Monday, November 7, 2016

Snapshot: Log Rot Repair

Preventing log rot is as easy as keeping moisture out of the wood. Unfortunately, sometimes what is relatively easy goes unnoticed and time goes by until water has done its damage. Anything from upward facing cracks to leaky gutters to absence of gutters altogether can drive water into the wood and feed a situation of decay. Prevention is key, but if it's too late for that, here is a snap shot on how to repair rotten wood on your log home.

1. First survey the damage. If the log rot is extensive where full or partial log replacement is required, then you may want to call in a log home restoration professional if you're own carpentry skills are lacking. At Schroeder Log Home Supply we don't do the restoration work ourselves, but we have a collection of contractors listed in our system and we can put you in touch with them. Give us a call at 1-800-359-6614.

2. If the log rot is manageable, remove all wood that is decayed soft beyond the point of salvaging. i.e. If you can scoop it out by hand, get rid of it!

3. Drill small holes in the decayed area (1/8" or so) to perforate the wood and allow for better penetration of preservative and hardener.

4. Apply a borate wood preservative, such as PeneTreat, ArmorGuard, or ShellGuard RTU to kill the rot, and allow the wood to dry out. Brush and spray into the holes and throughout the decayed area.

5. Mix and apply a two-part epoxy wood hardener like LiquidWood or M-Balm. Inject into the holes and cracks and brush throughout decayed area.

6. Mix and apply a two-part epoxy wood filler like WoodEpox or E-Wood. Mix together the two parts, and add pigment to more closely match the surrounding wood. (although the epoxy filler will accept stain, its lighter color may show up contrasted against the rest of the log when using a semi-transparent stain). While still pliable, a brush or sharp tool may be used to etch in lines to mimic the surrounding wood grain.

7. After it's cured, the epoxy wood fillers can be sanded and painted or stained like wood. Finally, make sure that whatever issue caused water to flow into the wood in the first place is solved.

The restoration snapshot above is for informational purposes, but actually procedure required may vary by situation. Call us at 1-800-359-6614 with any questions or concerns or to find a local restoration contractor.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Bringing Clarity to Clear Coat Maintenance

Reprinted from the Summer 2016 edition of Schroeder Log Home Supply, Inc.'s Log Core Newsletter

Bringing Clarity to Clear Coat Maintenance

By Charis Babcock from Sashco, Inc.

Maintenance with a clear top coat over an elastomeric log stain is pretty great. 

·         Easiest application – apply even with a garden sprayer

·         No lap marks – two layers of clear is . . . . still clear

·         Protects the underlying stain from discoloration

·         Maintenance coats won’t darken the home over time

·         Won’t discolor your chinking

Everyone knows that a $30 oil change two or three times a year beats a $2,000 mechanic’s bill. Routine maintenance and re-application of your clear coat is no different.  Taking a weekend or two every couple of years to apply a fresh clear coat will be the difference between keeping your stain in tip top shape or paying $20,000 for a complete redo. (Eek!)

So, what exactly does a clear coat do? (In this case, Sashco’s Cascade® clear coat)

·         First, UV filters in Cascade® protect the underlying Capture® Log Stain from discoloration. While slight discoloration isn’t entirely avoidable in a semi-transparent stain, keeping up on Cascade® maintenance will slow down the discoloration process.

·         Second, Cascade® contains the majority of the water repellency of the two-part Capture® and Cascade® system. Keeping up on Cascade® maintenance means a home that is protected from rain and snow.

So, how do you know it’s time for another clear coat?  It all starts with an inspection.

Check your logs twice a year: once in the spring for any winter damage, and once in the fall for any summer damage. In particular, look for the following:

Cascade·         Loss of sheen: Cascade® has a satin sheen to it. It will erode away more quickly in the highly exposed areas. Take a look at your logs in the sun. It will be easy to tell where it’s worn off. Clean the surface, and apply more.

·         Loss of moisture shedding: Take a hose or spray bottle to the walls. If water is still sheeting off, you’re in good shape. If not, time for a maintenance coat.

·         Discoloration of Capture®: If you notice significant fading or darkening of the Capture® Log Stain, it’s likely the Cascade® has been gone for a while. You may need to do a re-coat of both products.

