At Honest Abe Log Homes we’re often asked why we do kiln dry the logs and timbers used in every log home, log cabin or timber frame house we manufacture. We believe in the value of creating kiln dried log homes and timber frame houses. Kiln dried logs are “pre-shrunk” before milling to a final profile to create a uniform and stable log wall system with less settling and tighter joints.
“Years of experience has taught us how to create a building method to account for minor changes in the wood,” said Bobby Collins, plant manager at Honest Abe’s manufacturing facility in Moss, Tenn. “In fact, throughout much of the United States, Honest Abe’s log wall system will qualify as a “non-settling” system.”
Honest Abe uses large, variable temperature kilns to dry hundreds of logs at a time.
“Once stacked inside the kiln, the logs remain there for approximately three to five weeks,’ Collins said. “During this time, the temperature inside the kiln is slowly raised to around 170 degrees as computer-controlled fans and moisture meters dry and monitor the logs.”
The benefit of kiln drying is apparent during manufacturing, shipping and constructing a new log home.
“It’s estimated that 10,000 pounds of water are removed from the typical home, significantly reducing the weight of the logs,” Collins said. “Two people can handle even the longest logs during the construction process.”
Collins said that every piece of kiln-dried wood is stored under roof until is it milled into a custom home.
“After kiln drying the logs, trained inspectors can grade out defective logs out,” Collins said. “Logs selected for use in a home package are stamped with a TPI standard of LogWall-40.”
Collins pointed out that the heat from kiln drying destroys fungi that cause wood decay, as well as any insects and their eggs or larvae.
“It is comforting to know that the houses we construct with Honest Abe’s materials have been kiln dried so there is no worry about insects,” said Joe Isenburg, a log home builder who has erected dozens of Honest Abe homes across three decades. “The logs have less checking (cracking), they take a finish better and overall, our customer has a more stable and durable home.”
Because the pitch in the wood is crystallized during kiln drying, the “sap” is prevented from seeping to the surface after the home is constructed.
“Interior and exterior finishes can be applied immediately following construction for more convenient and immediate protection,” Collins said. “Applications may absorb deeper and last longer.”
Collins said that tours of the Honest Abe manufacturing plant, including the dry kilns, are provided upon by prearrangement by calling 800-231-3695.