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26

PRESERVATION
BRIEFS

The Preservation and Repair of
Historic Log Buildings
Bruce D. Bomberger

u.s. Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Cultural Resources
Preservation Assistance

The intent of this Brief is to present a concise history and
description of the diversity of American log buildings and
to provide basic guidance regarding their preservation
and maintenance. A log building is defined as a building
whose structural walls are composed of horizontally laid
or vertically positioned logs. While this Brief will focus
upon horizontally-laid, comer-notched log construction,
and, in particular, houses as a building type, the basic
approach to preservation presented here, as well as many
of the physical treatments, can be applied to virtually any
kind of log structure.
Log buildings, because of their distinct material, physical
structure, and sometimes their architectural design, can

1

develop their own unique deterioration problems. The
information presented here is intended to convey the
range of appropriate preservation techniques available. It
does not, however, detail how to perform these treatments; this work should be left to professionals experienced in the preservation of historic log buildings.
Despite the publication since the 1930s of a number of
books and articles on the history of log construction in
America, some misconceptions persist about log buildings. Log cabins were not the first type of shelter built
by all American colonists . The term "log cabin" today
is often loosely applied to any type of log house, regardless of its form and the historic context of its set-

j

-" '

....

Fig. 1. Log construction was practical in the rough frontier and climate of Alaska, where it was used for a variety of structures
such as the Sourdough Lodge (c. 1903) near Gakona. Built to serve the trail leading to the Klondike gold discoveries, this
1-story, L-shaped roadhouse is primarily of horizontal log construction with vertical logs in the front gable.
Photo: National Park Service Files.

c
b
a
Fig. 2. Logs, both round and hewn, continued to be a basic construction material throughout much o/.the 19th centu.ry, here
illustrated by (a) these c. 1831 industrial workers' houses for forgemen at the Mt. Etna Iron Furnace 111 Pennsylval1la, and (b)
the Larsson-Ostlund House built by Swedish immigrants in New Sweden, Main e, during the 1870s . (c) Corner detail of the
Larsson-Ostlund House with the original clapboarding removed during restoration shows close-fitting log joints in the
Scandinavian style that did not require chinking. Photos: (a) jet Lowe, HAER Collection, (b-c) Main e Historic Preservation
Commission .
ting. "Log cabin" or "log house" often conjures up
associations with colonial American history and rough
frontier life (Fig. 1). While unaltered colonial era buildings in general are rare, historic log buildings as a
group are neither as old nor as rare as generally believed. One and two-story log houses were built in
towns and settlements across the country until about
the middle of the 19th century, and in many areas,
particularly in the West, as well as the Midwest and
southern mountain regions, log continued to be a basic
building material despite the introduction of wooden
balloon frame construction (Fig. 2). By the early 20th
century, the popularity of "rustic" architecture had
revived log construction throughout the country, and
in many areas where it had not been used for decades.
A distinction should be drawn between the traditional
meanings of "log cabin" and "log house ." "Log cabin"
generally denotes a simple one, or one-and-one-half
story structure, somewhat impermanent, and less finished or less architecturally sophisticated. A "log
cabin" was usually constructed with round rather than
hewn, or hand-worked, logs, and it was the first generation homestead erected quickly for frontier shelter.
"Log house" historically denotes a more permanent,
hewn-log dwelling, either one or two stories, of more
complex design, often built as a second generation
replacement. Many of the earliest 18th and early 19th
century log houses were traditionally clad, sooner or
later, with wood siding or stucco.

construction technology invented here, but brought by
Northern and Central European colonists. Finnish and
Swedish settlers are credited with first introducing
horizontal log building in the colony of New Sweden
(now Pennsylvania) on the upper shores of Delaware
Bay in 1638, who later passed on their tradition of log
construction to the Welsh settlers in Pennsylvania.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, new waves of Eastern and Central Europeans, including Swiss and Germans, came to America bringing their knowledge of
log construction. Even the Scotch-Irish, who did not
possess a log building tradition of their own, adapted
the form of the stone houses of their native country to
log construction, and contributed to spreading it across
the frontier. In the Mississippi Valley, Colonial French
fur traders and settlers had introduced vertical log construction in the 17th century.
Through the late 18th and early 19th centuries, frontier
settle :s erected log cabins as they cleared land, winding their way south in and along the Appalachian valleys through the back country areas of Maryland,
Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia . They moved westward across the Appalachian Mountain barrier into the
Ohio and Mississippi River valleys transporting their
indispensable logcraft with them, into Kentucky and
Tennessee, and as far to the southwest as eastern
Texas . Log buildings are known to have been con-

Historical Background
No other architectural form has so captured the imagination of the American people than the log cabin. Political supporters of 1840 presidential candidate William
Henry Harrison appropriated the log cabin as a campaign symbol. The log cabin was birthplace and home
for young Abe Lincoln, as well as other national figures, and assumed by many 19th century historians to
be the very first type of house constructed by English
colonists. In 1893 Frederick Jackson Turner in his influential paper, The Significance of the Frontier in American
History suggested that European colonists had adopted
this means of shelter from the Indians .
More recent 20th century scholarship has demonstrated
that horizontal log buildings were not the first form of
shelter erected by all colonists in America. Nor was log
2

Fig. 3. This mid-19th century double-pm corncrib all the
jamison Farm in Rowan County, North Carolina , is an example
of a type of log building that did 110t require chil1king. Photo:
Denise Whitley.

structed as temporary shelters by soldiers during the
Revolutionary War, and across the country, Americans
used logs not only to build houses, but also commercial structures, schools, churches, gristmills, barns,
corncribs and a variety of outbuildings (Fig. 3).
Around the mid-19th century, successive generations of
fur traders, metal prospectors, and settlers that included farmers and ranchers began to construct log
buildings in the Rocky Mountains, the Northwest, California, and Alaska (Fig. 4). In California and Alaska,
Americans encountered log buildings that had been
erected by Russian traders and colonists in the late 18th
and early 19th centuries. Scandinavian and Finnish
immigrants who settled in the Upper Midwest later in
the 19th century also brought their own log building
techniques with them. And, many log structures in the
Southwest, particularly in New Mexico, show Hispanic
influences of its early settlers.
While many parts of the country never stopped building with logs, wooden balloon frame construction had
made it obsolete in some of the more populous parts of
the country by about the mid-19th century. However,
later in the century, log construction was employed in
new ways. In the 1870s, wealthy Americans initiated
the Great Camp Movement for rustic vacation retreats
in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York.
Developers such as William Durant, who used natural
materials, including wood shingles, stone, and logoften with its bark retained to emphasize the Rustic
style-designed comfortable summer houses and
lodges that blended with the natural setting (Fig. 5).
Durant and other creators of the Rustic style drew
upon Swiss chalets, traditional Japanese design, and
other sources for simple compositions harmonious
with nature.
The Adirondack or Rustic style was balanced in the
West with construction of the Old Faithful Inn at Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming, designed by
Robert C. Reamer, and begun in 1903 (Fig. 6). This
popular resort was tremendously influential in its use
of locally-available natural materials, especially log, and
gave impetus to Rustic as a true national style. From
the turn of the century through the 1920s, Gustav

Fig. 4. Beginl1ing arollnd the mid-19th century, entire western
boom towns were hastily constrllcted of frame and log, sllch as
the buildings in Bm1l1ack, Montana, the site of the State's first
gold discovery. Photo: National Park Service Files.

