York. Another remnant of this glacial retreat was a lake located north of New Haven, Connecticut. As the area became forest once again, dead trees, leaves, butternuts and beech nuts floated into the lake and were buried. Clay washed into the lake and settled to the bottom covering the dead vegetation. With little oxygen, a wet environment, and a low temperature, this organic matter survived without rotting. There it lay until the area was eventually mined for the clay to manufacture bricks. As these remnants of a distant time came to life, people wondered just how old they were. A scientific tool known as radio carbon dating solved this puzzle.

    Some of the oldest specimens uncovered in the pit were sycamore, which were carbon dated to some 6,200 years before the present. The author has a cross section of an oak specimen that died 4250 years before the present. An Eastern hemlock was dated to 1,250 years ago and was in such excellent shape that the author could tell how it grew and died. (There will be more on this in a later article.) The beech nuts were so well preserved that when they dried out, they opened up as if to drop their seeds. The author of this article stabilized a section of sycamore and made a gun stock from it. Alas, civilization kept marching on and now this paleo-biological laboratory is a dump for used tires.

    Various tree species entered the landscape at different times in the evolutionary path of the earth. As the climate changed on the planet, some species became extinct and new species adapted and proliferated. Two interesting species that have survived for millions of years are the ginkgo and the dawn redwood.

    Ginko Biloba

    There is one species of ginkgo that now remains and that is Ginkgo bilboa. It has been cultivated for centuries in China and Japan and is used for temple gardens. It is now used extensively in the United States as an ornamental tree and has has attained heights of nearly 100 feet and 27 feet in circumference. One specimen has even reached the ripe old age of 1200 years. The point of this article is that the ginkgo has been identified from fossil records from the Tertiary period, or about 60 million years ago. It is remarkable that it still survives after all of these millions of years and in the same form.

    Dawn Redwood

    The other interesting tree species is the dawn redwood (Metasequoia glyptostroboides) that has been found in the fossil record from the Mesozoic Era. It was a great surprise to the scientific community when a grove of Metasequoia was discovered in China during WWII. After the war the species was studied in its natural state and in 1948, Harvard brought some of the seed to the United States for propagation and study. It has been planted in various parts of the United States and makes a beautiful ornamental planting. Unfortunately, man may be the final arbiter in its survival after all of these millions of years. Illegal seed collecting in China threatens the regeneration of this small stand of natural dawn redwood in China.

    Now that you have read this article you may never look at a tree in the same way again…whether it is large or small. When you see a lone tree growing along a water course in the Great Plains, you just might wonder what that tree has experienced as it kept its lonely vigil on what appears to be a desolate landscape. Did it hear the rumble of mighty herds of bison a hundreds of years ago? Did the gnarled oak in the heartland feel the weight of thousands of passenger pigeons on its mighty limbs? Did the small, twisted Eastern red cedar growing on the bluffs of northeast Iowa see the boats of early explorers ply the Mississippi river, or hear the final cannon shots at the Battle of Bad Axe when Chief Black Hawk was defeated and his land taken away for one last time? I hope that I have piqued your interest in this small treatise on paleo-botony!

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    by: Western Log Home Supply
    Friday, June 5, 2009
    I have spent my last 15 years promoting finishes and sealants for log and wood structures. In this time, I’ve visited hundreds of buildings to work with owners, contractors, architects, and other various who all have the goal and desire to achieve a look they had in mind and to keep it looking this way for the least amount of money and maintenance costs for years to come. If the rest of you are like me, you’ve also spent a fair amount of time studying the information and opinions offered on the web. I read a lot of comment, both good and bad, about the various finish products on the market. Consumer experiences range the full gamut. Opinions and experiences from others prompted me to chime in and hopefully add some value to the ongoing discussion.

    After carefully studying the prices and types of the various products available, the number one question consumers seem to be asking time and time again is:

    "How long will your stain last?"

    As to the durability and life span of any stain or finishing product, there are three basic factors that apply to all finishes on all log structures:

    1. The actual quality of the product and suitability for its purpose
    2. Surface preparation techniques employed
    3. The environment the finish will be expected to perform in.

    A high quality finish (defined by the quality of resins, additives, and application research) applied to a properly prepared surface will undoubtedly outperform and remain more durable than a lesser quality or non-suitable product in almost any environment. This is a fact that is proven by conscientious application contractors, homeowners, and manufacturers for many, many years.

