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Thread: Looking For Log Cabin Tools!

  1. #1

    Question Looking For Log Cabin Tools!

    Hello All,

    I am looking to buy a used/tried/and true log scribe tool with the verticle and horizontal levels mounted on it. I am gearing up for a log cabin project, and that of course is one of the most important tools I will need for a full scribed log structure. Also, I am curious about the Alaskan II chain saw mill. Anyone have any experience with this device? I thought that may work for cutting my bearing surface on my first row of logs, and also serve well while cutting the bearing surface on my ridge pole, purlins, top logs, as well as all my windows and doors. Any stories of past experiences or advice on these two tools would be greatly appreciated! Thanks in advance................
    Be safe, and enjoy your time outdoors!
    Mountain Man

    "I'm not here for a long time! I'm here for a good time!!!!!!!!!!!"

  2. #2
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    Default MK II mill

    mtnman, I've also got the same Alaskan mill. Its been put up for 3 yrs after I got it for a birthday present. Needed to get a bigger saw to use with it. Just picked up a Husky 460 with 24" bar. It states someplace on the paper work or their web sight that a saw motor bigger than 60cc works best. You also need to change your chain to rip chain. I think their website says there in Vallejo Calif. now. You can order made up rip chain from them. A lot of saw shops are starting to carry rip chain or can make it for you. Havant had a chance to use mine yet as I just got the new saw and waiting for the snow to melt so I can go play with it.

    Gun Runner

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    Default a tool source

    Here is a fairly comprehensive tool supplier (Shroeder Log Home Supply Inc)...sorry I don't have a used scriber source for you.

    http://www.loghelp.com/

    The Alaska Mills are best used with a saw of at least 4.0 cubic inches and ripping chain is helpful. The setup is a slow process but if you are careful you can make some good flats or lumber. I make my own ripping chain but it can be purchased from many suppliers like Baileys or Madsens. If you are only planning on using the mill to put the flats on your sill and purlin logs, you can get buy with a simpler method. By using a small level and chalk line you can make accurate lines on the log and free hand the cut. Leave the chalk line plus a bit extra that you can "brush off" with the saw down to the chalk line. This method is demonstrated in a some books...if you are interested let me know and I'll forward the information to you.

  4. #4

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    You can flatten the bottom logs with an axe too, the method traditionally used for hewn log cabins.

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    Default

    Or you can use a "helper handle" on the end of the bar. That plus chalkline and a partner with a steady hand and you can produce a quite accurate cut. You should have no problem with the few flats you need on a log cabin. We have a very nice full scribe bunkhouse that done using that method.

    There are lots of good scribes out there, but expect a good one to cost money.

    Yk

  6. #6

    Default

    E bay has some cheap milling attachments that look like they would work for squaring beams or the such, but I wouldn't want to make much lumber out of them. I don't remember the name of the attachment but it is around 40 bucks and uses a 2x4 as a guide.

    good luck

  7. #7
    Member Dirtofak's Avatar
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    Default

    You might try Woodmizer in Palmer. 746-3030.

  8. #8

    Thumbs up Thanks Guys!

    Thanks Guys for the great info! I though about trying the free hand method, but was worried about being steady enough as to not mess up the flat. Maybe, I will just give it a shot on a practice piece then and check my results. Sure would like a guide for cutting the windows and doors though. As far as the scribe, I know there are plenty of brands out there......... do any jump out as being the better one to get? I know the more expensive cost then comes into play. Anyway, was hoping to find someone out there that has a used one they are no longer going to use. Thanks again guys! Can't wait to start my project!
    Be safe, and enjoy your time outdoors!
    Mountain Man

    "I'm not here for a long time! I'm here for a good time!!!!!!!!!!!"