Fig. 5. The main lodge of Echo Camp on Raquette Lake in New
York State was built in 1883 by the governor of Connecticut. It
typifies the Adirondack style in the use of exposed round logs
with crowns, and porches and balconies constructed with bowed
logs and round log columns. Photo: Courtesy The Adirondack
Museum.

a
b
Fig. 6. (a) Old Faithfllllnn, Yellowstone National Park,
Wyoming, shown here in 1912, brought the Rustic style to the
West in 1903 in an original design, and a scale befitting its
setting. (b) Although only the first story is of horizontal log
construction, the use of logs is striking in the trestle work and
cribbed piers around the entrance. Photo: (a) Courtesy National
Park Service, (b) Laura Soulliere Harrison.

Fig. 7. The Civilian Conservation Corps built many recreatiol1allog structures across the country in the 1930s and 40s,
including this rustic log gateway to Camp Morton, Lycoming
COllnty, Pel1nsylvania. Photo: Courtesy Lycoming County
Historical Society and Museum.
3

Stickley and other leaders of the Craftsman Movement
promoted exposed log construction. During the 1930s
and 40s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (Ccq used
log construction extensively in many of the country's
Federal and State parks to build cabins, lean-tos, visitor
centers, and maintenance and support buildings that
are still in service (Fig. 7).

Traditional Log Construction
Plan and Form

When settlers took the craft of log construction with
them onto the frontier, they successfully adapted it to
regional materials, climates and terrains. One of the
most notable characteristics of the earliest 18th and 19th
century log houses is the plan and form. The plan can
sometimes provide clues to the ethnic origin or route of
migration of the original inhabitant or builder. But in
the absence of corroborating documentary evidence, it is important not to infer too much about the ethnic craft traditions
of a particular log house.
Historians have identified a number of traditional
house plans and forms as prototypes (Fig. 8). They
were often repeated with simple variations . The basic
unit of each of these types is the one room enclosure
formed by four log walls joined at their corners, called
a single "pen" or "crib." The single pen was improved
upon by installing interior partitions or by adding another log pen. Some variations of historic log house
plans include: the typically mid-Atlantic "continental"
plan, consisting of a single-pen of three rooms organized around a central hearth; the "saddlebag" or
double-pen plan, composed of two contiguous log
pens; and the "dogtrot" plan, formed by two pens separated by an open passage space (sometimes enclosed
later), all covered by a continuous roof. The continental
plan originated in central and eastern Europe and is
attributed to 18th century German immigrants to Pennsylvania. Non-log interior partition walls form the
multi-room plan within the exterior log walls. The saddlebag plan consists of two adjoining log pens that
share a central chimney. A saddlebag is often the evolution of a single pen with an end chimney, expanded
by adding a second pen onto the chimney endwall.
The saddlebag was built in a number of different regions across the country. The dogtrot plan may be seen
with variation in many parts of the country, although it
is sometimes, perhaps erroneously, considered the
most typically southern, because its covered passageway provided both air circulation and shelter from the
heat. All these plan types were typically built in the
form of one or one-and-one-half story settlement
cabins.
A somewhat different form evolved in the West around
the middle of the 19th century which became especially
distinctive of the Rocky Mountain cabin. While the
entrance doorway to most earlier log houses was generally placed beneath the eaves, as a means of adapting
to the greater snowfall in the Rockies, here the entrance was placed in the gable end, and sometimes
protected from roof slides by a porch supported by two
corner posts created by an extension of the roof beyond
the gable wall (Fig. 9) .
From the late 18th through the mid-19th centuries,
Americans also built many substantial two-story log
4

a. Single Pen Plan

u

-

n

-

b. Continental Plan

c. Saddlebag Plan

...---..

...---..

-------_

..._ _ _.. ________ a.._ _ _..
d. Dogtrot Plan

Fig. 8. These log house plans represent some of the basic
housing forms constructed during the 18th and 19th centuries,
and include: (a) single pen, (b) continental, (c) saddlebag, and
(d) dogtrot. Drawing: James Caufield.

Fig. 9. This historic log building on the Walker Ranch in
Boulder, Colorado is an example of the Rocky Mountain cabin
form which is typified by the entrance door being located in the
gable end. Photo: Bernard Weisgerber.

r------------------------------------------Notching------------------------------------------~

Saddle

"V" or Steeple

Full Dovetail

Half Dovetail

Square

Fig. 10. Five examples of the more common historical methods of corner notching. Drawing: James Caufield.
houses in towns throughout the eastern half of the
country. In rural areas two-story log houses were sometimes built to replace earlier, first-generation settlement
cabins, but just as often the early hewn-log house was
retained and enlarged. A second story was added by
removing the roof and gables, constructing a second
floor, laying additional courses of logs, and building a
new roof, or reassembling the old one. Each generation
of owners might expand an early log core building by
adding on new log pens, or masonry or wood frame
extensions. The addition of a rear ell, or infill construction to link a formerly free-standing outbuilding, such
as a kitchen to the log main house was particularly
common. Such a layering of alterations is part of the
evolution of many log buildings.

a

Corner Notching and Other Fastening Techniques
Corner notching is another of the characteristic features
of log construction. Most notching methods provide
structural integrity, by locking the log ends in place,
and give the pen rigidity and stability. Like the floor
plan, the type of corner notching can sometimes be a
clue to the ethnic craft origin of a log building, but it is
important not to draw conclusions based only on
notching details. Numerous corner notching techniques have been identified throughout the country
(Fig. 10). They range from the simple "saddle" notching, which demands minimal time and hewing skill, to
the very common "V" notching or "steeple" notching,
to "full dovetail" notching, one of the tightest but most
time-consuming to accomplish, "half-dovetail" notching which is probably one of the most common, and
"square" notching secured with pegs or spikes.
The notching method on some of the earliest eastern
cabins and most 19th century western cabins, particularly saddle notching, left an extended log end or
"crown." Crowns are especially pronounced or exaggerated in Rustic style structures, and sometimes they
are cut shorter as the wall rises, creating a buttress
effect at the corners of the building.
Another method of securing log ends consists of fastening logs that are laid without notching ("false notching") with tenons into vertical corner posts, or using
spikes or pegs to attach them to vertical corner planks.
Vertically positioned logs were secured at their top and
bottom ends, usually into roof and sill plate timbers.
Selecting Logs and Assembling the Building
Although wood selection was most likely to be determined by availability, chestnut, white oak, cedar, and
fir were preferred because these trees could provide

