Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What is a hand hewn log home


The beauty of hand worked logs and natural stone cant be beat

Q and A 
by: C.Reinke 
Log Home Building Information
  • Is it more expensive? Yes
  • If so Why?Lets just say, generally speaking, when they are hand hewed, it is almost like building the log structure twice. 
  • What does that mean? Because to properly fit the logs and form them together, you want to set it up there, each log up, and scribe them with a pencil above and below and each butt end to form each log to each other.  At this point , you take the log down, and hand hewed  all the lead lines off, up to where you scribed the lines. So it has a flow, as to leaving big rustic edges and knots.
  • Does this take more time? In a milled log home , every log is already milled to fit each one, so there is no scribing and then taking it down and hand hewing. 
  • What tools are involved? A hew knife is a two handle craving knife, which you pull towards you.

  • Is it hard to use, does it require skill? It first of all must be very sharp, and yes it takes an element of skill and definitely strength, and some endurance . Like going threw knots.
  • Is this method done much any more? There are a few craftsmen left.
  • Why is not used anymore? Well it is becoming a lost art and the experience from it taking so much longer.
  • Are there any befits over a factory milled to hand hewn, why would any one choose this? Because a hand hewen custom crafted log home , definitely looks very different than a milled log home. It is strictly up to the eye of the beholder, what look they are trying to achieve. Some people really like the rustic look.
  • Do you? Would I put up some of my rustic log homes over a milled log home? Do doubt.  Atheistically I feel it is superior. The only thing that would deter me is the cost and or time.

Rustic log home, I built where the movie On  Golden Pond was filmed. State of New Hampshire, Squam Lake
  • Are you saying that because you personally like the look of a rustic log home, or are there other features, such as quality involved? Well you have the consistency from a milled log home, easier sealing  than what you can get from a hand hewed home. I have to admit I am one of those who really appreciates the rustic look. I did start with rustic hand hewn homes and this probably plays into it.
  • Do you still do rustic hand hewn homes? I haven't done one in years, it is just not very common any more, but would I , absolutely.   
  • What is the comparison to your building costs of a milled home to what you might charge for hand hewn? Apples to apples, same floor plan, and species of wood,I would charge $35.00 on outside perimeter/lineal foot on the log erection.
  • Why does species of wood matter? Typical hand hewed logs are white cedar. If you gave me a hardwood, such as oak, that would cost more, and is not practical.
  • Why do they use Northern White cedar? It is a softer wood and easier to hand hew. It also has the highest insulation wood value. 
  • Would you build a hand hewed home? Yes, I find both rustic and milled gorgeous, I love log homes. Also It would depend on location, some places really merits a rustic log home, I would build a milled log home in town, where as I would not a rustic log home.
  •  I heard of rustic look , milled log home , what is that? It is when they take a milled log and take a tool that is like a form of a hatchet or craving and putting that look on it. Really they hack the putting the marks on the exterior of the log,see my video showing how this is done at the Hochstetler mill.  
 Milled log in the  Hochsetler mill, where you can see Joe Hochstetler putting a hand hewed look on prepared logs.


    I personally love the look of a hand hewn log home.I  recently found these pictures in my file box . As I said I have been building for at least 20 years, and these pictures bear that statement out, back before my hair turned its stately gray!
    I have been thinking lately that so many people, with the internet can say, hey I have all this experience and therefore you can trust me to build your home. For instance, the fact that I was invited to extreme home make over. Really couldn't any fraud or desperate man/individual make statements like these on a blog, over the phone or what not.What proof do you have that it is or is not true? In my building career I have encountered my fair share of characters...I remember the pathological liars, cheats and extreme exaggerators, none of which I am. but how can you as a homeowner know? Well I think that posting my work on line for you to see if pretty effective.
    Mike Hompertz and Jim Boardman

    I have oodles of pictures! All in boxes and not in digital format. I scanned these images for you...they were taken back in the 1980s! I will continue to scan my older work. It is my portfolio after all. I hope you enjoy these images, I sure loved working on this log home.

    Mike Hompertz in Wisconsin working on a hand hewn log home

    Great wood log home hand hewn built by Patriot Log home builders . Home with front prow in New Richman Wisconsin
    Back of Great woods log home showing hand hewn logs built by patriot log home builders

    This was many years ago, we love building without shirts on.

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