Do you like to create things for your log home?
I would bet that the vast majority of log homes have log railings on the porch and stairs. It is hard to beat the look and functionality of these accents. Additionally, many of us DIY types like to create furniture and other decorative items for use around the house. This photo shows a log gate I built to keep our pooch on the deck and out of trouble. (see original project article)
To build such things you must have the right tools. A mortise is easy enough to create just by having the right size drill bit. However, when cutting tenons and especially shoulder tenons, having the right tool can save hours of work and the finished product looks so much better.
You can cut a tenon using numerous techniques. From using a drawknife to shape the tenon by eye or rotating your post over a table saw blade removing wood slowly. Such methods work, but neither will produce the look and finish of a tenon cutter attached to an electric drill.
I happen to own a few tenon cutters of various cutting diameters and from different manufacturers. The prices for these tools increase substantially as the cutting diameter increases. If your project requires a lot of cutting as in the case of building a railing, I recommend the Lumber Jack Tools Industrial Series of tenon cutters. As the name implies, these are industrial-rated and will stand up to cutting scores of posts before requiring maintenance to re-sharpen or adjust the cutting blade.
Tenon Cutters for DIY Projects
For smaller jobs, I highly recommend the Veritas tenon cutters. These are excellent tools and available in most any cutting diameter you will need. Of the two manufacturers, I prefer the Lumber Jack Tenon cutters as that just do the job right and will last for decades.
Are you in the process of building a log home?
Most of us choose a rural location for our log homes and that means electrical power can sometimes not be as reliable as it is in the more populated areas. As a result, you may be looking for an alternative solution or a back-up system. If this describes your situation, I just received a press release today about a product that you may want to check out.
Solar Powered Pumping System
Franklin Electric has a new product, the SubDrive SolarPAK, a complete, one-box, system solution that provides the pump components needed to build a solar powered water well system. Designed specifically for pumping clean water using a renewable energy supply, SubDrive SolarPAK includes a solar-powered controller, a submersible pump and motor, and a flow switch, in ratings from 5 to 90 gpm. Using a solar PV array as the input power source, SubDrive SolarPAK is ideal for use in applications where traditional grid power is unavailable, unreliable, or undesirable.
System-specific support software available on its solar-dedicated website, www.franklin-electric.com/solar. The Solar Selector allows users to input simple location information and water requirements to determine which SubDrive SolarPAK fits the application. The Solar Selector also provides recommendations for panel array configuration based on user-entered panel characteristics.
I have not investigated this product, nor am I being compensated in any way, my purpose in sharing this with you is in hopes of offering a solution to a common issue related to log homes or rural cabins. Let me know if you decide to use this or have another solution to share with our readers. Thanks.
More info, visit: http://solar.franklin-electric.com/
The great outdoors & comfy indoors!
We spend a lot of time talking about log homes, wood, corner styles, building challenges and virtually everything associated with the process of building a log home or log cabin. I will admit that we don’t talk enough about other things that can make our home unique or more enjoyable. With that in mind, I asked my friend Evan Moore to tell us about his company and what they do. His company, Superior Stoneworks, is a designer and builder of Masonry Heaters, Wood Fired Ovens, Masonry Cookstoves and Outdoor Kitchens.
Superior Stoneworks‘ mission is to create structures that will stand the test of time, respect the environment by using a natural renewable fuel, and to regain quality of life by taking the time to do things properly and to share them with others.
Specializing in construction of masonry heat acclimating masses; we design and build Finnish contraflow masonry heaters, wood fired pizza ovens, masonry cookstoves, and direct and indirect passive solar heating masses. We also enjoy building outdoor masonry fireplaces, kitchens, patio’s and barbeques, along with many types of decorative masonry, tile, and landscaping.
Masonry Heaters are efficient, clean burning heat-storing fireplaces. They produce a gentle long-term radiant heat, from a minimal amount of daily fuel. A heater can be fired once, twice, or even three times daily as necessary. A fire cycle will contain around 20 to 45 pounds of wood depending on burn frequency, and when fired properly will combust at a rate of 80 to 90% efficient.
Masonry heaters can be made with built-in masonry bakeovens, great for entertaining guests with homemade specialties like pizza, casseroles and breads. They can be built with a raised hearth where fire exhaust gases are routed, creating a heating sitting bench great for warming up after a long day of winter fun. They can also be built in conjunction with masonry cookstoves, which along with cooking can act as a heating source on mild days, and likewise a source for heating domestic hot water.
Wood Fired Ovens
Superior Stoneworks constructs Wood Fired Ovens using 100% organic materials from the foothills of the Rhone Valley in France. Wood Fired Ovens or Brick Ovens are exceptional in their ability to render heat by radiation. Brick ovens are typically shaped in a dome form, which creates a uniform reflective surface perfect for baking. Precise sizing of the oven door opening and dome height are crucial to proper respiration during the firing process.
Our ovens are very efficient in that they rapidly store heat, and evenly release it over a long period of time. A brick oven fired in the evening can be ready for baking within 45 minutes, and could hold enough heat to bake bagels the following morning. You can bake breads, crispy pizza crusts, and roasted meats right on the hearth tiles.
Around one hour following firing your brick oven, you can bake cakes and risen dough products like croissants. Aside from the outstanding cuisine wood fired ovens are very fulfilling in that they attract your attention. From their appealing design, color, and wood fired aroma, to watching your pizza’s cook and taking them out at just the right moment, a wood fired oven can be a very satisfying addition to your home or business.
To learn more about Superior Stoneworks and view past project photos please visit us on the web at: http://www.superiorstoneworksia.com, call 515-313-1700 or email at email@example.com.
