Honest Abe was founded in 1979, and Honest Abe’s plant manager Jackie Cherry has been here since the earliest years. Respected for his knowledge throughout the log and timber industry, Jackie has created relationships with timber growers, equipment manufacturers and industry professionals across the country and around the world.
“Jackie has been involved in every product and plant decision since he came to work for Honest Abe in 1982,” said Rick Denton, Honest Abe’s first president. “There is no one who better knows the products of Honest Abe, construction methods and company policies.”
Among Jackie’s many responsibilities as plant manager is purchasing and managing wood inventory and monitoring the wood drying kilns. Jackie explained why the company long ago selected Eastern White Pine for use in wall logs, log sidings, support posts, blocking, porch posts, porch plates, porch rafters, railings and trim,.
“When we first began manufacturing log homes we used yellow poplar logs like Tennessee’s early settlers,” Jackie recalled. “But it just wasn’t suitable. We tried a lot of other species, even the yellow pine a lot of log home companies still use, but it twisted and warped too much, and we rejected it.”
Finally, Eastern White Pine proved to be the wood with the most favorable characteristics, and Jackie said that has been used exclusively by Honest Abe for manufacturing logs since. Jackie purchases Honest Abe’s timbers, maintaining an average nine-month inventory.
“This is one of the ways we make our customers feel secure,” Cherry said. “They know that when they order their home, their logs have been purchased, prepared and protected by our company and are ready to be milled into their house. They can come and see them anytime.”
Jackie has been instrumental in developing and perfecting the kiln drying systems that make Honest Abe’s wood products so stable.
“The goal of kiln drying is to reach a moisture-content level that is best for most building sites, no matter where a new home is being built,” Cherry said. “We dry hundreds of logs at at a time for three to five weeks. It kills insects, reduces checking, makes staining easier and just overall produces a more desirable, stable home.”
Honest Abe has created nearly 7,000 forever homes for people who dreamed of living in a log home. Jackie has had a part in making most of those dreams come true by ensuring that homes manufactured by Honest Abe are stable, durable and affordable.
Story by Claudia Johnson, Honest Abe Log Homes’ Director of Marketing