As a woodworker one of the largest projects you can build out of wood is a log cabin.  As the title implies there are different kinds of logs that can be used when constructing a log cabin depending on the desired quality and results.   All logs have a certain level of moisture.  Kiln dried logs will be dryer on the outside, with higher moisture on the interior of the log.  Over time the logs will lose most of their moisture and normalize with the environment they are in.  Once the mositure normalizes to the environment the log wil be the most stable.

1. Green logs
Green logs are made by cutting the tree in the forest transporting it to the mill which removes the bark and cut to size.  Then they are transported to the client and upon delivery they have a great deal of moisture still left in the logs. It takes a couple of years to air dry the logs to a normalized mositure content which means the majority of the wood shrinkage will have taken place.  The moisture content of green wood differs from species to species and the time to dry will depend on local weather conditions.  Most of the logs in a log home have between 6% and 12% relative moisture content.

During the drying process the log will shrink.  By far most of the shrinking is in the diameter of the log. Since the out side dry first as the inside dries and shrinks the out side of the log will crack.  These are know a checks.  Checking will occur in both kiln dried and air dried logs.

2. Air-dried logs
After the trees are cut and transported to the mill, the mill leaves the logs outside in open air to dry naturally.  They are usually kept under a shed to protect them from rain. Layers of timbers can be dried this way by putting spacers know as stickers between them. The process Typically takes at least 1 year per inch of thickness, and during that time, the spaces between the logs are increased to allow more air circulation. Thus, it may take several years before the logs can be dried to equilibrium with the local climate.  Allowing this time makes these the most stable logs to build with.

3. Kiln-dried logs
A kiln is just a big oven.  Wood mills use kilns to artificially accelerate the drying process.  Green logs are placed inside an oven and heated.  If heated too quickly the log case hardens.  That is that the outside case dries and locks in moisture.  Any sizing of a case hardened log can cause the log to warp to a point it is unusable.  If the heat is applied and carefully heated.  When the heat is applied properly the dring process can be accelerated to weeks or months versus years.  When done the moisute content is usually between 10% and 20%. Kiln dried logs tend to check more then air dried logs.

4. Glue-laminated logs
These logs are actually boards that are dried processed and glued to gether to form an type of atifisial log. Forest cut logs are cut down transported to the mill where the bark is removed.  The logs are then cut into boards that are about 2 inches think green.  The boards are then stickered and put into kilns for drying.  Once dried, the boards are then glued together.  The end result is what is referred to as a log cant.  These cants are over sized which allows for them to be milled to the end users profile dimensions.

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