  9. #9
    New member fishingis4play's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Here is an Idea

    Check with some of the local mills to have your flats cut. I had all 4 of mine done at a mill and the guy only charged me a $100 and they're perfect and I didn't have to ruin any logs that I had peeled. Also I use a Northwest Scriber friend of mine who builds log homes has used his for 20+ years and swears by them, I like mine and it is EASY to use I bought it through Schroeder Log Home Supply. I think I paid $129 and it was worth every penny! If you decide to buy a Northwest Scriber let me know and I'll send you pictures of how I have mine set up, my friend set it up for me and it works better than the stock setup.
    Steve

    P.S. I'm a rookie Log cabin builder I've helped build 3 and I started my own this winter and if I can use the Scibe anyone can!!

  10. #10

    Default Right On!

    Hey Fish!

    Thanks for the great info...... I know that when it comes to your scribe, you dont want to skimp as all your joints depend on it. I will check with some of the local mills and see what they may ask for cutting my flats. Thanks again..........
    Be safe, and enjoy your time outdoors!
    Mountain Man

    "I'm not here for a long time! I'm here for a good time!!!!!!!!!!!"

  11. #11
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    Default Tools

    Have you ever heard of Baileys? They carry logger and wood cutter supplys. I buy saw chain from them. You can find them online at
    www.baileysonline.com They have the chainsaw mills and log building tools.

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    Default International Log Builders Association

    Take a step towards the light , check out the International Log builders Association website , many companies providing scribers etc . and a few how to articles .

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    Default

    Baily's has the Veritas scribes I believe, or Forestry Suppliers. They were about $65 when I got mine (from one of them). I've seen them at local lumber yards for about $150. Buy some extra hard and soft pencils from them too, and get a small pocket pencil sharpener and keep it in the case with the scribe.

    I have one of the simple rip guides that use a 2x4 bolted to the log, it works OK for ripping a bottom log if you can find a real straight 2x4. For window openings, just mark them out with a level and cut the sides freehand. You can get someone to stand on the other side and give you hand signals to keep you on line on both sides. same for the bottom and top cuts for windows and doors, mark it out and cut kerfs to the line, and break out the chips with a hammer, them clean up the leftoves with the saw.

    I've used a couple chalk lines and a hand electric planer on the ridge, purlins and cap logs to get the bearing surface. Have also used the saw, but it takes a lot of time and isnt as clean. You can figure your roof pitch and make a wedge with that angle to use with your small level as you go along and keep the angle good. A good straight 2x4 helps get the purlins and ridge/cap log lines planed out evenly. A small lazer level can help project lines too, and is handy to use like a plumb line for getting the ridge and pulins set up on layout. The one I have is about a foot long, looks like a torpedo level, and had 3 beams, and a base that you can level(roughly) to project a line for your ridge and purlins. You can also use the lazer to get flats even along the length of a log when it's on blocks or horses.

    Get a good peavy and a log carrier also. And have a few log dogs made up, a couple each of 2' and 3'. I made a hand powered log winch on castors, I never had to lift a log on the several cabins I built. If you get about 2 or 3 rows of logs on, you can then use them as sawhorses to peel the rest of your logs before continuing, with less grunt work. I'd winch 5 or 6 logs up on the low walls, peel each on the pile side. Roll each off as it was peeled, winch some more up, etc,.....The old antique drawknives are far superior tools than the newer, crude hacking instruments I've seen on the market. Most of the handles on the older ones need to be heated up and bent out some tho. I can keep the old knives absolutely razor sharp (shave your arm sharp) with about 2 minutes on a stone when they are used properly (meaning working with the bevel side down, NOT flat side down)

  14. #14
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    Default

    Cant get into my last post to edit for some reason.

    Forgot to add, get a rope come-a-long winch. The trade name is maasdam power pull. It's the same basic tool we are all familiar with that uses a cable, but is much more usefull. Some come with a rope, but regardless, get a 50' rope (the "safety blue" type that Baily's and Forestry Suppliers sells) and splice a hook into it. It gives a reach as long as your rope, without having to mess with the short cable issues that are the problem with the cable models. The lifting capacity is the same as the cable models. This was the item I made my hand powered log winch from, and it's good for other chores. Get two if you can afford it.

