Restoring a Log Home - How to do grooves for lathe

by Pam Nance
(Winston Salem, NC)

Hi Banjoe,
My husband & I are restoring the log home where I grew up. We have completed the outside chinking and followed your advice re: cutting a top groove for the lathe. Should we cut a similar groove for the inside lathe?

Answer from Banjoe:

 I am glad to hear that! I cut a groove for the inside and outside. This speeds up the process greatly. Make sure that your chinking formula includes pure mortar and not the premixed.If it is premixed your chinking will fail within 2-3 years because it is already thinned with 3 parts sand. I learned the hard way. :(  Thanks for the pictures!

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May 09, 2011
More details on the log home restoration
by: Pam

Thanks so much for your response re: my question on cutting the inside groove for the chinking.  We figured that would need to be done for the inside as well as the outside, but wanted to check with you before beginning that process. 

We have talked with so many folks who have done this type of job before, but none of them have cut the groove the way you suggested.  My husband, Frank, absolutely loved your method!  Frank said it helped in getting the lathe exactly into place without having to cut it precisely. 

This method also alleviated the need for any type of nail into the top portion of the log, which will allow the lathe to move with the logs during times of humidity and also during the non-humid months when they might shrink back down. 

Can you tell we are a big fan of yours!  Thankfully, my husband used the chinking mixture you recommended, so hopefully ours will last for years to come.

The cabin is located near Winston-Salem, NC, just outside the little town of Germanton.  I grew up in the house, but of course none of the logs were visible except in the attic, due to the many additions added-on over the decades of habitation. 

The original tract of land dates to 1850 and we think the cabin was built around the same time.  The original cabin is 18 x 24, which is the size we retained, with a great room and half loft overlooking the fireplace. 

We plan to use stacked rock for the chimney and foundation, and also will add a front porch.  My husband is building the front door from 2 wide oak boards w/strap hinges, for now we have temps in-place; not so pretty!  We have used recycled wood from the original house on the gable ends and window trim and plan to use more of the same for the door trim, as well as the front porch rafters and flooring.

I will send more photos when we have a finished product. I have your site bookmarked to my favorites!
Thanks again,

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