Log and Timber Glossary

Sifting through the spectrum of unfamiliar log home terms can sometimes be a daunting task, but not to worry! We’ve got you covered. Here you will find our ever-growing lexicon of wood home vocabulary, so you can spend less time in the dictionary, and more time planning your dream home.

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  • Builder-dealers
    Independent or company representatives who provide design, sales and possibly construction services.
  • Butt and Pass Corner
    A corner style used in log home construction. One log stops where it meets an intersecting log, and the other log extends past the corner. In most, passing logs have a mortise (cutout) into which the butt log fits for a tight corner.
  • Chinking
    The strip of material between logs designed to seal the space while adding a distinctive look. Sometimes used solely for looks.
  • Corner Post
    A type of corner used in log home construction. A post is found at each corner into which grooves are cut to hold log ends. it looks very similar to post-and-beam construction.  
  • Corners
    Corners are made by log intersections that are a signature feature of the log-home look. Corner styles are: intersecting, interlocking, and overlapping.
  • Dovetail Corner
    A corner style used in log home construction. This style is used with square or rectangular logs. The corner is cut in a fan-shaped wedge and interlocks with perpendicular logs.
  • Drying Methods
    Methods to season logs and improve their stability, either naturally (air-drying) or by acceleration (kiln-drying).
  • Fasteners
    Screws, nails or bolts used to hold stacked logs to each other to form the wall unit.
  • Grading
    A certification, typically by a third-party agency, of the structural suitability of logs for use as walls and window or door headers.
  • Handcrafted Logs
    Tree trunks that are hewn or peeled using hand tools to form logs.
  • Hybrid
    Log home style that mixes structural logs with non-structural logs or other non-log building materials, commonly in the form of half-log and log-accent homes.
  • Log Profile
    The horizontal shape of a log that defines its look. Basic profiles are round, square and D (round outside, flat inside).
  • Manufactured Logs
    Solid wood cants milled to uniform sizes and shapes with precision machinery.
  • Materials Package
    Also known as a Kit, this includes the walls logs, fasteners and sealing materials provided by log-home producers to form the weathertight shell. Packages may also include additional materials, such as windows, doors, porches and roofs.
  • Rafters and Purlins
    Rafters are supporting roof beams that are perpendicular to the ridge beam. Purlins are parallel to the ridge.
  • Saddle-notch Corner
    A type of corner used in log home construction. In this style, a notch on the bottom of the log straddles the top of the log coming from the perpendicular wall. Both logs extend past the corner. This is a style favored by many handcrafters.
  • Sealing Systems
    Various flexible materials that adhere to logs to provide weathertight seals between them.
  • Settlement and Shrinkage
    The movement of logs as they compress and lose moisture to attain equilibrium with the surrounding humidity.
  • SIPs (Structural Insulated Panels)
    Foam-core panels often used in log-home roofs to increase energy efficiency. SIPs are sometimes used for walls in hybrid log homes.
  • Trusses
    Structural or non-structural ceiling timbers often found in open ceilings. Common forms are simple, king-post, queen-post and scissors trusses.
  • Weathertight Shell
    Stacked logs covered by a roof to provide the basic form of the structure before the longer finishing process gets under way.
  • Wood Finishes
    Coatings formulated specifically to protect exposed wood in use, ranging from preservatives to stains.