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HAND-PEELED OR MILLED: (or anything in between). Hand-crafted log homes are just that: logs are cut and peeled by hand with a draw-knife, which creates a uneven surface along log. For an even more rustic look, some of bark is left intact. If log is milled, machine takes off layer of bark, leaving a fairly smooth surface to log. This can be sanded to a fine finish, if you have enough time or money. Sometimes, manufacturer might take that milled log and run a draw-knife across it to make it look peeled. The type of finish is totally up to buyer.
CHINKING vs. CAULKING: Chinking is historically done to a hand-crafted log home in order to keep wind from howling in between logs. It looks like a broad white band between log courses. When cut by hand, logs can be scribed so that an upper log is shaped to match contours of log beneath it. However, not all logs are scribed; some just rest atop log below, creating large gaps in uneven surface. Either way, handcrafted log homes tend to be chinked, which was historically a mix of clay, sand, lime, mud, thatch, you name it, but is now an acrylic compound which expands and contracts with wood. Some homes still require chinking, and others use chinking for aesthetic purposes.
Many milled log homes are actually caulked with an acrylic product designed for log homes. This comes out of a caulking gun, and creates a neat, finished look as well as protecting seams from infiltration. We tend to caulk milled homes or do nothing at all between log courses, because joinery system is so tight that this step is not mandatory.
Every log home is unique, and each has its own personality. It's amazing how many different construction systems are available to create homes out of logs, and every style has its own characteristics. But overall, no matter what your log home looks like, cozy warmth of logs cannot be duplicated in any other kind of house.
Mercedes Hayes is a Hiawatha Log Home dealer and also a Realtor in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. She designed her own log home which was featured in the 2004 Floor Plan Guide of Log Home Living magazine. You can learn more about log homes by visiting www.JerseyLogHomes.com.