c
Fig. 11 . Log-hewing tools and techniques: (a) scoring the log
with a single-bladed felling axe, or "pole axe" in preparation for
removing a uniform thickness of wood; (b) removal to depth of
scoring; (c) finish hewing with a broad axe. Photos: Courtesy
Bernard Weisgerber.
5

long, straight, rot-resistant logs. Pine, which also provided long straight logs, was also used in areas where
it was plentiful. Woods were often mixed, utilizing
harder, heavier rot-resistant wood such as white oak for
the foundation "sill log", and lighter, more-easily hewn
wood such as yellow poplar for the upper log courses.
One of the principal advantages of log construction
was the economy of tools required to complete a structure (Fig. 11). A felling axe was the traditional tool for
bringing down the tree and cutting the logs to length.
For many frontier and western structures the round
logs were debarked or used in their original form with
the bark left on, or one or more sides of the logs were
hewn flat with a broadaxe, or more finely finished with
an adze as smooth thick planks. Notching was done
with an axe, hatchet or saw; openings for doors and
windows were usually cut after the logs were set into
place, and door and window frames, particularly
jambs, were put in place during construction to help
hold the logs in place. Roof framing members and floor
joists were either hewn from logs or of milled lumber.
A log cabin could be raised and largely completed with
as few as two to four different tools, including a felling
axe, a broad axe, and a hand saw or crosscut saw.
The upper gable walls were completed with logs if the
roof was constructed with purlins, which is more typical of Scandinavian or Finnish construction, and western and 20th century Rustic styles. However, vertical or
horizontal weatherboard sheathing was commonly
used throughout the country to cover wood-framed
gables.

Chinking and Daubing
The horizontal spaces or joints between logs are usually filled with a combination of materials that together
is known as "chinking" and "daubing." Chinking and
daubing completed the exterior walls of the log pen by
sealing them against driving wind and snow, helping
them to shed rain, and blocking the entry of vermin. In
addition, chinking and daubing could compensate for a
minimal amount of hewing and save time if immediate
shelter was needed. Not all types of log buildings were
chinked. Corncribs, and sometimes portions of barns
where ventilation was needed were not chinked. While
more typical of Swedish or Finnish techniques, and not
as common in American log construction, tight-fitting
plank-hewn or scribed-fit round logs have little or no
need for chinking and daubing.
A variety of materials were used for chinking and
daubing, including whatever was most conveniently at
hand. Generally though, it is a three-part system applied in several steps. The chinking consists of two
parts: first, a dry, bulky, rigid blocking, such as wood
slabs or stones is inserted into the joint, followed by a
soft packing filler such as oakum, moss, clay, or dried
animal dung (Fig. 12). Daubing, which completes the
system, is the outer wet-troweled finish layer of varying
composition, but often consisting of a mixture of clay
and lime or other locally available materials. Instead of
daubing, carefully fitted quarter poles or narrow wood
strips were sometimes nailed lengthwise across the log
joints.
Chinking, especially the daubing, is the least durable
part of a log building. It is susceptible to cracking as a
6

Fig. 12. The log joints have been cleaned out in preparation for
new daubing exposing carefully laid stone chinking in this
building in Virginia. Photo: Bernard Weisgerber.

result of freeze-thaw action, structural settlement, drying of the logs, and a thermal expansion-contraction
rate that differs from that of the logs. Seasonal deterioration of chinking necessitates continual inspection and
regular patching or replacement.

Exterior Wall Treatments
Although the exterior logs of cabins in the West, and
20th century Rustic buildings are generally not covered,
many 18th and 19th century log houses east of the
Mississippi, with the exception of some of the simpler
cabins and houses in remote or poorer areas, were
covered with exterior cladding. The exterior of the log
walls was covered for both aesthetic and practical reasons either as soon as the building was completed or
sometime later.

In some instances, the exterior (and interior) of the logs
was whitewashed . This served to discourage insects,
and sealed hairline cracks in the daubing and fissures
between the daubing and logs. Although the solubility
of whitewash allows it to heal some of its own hairline
cracks with the wash of rain, like daubing it has to be
periodically reapplied. Usually, a more permanent covering such as wood siding or stucco was applied to the
walls, which provided better insulation and protection,
and reduced the maintenance of the log walls.
Sometimes log houses were sided or stuccoed later in
an attempt to express a newly-achieved financial or
social status. Many log houses were immediately sided
and trimmed upon completion to disguise their simple
construction beneath Georgian, Federal and later architectural styles. Frequently a log house was covered, or
recovered, when a new addition was erected in order
to harmonize the whole, especially if the original core
and its addition were constructed of different materials
such as log and wood frame (Fig. 13).
Vertical wood furring strips were generally nailed to the
logs prior to applying weatherboarding or stucco (Fig.
14) . This ensured that the walls would be plumb, and
provided a base on which to attach the clapboards, or
on which to nail the wood lath for stucco.

included in the original construction of most of the
earliest log houses, but root cellars were often dug
later.
Roofs

Fig. 13. Historic wood clapboard siding originally applied to
conceal the fact that this house was built in two sections of
different materials has been inappropriately removed from the
1793 log portion . Photo: National Park Service Files.

Log buildings were roofed with a variety of different
framing systems and covering materials. Like log house
plans and corner notching styles, the types of roof
framing systems used were often variations on particular ethnic and regional carpentry traditions. In most
cases wood shingles were the first roof covering used
on the earliest 18th and 19th century log houses. As
wood shingle roofs deteriorated, many were replaced
with standing seam metal roofs, many of which continue to provide good service today. Later pioneer log
buildings west of the Mississippi were likely to be
roofed with metal or roll roofing, or even with sod.
Other log buildings have been re-roofed in the 20th
century with asphalt shingles. For some rustic log
buildings in the West and Great Camps in the
Adirondacks, asphalt shingles are the original historic
roofing material.
Chimneys
Ethnic tradition and regional adaptation also influenced chimney construction and placement. Chimneys
in log houses were usually built of stone or brick, a
combination of the two, or even clay-lined, notched
logs or smaller sticks (Fig. 15). Later log buildings were
frequently constructed with only metal stacks to accommodate wood stoves. The chimneys of log buildings
erected in cold climates tended to be located entirely
inside the house to maximize heat retention. In the
South, where winters were less severe the chimney
stack was more typically constructed outside the log
walls. With the advent of more efficient heating systems, interior chimneys were frequently demolished or
relocated and rebuilt to maximize interior space.

