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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
    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
    Saturday, December 20, 2008
    With its thick walls of solid wood, a log home is one of the best-insulated buildings in which you could choose to live. But the nature of a log home's construction also presents a unique challenge: the opportunity for air to pass through the gaps between the logs.

    Fortunately, air infiltration is a challenge that's easily met, thanks to caulking, the general term for the seals that are introduced between logs. With the right caulking method, or "caulk joint" as it is generally termed, a log home can achieve thermal efficiencies to rival those of any building method.

    Two key elements are essential to effective caulking. First, the caulk used must form a "wet" seal, one that adheres to the wood surfaces rather than just filling the gaps between them. And second, it needs to be elastic (a quality sometimes referred to as "memory"), either stretching or compressing as the shapes of the logs themselves subtly move through natural expansion or contraction.

    With those elements met, four principles govern the most efficient caulk joint design: caulk depth, points of adhesion, a caulk "well," and the conditions under which the caulk is applied. Each principle is fairly simple to grasp, and understanding them all will help anyone buying, building, or restoring a log home make the right energy-efficient decisions.

    Principle 1: Apply the Right Caulk Depth

    In general, the depth of caulk in a joint is more important than the width of the caulk's application. Why? Put as simply as possible, the most critical factor is that the caulk have enough mass at any given point to absorb any movement in the logs.
    As a rule, whatever its width, the depth of a caulk joint does not need to be any more than 1/2 inch or any less than 1/4 inch. (See figure 1, which illustrates how a thinner cross-section results in less stress on the joint.). Also, a deeper joint is preferable to one that is too thin.

    Principle 2: Provide Two Caulk Adhesion Points

    Caulk works best when it adheres only to two elements, namely the two logs between which it is applied, so that the seal will hold if and when any movement occurs in the logs. (See figure 2, which illustrates how this principle applies whether the joint is being stretched or compressed.)

    Adhesion to three or more points, by contrast, would cause the caulk to be pulled in multiple directions, thus increasing the likelihood that the seal will break away from one or more of the points of adhesion. (See figure 3, which illustrates how such ruptures can occur under three-point adhesion.) Placing a backing rod inside the well

    With this principle in mind, any backing materials included in a caulk joint should provide a surface to which the caulk does not adhere. Doing so allows the caulk to remain at its most elastic.

    Principle 3: Create a Caulk Well

    Superior caulks have enough elasticity to absorb 25 to 50 percent of the total movement in the joint they fill. To allow for that movement, caulk joints require "wells," spaces that allow the joint to absorb that movement.

    For a reliable seal, the caulk well should be two to four times larger than the movement that is anticipated for that joint, thus reflecting the 25 to 50 percent absorption properties of the caulk being used. (See figure 4, which illustrates how an anticipated 1/4-inch movement calls or a 1-inch caulk well.)

    Obviously, the greater the movement expected in a particular joint, the larger its caulk well should be. Log homeowners can also take comfort from the fact that high-quality caulks currently being sold are capable of absorbing far greater movement than that for which they are rated.

    Principle 4: Apply Caulk Under Optimum Conditions

    Because logs expand or contract in response to temperature and humidity, the climate conditions at the time caulk joints are applied will affect the seal formed. On a very hot, humid day, for example, a joint will be at its smallest, since wood expands under such conditions; so caulk applied at such a time will later be subject to the maximum stretching. By contrast, a joint will be at its largest on the coldest, driest of days; so caulk applied then will later be subject to the maximum compression. (See figure 5, which illustrates the tension on caulk joints under both extreme and average temperature conditions.)

    With this principle in mind, it is wise to select a caulk with properties that best suit the range of local climate conditions, and to apply it at the most stable, least extreme point in the climate cycle. But smart log home builders will also apply caulk at optimum times; for example, sealing caulk joints on the cooler side of a home will work most effectively on a warmer day, while those on the side of a home that gets more direct and prolonged exposure to sunlight would best be sealed on a cooler day.

    By aiming to apply all four principles described above, you'll maximize the effectiveness of your caulk joint seal. That may require you and your builder or contractor to implement sealing techniques that go beyond the most obvious and simple solutions. (Figures 6 and 7, for example, illustrate how two logs conventionally sealed with caulk applied at their meeting point lead to a triangular, three-point adhesion that can easily rupture; but adding a caulk well with a backing rod to the same log cross-section results in much more secure two-point adhesion.)

    Keep these guidelines in mind, and you'll thus enjoy the maximum benefits of log homes' superior insulation and energy-saving capabilities.

