The bunk house became the test project for the house build. The Ponderosa Pines were harvested from dead stand beetle kill trees on the property. The trees were dead stand for about 2 years as a result of the Rocky Mountain Pine Beetle infestation that swept through this area in about 2010. I constructed a log peeling station in close proximity to the bunkhouse foundation, and peeled approximately 80 logs. These were allowed to dry for an additional year before construction started.
The bunk house build enabled me to put into practice the techniques that are ultimately being employed to construct the house. I received practical experience from pouring the foundation, fastening the sill logs, stacking the logs, framing out the floor and roof, batching and constructing the horizontal mortar chink joints, installing the door, windows, hardwood floor, and tongue and groove ceiling.
With this particular style of log building, there is no corner notching, joinery, or scribed log connections that you typically see used in log homes. The load path from the roof to the footing passes through the walls and ridge pole support logs (RPSL’s). The wall logs are secured and connected by vertical 1/2-inch rebar pins that extend from the top of the upper log to the middle of the lower log every 2-feet on center. This occurs on every log course. There are also horizontal rebar pins at each corner, every course in elevation.
The beauty and practicality of this type of log connection is the load path is through the vertical rebar pins, not wood on wood contact. There is virtually no settling with this type of construction. As the butt and pass logs shrink, they maintain their horizontal axis since the load is transferred through the vertical rebar pins.
A conventional corner-notched and scribed-fit 2-story structure can be expected to settle 6 to 9 inches depending on the species and moisture of the logs. It is extremely expensive to build and provide maintenance for this much log movement. With the butt and pass style of building that I am using, log settlement of the planned 2-story home is expected to be minimal.