Fig. 14. Removal of the historic wood siding fro m the 1804
Zachariah Price DeWitt HOllse il1 Butier County, Ohio, reveals
that the clapboards were attached to vertical wood furring strips
nailed to the logs. Photo: National Park Service Files.
Foundations
Log building foundations varied considerably in quality, material, and configuration . In many cases, the
foundation consisted of a continuous course of flat
stones (with or without mortar), several piers consisting of rubblestone, single stones, brick, short vertical
log pilings, or horizontal log "sleepers" set on grade.
The two "sill logs," were laid directly upon one of these
types of foundations.
Climate and intended permanence of the structure
were the primary factors affecting foundation construction . The earliest log cabins, and temporary log dwellings in general, were the most likely to be constructed
on log pilings or log sleepers set directly on grade.
Where a more permanent log dwelling was intended,
or where a warm, humid climate accelerated wood
decay, such as in the South, it was sometimes more
common to use stone piers which allowed air to circulate beneath the sill logs. Full cellars were not generally

Fig. 15. The mid-19th century O'Quinn House, Moore County,
North Carolina, provides a rare surviving example of a claylilled log chimney. Although the logs of the house are saddlenotched, the chimney logs are "V" notched. The roof was
extended out over the chimney to protect the daubing from the
weather, and the chimney stack would have originally projected
th rollgh a hole in the roof. Photo: Michael Southern.
7

or video recording, and making drawings of existing
conditions, including overall and detail views. This will
serve as a record of the appearance and condition
which can be referred to once work is under way. A
physical assessment should also identify causes of deterioration, not just symptoms or manifestations and,
in some instances, may need to include a structural
investigation.

Foundation Inspection

Fig. 16. This photograph of the interior of a 1793 log house in
Maryland reveals much about historic log building construction
and interior finish treatments. To the left of the plank door
plaster has been removed exposing the stone chinking and
daubing; remnants of vertical furring strips attached to the logs
show evidence of traditional horizontal lath, while the hole
broken through the plaster wall on the right shows the use of
diagonal lath. The open door reveals a very steep, enclosed
stairway typical of many early log houses. Although plaster has
been removed from the ceiling, the wall to the right of the door
shows the original plaster finish and fine woodwork including
beaded chair rail, floor and door molding. Photo: National Park
Service Files.
Interior Finishes
Logs on the interiors of many of the simpler cabins and
Rustic style structures were often given a flattened surface or left exposed. But, in the more finished log
houses of the 18th and 19th century, they were more
commonly covered for most of the same reasons that
the exterior of the logs was covered-improved insulation, ease of maintenance, aesthetics, and keeping out
vermin. Covering the interior log walls with planks,
lath and plaster, boards pasted with newspaper, fabric
such as muslin, or wallpaper increased their resistance
to air infiltration and their insulation value. Finished
walls could be cleaned and painted more easily, and
plastered walls and ceilings obscured the rough log
construction and prepared interior surfaces for decorative wood trim in the current styles (Fig. 16).

The foundation of a log building should always be inspected before beginning work because, as in any
building, foundation-related problems can transfer
structural defects to other components of the building.
Settling of the foundation is a typical condition of log
buildings. If settlement is not severe and is no longer
active, it is not necessarily a problem. If, however, settlement is active or uneven, if it is shifting structural
weight to unintended bearing points away from the
intended main bearing points of the corner notches
and sill log, serious wall deflections may have resulted.
Causes of settlement may include foundation or chimney stones or sill logs that have sunk into the ground,
decay of log pilings, log sleepers, or of the sill logs
themselves.
log Inspection

Foundation problems usually result in damage to the
sill logs and spandrels, which are often the most susceptible to deterioration. Sill logs, along with the corner notching, tend to bear most of the weight of the
building, and are closest to vegetation and the ground,
which harbors wood-destroying moisture and insects.
If the sill log has come into contact with the ground,
deterioration is probably underway or likely to begin
(Fig. 17). It is also important to check the drainage
around the building. The building assessment should
note the condition of each log and attempt to identify
the sources of problems that appear to exist.
Sill log inspection should not necessitate destruction of
historic exterior cladding if it exists. Inspection can
usually be made in areas where cladding is missing,

Historical Evaluation and Damage
Assessment
Before undertaking preservation work on a historic log
building, its history and design should be investigated,
and physical condition evaluated. It is always advisable
to hire a historical architect or qualified professional
experienced in preservation work to supervise the project. In addition, State Historic Preservation Offices,
regional offices of the National Park Service, and local
historical commissions may also provide technical and
procedural advice.
The historical investigation should be carried out in
conjunction with a visual inspection of the log building. Physical assessment needs to be systematic and
thorough. It should include taking notes, photographs
8

Fig. 17. Contact of this building's sill log with the ground has
led to its decay, infestation by wood-destroying insects, and
resulting building settlement. Photo: Anne Grimmer.

loose, or deteriorated. Sill log, as well as upper log,
deterioration may also be revealed by loose or peeling
areas of the cladding. If pieces of cladding must be
removed for log inspection, they should be labeled and
saved for reinstallation, or as samples for replacement
work. Historic cladding generally need not be disturbed unless there are obvious signs of settling or
other indications of deterioration.
Other areas of the log walls which are particularly susceptible to deterioration include window and door sills,
corner notches, and crowns, and any other areas regularly saturated by rain run-off or backsplash . The characteristic design feature of Adirondack or Rustic style
log buildings of leaving log ends or crowns to extend
beyond the notched corners o( the building positions
the crowns beyond the drip-line of the roof edge. This
makes them vulnerable to saturation from roof run-off,
and a likely spot for deterioration. Saddle notching in
which the cut was made out of the top surface of the
log and which cups upward, and flat notching, may
also be especially susceptible to collecting run-off
moisture.
Detection of decay requires thorough inspection. Probing for rot should be done carefully since repair techniques can sometimes save even badly deteriorated
logs. Soft areas should be probed with a small knife
blade or icepick to determine the depth of decay. Logs
should be gently tapped at regular intervals up and
down their lengths with the tool handle to detect
hollow-sounding areas of possible interior decay. Long
cracks which run with the wood grain, called "checks;'
are not signs of rot, but are characteristic features of the
seasoning of the logs . However, a check can admit
moisture and fungal decay into a log, especially if it is
located on the log's upper surface. Checks should also
be probed with a tool blade to determine whether decay is underway inside the log.
Sill log ground contact and relative moisture content
also provide ideal conditions for certain types of insect
infestation. Wood building members, such as sill logs
or weatherboarding, less than eight inches from the
ground, should be noted as a potential problem for
monitoring or correction. Sighting of insects, or their
damage, or telltale signs of their activity, such as mud
tunnels, exit holes, or "frass;' a sawdust-like powder,
should be recorded. Insect infestation is best treated by
a professionally licensed exterminator, as the chemicals
used to kill wood-destroying insects and deter reinfestation are generally toxic.