  15. #15
    New member fishingis4play's Avatar
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    Question Malamute

    Do you have any pics of your log winch? I'm at the part where lifting logs above your head is no fun and I don't have any equipment where my cabin is other than my Argo and it's winch. thanks

  16. #16
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    I don't have anything digital. I have some photos,...somewhere, but i dont have a scanner.

    It was a triangle for the front frame set vertically, I figured how high I needed to lift (the ridge), and made it high enough to get there. There was a triangle bottom frame, and a back bone connecting the two points, and projecting out a foot past the front frame. I anchored a snatch block to the front end of the backbone and ran the rope from the rope come-a-long thru it, and anchored the winch frame to the backbone towards it's lower end at a comfortable height. Both that I built needed a milk crate full of rocks at the back for a counter balance, and I had a small platform to stand on at the back for more weight. I used skidding tongs to lift with, but they are not rated for that use. There are lifting tongs available.

    I have the parts of the last one out in the yard, it's disassembled, but may give you the idea. I'll try to get a few pics tomorrow.

    On one I used a corral pole for the backbone, and on the next, 2 rough cut 2x6's. The side frames of the uprights were 2x6's I think, as were the sides of the bottom frame.

    One of the old time ways of raising logs was ramps (poles) against the side of the wall to skid the logs up. Your atv winch, or the hand powered com-a-long should pull them up that.

    I also found that a pile of cull 2x6's to be very handy. I used some as ramps against the walls when winching the logs up, particularly to get over the projecting log ends of the walls. When picking logs out of the pile, you could wedge a couple 2x6's, 4 or so feet long, in between the logs to get the one you wanted to pop out of the pile while you winched it, then it could be skidded across the pile with more 2x6's.

    The hand powered log winch was slow, but it enabled me to work logs alone. I used up to 14" butts and up to 45 foot logs on the 24x32 place. The really heavy logs had to be lifted, then spun around sideways, set down, the winch frame moved, then the log relifted and spun around again to get it to the opposite side of the cabin. The logs can be swung fairly easily if you get them close to the balance point. I also had to put OSB scraps under the casters with the heavy logs, otherwise the casters would go thru the 3/4" OSB subfloor. On the little cabin it was OK without the scraps.

    With the smaller cabin I built (16x22), I could roll the frame around on the floor with a log.

  17. #17
    New member fishingis4play's Avatar
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    Lightbulb Hey Alaskan mtnman

    Forgot to tell you if you can weld or know someone who can you can build your own draw knifes, I did and I built 2 for about $25.00 and they work tons better than store bought ones they are heavier and blast through the knots with ease. Here's a picture of one of the draw knifes I made and a picture of it making me sweat! Another way to save a little $
    Last edited by fishingis4play; 07-06-2008 at 12:08.

  18. #18

    Exclamation Hey Fish!

    Thanks for the info! It just so happens I do weld, and have a plasma cutter and cut off saw to boot! Would you mind giving up some specifics? Length/width/weight etc? Did you heat temper the blade? How thick is it? I love the idea of saving $$$! Looks like it made some quick work of that winter cut timber! Of course you would have to confirm or deny that! Ha Ha Ha....... That is what I call "instant sweat equity"!!! Thanks for any and all info you may provide........... also, any other money saving idea's would be much appreciated. One can't possess to much knowledge. I have the tendancy to be pretty crafty when I set my mind to it! Especially if it means saving money!
    Be safe, and enjoy your time outdoors!
    Mountain Man

    "I'm not here for a long time! I'm here for a good time!!!!!!!!!!!"

  19. #19
    New member fishingis4play's Avatar
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    Post Here's the specs

    Draw knife is made of 1 inch schedule 80 pipe 3 ft long the handles are 9 inches long to the top of the bend. I used a pipe bender but you could heat and bend also. The blade is 4 1/2" wide by 3" deep beveled tool grade steel that is 1/2" thick and I had a low angle cut on it where I bought it and then I shaped it with a angle grinder to get a nice curved cutting surface that doesn't dig into the wood when your trying to just peel the bark off. I sharpen it with a orbital sander with 150 grit sand paper takes about 10 sec per sharpening and stays sharp for hours, easy and fast leaves more time for sweating off the winter PORK!

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