Monday, June 3, 2019

Replacement Axe Handle Measurements

Hults Bruk Replacement Hickory Handles (a.k.a. haft or helve) for Hults Bruk Axes.

As the saying goes with several variations, "This axe has been in my family for generations. The handle has only been replaced twice and the head replaced once." If the handle is replaced, is it the same axe? How about the head? Well, either way, there comes a time in an axe's life when it needs a new handle (also called a half, or helve).

There are also times when a haftless axe head is found at a flea market, in an old barn, or somewhere else treasures are discovered. In that case, restoring an old axe is a rewarding project that leaves one with a quality tool. For finding an appropriately sized handle for an axe head, the measurements for eye length and eye width are needed.

Hults Bruk handles designed to fit Hults Bruk Axes can also be used to replace old or missing handles on old axe heads.  After measuring the eye width and eye length, the chart below can help find an appropriately sized haft to fit the axe head.

Name & Length Eye Width Eye Length
Akka - 24" 15 mm 42 mm
Almike - 16" 15 mm 42 mm
Arvika - 32" 23 mm 63 mm
Atran - 32" 23 mm 63 mm
Jonaker - 9.4" 15 mm 42 mm
Kalix - 28" 20 mm 50 mm
Kisa - 26" 20 mm 50 mm
Motala - 30" 23 mm 63 mm
Tibro - 20" 20 mm 50 mm

Hults Bruk handles are available at

Saturday, April 6, 2019

The Old Forestry Mixture

The old forestry mixture, as some have called it, is a formula for a penetrating oil stain developed by the Forest Products Laboratory in the 1950's. Other than the old forestry mixture, it's more formerly know as the Forest Products Laboratory Natural Finish. The FPL Natural Finish was introduced as follows:

"Many homeowners want a finish that retains a part of the natural color and the grain of new wood or one that enhances the rustic appearance of lumber or plywood. The commercially available natural finishes that form a clear film, such as varnish, have been so short-lived, however, that they are not recommended for exterior use. One durable natural finish is the penetrating stain, developed at the Forest Products Laboratory in the 1950's. The FPL natural finish was formulated to overcome the more serious shortcomings inherent in such finishes of t the film-forming type that are so susceptible to failure by cracking ind peeling. Because the stain penetrates the wood surface and does not form a coating, there is no failure by blistering and peeling even in excessive moisture conditions. There is no coating to scrape before refinishing. Thus, the penetrating stain is easily maintained at a low cost on a variety of wood surfaces. Test results indicate that the first application of the FPL natural finish to smoothly planed surfaces fully exposed to the weather should last I about 3 years. When refinished after weathering, the finish will last much longer. Two coats of stain applied to rough-sawn or weathered surfaces may last 10 years or more."

The exact recipe and full document are listed here. It contains a blend of linseed oil, paraffin wax, solvent, and some other ingredients, including Penta, which is no longer available to the public and restricted to things like the manufacturing of telephone poles and railroad ties. While some of the ingredients are difficult to obtain and Penta is nye impossible, there is at least one alternative on the market. As a ready-made option, a formula similar to that old mixture is available under the brand Organiclear WR-5.

WR-5 Log Home Stain is a superior exterior wood treatment that restores, preserves and enhances the natural beauty of your new or existing log home, deck, fences, railings, shakes and shingles, and outdoor wood furniture. WR-5 offers a unique blend of deep-penetrating premium oils, resins and waxes to create a long-lasting MOISTURE-GUARD™ barrier against harsh weather. To enhance wood life further, WR-5 provides maximum protection against ultraviolet (UV) radiation damage by combining sun blockers to absorb and control UV degradation, thus minimizing wood deterioration. WR-5 penetrating coating will also help prevent wood from cracking or peeling. WR-5 also works very well in high humidity areas. WR-5 allows wood to "breathe" naturally through a micro porous film and prevents moisture penetration. Water beads up and rolls off the exterior wood surface. WR-5 brings out the natural grain beauty of the wood while preventing the wood from cracking and peeling. WR-5 is the perfect choice for the full realm of wood protection your home needs to stand the test of time. For new, unfinished decks, apply two coats of WR-5 this year and then either a third in the Fall or one more next year. WR-5 Clear can be used as a second (if only putting on two coats), third coat, or as future maintenance coats though it won't last as long as a pigmented coat. Some people like to use the clear in this way to "lock" in a particular light color. Made in the USA.

