There are two categories of log homes: milled and handcrafted. Initially, you might not recognize what you’re looking at; however the following are some fundamentals to assist in distinguishing the two. A handcrafted home means the logs are peeled and notched manually, and in some cases, each log is scribed (to mark or score wood with a pointed instrument as a guide to cutting or assembling) to fit exactly on the top of another. In several handcrafted houses, the logs are stacked alternately; therefore, the large finish of the log is stacked on the top of the tapered finish from the log beneath. A milled log home features logs that are a uniform fit, as well as been cut to suit together. An example of this is using Swedish cope or tongue-and-groove to ensure that they stack easily and evenly. There is broad cost distinction between a handcrafted versus a milled log home. This is mostly due to more labor needed to construct a handcrafted home, as well as the larger diameter of logs used. Milled log homes represent the vast majority of homes built today. If you notice a log home with chinking and round logs, that’s an initial indication this is might be a hand crafted log home. Chinking was in the past a mortar-like material which filled the gaps between your logs. Modern science has produced a polymer compound that grows and contracts between the wood logs.. If your handcrafted log is not scribed, then chinking is essential since logs leave some gaps along their length. Many people use chinking as an aesthetic feature even though it no longer serves a functional need; however, typically milled log houses are not chinked. The corners of the log home also have a number of style variations. The joinery and profile system from the log is often reflected by its finish. For example, on the handcrafted log home you will see the various diameters from the stacked logs. To stack them, the corners are going to be notched to ensure that each log sits on the log below it. A milled log that is saddle-notched will stack exactly the same way (obviously, every log will appear to be identical). Since saddle-notched logs are staggered, course-to-course, the log finishings will display on the inside corners of the home as well as the exterior. This provides an extremely rustic appeal. Butt-and-pass corners provides you with a finish where there is a gap between every other log. The reason for this is one log’s butt is the intersecting log, which runs past it. The logs are laid on a single course to ensure that using the interior corners of your house, the logs can come to some squared edge. Milled logs have many joinery systems of which to select from. Today, typically the most preferred joinery is known as a “Swedish cope”. Each log is cut to fit tightly around the curve from the log underneath it. This provides a very smooth, natural look. Another joinery product is the tongue-and-groove, or double tongue-and-groove with respect to the manufacturer. The tongues are cut into the top the log and corresponding grooves at the end. These produce a tight, neat fit and are easy to stack. An early American notch known as the dove-tail in the industry is referred to as a mortise-and-tenon notch and is usually cut into squared timbers. There are a number of other joinery corner systems to choose from; however, these are the most commonly used. Do you have any questions about the best type of log home for you? Give one of our log home experts a call at 888.586.1916.