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Thread: Morphing....

  1. #1
    LHBA Member loghousenut's Avatar
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    Oct 2005
    Grants Pass, Oregon.
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    Originally Posted by BenB
    "What originally was the primary appeal to me about LHBA and the way one builds is/was the sheer beauty and simplicity of the build - logs and maybe piers, maybe not.
    It seems its mutated to almost McMansion process and ways of building.
    That said - short and sweet is still out there for us with simpler minds I guess."

    BenB posted this over on the Foundation thread and I didn't want my hairbrained response getting in the way of anyone's foundation work. I hijack so many threads that I'm worried that the Moderators are gonna change my forum name to "threadjackernut"... Substantially accurate but doesn't roll off the tongue at a cocktail party.

    Anyway, Ben is sooo right about how the LHBA thing has morphed and I've been watching it all happen for a bunch of years. When I first took the class from Skip back in 1981, the world was different. There was no internet. These LHBANA (Log Home Builders of North America) folks were building log homes all over King County Washington and western Washington. We all met at Skips place once a month and brought food, photos, plans, models and ideas to share and critique and then drove 20 or 30 miles home.

    Most everyone built using Doug Fir that was as straight as drill pipe and most folks got all their logs from clearing out their building site. A lot of those homes were built from trees that supplied two wall logs and a rafter pole from each tree. A chainsaw winch was considered an expensive power tool and you were really uptown if you had one to winch your logs up onto the sacrificial logs.

    Building codes and permit fees were frequently ignored. If you lived in a "permit county", the idea was to try to overbuild so that, when the County caught you and came to lay down the law, they'd let you pay the permit fee and a small fine and then force you to put in a bigger window or better septic system.

    Log rafters were normal as was hand split cedar shakes. The only insulation in the roof was the 2x6 tongue & groove car decking that was nailed on top of the rafters. The floor used that same insulation. Everyone built their own doors and used free windows of some sort. Rebar was free and I've seen more than a few recycled nails that were driven in by a hammer that had a handmade handle. No nail guns. No compressors on the site. Heck the most exotic tool required by the entire LHBANA system was probably the 8 triple blocks and tackle that were needed for lifting wall logs, girders, ridgepoles etc.

    The foundation for a Skip style house consisted of a ton a sweat, a bit of recycled lumber, and $400 worth of concrete. A lot these rascals used concrete that was mixed on site and I'm sure there were some wheelbarrow mixed foundations out there. What's a backhoe? Shovels and picks are free for the borrowing.

    It was a different world back then. Any old hippie could scrape up a couple of days wages and hitchhike to class to learn how him/her and his/her buddies could throw together a really cool log home on that back corner of Auntie Mattie's place. Those log homes are still standing. The principle that made them work is still taught in class.

    Times change. Now it'll cost you a couple weeks wages and the price of a flight to go to class. Now the discussion is about how to make a completely "legal" log home after having plans approved and the site inspected. You'll be taught by a couple of guys who were little ankle-biting crumb-crunchers when I first took the class. In class you'll most likely sit next to folks who flew in from some other distant corner of the country/world. It's not all about NW WA... It's about NC, VA, OR, KY, FL, PA, AZ, Japan, Great Britain, South Africa, Canada and wherever YOU are.

    The original LHBANA (now it is LHBA) system still works great. The foundation system taught 40 years ago still works GREAT. You can still fire up the barBQ to entice your buddies to bring over the tools to dig out for your pier blocks... Or you could hire a backhoe and save all that beer. You can still mix your own mud... Or you could call in a cement truck and maybe a mud pump. Pier blocks are perfect... Or you could stack an ICF basement. Using a hammer and hand auger has yet to be outlawed... Or you could use air and electricity. There are Skip style log homes still being loved and lived in that were built using only hand saws... Not many but you get the point.

    You'll still build your own log home with your own hands. It'll last longer that you will. You can pay for it as you go and be free from that pesky mortgage. In class you'll learn how to do it all using tools that will fit in the trunk of your car. It's up to you how many shortcuts you take in the name of laziness. I'm really lazy. I own a 9,000 lb telehandler, sawmill, air compressor, nail gun, electric tools all over the place, and I still haven't used my cement mixer. We went way overboard with the heavy equipment, leveling a big ole chunk of ground for the new house just because we had the money and wanted it done.

    Hand split cedar shakes are mostly outlawed and the roof and floor will need some real insulation. And then there are those durned modern window requirements. In class you'll learn a trick or two that'll make the roof and the windows legal, beautiful, and affordable.

    You'll learn the number one rule that will make the most dollar difference in your home. It's something Skip drilled into our heads back in the old days and it still applies 100% today. "Build as small a house as you can afford". My family coulda built somewhat smaller and spent half as much and been done by now. I like the way it's turning out for us.

    The log home that my family is building is not quite competing with the McMansion folks, but there certainly are some LHBA homes that fall into that category. In class you'll learn the system that can either build your McMansion or your extremely affordable "short and sweet" version. That short, sweet house of yours will probably be much nicer than the house where your Grandmother was raised and it'll still be a nice place when your Grandkids inherit it.

    The principles are the same as they were in the old days. It is shear elegance in its simplicity... Unless your married and your Wife and Her Mother insist..... I'll save that one for another post. You get the idea, I'm sure.

    Take the class. It'll work.

  2. #2
    LHBA Member rreidnauer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Allegheny highlands
    Amen! .
    All my bad forum habits I learned from LHN

    Rod Reidnauer
    Class of Apr. 9-10, 2005
    Thinking outside the vinyl sided box

  3. #3
    Regular+ User
    Join Date
    Feb 2011

    Start writing

    LHN - dude, you got a way with words!

    You seriously need to put some thought into writing .... what I dunno, maybe about log homes and cabins or whatever....... you got a real gift and I truly mean that

  4. #4
    LHBA Member Sasquatch's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Jefferson State
    'Nut -

    I think you've written the o-fficial addendum to the LBHA manifesto... if it existed. I loved reading it, even if it did make me grit my teeth at having been born 20+ years too late (IBC 2009 my achin' arse).

    BTW, I call dibs on the telehandler when you're ready to sell.

  5. #5
    LHBA Member ivanshayka's Avatar
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    Aug 2007
    Northern Michigan
    Well said LHN. Thanks for that.

  6. #6
    Regular+ User Peach1956's Avatar
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    Feb 2012
    Currently outside of Abilene Texas
    Very Good LHN

  7. #7
    Regular+ User
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    Sep 2010
    Duluth MN
    You said what I thought ... thanks for clarifying my lack of clarity.

  8. #8
    LHBA Member happyquilter's Avatar
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    Nov 2011
    Washington State
    LHN, that was very fun and interesting to read! Thanks!

    2012 - Took class, bought stock plans, closed on land, started property cleanup, got used camper trailer, hooked up power & water, demolished ruined mobile.
    2013 - Continued cleanup, marked property lines, drained "Mosquito Pond," hooked trailer up to septic, made trails, built fire pit, relaxed & enjoyed the place!
    (Please excuse our teeny photo album. Chalk it up to newbie enthusiasm, lol!)

  9. #9
    Thanks for that good dose of perspective, LHN!

  10. #10
    LHBA Member Timberwolf's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Canada... eh.
    I didn't think we had a mission statement, but I think that's it right there.

    Printing that and putting it on my wall.

    LHN, you rock!
    As a whole, the LHBA system (and it is a system) of building, is simplicity at it's core, longevity at it's heart and strength throughout.

    Build to your need, and....desire, and.....ability. And be secure in your decision.

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