    Product Quality

    A wood stain or finish is generally the sum of three parts: a solvent, a resin, and a pigment. Be it water based or oil based, the solvent’s purpose is to evenly distribute the resin and the pigment over the surface of the wood. When a finish is applied to a structure and it has dried, the solvent has evaporated and its work is done. You are now left with a resin and pigment on the surface of the wood. The resin in a finish is the material that carries the pigment and binds it to the surface. The resin also serves as a barrier to the moisture elements of our environment that can bring damage to wood. Performance enhancing additives that add water repellency, mildew/insect resistance, or UV absorbers may also be found in the overall resin technology. The pigments in a stain are what give us the desired color and also what provide almost all of the UV protection. Aside from the resins, pigment represents much of what is being touted as the “solids”. These “solids” are very small microscopic objects that create a barrier between the sun and the wood. Imagine a thick piece of glass or clear plastic suspending some objects like coins or flat rocks. The glass would be the resin, and the coins/rocks would be the pigment.

    Logs behave differently than dimensional lumber or siding. Their mass and their natural physical characteristics naturally make them more vulnerable to “changing”. Logs cut, shaped, and moved from one location or climate to another will eventually adapt to their environment, be it a few feet away or in another state or country. They can twist, settle, shrink, check (crack), and continue to adjust to local humidity levels. All of these factors place a much larger strain on the coatings and sealants used to protect them. High quality products used in the log construction and maintenance industry must use resins that when cured have the ability to flex, adhere, and suspend a sufficient amount of pigments to not only protect the surfaces of the logs, but to protect the resin itself. These resins and this technology are generally not included in the products found on the cheap shelf in the big box stores. The more economical products are not designed to accommodate the needs of log surfaces.

    Surface preparation

    While there are many arguments as to the best and most suitable prep methods, the durability and longevity of a log finish is directly related to its ability to adhere to the surface its being applied to. Power washing the right way can be a sufficient prep method; however has its limits and weaknesses.

  • Power Washing

    To properly power wash a structure, the existing coatings or existing surface damage should be removed to the point a sound and clean surface is reached for the new coating to properly adhere to. Power washing is most suitable for light maintenance and recoating over currently performing previously stained surfaces.

  • Media Blasting

    The ultimate and best method for surface prep is to mechanically remove damaged surface wood or existing non-performing stains through the means of media blasting, sanding, grinding, or brushing with various available equipment. These methods ensure a clean, textured, and sound surface for application of quality stains. Mechanically preparing surfaces is a major step in ensuring the long life and beauty of a log home finish. There is a ton of good information about this provided through most resellers dedicated to the log home market.


    Imagine your log home as a piece of your best furniture. Would you set your grand piano in the driveway and expect the weather to leave it alone? This is one of the best ways to look at your investment. People who have good experiences with finishes are generally following the guidelines being provided, AND they are applying finishes to structures that do a good job of protecting themselves.

    The largest enemies of logs and finishes are:

  • Water
  • Sun
  • Debris
  • Blowing wind that may contain dirt or sand.

    Large overhangs, covered porches, proper water drainage systems, and large surrounding trees all contribute to the success and durability of finishes for log homes.

    Does your house protect itself?

  • Do you have areas where snow piles up?
  • Are you stacking firewood against your home?
  • Do the gutters or drainage systems channel water away from your home?
  • Does water falling from the roof splash off your deck onto your walls?
  • Is your sun exposure on certain walls more than it should be?

    This list can literally be very long, but common sense tending to these areas will make the critical difference in how long your finish will last.


    So how long will your stuff last? Nobody can really answer that question perfectly, but the facts remain. If you invest in a quality product, study and employ the best surface prep methods, and understand or modify the environment for your log structure, you will maximize the life of the product you choose to use. Doing the above will almost certainly double or triple the life of a finish and the beauty of your structure for years to come.

    I was recently in a paint store where I saw a large sign that read, "Only rich people can afford a cheap finish." When you do the math, this is absolutely true. Over time, not adhering to these principals will cost much more money, frustration, and potentially structural damage than is not necessary and completely preventable.

    Scott Stropko

    Contact Us

    Recommended Log Home Stains:

  • High Sierra

  • Capture

  • Cascade

  • Symphony Interior Stain

    Log Home Stain Definitions

    be it water or oil, all stains use some sort of a solvent base who’s primary purpose is to blend and suspend the resin and pigments in such a viscosity allowing us to move the resins and pigments evenly and beautifully over the surfaces we are coating. Most suitable solvents, once applied, will dry away and leave the resins and pigments adhered to the surface to protect the logs.