Roof Inspection
Along with the foundation, the roof is the other most
vital component of any building. The roof system consists of, from top to bottom, the covering, usually some
form of shingles or metal sheeting and flashing; board
sheathing or roof lath strips; the framing structure,
such as rafters or purlins; the top log, sometimes referred to as the "roof plate" or "rafter plate;" and,
sometimes, but not always, gutters and downspouts.
The roof and gutters should be inspected and checked
for leaks both from the exterior, as well as inside if possible. Inspection may reveal evidence of an earlier roof
type, or covering, and sometimes remnants of more
than one historic covering material. The roof may be
the result of a later alteration, or raised when a second

Fig. 18. Exposed roofing members of Rustic style buildings such
as this structure at Yellowstone National Park are highly
susceptible to deterioration. Photo: Laura Soulliere Harrison.

story was added, or repaired as the result of storm or
fire damage. Often, roof framing may be composed of
reused material recycled from earlier buildings. Inspection of the roof framing should note its configuration
and condition. Typical problems to look for are framing
members that have been dislodged from their sockets
in the roof plate, or that are cracked, ridge damage,
sagging rafters, broken ties and braces, and decay of
exterior exposed rafter or purlin ends, especially common on Rustic style buildings (Fig. 18).
Other Features

The rest of the building should also be inspected as
part of the overall assessment, including siding, window sash and frames, door frames and leafs, chimneys, porches, and interior walls, trim, and finishes.
Any of these features may exhibit deterioration problems, inherent to the material or to a construction detail, or may show the effects of problems transmitted
from elsewhere, such as a deformed or mis-shapen
window frame resulting from a failed sill log. The inspection should note alterations and repairs made over
time, and identify those modifications which have acquired significance and should be preserved. Nothing
should be removed or altered before it has been examined and its historical significance noted.

Preservation Treatments
Since excessive moisture promotes and hastens both
fungal and insect attack, it should be dealt with immediately. Not only must the roof and gutters be repaired
-if none exist, gutters should probably be added-but
the foundation grade should be sloped to ensure drainage away from the building. If the distance from the
ground to the sill log or exterior sheathing is less than
eight inches, the ground should be graded to achieve
this minimum distance. Excess vegetation and debris
such as firewood, dead leaves, or rubbish should be
cleared from the foundation perimeter, and climbing
vines whose leaves retain moisture and tendrils erode
daubing, should be killed and removed. Moisture problems due to faulty interior plumbing should also be
remedied. Solving or reducing moisture problems may
in itself end or halt the progress of rot and wooddestroying insects .
9

Log Repair
Stabilizing and repairing a log that has been only partially damaged by decay or insects is always preferable to
replacing it. Retaining the log, rather than substituting
a new one, preserves more of the building's integrity,
including historic tool marks and the wood species
which may no longer be obtainable in original dimensions . Log repair can generally be done with the log in
place at less cost, in less time, and with less damage to
building fabric, than by removing, and installing a new
hewn and notched replacement log. Log repair is accomplished by two basic methods : traditional methods
of splicing-in new or old wood, or through the u se of
epoxies. These treatments are sometimes combined,
and may also be used in conjunction with reinforcing
members. Historic log repair, whether it involves patching

techniques or the use of epoxies, should always be performed
only by an experienced craftsperson or architectural
conservator.

Fig. 19. Log splicing with scarf joints. Drawing: Harrison
Gooda ll.

Wood Splicing
Wood splicing can involve several types of techniques.
Also referred to as "piecing-in" or "Dutchman" repair,
it involves treating a localized area of deterioration by
cutting out the decayed area of the log, and carefully
carving and installing a matching, seasoned wood replacement plug or splice . The wood species, if available, and the direction and pattern of the grain should
match that of adjacent original wood. The location and
depth of decay should determine the splicing technique to be used. In a case where decay runs deep
within a log, a full-depth segment containing the affected area can be cut out, severing the log completely,
and a new segment of log spliced in, using angled
"scarf" joints or square-cut "half-lap" joints (Fig. 19) .
The splice is secured to the severed log by angling lag
screws or bolts through the upper and lower surfaces
that will be concealed by daubing.
Splicing can also be performed using epoxy as an adhesive. A log with shallow decay on its outer face can
be cut back to sound depth, and a half-log face spliced
on, adhered with epoxy, screws or bolts . A technique
for the repair of badly deterioriated log crowns involves
cutting them back to sound wood, and into the notching joint if necessary, and installing new crowns cut to
match. Fiberglass or aluminum reinforcement rods are
inserted into holes drilled into the new crowns, and
into corresponding holes drilled in the ends of the original cut-off logs. Epoxy is used as an adhesive to attach
and hold the new crowns in place . Long lag screws can
be angled up through the underside of the crown into
the log above to provide additional support for the
repair.

a

Epoxy Consolidation and Repair
In some instances, epoxies may be used by themselves
to consolidate and fill the voids left by deteriorated
wood. Epoxies are versatile in performance, relatively
easy to use by experts, and, after curing, may be
shaped with wood-working tools . Their use requires
that sufficient sound wood survives for the epoxy to
adhere. But they can be used to stabilize rotted wood,
return full or greater than original strength to decayed
structure-bearing members, and to reconstitute the
shape of decayed log ends. Epoxies resist decay and
10

b

Fig. 20. (a) These deteriorated log crowns were (b) repaired with
new crowns which were attached to the historic logs with
reinforcing bars and epoxy. Epoxy repair of log crowns is most
successful when the repaired crowns are protected from excess
moisture by a roof overhang. Photos: Harrison Goodall.