The good news: you don’t need to re-coat the whole house every time. Apply more Cascade® where needed, when needed. It’s likely the north side or any side protected by a porch can go several years without a re-coat, while that south wall that’s fully exposed may need re-application on those lower courses every two years. Your home is unique, so maintenance schedules will be, too. In the end, it should only take you one weekend a year to do the work. Once it’s done, sit back, pat yourself on the back, enjoy an iced tea, and get on with life.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Answers From The Experts: Q&A With A Log Cabin Maintenance Expert


Earlier in the month we announced our “Answers from the Experts” series. In part two of the series we have interviewed John Schroeder from log help, a log cabin expert, on some of your most popular questions on maintaining, protecting and looking after your log cabin home.

For those of you who own a log home, this post will help you with key maintenance elements of maintaining/restoring chinking, staining your cabin and protecting against mildew, mold, termites and rot.

A full transcript of our interview with John can be seen below:

Answers From The Experts: Q&A With A Log Cabin Maintenance Expert

Friday, May 6, 2016

Check out the Largest Log Home in the World

Check out the Largest Log Home in the World
When most people envision log homes, they think of humble abodes hidden in the woods rather than huge sprawling estates. For the ultra-rich business magnates of the early 20th century, however, big was the only way to go. That’s why Louis G. Kaufman, bank president and early member of the General Motors board of directors, built a massive 266,000-square-foot log mansion on the shores of Lake Superior in 1923. He called it Granot Loma – an amalgamation of the names of his wife and three children – and today the estate still holds the record as the largest log home in the world.

Valued at $40 million, Granot Loma is also the most expensive home in the state of Michigan. It was constructed between 1919 and 1923 for a total cost of about $5 million – roughly $70 million in today’s dollars. Kaufman recruited 22 architects and over 400 Scandinavian craftsmen for the project. Logs for the home were transported from Oregon by rail.

The home features 23 bedrooms, 13 baths and 26 fireplaces. The fireplace in the great room measure 30 feet long, and its mantel is made of a beam salvaged from a shipwreck in Lake Superior. Other furnishings in the house include a chandelier made from the roots of a white pine tree and a Brunswick Pool table from 1900 inlaid with silver and mother of pearl.

The house is built on a plot of land measuring nearly eight square miles along with 13 other outbuildings including a dairy barn, pool house and multiple garages. Today, the enormous residence is listed on the National Registrar of Historic Places.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Environmentalists Embrace Log Home Construction

The mention of log homes immediately brings to mind many thoughts, like warm, cozy, historic, quality craftsmanship, timeless design and durability. Log homes can also be environmentally friendly as well, as attested to by a growing number of environmentalists who embrace log home construction. After all, log homes are one of the oldest forms of building, and have been trusted by homeowners for centuries.

Environmentalists Embrace Log Home ConstructionHouses cannot be built from nothing, but they can be built with sustainable practices from renewable resources like sustainably harvested logs – a completely renewable resource. Some log home builders even intentionally source sustainably harvested logs for the homes that they build, and some especially environmentally conscious homeowners are able to have their log home constructed wholly or partly with logs that were harvested from their property.

Aesthetic considerations are also important in a home, and log homes often look particularly nice in rural, wooded areas. In the same way that adobe homes look perfectly natural in the desert, log homes blend in with the environment in a wooded setting and look as though they are part of the landscape.

Well-built log homes are also extremely energy efficient due to the thermal mass of the logs. The thickness of the walls in a log home makes the building easier to heat and cool than many other types of construction, and this thermal efficiency, in turn, reduces the need for energy consumption in all seasons. When combined with eco-friendly energy options like solar, wind or geothermal, log homes can even be nearly entirely self-sufficient in some instances.

Maintenance of a log home is similar to any wood building, with occasional resealing needed based on the weather. Plus, a quality log home will last for many decades, resulting in a lower environmental impact throughout its lifespan and an improved durability that makes them one of the most sustainable buildling options.

Schroeder Log Home Supply has been meeting the needs of customers in the log home industry since 1986. We offer guides, sealant, tools, fasteners and nearly everything you need to build, maintain and repair your log home. Shop our full product selection online now or call us today at 800-359-6614 to learn more. 

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Spring Cleaning Checklist for Your Log Home

A Spring Cleaning Checklist for Your Log Home
Now that the cold days of winter are finally starting to recede, you’re probably pretty eager to get outside and catch up on some work around the house. Why not start by treating your home to a little spring cleaning? Log home construction is remarkably durable, but a few months of harsh winter weather can still take a toll. Fortunately, a little seasonal cleaning can go a long way toward preserving your log home for the future.   