    All durable protective finishes contain pigments in either a premixed color or may allow for a solvent base to be custom tinted. The pigments in any stain not only determine the finished color desired, but are the element in stains that do most all of the protecting from the damaging UV rays. Clear products do not ever offer long term, low maintenance propositions for any log homes with any kind of exposure to the elements.
    This can also be termed as the polymer or the binder that is responsible for suspending the pigments and making sure they are attached well to the log. Not only do the pigments in a stain protect the underlying wood, they protect the actual resins that suspend them.
    *in a lesser expensive stain, or one with little R&D work, the chance are the stain will not end up being as durable because

    Western Log Home Supply

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    by: Western Log Home Supply
    Sunday, May 24, 2009

    Traveling through Colorado, the keen observer will note that vast areas of the montane forest are covered with trees that have a reddish, rust-colored tint to the foliage. These reddish colored crowns are evidence of the death of the lodgepole pine forest in Colorado. Populations of the mountain pine beetle have exploded over the last decade and it has not been possible to control this spread through thinning of the timber stands or by spraying.

    The mountain pine beetle (Dendroctonus monticolae) will attack trees which are more than 3-inches in diameter. They girdle the tree with their boring into the wood and this prevents the lifeblood of the tree from reaching the crown. They are not like the common termite that eats all of the wood nor does this beetle live in the tree for years on end. They spend the winter in the tree bole and leave in June through August as an adult. In heavily infected stands this life cycle continues as the off spring infest neighboring trees.


    In Colorado, the winters have been unseasonably warm over the last 10 years. This in return has helped the mountain pine beetle increase its populations and spread over wide areas. Presently there are 1.4 million acres infected by the beetle over a forested area of some 22 million acres in the State of Colorado.


    The first “knee jerk” solution to this dilemma is to cut the trees in the infected stands of timber. There are many drawbacks to this solution when one considers the commercial cutting of the dying lodgepole pine.


    1)      The volume of timber affected is so widespread that commercial operations cannot handle the amount of fiber available.

    2)      Much of the timber is of small diameter and thus is really pre-commercial timber. A sawmill cannot log and haul loads of logs into the mill which are 4 to 10 inches in diameter. If all of the trees were in a diameter class of 14 to 24 inches, for instance, the sawmill could cut the logs into various lumber products and make money from the expenditure of their capital.

    3)      During the present recession, the demand for lumber products of all types has decreased precipitously. At the present time most sawmills don’t need yards full of merchantable logs as the markets have dried up.

    4)      When these trees are attacked, the carry spores of a fungus into the tree which results in blue stain. This staining of the wood is desirable in the West for paneling in a home. However, if a mill is sawing logs for grade lumber, then this blue stain is not desirable.

    5)      These vast areas of infected timber could be used for pulpwood, but the Intermountain West does not have pulp mills that could use this wood fiber. The wood would have to be shipped to the Pacific Northwest or even to the Lake States at a high shipping rate. The wood in partially to completely dry when it is harvested so a very large load could be placed on a rail car without and concern with weight. The blue stain wood also increases the absorption of chemicals into the wood fiber and this would decrease the time it would take in the digester at the pulp mill.

    6)      The lodgepole pine would make good posts if they were pressure treated but again we must think of the number of pressure treating plants in the area and the markets available for the finished product.

    7)      Firewood comes to mind, but this “small potatoes” when one considers the amount of acres affected and the limited market for firewood in the 21st Century.

    8)      It has been suggested in the State of Colorado that the sales tax be rescinded on products produced from beetle killed lodgepole pine. However, this will probably be reminiscent of the song from the 1960’s, Mona Lisa: it will just lie there and die there!

    So what will happen if this dying timber resource is not harvested before it becomes unmerchantable? It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that fire will be the final arbiter. Fire has been an ecological factor in the lodgepole pine forests since they first colonized the Intermountain West tens of thousands of years ago. In fact, lodgepole pine depends on fire to maintain its foothold in the mountains. Fire clears out the thick stands of pine and creates factors conducive to the growth of a new stand of timber. The heat from the fire opens the pine cones and a proliferation of seeds will cover the area. This results in “dog hair” stands of pine after a fire which can be in excess of 5,000 stems per acre. Although this life cycle which is dependent of fire was fine thousands of years ago, it is not something that can always be tolerated in modern times with houses and towns being in close proximity to the dying lodgepole pine stands. 