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Log Rot: The Problem With Painted Logs

Log Rot: The Problem
With Painted Logs

This log house was originally coated with house paint instead of a Log Home Finish. You can see where the house logs have cracked or "checked" leaving open cracks in the paint for rain water to penetrate into the wood causing further log rot. The density of the paint coating acts like a plastic sheeting that traps in moisture causing blisters and flaking paint. In winter when the logs freeze, the trapped moisture expands by becoming ice particles. This causes more subsurface damage making tiny cracks larger and allowing more space for water to penetrate farther into the log causing more damage. In the photograph, the dark area behind the pipe is totally rotted.

In a situation like this all of the paint needs to be removed with either a chemical stripper or blasted with media (glass is most common now). The next step would be to cut out the rotted areas of wood and use
Tim-bor or Boracol to saturate the logs and keep them from rotting any further. If the rotted areas are relatively shallow, LiquidWood can be used to seal cracks and create an undercoating for the WoodEpox to adhere to. Next, apply the WoodEpox and form it so that it conforms to the rest of the log. Dry pigment can be added to WoodEpox to color it (especially if you will be coating with a stain). Allow to dry thoroughly, then apply a new finish.

If large portions of the logs are rotted away, you will either have to replace portions of the log with half-log inserts or replace the entire log. You may need the services of a professional log home restoration contractor.

For DIY advice or restoration contractor referrals, call Schroeder Log Home Supply, Inc., at 1-800-359-6614 or contact electronically here.

A Few Notes to Consider on Deck Stains

Walking traffic, direct sun, and standing water make decks higher maintenance than log walls.

Most log home finishes are too soft for use as a deck stain. Use a finish rated for decks.

Clear finishes are more prone to UV damage and have shorter lifespans than pigmented finishes on decks and log walls.

For matching the house stain to the deck consider LifeTime, Sansin, Sikkens (ProLuxe), Transformation, WeatherSeal, WR-5, or X-100 Deck.

Inspect areas where the deck meets the log walls. This area can be a problem area for wood rot. Water runs down the deck to the log wall. Flashing will solve this problem where the deck meets the wall.

Contrasting colors of deck stain to the house can be attractive - e.g. light honey colored house, dark honey colored deck.

Pressure treated or green treated decks can be stained, but wait 3 months to 1 year. This allows the wood to dry and the green color to fade. This will give a more true color to the stain that you purchased.

Cedar decks stand up better to the weather but they still need a water repellent, pigmented finish. All wood rots when conditions are right.

Railings are high maintenance; watch the tops of log railings for sunburned and water catching depressions.

Be careful of cedar railings that were strip peeled. Strip peeling (removing the bark without using a drawknife) can leave a thin layer of cambium that will peel off prematurely, making it appear that the stain is peeling. Also, the closed wood pores can repel the log or deck stain's ability to adhere.

Thursday, March 28, 2019

Cleaning Up Chinking Lines

As time and weather pass, chink lines on your log cabin or log home that were once strikingly bright may become dirty and dingy. Sometimes a simple wash and scrub will clean it up and get the chinking looking new. If that isn't enough, if some log stain got onto your chinking, or you just want to change its color, you can apply a liquified, paintable chinking product. There is a pre-mixed Chink-Paint available to save you time and hassle, or there is a recipe to make it yourself and save money.

Apply Pre-Mixed Chink Paint:

Chink Paint over old chinking

Chink-Paint is an elastomeric, textured coating for renewing or changing the color of chinking. Ideal for giving your log home a face-lift by brightening the appearance of old, dirty chinking, or altering the color of existing chinking. Chink-Paint’s elasticity enables it to expand and contract with Perma-Chink chinking or Energy Seal without cracking or peeling. When restoring an older home, it saves time and money by eliminating the need to mask off the chinking before staining. Simply wait for the stain to dry and then apply a coat of Chink-Paint in the color you desire.

Make Your Own Paint-On Chinking:

As explained by Sashco, "It’s easy to make your own Log Jam® chink paint on site.  And since mixing your own costs 1/3 less than buying pre-mixed chink paint, it’s the smart money-saving choice.