Exterior Wash

There are a number of cleaning products available to help you remove all manner of grit and grime from your home’s exterior.  They can also curb the growth of mold and mildew which are of particular concern after wet winters. These products can be applied with a garden hose, so you won’t have to run out and buy a pressure washer.

Inspect for Rot

As you wash your home, keep an eye out for any logs with rot and decay. If you notice any significant rot, you may have to call in the professionals to have it repaired or replaced. Whatever you do, don’t just ignore it. If you’re not sure how to remedy the problem, seek a professional consultation to determine the best course of action.

Apply Finish

Consider resealing your log home every few years. This will help to protect it from a number of environmental threats such as water intrusions and insect invasions. You can test the water-resistance of your log home with a spray bottle. Simply spray a section of wood and watch to see if the water beads on the surface or soaks into the wood. If it doesn’t bead, it’s time to reseal.

Clear Gutters

This is an essential maintenance item in any home, but it’s especially important in log homes. Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause rain water to run straight down your home’s exterior, increasing the risk of mold and mildew growth. Prolonged exposure to rainfall can also lead to rot if your home isn’t properly sealed. Keeping your gutters clear will ensure that rain water is deposited safely away from your home.  

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Difference Between Chinking and Caulking

All log homes need sealant to close the gaps between log courses. Because even machine milled logs won’t lie perfectly flush against one another, these sealants are necessary to prevent water intrusion and provide insulation. These sealants typically fall into one of two categories – chinking and caulking. Today we’ll compare the applications for both of these sealant types.


This is the type of sealant that has been traditionally used in log homes for centuries. It forms the characteristic white bands between the courses in older log homes. Whereas chinking was originally a Portland cement-based mortar, today it is an acrylic compound designed for extra elasticity and adhesion. Before chinking can be applied, a backer rod must be placed in the space between the log courses. This ensures a firm seal between the joints. Next, Chinking is applied over the backer rod, filling in the remaining gaps between the logs. The width of the chinking in a given log home will depend on its construction and the aesthetic preferences of the owners.


This type of sealant is only used in modern, machine-milled log homes. It’s very similar to the caulk you’ve probably used in your bathroom or kitchen. Whereas chinking is designed to fill broad gaps between courses, caulk is used to seal narrow gaps. Likewise, it doesn’t require backer rods. The caulking in a machine-milled home is more or less invisible from a distance. Caulk is also more elastic than chinking.

Whatever type of sealant you need for your, Schroeder Log Home Supply, Inc. can help. Browse our inventory online, or give us a call today for more information!  

Monday, March 21, 2016

Choosing a Tenon Cutter

Rustic log furniture is increasing in popularity, and many people are opting to build DIY log furniture and railings at their own cabin or home. There are a number of options available when choosing a tenon cutter. There may be other brands available on the market, but this comparison will focus on E-Z Tenon Cutter, Lumberjack Tenon Cutters, and Northwest Manufacturing Tenon Cutters. Scope, Style, and Size are three considerations you may use to help choose the right tool:

The first consideration is the scope of work or project. If there is a plan to make log railings or furniture as a business venture, then purchasing a higher quality but more expensive tool may be the right choice. If this is just a weekend project at home and the tool may seldom be used again, then a minimal investment would be preferable.

Weekend project:
Lumberjack Home Series, Lumberjack Commercial Series, or E-Z Tenon Cutter

Mid-range value:
Lumberjack Industrial Series or Lumberjack Pro-Series

In it for the long haul:
Northwest Manufacturing Tenon Cutter

Important to note is that all the tenon cutters have blades that can be both sharpened and replaced. So regardless of which brand is chose and how much wear-and-tear the tools actually get, it's possible to keep the cutting edge sharp with blade honing and eventual blade replacement.

The profile style a tenon cutter leaves on the wood stock can vary by brand and series. Some people prefer to see the two logs butt directly against one another, while others prefer to see the taper from the full stock down to the tenon peg inserted into the other log.

