Is it okay to use green oak logs when building a cabin?

by Ed
(Walcott, Arkansas)

I am planning to build a 20x20 log cabin with dovetail notch on our property in Northeast Arkansas. I was wondering should I go ahead and build the cabin with the green logs or let them cure? Thanks for any comments or advice.

Banjoe answers:
Dear Ed,
That is some pretty countryside in your part of Arkansas! My wife and I spent our honeymoon in northern Arkansas over 15 years ago.

When you are building a cabin, you have two options. Let the logs cure first and then put them up or put them up green and then let the cabin sit for awhile -a year- before finishing it. There are benefits both ways, as I see it. When the logs are fresh, they are softer and easier to cut or chisel. They are also full of moisture, which means they are heavier, though.

If you put your logs up green (which I have done), you will want to give them plenty of time for shrinking. Things can change as much as 1/2 inch per log. You don't even want to think about finishing doors and windows with that kind of variance coming. You have to let things really dry out and then you can start the finish work.

If you have the time to let the logs season first, that works great too and speeds up the actual building process.

Either way, I would let every green log season one way or another for a year, whether that is in a stack or as a cabin shell.

With Regards,

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