    As one travels through Colorado, dying and dead lodgepole pine is found in close proximity to towns, business, condos, and homes. One lightning strike or ignition source caused by a careless human will wreak havoc on a very large region of northern Colorado. One only needs to think of the Peshtigo, Wisconsin fire, which took place the same time as the Chicago fire, to know what can happen when a forest fire gets a good start. Another large fire in northwestern Montana and northern Idaho was the 1910 burn which devastated the region in which it took place and spread.  When fire hits the region of dying lodgepole pine the news coverage will be great, but at the present time this sleeping monster is mostly unreported except at the local level. The U.S. Forest Service has closed a number of campgrounds at this time due to the fire danger. This should prevent an errant camper from causing a fire but they cannot control lightning hitting a snag or mountain peak.


    1)      Increased harvest is a “no-brainer” but as mentioned earlier, the markets are limited. When one considers the hauling costs, the sales available are not extremely attractive.

    2)      Should the state and federal agencies that own much of this timber, pay mill owners and others a fee for taking it from the forest? They can have the timber as an added incentive, but in this way a large forest fire could probably be averted or kept to a minimum. Why is it that this is not an option but fighting a forest fire with millions of dollars is money well spent?

    3)      When a landowner has noxious weeds on his land, the local governments can have the landowner remove these weeds at his own expense as a public nuisance. Should the local governments compel homeowners to remove this timber from their land and especially around buildings to deter fire spread? This would be considered an action taken for the public good.

    4)      Some policy must be taken soon as the problem is not going away. Each year more timber dies, it becomes drier and less marketable. Sooner or later nature will take its retribution as it has always done in the past. Do you remember the Yellowstone fire back in the 1990s?


    In conclusion I need not reiterate the problem and the imposing danger stalking the mountains of Colorado. What I need to stress is the lack of strong and immediate action by foresters at all levels and local cities and towns in minimizing the danger of fire if they cannot completely eradicate this threat. This treatise is not a call of hysteria but a call for immediate and positive action to remove the fire threat. I am afraid that once again, “after the horse has got out of the barn,” fingers will be pointed at one another as to who was to blame for leaving the barn door open! We don’t need a blue ribbon panel to report on the obvious, we need action for the good of all.

    Along the Arkansas River in Colorado, the tamarisk and Russian Olive are using too much water from the river. This deprives the state of water for irrigation, drinking, flushing toilets, car washes and industry. This problem has been studied for a number of years by various agencies but I have yet to see the tamarisk go the way of the bison. It is till there through drought years and years of plenty. Just study it to death and everyone gets a warm, fuzzy feeling that something is being done. With the state of Colorado in the economic doldrums, as are most states, don’t look for any infusion of money to correct any natural resource problems. Maybe we need another study!

    When the fires move across northern Colorado, all I can say is “I told you so.”

    Clyde Cremer has a BS in Forestry from Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, Texas, and a Masters Degree in Forestry from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, New Haven, CT.  

    Western Log Home Supply

    869 Industrial Blvd.

    Pueblo West, Colorado 81007

    (719) 547-2135

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    by: Western Log Home Supply
    Thursday, March 19, 2009

    Log Jam is the only chinking to hold a 1 hour UL fire rating when applied in accordance with the Fire Resistance Directory Design No. UL519. What does this mean and why is it important?

    What is UL?

    UL stands for "Underwriters Laboratory".

    UL develops standards and test procedures for products, materials, components, assemblies, tools and equipment, chiefly dealing with product safety.

    UL has developed more than 1,000 Standards for Safety, many of which are American National (ANSI) Standards, and evaluates nearly 20,000 types of products. A typica
    l standard for electronic products includes not only requirements for electrical safety, but also spread of fire and mechanical hazards. UL evaluates products for compliance with specific safety requirements. UL certification does not guarantee the product will perform acceptably or that it is safe under all conditions (such as product misuse).

    Why was a certification needed?

    The rebirth of the log industry in North America could be described in a number of terms. “Easy” would not be one of them.

    Log home companies and their product suppliers have constantly faced resistance from:

    • Architects
    • Building code inspectors
    • Loan officers
    • Governmental agencies steeped in the doctrines of conventional “stick” construction.