90º: E-Z Tenon Cutter 90
60º: Lumberjack Commercial Series, Lumberjack Industrial Series
45º: E-Z Tenon Cutter 45
Radius/Radius Shoulder: Lumberjack Home Series, Lumberjack Pro-Series

90-degree shoulder (E-Z 90 shown)
60-degree taper (Industrial Series shown)
Radius Shoulder (Home Series shown)

It should be noted that while many people leave the 60º or 45º taper visible for aesthetic purposes, some prefer to use a countersink. Tenon Cutter Countersinks are used to cut the funnel shaped impression into the post after drilling with a self-feed bit, to accept the taper of the log rail. This permits the ability to obtain tighter fits on furniture or to give a stronger shoulder fit on rails.

The size of the wood stock and the desired size of the tenon are two considerations when choosing a cutter. If one was to pick just one size of tenon cutter, 1-1/2” is probably most versatile. For most furniture having a 1” and a 2” tenon cutter would be preferable. Some projects with larger or smaller logs might require larger or smaller tenon cutters.
The E-Z Tenon Cutter gives an adjustable option to get a variety of sizes out of one tool. With other tenon models, you would want one, two, three, or more tenon cutters to use for cutting different components of the log project.

Most of the tenon cutters on the market will have options of size to fit the project. The three considerations listed above, plus a summary of each tenon cutter brand listed below may help to narrow your choice:

90º or 45º E-Z Tenon Cutter: Steel and aluminum construction.
Pros: Adjustable tool that can cut a variety of sizes (1” – 2-1/2”). Dual blade for 90º model. Comparatively inexpensive.
Cons: Requires an extra step of drilling a 3/8” pilot hole. The final product may be a rougher cut and require some sanding. Single blade on 45º model.

Lumberjack Commercial Series & Home Series: Die cast from A380 aluminum with powder coated finish.
Pros: Inexpensive option. Self-centering design. Dual blades that cut twice as fast as ordinary tenon cutters and generate less heat for long lasting service. Blades of hardened steel. 1/2 inch steel shank is threaded for easy replacement. Lifetime warranty for body and shank. Blades are covered for 90 days from the date of purchase for breakage under normal working conditions.
Cons: No IN-SIGHT measurement system (viewing slot on side) to monitor length of tenon or to insert quick-stop bolt. Fewer size options.

Lumberjack Industrial Series & Pro-Series: CNC machined from solid 6061 aircraft aluminum.
Pros: Self-centering design. Dual blades that cut twice as fast as ordinary tenon cutters and generate less heat for long lasting service. Blades of hardened steel. 1/2" steel shank is threaded for easy replacement. Patent pending IN-SIGHT measurement system of slots and radial grooves at 1/2" intervals for measurement of tenon length during cutting. Lifetime warranty for body and shank. Blades are covered for 90 days from the date of purchase for breakage under normal working conditions.
Cons: Higher cost than Commercial Series or Home Series.

Pros: High quality construction, long lasting. Adjustable shaft to allow custom sizing of the length of the tenons. Two high carbon steel blades.
Cons: Higher cost. Larger drill (3/4") required for some sizes.

The details given should help to make a choice when selecting the right tenon cutter for the work being done. If there are any other questions about choosing or using a tenon cutter, give us a call at 1-800-359-6614, or contact us through our website here.

Schroeder Log Home Supply, Inc

Friday, March 11, 2016

Which Packing Cup is best?

When using an Albion caulk gun for bulk caulking or chinking application, leather is a one-type-fits-all material for packing cups and is included with the gun. The packing cups are the plunger-type component that pulls the sealant into the barrel of the gun and pushes it back out. In some situations one may choose to replace the leather packing cups with a different type of material. Here is a general guide for when to use which cup:

#21-1 Leather:  Low friction, tough and durable, excellent chemical resistance.  Soak in motor oil to maintain.  May swell then break down when used with water based materials.  Oil more frequently or choose another packing cup for acrylics. 

#21-7 Impregnated Leather:  Similar to soft leather cups but stiffened with wax to reduce water absorption and blow-by.

#21-16 Nitrile Rubber:  Good seal, elastic, moderate friction.  Excellent for water-based materials.  Preferred by chinkers.  Not recommended for use with solvent-based materials.       

#21-26 Nylon:  (Not shown in image) Springy, moderate friction.  Better chemical resistance than Hytrel.

#21-24 Teflon:   Very low friction, excellent chemical resistance.  Be careful not to nick or bend out of shape.  Expensive.  Excellent for bulk or sausage packes.

