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Dean Johnson
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Log Homes
 

Fieldstone Fireplace

img We collected all the stones for the fieldstone fireplace from the cabin property. It has an old railroad bed running through it that's built up with thousands of fieldstones.

The first step in creating this "monster" fireplace was to cut away the logs for the firebox and chimney. Then our subcontractors went to work on building up the concrete block interior for the fireplace and the fieldstone exterior.

Because of the cold weather, the crew put up a plastic tent around the chimney to keep the materials from freezing and to help the mortar dry.

imgAs with all of the other construction, the stone workers had to consider the problem of log settling. They had to keep the logs away from the mortar and rock, which dries solid. So they built a two and a half inch space between the logs and the chimney and filled it with insulation. This means the logs can slide down the insulation as they settle without putting any stress on the mortar and rock.

Another way they accounted for settling was by nailing plywood to the logs through slotted nail holes and then attaching the masonry to the plywood with brick ties. The slots will let the logs and nails slide down freely as they settle, and the masonry will stand firm. Chinking material finished the edges.

 

First Floor Framing

img We planned the cabin interior so we'd end up with mainly log walls visible in our largest rooms. However, we did need some partition walls to separate the kitchen, entryway and bathroom.

The first step to framing interior walls in our cabin was to notch out cavities wherever a stud wall would run into a log wall.

imgWe used a chain saw to cut "saw kerfs" into the logs. Then we knocked out the waste with a hammer, and chiseled the cavity smooth.

 

We made the notches wide enough for a 2x4 stud wall with paneling on both sides. We cut vertical slots in the 2x4's and attached them to the logs with washered nails. This way as the logs settle, the nails can slide down and not disturb the walls.

 

Slip Joints

imgWe positioned our walls directly under the log joists, so we needed to build slip joints above the walls so the logs won't crush them as they settle.

The first step for these slip joints was to attach nailers under the joists that ran the length of the walls.

Then we erected a stud wall just like in conventional framing, except that we left a space between the nailer and top plate for settling.

Later on we secured trim to the nailer to hide this space. This trim will slide over the wall paneling as the cabin settles.

 

Hiding Plumbing, Electrical and Heating Runs

Since the logs are solid, most of the plumbing, electrical and heating runs to the second floor had to be made through interior partition walls.

We framed the master bath wall with 2x8 studs to allow enough room for the heating ducts, drain and supply pipes, and wiring to run up from the basement to the second floor. And to account for log settling, our subcontractors made slip joints at the top of the walls for the ducts and pipes.

imgWe did, however, need some electrical outlets and switches on the exterior log walls. Some of the electrical was routed through channels in the logs during assembly. Our electrician also drilled up through the logs from the basement, then notched boxes into the logs.

Another way to bring up wires is to rout a channel into the ends of the logs at a door opening. You do this, obviously, before installing the bucks.

 

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