If you’ve considered renting or buying a log cabin, you’ve probably given considerable thought into where you want to spend your time. Not only that, you’re also considering how you want to spend your time. And if you’re heading away from urban or suburban life for a few days or an entire season, or even longer, how you’re going to spend your time is likely also on your mind.
So, where are the greatest places for living the log cabin lifestyle? Well, it depends solely on your tastes, preferences, budget, and goals. People tend to know what they want, or at least have a list of their idealized cabin. While the U.S. is packed with a diversity of amazing and unique places to visit or settle down in (a diversity that is arguably shrinking), what defines “great” can depend on what you’re looking for.
If a view is what you’re after, and it’s always high on many people’s lists. Some want to look out and see the ocean. Others want the picturesque mountains. A few prefer the sparse desert. And, of course, everything in between. Tastes vary so dramatically, but luckily there’s a place for everybody. It’s just a matter of finding it. Want a coastal view? Try the central Oregon Coast. It’s close to civilization, yet features an air of seclusion, especially the region between Lincoln City and Florence.
Many people choose the cabin lifestyle not for the views or the novelty of escaping for a few days, but because they want to live in seclusion. They want to be more self-reliant and in control of their own individual lives with limited or no influence or intrusion from others (others, which can be defined by a great many things). One great place to live at a distance? Central Idaho, near Stanley in the Salmon River Mountains may be a great destination. Luckily, the whole Rocky Mountain region is dotted with vey secluded locals, so if that’s your goal, it’s usually one that’s very achievable.
There are number of choices when it comes to climate. Are you looking for heat, cold, rain, snow, or a sweet 75°F? There’s a place for you somewhere, literally anywhere between Alaska, to New Mexico, to Florida. People desperate for that dry heat head to the Southwest, usually New Mexico or Arizona, and find a place in the desert between the metropolitan areas of Phoenix and Tucson or Albuquerque and Sante Fe.
Activities are also a major defining point of what makes a place great. Fishing, hiking, wildlife observation, stargazing, napping, writing, or whatever else is on your mind, there’s a place for you. Cody, Wyoming and the surrounding area makes for a great “activity” location. It’s close to basically everything in the second sentence. It’s situated next to Yellowstone National Park, plus the town of Cody always has something interesting going on.
David Bryce is an online publisher for Thousand Hill’s Cabins in Branson, MO. He blogs on the topics of golf, travel, and vacations.
Isolated in the Wilderness?
Today I have a guest article from a fellow whose family is faced with the same challenges many of us face when we head out into the wilderness for a family outing. Heaven forbid if there is no electricity or cell service, but isn’t that the purpose? Daniel Swinton is an interior decorator and freelance writer. He specializes in cabin decor. When he’s not decorating for his clients, Swinton finds time to perform in local improv troupes and to hike on his favorite trails. Here’s some great suggestions from Dan.
We’re addicted to the social media craze and the era of technology. Our Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Google+, and whatever other social network you’re include in consumes our lives and leaves many of us detached from the actual world. This is no more evident than when you remove a person from their comfort zone and retreat to a secluded cabin without electricity or cable television. We took our kids to visit one of these cabins at the base of the Rocky Mountains last year. My wife and I worried about keeping the kids occupied and happy during these times, as we assumed we wouldn’t have phone signal or 3G connectivity. We brainstormed for a couple weeks thinking of all the activities we could do without electronics or internet, so here were a few of the our ideas when staying in a cabin.
Last week, I watched my son play Foosball – on his PlayStation 3. Have we since lost our desire to play games that are not digital? Nowadays you can play Monopoly on your smartphone, Poker with a friend in Tokyo, or crossword puzzles with friends all without lifting a pencil. My wife and I assumed none of this was available, so naturally we thought of cabin activities that would not require any electronics. We qualified these activities into a few categories. The first are games:
- Board games
- Jigsaw puzzle
Games are a knee-jerk idea for having fun in a cabin. We bought three board games: Clue, Monopoly, and Chutes and Ladders. This way, we capture all different age groups. Monopoly can often be too competitive for certain situations, so we changed it up a bit by providing a more childish game (Chutes and Ladders) and a game for intermediate age groups (Clue). Cards are another easy-to-pack option. There are many games to play with cards depending on the mood and how many players want to play.
- Truth or dare
- Crafts (make bracelets)
- Chat, tell stories
Games aren’t the only activities to partake in while staying in a cabin. Listening to some music can really set the mood of a good night. If you are lucky enough to have electricity flowing to your cabin, plug in the jukebox or stereo and play some music. Not too loud, you don’t want to turn it into some European dance party, but just something light so set the mood right. Country music works for us well, it is fun to listen to and makes us feel like real country-folk, even though we are nothing close to it. Crank up the tunes and do some crafts together. Our family likes to make beaded bracelets (I’ve got three girls), but really anything is possible. We’ve also really been into making cabin décor to spice up our second home.
- Build snow fort, snowman, snow slide, snow tunnels.
- Get active (run, walk, play catch)
- Discover/Study wildlife
With certain activities, they require the right weather. If staying somewhere over Christmas where it snows, build a snowman or construct a snow fort. The kids can all get into it and after finished building the family can engage in a snow fight or something. If the weather is warm you can go for a run, take a walk with family or friends, or go out and explore some wildlife. Make it a game; whoever can spot the first deer gets 4 points, the first to spot a rabbit gets 3, and the first to spot an eagle gets 8. Going for a run can be quite pleasuring as well. Morning runs just as the sun comes up can be absolutely beautiful, while burning off extra calories as well.
The great thing about cabin life is that it takes creativity. Keeping oneself occupied for the entirety of the trip can be troubling due to our overwhelming dependence on social media and technology. But with a few great ideas, a cabin trip can be one of the most memorable experiences of the year.
What do you plan for such situations?
Share you ideas for a fun family get-away without electricity. Do you have any special family secrets? Add your comments below, thanks.