Montana Log Homes

Log Homes & Log Cabins FOR SALE

Log Home Tools (& rustic furniture) DIY Tools

Hand Tools Tenon Cutters Mortising Adhesives Books/Videos

Drawknife for peeling bark from logs


When you live in a log home, there are always repairs or projects that require tools not normally found in the standard woodworker’s tool chest; especially hand tools such as a drawknife, spokeshave or tenon cutters. Additionally, many of us DIY-types like to save money by doing many of the tasks that would typically be subbed-out to a contractor such as building a railing or adding log accents, etc. The one truism that never changes is to “have the right tool for the job”. You can’t drill a hole with a pocket knife.

Hand Tools – Drawknives

(Click either drawknife for more information)

Ox-Head 10-Inch Straight Drawknife

Log railings and much rustic furniture are typically available in two varieties, clean peeled or skip-peeled. Clean peeled logs have all of the bark and sub-bark removed, but the trails left by the drawknife used to “shave” the log remain visible – not sanded away. This results in a clean looking log with visible tracks left by the drawknife or spokeshave (a smaller version of the drawknife).  A drawknife is a ‘must have’ tool to build log furniture or make log railing repairs.

Ox Head Drawknife

Ox-Head 8-3/4-Inch Curved Drawknife

Skip-peeling does not remove all of the inner bark. A skip-peeled log will have patches of the dark interior bark exposed, which produces a more rustic look and feel. Your taste, or the preferences of the builder dictates the peeling method used to remove the bark. Peeling has no structural consequence on the finished piece.


Mortiseing Tools

mortise and tenon example

Building log railings, accents and rustic furniture is as much an art as a science. Shaping logs and creating strong joints require special joinery methods outside the field of typical home building. There are special tools available to perform these particular tasks. On the following pages, we have the most common tools and miscellaneous supplies you might need when doing your next DIY project.

16-Pc. Forstner Bit Set

16pc. Forstner Bit Set with Wood CaseDrill clean mortise holes in any wood with this mortising drill bit set in a wood storage case. Hardened, tempered steel means fast clean holes. Sizes to 3/8 inch 16 piece assortment from 1/4 inch to 2-1/8 inch Set includes: 1/4-in. 3/8-in. 1/2-in. 5/8-in. 3/4-in. 7/8-in. 1-in. 1-1/8-in. 1-1/4-in. 1-3/8-in. 1-1/2-in. 1-5/8-in. 1-3/4-in. 1-7/8-in. 2-in. 2-1/8-in. More info on mortising drills…

Log Home TipDIY can be EZ

There are many projects that require the expertise of a professional… i.e. most of us would not attempt to repair a damaged roof.  However, smaller jobs like building a gate to match your log railing is not out of reach of the typical DIYer.  Where most people fail is when they don’t have enough information, or the right tools for the job at hand.

There is nothing you can do that is not fully documented online. A quick search on any project topic will deliver in-depth DIY help and complete instructions. Once you have obtained the project guidelines, make a list of the materials and supplies that will be needed. Then – review the tool requirements. If you need a specialty tool that you don’t want to buy because it may be a one-time purchase, remember the cost savings of doing the job yourself. As mentioned above, buying a tenon cutter to build or repair a railing is a whole lot less expensive than hiring a company to perform the task.

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Rockler Log Tenon Maker

Learn more about the Rockler Log Tenon Maker