the homestead


This year in addition to insulating the foundation walls of the cabin crawl space we decided to replace the ancient chinking between the massive chestnut logs of the cabin itself in order to make it more weather tight.  We live in a fairly windy place and with the decrepit chinking in place there was often a brisk airflow through the cabin.

The first process was pressure cleaning the entire structure in order to identify the conditions underneath all the surface crud.

The size of that project was such that we contracted it out to a local log cabin restorer.  If I had tried to do it myself it would have probably taken two years and eaten all of my free time.  And made me grumpy since it would have kept me out of the shop most of that time.

Top to bottom all the stuff between the logs had to be removed with hammers and chisels. The crew cleaned the job site every evening, but the pile grew as each day went on.

It was fascinating to see between and behind the logs to the sub-wall of vertical boards on the inside. We found newspapers in there indicating that the inner sub-wall had been there since before WWI.

The scale of the project was indeed daunting.  The old chinking and lath has to be chipped out, the underlying insulation and debris and, as Mrs. Barn called it, “the biosphere of the logs” (snakes, rodents, and a bazillion lady bug carcasses), cleaned out completely, followed by a multitude of steps following.  All of this for the better part of a thousand linear feet of joint lines.  That scale alone precluded me from undertaking the project, especially once you add to the equation the necessary scaffolding and equipment needed to execute the job efficiently and the few places of rotted or damaged wood that needed attention.

The north wall was in pretty tough shape and would need the most work. You can see a void from the rot big enough to put my entire fist through to the inner sub-wall.

Over the three weeks of the project there was a crew of stout lads here doing all the work.  That made me smile.  All I had to do was watch and sign the check.

Stay tuned.