Handcrafted Log homes have significant advantages over Machined Log homes in terms of aesthetic value (looks), retention of thermal mass of the log, and the control of shrinking / settling / cracking in the logs that leads to gaps appearing in between logs and in the corner notches. Handcrafted may cost a little more to construct, but the home will perform better over time and retain a higher resale value, meaning they are better value for money.
Logs used in a Handcrafted home have their outer bark removed by peeling, then either the surface cleaned by pressure washer or the “cambium” inner bark layer removed by a draw knife. The log retains its natural unique shape and characteristics. During construction each log is carefully selected and skilfully scribed and notched to fit together using industry best practice “Full Scribe Double Cut Long Groove” system. This system allows for radial log shrinkage by using compression fit saddle notches in the corners, and the double cut long groove enables control over natural cracking / checking that will occur in the logs over time. In this type of construction, the joins become tighter as the logs dry out and settle.
In a Machined Log home, each log is milled down on a lathe to a uniform diameter, this results in the removal of quite a lot of material from the original log thus thermal mass is also lost. The logs have no taper and lose their natural shape, character, and features such as knots, scars, etc. They look more like a milled piece of lumbar than a real log. A machined notch is not a ‘shrink to fit’ compression notch, and will open-up over time, and a machined long groove has no control over the natural cracking / checking that will occur as the log dries.
Building a log shell using the machined process takes less time and is less expensive than the handcrafted full scribe method, however in the overall cost of finishing the home, they both come out to a similar amount.
When you compare the two methods in terms of aesthetic value, loss of thermal mass of machined logs, uncontrolled shrinking, cracks, and gaps in corner notches of machined logs, performance over time, and resale value – the handcrafted method wins hands down every time.
It is simply a superior product and far better value for money, which is the reason why Alpine Log and Timber Homes only build handcrafted