insects, and while epoxy itself is resistant to moisture,
epoxy tends to cause adjacent wood to retain moisture
rather than dry out, and if not used in the right location, can actually further a continuing cycle of wood
decay. Hence, epoxy repairs are most successful in
areas where they are protected from moisture. Epoxies,
of which there are a variety of commercially-available
products on the market, are prepared in essentially two
forms: a liquid consolidant and a flexible putty filler.
Each consists of a resin and a hardener which must be
mixed prior to use.
The technique of treating, for an example, a decayed
log crown with epoxies is begun by removing loose
decayed wood, and drying the area if necessary (Fig.
20). The rot-affected cavity and surface of the log end is
then saturated with liquid epoxy by repeated brushing,
or by soaking it in a plastic bag filled with epoxy that is
attached to the log . The porous condition of the rotdamaged wood will draw up the epoxy like a lamp
wick. Once the liquid epoxy has saturated the log end
and cured, the log end has been consolidated, and is
ready for the application of an epoxy putty filler. The
filler resin and hardener must also be mixed; pigments
must be mixed with the filler epoxy to color the patch,
and more importantly to protect it from ultraviolet sunlight. The filler can be applied with a putty knife,
pressing it into the irregularities of the cavity. The
cured patch can be worked like wood and painted with
an opaque stain or a dull finish paint to help it blend
with surrounding wood, although epoxy repairs can be
difficult to disguise on natural, unpainted wood .
Epoxies can be used to consolidate and repair other
areas of a log, including rotted internal areas which
have not yet progressed to damage the log's outer surface. Saturation of small internal areas can be accomplished by drilling several random holes into the log
through an area that will be concealed by daubing, and
then pouring in liquid epoxy. If a pure resin is used, it
should be a casting resin to minimize shrinkage, and it
is best to fill voids with a resin that contains aggregates
such as sand, or micro-balloons . Epoxy is frequently
used by architectural conservators to strengthen deteriorated structural members. The damaged log can be
strengthened by removing the deteriorated wood, and
filling the void by imbedding a reinforcing bar in epoxy
filler, making sure the void is properly sealed to contain the epoxy before using it (Fig . 21). Sometimes
larger decayed internal areas of a log can be more easily
accessed and repaired from the interior of a structure.
This may be a useful technique if it can be accomplished without causing undue damage to the interior
finishes in the log building. However, despite its many
advantages, epoxy may not be an appropriate treatment for all log repairs, and it should not be used in an
attempt to conceal checking, or extensive log surface
patching that is exposed to view, or logs that are substantially decayed or collapsed.
Log Replacement
Repairing or replacing only a segment of a log is not
always possible. Replacement of an entire log may be
the only solution if it has been substantially lost to
decay and collapsed under the weight of logs above it.
Log replacement, which should be carried out only by
experienced crafts persons, is begun by temporarily

===:l6f

Deteriorated log crown.

=~

---o~
Remove deteriorated crown. Recess to the

center line of the log wall. Remove all
pockets of decay. Saturate the decay pock.
ets with an epoxy consolidant.

Cut and prefit log crown replacement.
Typical log crown applications require one
or two 1/ 2" diameter fiberglass rebars

embedded 12" deep in the top of the exist·
ing wall log and replacement crowns.
Shorter 4" long rebars placed at the bot·
tom of the log will make the log crown
rigid by creating a 3·point support. Drill
holes 1/ 4" to 3/ 8" larger than rebar to
accommodate the epoxy. Maintain 1II of

good wood between the hole and the edge
of the log.

Fill holes with epoxy.

Assemble log crown replacement with

fiberglass rebars. Support until epoxy has
cured .

Completed log crown replacement.

Fig. 21. Epoxy repnir. Drawing: Harrisol1 Goodall.
supporting the logs above, and then jacking them up
just enough to insert the new log. Potential danger to
the structure may include creating inadequate temporary bearing points, and crushing chinking and interior
finishes which may have settled slowly into nonoriginal positions that cannot withstand jacking.
To begin the process of log replacement, the entire
length of the log must be inspected from the exterior
and the interior of the structure to determine whether
it supports any structural members or features, and
how their load can be taken up by bracing during jacking and removal. On the exterior, sheathing such as
weatherboard, and adjacent chinking, must be removed along the length of the log to perform this inspection. Likewise, on the interior, abutting partition
walls and plaster may also need to be removed around
the log to determine what, if any, features are supported by or tied into the log to be removed .
A replacement log should be obtained to match the
wood species of the original being removed. If it is a
hewn log, then the replacement must be hewn to replicate the dimensions and tool marks of the original (Fig.
22) . If the same wood species cannot be obtained in the
original dimensions, a substitute species may have to
be used, and may even be preferable in some instances
11

n.

FiS.
ThL' IiSlitl'l"-colorL'd rL'placL'IIl L'llt loS ill thi:; /Jam
lIlate/,L':; thL' diI1IL'Il:; ioll :; alld Il('((lill,\ lIlark:; or the ori,\illallo,\:; ,
alld (Pill darkl'll ill tilllL' to blL'lld Z'i~ lIall.v with the ot/ler loS".
Photo: Bl'mard Wl'i:;Sl'r/Jl'r .

if a more durable wood can be found than the origi nal
wood species. It should, however, be chosen to match
the visual characteristics of the original species as
closely as possible .
Wood Preservatives
In most instances, the use of chemical wood preservatives is not generally recommended on historic log
buildings . Preservatives tend to change the color or
appearance of the logs. In addition, many are toxic,
they tend to leach out of the wood over time, and like
paint, must be periodically reapplied. Many of the late
19th and early 20th century Rustic structures were constructed of logs with the bark left on which may provide protection, while others have been painted .
However, some log buildings, and especially log
houses that have been inappropriately stripped of historic cladding in an earlier restoration, and now show
signs of weathering, such as deep checking, may be
exceptions to this guidance . A preservative treatmept
may be worth considering in these cases . Boiled linseed oil may sometimes be appropriate to use on selected exposures of a building that are particularly
vulnerable to weathering, although linseed oil does
tend to darken over time. Borate solutions, which do
not alter the color or appearance of wood, may be another of the few effective, non-hazardous preservatives
available. However, borate solutions do not penetrate
dry wood well, and thus the wood must be green or
wet. Because borate solutions are water-soluble, after
treating, the wood must be coated with a waterrepellent coating . In some instances, it may be appropriate to reapply varnish where it was used as the
original finish treatment. Pressure-treating, while effective for new wood, is not applicable to in-place log
treatment, and is generally not effective for large timbers and logs because it does not penetrate deeply
enough.
Foundation Repair
The foundation should have good drainage, be stable,
adequately support the building as well as any future
floorloads, and keep the sill log sufficiently clear of the
ground and moisture to deter decay and insect infestation. Log buildings with cellars are less likely to suffer
12