#21-24 Hytrel:  (Stiff "H") Higher friction, good chemical resistance.  Sharp edge makes it excellent for sausages.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Wood Species

Factors to Consider When Choosing a Wood Species
A log home is defined, both aesthetically and functionally, by the type of wood it’s constructed of. Different species of woods have unique properties that make them better suited to certain environmental conditions. Some wood species excel at resisting rot, while others offer superior insulation. Your choice of wood will depend on both personal preference and practical considerations. The good news is there’s no single right answer. The bad news is the list of options can seem downright overwhelming. By identifying what properties are most important to you, however, you can whittle down that list and make your decision easier. Let’s start with the obvious.


Let’s be honest – one of the reasons people like log homes so much is simply because they look good. Likewise, there’s no shame in choosing a wood species based in part on its appearance. Bear in mind that certain species change in appearance as they age. Wood preservatives can have an effect on the appearance of your log home as well.


This is the measure of thermal resistance in building materials. The higher the R-value of a wood species, the better it will insulate your home. If you live in a particularly hot or cold climate, a wood species with a high R-value will help you to regulate the temperature inside your home. Species such as Northern white cedar and white pine have particularly high R-values.

Decay Resistance

Did you know that wood produces natural toxins to combat fungi growth and burrowing insects? These toxins continue to work even after a tree has been felled and hewn into timbers. Some species, such as Western red cedar, have especially high concentrations of these toxins, making them more decay-resistant. If you live in a very wet or heavily-wooded area, a decay-resistant species might be a good option. If you choose a species that’s not known for its decay resistance, however, don’t worry. Wood preservatives can effectively protect your home from fungi and insects as well.


Finally we come to the ultimate practical consideration. The cost of a given wood species will depend on a number of factors including your location and the speed at which the species grows. Southern yellow pine, for example, tends to be relatively inexpensive because it has a fast growth cycle and is grown in large commercial crops in the Southeast. Wood prices fluctuate just like any other commodity; keep an eye on the market to get the best possible deal on your preferred species.

Monday, February 22, 2016

CobraRod vs Bor8 Rods: What's the Difference?

CobraRod vs Bor8 Rods

What’s the difference between CobraRod and Bor8 Rods?
Bor8 Rods

Borate (disodium octoborate tetrahydrate) is a common solution to preventing or stopping  fungal rot in wood, as well as insect infestation. Borates come in several forms: powder, which is added to water for application; liquid, which is carried in glycol; and concentrated rods, two brands of which are CobraRod and Bor8 Rods.

CobraRod and Bor8 Rods (formerly known as Impel Rods) are similar products in form and function. They are both dowels composed of concentrated, compacted borate preservative. They are applied to logs and timbers by drilling a hole to size, inserting the rod, and plugging the hole with caulk, wooden dowels, or wooden or plastic plugs. They both sit dormant in the wood, unless the moisture content of the wood reaches a point where rot becomes a risk. At that time, the rods slowly dissolve into the wood and prevent rot from happening. So, in terms of what they are and how they work, CobraRod vs Bor8 Rods are two similar products (e.g. Pepsi vs Coke, Chevy vs Ford).
How are they different? There are three primary differences between the two brands: preservative, packaging, and point of activation.

Bor8 Rods
Preservative: Both CobraRod and Bor8Rods have an active borate ingredient registered with the EPA as a preservative. CobraRod has an additional copper preservative, which takes care of some fungi unaffected by borate. The copper also gives CobraRod a dark green color, whereas Bor8 Rods remain looking borate-white.

Packaging: Though it is just a matter of marketing and not performance, there are some differences in the sizes and quantity packaging available between the rods. A minor detail, but if a certain size or smaller quantity is needed then one choice may be better than another. For smaller wood applications like window and door frames, Bor8 Rods offer 1/4"x1/2" rods for minimal treatment areas.

Point of Activation: Bor8 Rods begin to dissolve and diffuse into the wood around 25% moisture content. CobraRod activates at around 20% moisture content.

Either rod can be used preventatively or remedially, but it is good insurance to apply them preventatively to lower or exposed logs that may see moisture for constant duration. Logs sitting at deck level, log ends jutting past protection from eaves, and sill prone to collecting rain or snow are all good places to consider inserting preventative borate protection through these rods.
Give us a call at 1-800-359-6614 or visit our website if you have any other questions about using rods for rot prevention.