Simply follow the instructions below, then apply over any water-based chinking*.


Be sure that all chink lines are clean and dry, and free of waxes, mold, mildew, dust, pollen, and other contaminants.


Large Volume (Yield: approx. 5 gal. mixed)
1) Remove and set aside 1 gallon of chinking from a 5 gallon pail.
2) Add one gallon of distilled water back into the pail.
3) Using a high viscosity mixing blade, thoroughly mix the water and chinking.
4) Add additional water or chinking (in small increments) to “dial in” your preferred viscosity.

Small Volume (Yield: approx. 1 quart mixed)
1) Gun out entire contents of one 29 oz. cartridge of chinking into any large plastic container (such as a clean 1 gal. ice cream bucket).
2) Add in ½ pint (8 oz.) of distilled water
3) Using a mixing blade or a typical kitchen hand-held mixer, thoroughly mix the water and chinking.
4) Add additional water or chinking (in small increments) to “dial in” your preferred viscosity.
Floetrol®, a common additive used in the paint industry, can be used in place of water, if desired.  Resulting mixture will not be noticeably different. (Floetrol® is a registered trademark of the Akzo Nobel group of companies.)

1) Using a foam paint brush, paint pad or trowel (whichever you prefer), apply the chink paint and smooth onto the chink line.
2) Clean off any drips or runs immediately so they don’t dry on the wood and stain it.
3) Allow to thoroughly dry.  Cover exterior walls with plastic if rainfall is expected within 24 hours after installation.

Joint Width:                 3/4”   1” 1-1/2” 2”   3”
Lineal Feet per 1 gal.: 1760 1320 880 660 440

*Tested for compatibility with Sashco’s Log Jam chinking.  Always test first if using a different product.

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Carpenter Bee Control in Log Homes

For Log Homes, the large carpenter bees or Xylocopa do the most damage, boring approximately 1/2" diameter tunnels into logs and other wood surfaces including decks, overhangs, fence rails, etc. Carpenter Bee tunnels become a threat for infestation of wood-decaying fungi or other insects, such as carpenter ants.

Treatments: Insecticidal sprays and dusts such as those included in the Carpenter Bee Kit are available. These types of products may need to be applied every couple of weeks for awhile to ensure effectiveness. Apply them at night while the hive is asleep for maximum impact. Beware that some insecticides have been banned but not yet removed from store shelves. Consider the potential health risks of using such poisons in your home (young children are the most susceptible). If you have an exterminator do the job professionally, find out what they are using and if those insecticides have been banned in your area. If you are having or have had problems with Carpenter bees, consider adding NBS 30 to your finish when you recoat your house again. If chemicals aren't your bag, you can give the kids a project with a couple of fly swatters. The males don't sting and the females are known to be more reluctant to stinging, unlike other bees, wasps, and hornets.

However you choose to rid your logs of carpenter bees, consider spraying Tim-bor or Shell Guard RTU in the tunnels afterwards to help guard against wood-decaying fungi. Just mix up some Tim-bor in a spray bottle, pump sprayer, or squeeze bottle and administer it into the holes. Also, be sure to seal off the tunnel entrances by pounding in wooden dowels or by using Caulking, wood putty, or by mixing WoodEpox and sawdust.

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Event: The Lost Forty

We are excited to be sponsoring an evening of north woods music heralding back to the age of the lumberjack. The Lost Forty will be playing April 11 at the Myles Reif Performing Arts Center in Grand Rapids.

A native of the northern Minnesota town of Bemidji, Brian Miller teams up with Wisconsinite Randy Gosa as The Lost Forty. The Lost Forty revives and performs the Irish-influenced songs of men who roamed the Great Lakes region in the days when pine was king. Miller (Bua) and Gosa (Myserk) have toured the US with their Irish traditional music groups. Together they mix a passion for northwoods history and folklore with their love of arranging forgotten songs to bring to life this rich but under-explored music.

Replacement Axe Handle Measurements

Hults Bruk Replacement Hickory Handles (a.k.a. haft or helve) for Hults Bruk Axes. As the saying goes with several variations, "T...