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    by: Western Log Home Supply
    Sunday, November 30, 2008

    During construction the logs can become stained from rain hitting the logs and leaving water spots as well as having black stains develop from water hitting the spikes or lag screws used in construction and leaving unsightly black stains on the logs and other wood. This can be easily removed by using several methods:

    Oxalic Acid

    For black nail stains you can use oxalic acid and water. A cup of oxalic acid in a gallon of warm water is the best mixture for normal stains. If you have a few stains, just rub the solution on with a soft rag and presto..they are gone. If you have a lot of stains or want to brighten up the logs prior to staining the house, you can use a hand, pump sprayer for the job. This solution is poison so keep away from any living thing. Also use eye protection and a face mask to filter out any of the chemicals. This chemical can be obtained at most home centers and goes by the name of "wood bleach".

    Bleach and Water

    Another way to brighten up and clean up logs or deck prior to finishing is to use a mixture of half house hold bleach and half water. This can be sprayed on with a hand held pump sprayer and worked in with a brush on tough spots. Never ever try to make your own super stain remover and mix oxalic acid (wood bleach) and house hold bleach together. This will give off a tremendous volume of noxious fumes that can be damaging to your lungs.

    Sodium Percarbonate (CPR)

    CPR is used to clean and brighten uncoated wood that is dirty, faded or gray from UV exposure. Mix CPR to the brightening solution strength for use on new construction just prior to staining to remove dirt and grime from logs during the building process and to break down mill glaze. Mixed at the log cleaning solution strength—use for periodic cleaning of stained logs to extend the life of your stain. It can be applied eaisly by using a garden sprayer.

    Phosphoric Acid

    Phosphoric Acid is a liquid concentrate for cleaning log and wood surfaces. It commonly goes by the nameLog Wash. It can be used as maintenance cleaner or to prepare the surface of wood for a new coat of stain or topcoat.

    The exterior surfaces of a log home are a settling ground for dust, pollen and other airborne contaminants that dull the surface and encourage mold growth. A light cleaning once or twice a year will keep a home looking beautiful and helps prolong the life of the exterior wood finish.

    For preparing the surface of bare or finished wood or for a new coat of stain or topcoat, Log Wash removes dirt, grime, pollen and surface mold and mildew without harming the wood or the finish. As opposed to bleach solutions, Log Wash does not upset the natural pH balance of the wood, thus preventing wood fiber damage and iron tannate stains. It can be applied easily by using a garden sprayer. 

    To learn more about log home and wood cleaners please visit our website at www.westernloghomesupply.com  or give us a call at (719) 547-2135

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    by: Western Log Home Supply
    Monday, November 24, 2008

    The rotten log dilema

    Wood only rots between a moisture content of 30 to 60%. Thus if you find a log that is rotten, it is due to the wood/log getting too wet. Generally this results from a few basic causes of water reaching the logs in fairly large amounts. Many times I have talked with people over the telephone and told them their problem without them telling me much about their home.

    There are many reasons or wood to rot:

    • The roof is the umbrella that protects the home from the elements. Thus minimal overhangs results in rain drenching the logs.
    • The lack of rain gutters and down spouts allows the water to run off of the roof and be blown onto the logs by the wind. In many cases rain running off of the roof will hit the open deck and splash water against the logs.
    • Finally bushes planted too close to the home can also divert rain water against the logs and this will leave the logs damp for some time as the bushes keep the sun from hitting the logs and drying them.

    Repairing Rotten Logs:

    If you have logs which are rotting (generally the lower courses of logs), then you must repair or replace them and then be prepared to take care of the root cause of water saturating the logs.

    • If the logs have some surface rot, you can chisel out the rotten part of the log down to good solid wood. 
    • Then drench the problem area with a wood preservative such as Penetreat. This wood preservative would be the water soluble type which is a borate compound. 
    • Then use wood epoxy to cover the area in need of repair.

    Replacing Rotten Logs: 

    • First obtain a suitable replacement from a supplier that handles the same log type as found in you home. www.WesternLogHomesuppy.com can manufacture replacement logs for your home.  Just give us a call and we would be happy to talk with you.
    • Then cut out the offending log using a saber saw with a blade made for cutting metal. This will cut through the spikes or log screws holding the logs together. You will then need to remove the rotten logs using a chain saw and wrecking bar. If the log is badly rotten then this job should not be hard to do.
    • If the logs are tongue and groove type then the new logs will have to have the tongue removed on top of the new log so that it can slipped into the space left by the old log. It can be attached to the solid logs of the home with the use of plated deck screws. 
    • The final touch is to use a good grade of chinking to seal the joints between the new logs and the existing logs in the log home.
    • Now apply a wood preservative to the affected area (preferably the whole home) and then refinish the home.

    As was mentioned earlier, now take care of the problem that resulted in the logs getting wet in the first place!

    For more information about replacing rotten logs, chinking material, stain or log cabin kits contact Clyde at Westernloghomesupply.com toll free at 719-547-2135.

    Westernloghomesupply.com is a distributor of log home chinking, cabin caulking, log stains, wood finishes, knotty pine log cabin siding, replacement house logs & complete log home kits.

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    by: Western Log Home Supply