problems than those built upon the ground or with
crawl spaces, as long as the cellar is kept dry and ventilated. Because the foundations of many log buildings
were neither dug nor laid below the frostline , they
generallyiend to be susceptible to freeze-thaw ground
heaving and settlement. Also, as previously noted,
some foundations consisted of wooden sleepers or
pilings in direct contact with the ground . If a foundation problem is minor, such as the need for repointing
or resetting a few sto nes, work should address only
those areas . Loose stones should be reset in their originallocations if possible . A clearly inadequate foundation that has virtually disappeared into the ground, or
where large areas of masonry have buckled or sunk,
resulting in excessively uneven or active settlement,
w ill need to be rebuilt using modern construction
methods but to match the historic appearance.
Chinking Repair
RepaIr ot chinking, whether it is finished on the exterior with wooden strips or with daubing, should not be
done until all log repair or replacement, structural jacking and shoring is completed, and all replacement logs
have seasoned . Historically, patching and replacing
daubing on a routine basis was a seasonal chore. This
was because environmental factors-building settlement, seasonal expansion and contraction of logs, and
moisture infiltration followed by freeze-thaw actioncracks and loosens daubing. If the exterior log walls are
exposed, and the chinking or daubing requires repair,
as much of the remaining inner blocking filler and
daubing should be retained as possible. A daubing
formula and tooled finish that matches the historic
daubing, if known, should be used, or based on one of
the mixes listed here . For the most part, modern
com mercially-available chinking products are not suitable for use on historic log buildings, although an exception might be on the interior of a log building
where it will be covered by plaster or wood, and will
not be visible. These products tend to have a sandy
appearance that may be compatible with some historic
daubing, but the color, and other visual and physical
characteristics are generally incompatible with historic
log surfaces .
Sections of wood chinking which are gone or cannot be
made weathertight should be replaced with same-sized
species saplings or quarter poles cut to fit . Generally,
unless bark was used originally, it should be removed
before nailing the new wood chinking replacements
tightly into place.
Analysis of daubing can be done in much the same
way as mortar analysis . If that is not feasible, by crushing a loose piece of daubing its constituent parts can be
exposed, which may typically include lime, sand, clay,
and, as binders, straw or animal hair. The color imparted by the sand or pigmented constituents should
be noted, and any areas of original daubing should be
recorded with color film for later reference. Daubing
that is loose or is not adhered to the logs must first be
cleaned out by hand. Blocking filler should be left intact, refitting only loose pieces. (Sometimes it may be
difficult to obtain a good bond in which case it may be
necessary to clean out the joint entirely.) If needed, soft
filler should be added, such as jute or bits of fiberglass
batt, pressed firmly into voids with a stick or blunt

tool. Concealed reinforcement may sometimes be used,
depending upon the authenticity of the restoration.
This can include galvanized nails partially inserted
only on the upper side of the log to allow for the daubing to move with the upper log and keep the top joint
sealed, or galvanized wire mesh secured with galvanized nails (Fig. 23). Like repointing masonry, daubing
should not be done in full sun, excessive heat or when
freezing temperatures are expected. The daubing materials should be dry-mixed, the chinking rechecked as
being tight and secure, and the mix wetted and stirred
to a stiff, paste-like consistency. The mix dries quickly,
so no more daubing should be prepared at a time th<lD
can be applied in about 30 minutes. A test patch of
new daubing, either on the building, or in a mock-up
elsewhere. will help test the suitability of the formula's
color and texture match.
Before applying the daubing, the chinking area, including filler and log surfaces to be covered, should be
sprayed with water to prevent the dry filler from too
rapidly drawing off the daubing moisture which will
result in hairline cracking. A trowel, ground to the
width of the daubing, is used to press the daubing into
the chinking space, and to smooth the filled areas.
Wide or deep chinking spaces or joints may have to be
daubed in layers, to prevent sagging and separation
from the logs, by applying one or two scratch coats
before finishing the surface.

Traditional
Chinking Methods

(a)

Repairing or
Replacing Daubing

(c)

(b)
(d)

Fig. 23. Illustrated are various methods of chinking and
daubing: (a) wood strips, or tlzin saplings nailed in place; and
(b) 3-part system consisting of an inner blocking filler of stones
or wood slabs, together with soft filler, such as clay, stuffed
around the blocking, composes the chinking, and wet-applied
daubing. Concealed aids that may improve the adherence of new
daubing include (c) galvanized nails, or (d) galvanized mesh
lath. Drawing: James Caufield.

Daubing Mixes
parts (volume)
1/4

material
cement
1
lime
4
sand
1/8
dry color
hog bristles or excelsior
(Donald A. Hutslar, "Log Cabin Restoration:
Guidelines for the Historical Society," American
Association for State and local History, Technical
Leaflet No. 74, "History News:' Vol. 29, No.5
(May 1974.)
Mix B.
6
sand
4
lime
1
cement
Mix C. 1
portland cement
4-8
lime
7-10
sand
Mix Band C are reprinted from "Log Structures:
Preservation and Problem-Solving," by Harrison
Goodall and Renee Friedman, Nashville, TN:
American Association for State and Local History,
1980.

MixA.

Portland cement was a part of the original daubing
used in many late 19th and early 20th century log
buildings, and is therefore appropriate to include in
repairing buildings of this period. Although a small
amount of portland cement may be added to a lime,
clay and sand mix for workability, there should not be
more than 1 part portland cement to 2 parts of lime in
daubing mixes intended for most historic log buildings.
Portland cement tends to shrink and develop hairline
cracks, and retain moisture, all of which can be potentially damaging to the logs.
Interior Treatments

There is no single appropriate way to finish or restore
the interior of a historic log house. Each building and
its history is unique. The temptation should be resisted
to impart an unfinished frontier character by removing
plaster to expose interior log walls or joists in the ceiling. Instead, interior treatments should be based on
existing evidence, and guided by old photographs,
written documentation, and interviews with previous
owners. Interior features and finishes that might exist
in some 18th and 19th century log houses include
wood paneled walls, wood moldings, stairs, and fireplace mantels; where they have survived, these features should be retained. Many of the more rustic log
buildings built later in the 19th or early 20th century
intentionally featured exposed interior log walls, sometimes with the logs peeled and varnished. If interior
plaster is severely damaged or has previously been
removed, and evidence such as lath ghosting on the
logs exists, walls should be replastered or recovered
with gypsum board or dry wall to match the historic
appearance.
13

Preserving Log Buildings in Their Historic
Settings
Log buildings are too often viewed as portable resources. Like other historic buildings, moved or relocated log structures can suffer a loss of integrity of
materials and of setting (Fig. 24). Historic buildings
listed in the National Register of Historic Places may be
su bject to loss of that status if moved. Despite the popularity of dismantling and relocating log buildings,
they should be moved only as a last resort, if that is the
only way to save them from demolition. If they must
be ~oved , it is preferable that they be moved intactthat is, in one piece rather than disassembled. Disassembling and moving a log building can result in
considerable loss of the historic building materials.
While the logs and roof framing members can be numbered for reassembly, dismantling a log building can
result in loss of such features as foundation and chimney, chinking and daubing, exterior cladding, and interior finishes . Furthermore, log buildings can rarely be
put back together as easily as they were taken apart.

b

Fig. U. SOllie towns still retain a high l1ulllber of early log
houses. (a) Middleway, West Virgil1ia, is a small village
dOlllillated by 18th al1d 19th cel7tury log hOllses, and, with the
exceptiol1 of outbuildil7gs, all are clad in original wood siding or
stucco. Removal of one of the houses frolll this streetscape would
not only result il1 a loss of il7tegrity to the building, but also to
the historic district. (b) The original wood clapboard of two of
these c. 1830 log houses ill Stouchsburg, Pennsylvania, has
beel1 covered with asphalt sidil7g, and later porches added.
Re/lIlbilitatioll plans might appropriately include retention of
the porches as havil1g acquired significance over time, and
removal of the asphalt siding. Ul7even spacing between the two
upper left windows of the house on the left, and the center
chiml7ey are indicatiol7s that the house was built in two stages.
Photos: (a) Al7l7e Grimmer, (b) Pennsylvania Historical and
Museum Com mission.