    The fledgling industry has often found itself in the frustrating position of being condemned not by facts but by biases.

    One such bias has been that water-based chinking materials used to seal the courses of log walls could never pass a one-hour fire test.

    The experts felt that since many of the compounds used to make water-based chinking decompose at temperature far below the 1700 degrees required by the test, a chinked log wall could not survive it.

    This belief persisted in spite of the fact that a one-hour fire test had never been attempted on any log wall system, chinked or otherwise.

    The end result of this widely shared view was that many log projects were held up or stopped completely since most major building codes required a one-hour fire rating in critical areas such as between the garage and house or in commercial structures.

    Often, log home customers were told that their log partitions would have to be covered by drywall in the critical areas.

    Certainly, this tended to dampen enthusiasms for solid timber walls.

    Now, a test conducted by Underwriters Laboratories has laid this belief to rest. Recently, it tested a complete chinked wall system which passed the one-hour fire test. The chinking compound under scrutiny was Sashco Sealants Log Jam Chinking compound.

    It cost Sashco, a Colorado-based company, about $10,000 and months of research and testing to perfect the formula for Log Jam Chinking. But the company believed an answer had to be found to the problem.

    Preliminary Research

    According to company officials Sashco began with a pragmatic “back yard” approach. A miniature log wall section was constructed out of 4” fence posts. In a crude simulation of the one-hour test, they exposed the section directly to flame from a propane torch for one hour.

    Researchers quickly discovered that they could not prevent decomposition of the chinking material. So, instead, they found a way to make the decomposition work in their favor. They reasoned that if they could not get the chinking to stay put and not melt away, the burned exterior might act as an insulator in much the same way as the charred surface of wood provides a thin barrier between the flames and the material behind it.

    They arrived at a formula which actually formed small “heat shields” as it charred. It gave an unexpected bonus in that it also expanded as temperatures increased. This further protected the integrity of the log joint.

    Funds were then made available for the Underwriters Laboratory test which essentially was to certify the results found by the Sashco researchers. Certification by UL meant that building inspection could be passed by log walls using Log Jam Chinking. Correspondingly, this would expand the availability of log structures for many commercial and residential applications where one-hour fire ratings were required.

    The Underwriters Testing Procedure

    The UL test involved the use of a giant furnace at the Underwriters Northbrook, Illinois laboratory.

    • A 10 foot high by 10 foot wide wall of 9 inch round lodge pole pine logs was constructed leaving one inch gaps between the logs.
    • Round backer rods were then fixed in the joints and Log Jam Chinking was tooled over the top to a minimum depth of ½ inch.
    • The wall was framed in brick and insulation to insure that no flames passed through the assembly which was not a result of wall failure.
    • Because it was felt that any residual water left might artificially aid the fire resistance of the chinking material, the assembly was left to stand for 30 days t allow all of the water to leave the Log Jam Chinking for a thorough cure.
    • The test wall was then rolled into the furnace where it was exposed to 68 gas jets throwing flames which raised the surface temperature to 1000 degrees F in 5 minutes, 1300 degrees F. in ten minutes and, ultimately 1700 degrees F. in one hour.
    • The unexposed side was left at room temperature.
    • After the test the wall was rolled out of a blast furnace and exposed immediately to a blast of water form a 2-1/2 inch fire hose, exposing it to “impact, erosion and cooling from a fire house stream” of 30 pounds per square inch of force. Of course, as UL officials explained, water could not be allowed to spray through the wall.

    Pass Requirements

    • The chinked joint obviously could not fail allowing fire to pass through the wall.
    • In order to pass the one-hour fire test, the unexposed side of the wall could only climb 250 degrees F. above its starting temperature.
    • Water could not be allowed to spray through the wall after the spray test.

    In other words, the Log Jam Chinking had to be a good insulator as well as being fire resistant.


    The investment Sashco made in time and money paid off. In July 1986 Sashco received the full UL test report. Not only did its Log Jam Chinking pass all aspects of the one-hour fire test, the unexposed side showed a rise in temperature of only 160 degrees F., qualifying it as an excellent insulator.

    Log Jam Chinking is now the only answer to a one-hour fire wall needed” said one Sashco official, “unless, of course, you’d like drywall over your logs”

    Information Courtesy of Sashco Inc.

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    by: Western Log Home Supply