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Log Species for
Stacked Log Homes

Our location in the interior of British Columbia, Canada provides a selection of home building logs unsurpassed worldwide. Only premium quality logs are hand selected from trees growing at high elevations. These trees experience slower growth rates, resulting in a higher structural value due to tighter annual growth rings. In addition to strength, each log is hand selected based on straightness of grain and consistency of size.
 
Our most requested species for log walls is Engelmann Spruce due to its bright color, large diameter, and minimal taper. With an exterior sealant, all log species will provide exceptional long term durability for generations to enjoy.
Slices of logs..clockwise: cedar, fir, and spruce
 
Log home with fir log walls
Douglas Fir
Douglas Fir is a very strong wood with a rich reddish heartwood. Generally tight growth rings, straight grain, medium heavy with good resistance to mildew and fungus.
 
Due to its high strength, Fir is a perfect choice for both wall logs and beams and joists. Its weight may make transportation costs slightly higher.
 
Log home with spruce log walls
Engelmann Spruce
Spruce displays a nearly white heartwood with a slight tinge of red. It has generally straight grain and has moderately small shrinkage. Spruce logs have a high thermal value and low maintenance requirements; plus they are light in weight which keeps transportation costs lower.
 
Generally, we only recommend spruce for wall logs, and we recommend Douglas Fir for roof and upper floor beams due to its superior structural strength. These two species complement each other in appearance when used in this combination.
 
Log home with cedar log walls
Western Red Cedar
Western Red Cedar has a reddish to dull brown heartwood. It is very resistant to decay, and features enerally straight grains with uniform texture. Other advantages are low shrinkage and light weight. However cedar is moderately soft, and provides low strength when used as beams.
 
Generally, we recommend Douglas Fir for roof and upper floor beams due to its superior structural strength. In practice, the two species complement each other especially when finished similarly.
 
WOOD SPECIES: Douglas Fir

 
Douglas Fir bough and cone
pseudotsuga menziesii
Also known as Coast Douglas-fir, Oregon Pine, Oregon Douglas-fir, Douglas Tree, Interior Douglas-fir this is not a fir at all but 'Pseudotsuga' or "False Hemlock"
Named after the Scottish botanist, David Douglas, who introduced many of BC's native conifers to Europe.
UNIQUE FEATURES:
  • distinctive three-forked bracts between the scales on the cones
  • light yellow with orange tints to exterior of peeled logs
  • tight grain, redish brown interior heart wood 
LOCATION:
  • British Columbia southern mainland coast, Vancouver Island
  • an interior variety is found throughout southern and central BC
SIZE:
  • can reach up to 85 meters in height on the coast and 42 meters in the interior
WOOD CHARACTERISTICS:
  • dense, hard, stiff, durable, strong
USES:
  • modern - heavy duty construction such as log homes, trestles, bridge parts and commercial buildings
  • traditional - wood: fuel, fishing hooks, handles, snowshoes, fishtraps; boughs: floor coverings; seeds: eaten; twigs/needles: can exude a sugar like substance which was prized
CONES:
  • 5 to 11 cm long
  • green when young, turning to brown as they age
  • papery scales, with three pronged bracts (resembling mouse hind legs and tail) in between them
  • have winged seeds
  • seeds are eaten by birds and small animals
NEEDLES:
  • flat with pointed tips
  • bright yellowish-green with single groove on upper surface
  • paler colour on lower surface
  • spirally arranged so appear to stand out around the twig
BARK:
  • smooth, grey-brown, blistered when young
  • furrowed, thick, dark reddish-brown ridges as the tree ages
  • bears scrape off the bark to eat the sap layer beneath
QUICK/EASY ID (identification) for DOUGLAS FIR:
  • cones: forked
  • needles: flat, fragrant, friendly (the boughs are soft to the touch when you run your hand up and down)
  • bark: furrowed
WOOD SPECIES: Engelmann Spruce

 
Englemann Spruce bough
picea engelmanni
...named after the botanist George Engelmann. 'Picea' is derived from the Latin word for pitch.
UNIQUE FEATURES:
  • a straight, spire-like tree
  • near the ground the branches tend to droop
  • interbreeds with white spruce in certain areas
LOCATION:
  • grows throughout the Interior and many southern areas of British Columbia
  • found at high elevations
  • this spruce prefers deep, rich soils with sufficient moisture
SIZE:
  • can grow to 50 metres in height and 1 metre in diameter
WOOD CHARACTERISTICS:
  • not very strong
USES:
  • modern - log houses (walls only), plywood, violins, pianos, aircraft parts
  • traditional - roots: sew seams of baskets, make baskets; bark : cooking baskets, canoes, roofing, baby carriers; pitch: wound dressings; needles: chewed for cough control
CONES:
  • seed cones - yellow or purplish-brown; hang from upper branches; scales are papery with jagged edges
  • pollen cones - yellow
NEEDLES:
  • four sided and sharp but not too stiff
  • bluish-green with white lines on upper and lower surfaces
  • they are arranged in all directions along the twig
  • strong odor
BARK:
  • reddish-brown
  • scaly
WOOD SPECIES: Western Red Cedar

 
Cedar bough
thuja plicata
Other common names: Giant Arbor-Vitae, Canoe-cedar, Pacific Red-cedar, Shinglewood.
The western red cedar is British Columbia's official tree.
UNIQUE FEATURES:
  • drooping branches that turn up at tip
  • trunk spreading out at the base
  • has large number of cones bent backward along the branches
LOCATION:
  • low to mid elevations
  • coast and wet belt of the Interior
  • in cool, mild, moist locations
  • can grow in shaded areas with lots of nutrients
SIZE:
  • up to 60 meters tall (197 feet)
WOOD CHARACTERISTICS:
  • resistant to decay and insect damage
  • aromatic fragrance that lasts for years
  • wood can remain sound for over 100 years
USES:
  • modern - house siding, log home shell packages, interior paneling, outdoor furniture, decking, fencing, roof shakes
  • traditional - wood: canoes, totem poles, longhouses, household boxes, tools, paddles; pounded fibers: mats, clothing, baskets, nets, fishing lines; medicines, religious masks
CONES:
  • seed cones: egg shaped
  • 1 cm long with several pairs of scales
  • pollen cones: small, reddish
NEEDLES/LEAVES:
  • are scale-like
  • lie in pairs
  • overlapping like shingles
  • very strong aroma
BARK:
  • grey
  • stringy - tearing off in long strips
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