a
14

a
Fig. 25. (n) Prior to reira/Jilitntioll , tire exterior of tlli~ late 18tir
celltll ry log 1101I~e (P17~ ~ided [(litir «(lood cJnp/J(J(7rli, «('iriellirad
/Jeell ((Juered O(ler /'.11 a Inter nrtificial ~id i llg , «('irile tire IIpper
gn llcry of till' ~eco lld floor porcir (P17~ stllccoed. (/7) Dllrillg tire
reilll/,ilitatioll /JOtll tire iristoric wood sidillg alld stllCCO «('ere
rellloucd to expose tile logs, tilt' gn/,/es were sided «(litir «('ood
sirillgles, nlld «('irnt wO llld irnue origillnlly /well lIIilled «('ood
CO IIlIIlIl S slIpportillg tire porcir were replnced witir rollgir,
II 11 II I illed log posts. Collecti7. Jcly, tirese treatlllellts dilllillisired
tire bllildillg's nrcllitectllml illtegrity, nlld gnue it nil nppenmllCL'
it neper irad. (c) Tire deptir thnt the window fmllles extelld Oll t
beyolld the log s1lrfnce nllowillg spnce for sidillg is nil illdicntioll
thnt clnddillg wns pnrt of the bllilding's originnl collstrllctioll.
Photos: Nntionnl Pnrk Service Files.

c

Summary
Historic log buildings regardless of whether they are of
horizontal or vertical construction, or whether they are
18th century log houses or early 20th century Rustic
style cabins, are unique. Their conservation essentially
centers on the preservation and repair of the logs, and
appropriate repairs to chinking and daubing, which
like repointing of masonry, is necessary to ensure that
most log buildings are weathertight. Log building preservation may be accomplished with a variety of techniques including splicing and piecing-in, the use of
epoxy, or a combination of patching and epoxy, and
often, selected replacement. But, like any historic

building, a log structure is a system that functions
through the maintenance of the totality of its parts.
The exterior of many of the earliest late 18th and 19th
century log buildings, and particularly those east of the
Mississippi, were commonly covered at the time of
construction or later with some type of cladding, either
horizontal or vertical wood siding, stucco, or sometimes a combination . If extant, this historic cladding,
which may be hidden under a later, non-historic artificial siding such as aluminum, vinyl, or asbestos,
should be preserved and repaired, or replaced if evidence indicates that it existed, as a significant
character-defining feature of the building (Fig. 25).
15

Selected Reading
Briscoe, Frank. "Wood-Destroying Insects." The Old-House
Journal. Vol. XIX, No. 2 (MarchiApril 1991), pp. 34-39.
Caron, Peter. "Jacking Techniques for Log Buildings." Association for Preservation Technology Bulletin. Special Issue :
Alberta Culture. Vol. XX, No. 4 (1988), pp. 42-54.
Cotton, J. Randall . "Log Houses in America ." The Old-House
Journal. Vol. XVIII, No.1 Oanuary/February 1990), pp. 37-

44.
Elbert, Duane E., and Keith A. Sculle. Log Buildings in lIIinois:
Their Interpretation and Preservation . Illinois Preservation
Series: Number 3. Springfield, IL: Illinois Department of
Conservation, Division of Historic Sites, 1982.
Goodall, Harrison. " Log Crown Repair and Selective Replacement Using Epoxy and Fiberglass Reinforcing Rebars: Lamar Barn, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming. "
Preservation Tech Notes, Exterior Woodwork Number 3.
Washington, D.e.: Preservation Assistance Division,
National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior,
1989.
_____ , and Renee Friedman. Log Structures: Preservation
and Problem-Solving. Nashville, TN: American Association
for State and Local History, 1980.
Hutslar, Donald A. The Architecture of Migration : Log Construction in the Ohio Country, 1750- 1850. Athens, OH: Ohio
University Press, 1986.
_____ . Log Cabin Restoration: Guidelines for the Historical
Society. American Association for State and Local History
Technical Leaflet 74. History News. Vol. 29, No. 5, May
1974.
Jordan, Terry G. American Log Buildings: An Old World Heritage. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina
Press, 1985.
Kaiser, Harvey H. Great Camps of the Adirondacks. Boston:
David R. Godine Publisher, Inc., 1986.
Merrill, William. "Wood Deterioration : Causes, Detection and
Prevention." American Association for State and Local
History Technical Leaflet 77. History News . Vol. 29, No. 8,
August, 1974.

Rowell, R.M ., J.M. Black, L.R . Gjovik, and w.e. Feist. Protecting Log Cabins from Decay. U.S .D.A. Forest Service
Products Laboratory, General Technical Report, FPL-ll.
Madison, WI: Forest Products Laboratory, Forest Service,
U.S . Department of Agriculture, 1977.
St. George, R.A. Protecting Log Cabins, Rustic Work and Unseasoned Wood from Injurious Insects in the Eastern United
States. Farmer's Bulletin No. 2104, United States Department of Agriculture. Washington, D.e.: Government
Printing Office, 1962 (Rev. 1970).
Tweed, William e. , Laura E. Soulliere, and Henry G . Law.
National Park Service Rustic Architecture: 1916-1942. San
Francisco, CA: Division of Cultural Resource Management, Western Regional Office, National Park Service,
February 1977.
Wilson, Mary. Log Cabin Studies. Cultural Resources Report
No. 9. Ogden, UT: United States Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, 1984.

Acknowledgements
The author, a Preservation Specialist at the Pennsylvania
Historical and Museum Commission, wishes to thank those
experts who reviewed and commented upon the draft manuscript: James Caufield; J. Randall Cotton; Harrison Goodall;
Donald A. Hutslar; Terry G. Jordan; Bernard Weisgerber;
Rodd Wheaton; and National Park Service professional staff.
Anne E. Grimmer is credited with directing this cooperative
publication project and general editorship.
This publication has been prepared pursuant to the National
Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, which directs
the Secretary of the Interior to develop and make available
information concerning historic properties. Comments on the
usefulness of this publication may be directed to H. Ward
Jandl, Chief, Technical Preservation Services Branch, Preservation Assistance Division, National Park Service, P.O. Box
37127, Washington, D.e. 20013-7127. This publication is not
copyrighted and can be reproduced without penalty. Normal
procedures for credit to the author and the National Park
Service are appreciated.
September 1991

ISSN 0885- 7016

Cover Photograph (logo): The log cabin was used on this 1840
campaign medal to symbolize frontier life and democratic
egalitarianism, a p/;,ltform that successfully elected William
Henry Harrison to the presidency. Photo: The State Museum of
Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
16

For sale by the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office
Washington , D.C. 20402



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