The Oak Leaf - July 2016 By Lynn Gastineau President of Gastineau Log Homes, Inc. Welcome to the July 2016 issue of The Oak Leaf! For new readers,


The Oak Leaf - July 2016

By Lynn Gastineau
President of Gastineau Log Homes, Inc.

Welcome to the July 2016 issue of The Oak Leaf! For new readers, this is a monthly newsletter that is sent by e-mail to those that have expressed an interest in Gastineau Log Homes. We use this as a way of communicating technical, design and industry information. For more information, check out our web site at

Please "Like" Gastineau Log Homes on Facebook! There are LOTS of photographs of our homes in the Photo section!

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The corners of a log home are part of the exterior aesthetic appeal of the home. This home would not look the same without the butt and pass corners. One of those subliminal construction details or a log home that we do not usually notice.

Trivia Question: How many Presidents have died on the 4th of July? (See the answer at the end of the newsletter.)

Focus on the log home Corners: One of our log homes was hit by an F4 tornado a couple of weeks ago. (250 mph wind) It significantly out performed all the surrounding frame and brick construction. (Read details below) The corners played a big part in the strength of the building and why we decided to focus on corners in this months newsletter.

One question you will be asked when planning to build a log home is: "What kind of corners do you want?" Not a question you get when building a conventional frame home! Most people are confused by this question, so we will examine it further in this month's Oak Leaf.

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This split door allows the bottom door to remained locked yet the top half of the door to open. Great if you want to keep kids or animals inside but allow natural breeze and sunlight into the space.

Your first decision is about appearance .People usually ask "What is the best corner?" We will discuss that below but the first question is which do you like best? The photo to the right is unusual in that there is both a butt and pass corner and a sadddlenotched corner on the same house. So in one photo you can compare both. (This is a model home and was built like this for display purposes.) Note that with a GLH saddle notch corner, the rows align horizontally. By that I mean the rows of the side wall and rows of the intersecting wall are even. Most companies use a half log on the bottom of one of those walls, creating a intersection that is a "half row" off. We do not think that looks good on the interior and thus we do twice as much cutting so the logs can align properly. The two next photos show a home without corners and another shows dovetail corners. Which do you prefer?


This home was built without the corners extending. Some people prefer this "cleaner" look. A log home is a custom home that can be built to your tastes and desires. The log walls here are just as structurally sound, as the logs still intersect. They just do not exend past the wall.

Dovetailed corners below; no corners above: The photo below shows a home with dovetailed corners. A dovetail usually does not extend beyond the house more than 2" or 3". So they are not a prominent in the exterior look of the house. A dovetail also has to start with a half log on one of a set of intersecting walls. The name "dove tail" corner comes from the joinery itself. A dovetail is a common joint used in the construction of cabinetry, furniture, etc. This is just a lot bigger dovetail! The photo above does not have any corners protrusions from the log walls. Some people prefer this because they think the corner extensions will catch a lot of water or even that they do not want the kids (or grandkids) using the corners to climb up on the house!


This home and garage both have dovetailed corners.

A log home can withstand an F4 tornado: A few weeks ago, a 29 year old Gastineau Log Home in Abilene, KS experienced a direct hit by an F4 tornado. Every neighboring frame home was completely gone; the only thing left of them was the foundation. The log home (with butt and pass corners) suffered some roof damage and the front porch was torn off. The log home used to be in a grove of trees; they were all pulled up by their roots! But the log walls are still standing and in great condition. One of the reasons is the inherently superior construction of the corners in a log home. Below we will show how a corner is built in a frame home and compare that to how a log home is built. So if you are concerned about the safety of your family and you live where you experience tornadoes, earthquakes, hurricanes or even strong winds, you should seriously consider log construction because of the inherent safety factor that you will achieve.


This detail shows how a "standard" frame wall is built. Nothing interlocks the two walls together. OSB sheating is nailed to the corners but does not connect the two walls.

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In a GLH saddle notch corner, both logs are cut so the top logs slides down over the lower log. The Log Bond adhesive is applied the length of the log and at the joint. Screws are place at the joint and into the overhanging part of the log. Compare this to the frame construction above.

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This is the simplest corner, the butt and pass corner. Although they do not interconnect like the saddle notch or dovetail corners, the fact that the logs cross over each other creates a corner strong enough to withstand an F4 tornado.

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This shows the dove tail corner construction. These corners do not extend as far out from the wall and the slope to the cut provides a natural water protection. Many people choose this corner for those reasons.

What is the best log home corner?: If you are asking which is stronger, any corner in a log home is far superior to the corners of frame construction. So the difference in strength between log home corners is insignificant. All of them will exceed your requirements. If you are asking which is best for the wood, then the dovetail corner would win by a slight margin. The short overhang and the angle of the top surface protects the log ends. At the same time, the saddle notch corner only exposes the sides and ends so this advantage is small also. The butt and pass corner exposes more wood to the elements, but this allows it to dry easily which protects it from decay. So the argument could be made that all the corners will perform the same from the aspect of durability. So I say it goes to which you personally like. They are all strong. They are all durable. Choose the one that fits you best.


This prow has full log corners going all the way to the top. Since the gable is framed with log siding, this was special Therma Log that has to be cut so the corner is consistent. This is the same design as the "no corner" house shown above so you can compare and see which you prefer.


This is our smallest standard plan, the Trails End.

More homes with dovetail corners:

To the right is a home with dovetail corners. The log profile is flat bevel/flat bevel. This means that the outside has the same "look" as the inside of the home. This profile seems to be getting more popular.

The home below has dovetail corners plus has dovetail corners on the Therma Log siding on the second floor dormers. The Therma Log can be cut with the same choices as the full log walls. Butt and pass, dovetail or saddle notch.

Harpold dovetail log thermalog

A customized version of the Trails End.


One story home with saddle notch corners for the house and the attached 3 car garage.

More homes with saddle notch corners: Above and below you can see homes featuring saddle notch corners. You can actually mix corners in a home. For example, if you have a porch or deck where you do not want the corners extending out, you can remove the corner extensions on those corners only.


This is our standard Summit design with an attached full log garage. One story plans are becoming more popular in log home design as many people do not want to cope with stairs as they age. The house and the garage have saddle notched corners.

Therma Log Corners: If you build a frame home, the Therma Log corners will add to the strength of the wall because of the interlocking of the exterior siding. The home below is built using conventional frame construction with Therma Log exterior and Smart Match interior. The corners are not as strong as a full log wall, but they are the next best thing!

DeLong.Rear w walkout

This is a frame home using Therma Log siding with butt and pass corners for the house, garage and the dormers on the second floor.

Home Shows:
No more home shows until this Fall 2016! We have learned that the Log Home Show is returning to Kansas City the Spring of 2017.

Log Raising:

Sometime in July: Rain, rain, go away! We have had to delay our log raising at the future Happy Hounds dog park in Wildwood, MO! The building will serve as the offices and admissions center for the new dog park. Come out and watch the logs going up! We will send an email out to everyone in MO and IL when we have a new date! Or call if you want to be notified.

Construction Seminar Schedule for 2016:

September 17, 2016
(Note: this is a week earlier than the Sept 24th date announced earlier!)

Click here for information on our one day construction seminars.

Open Houses:

Remember that the GLH Model Home Center on I 70 in central MO is open 7 days a week! We have three houses there that you can tour!


Answer to the Trivia Question: Three of the first five Presidents died on July 4th! Thomas Jefferson, John Adams and James Monroe.

Quote of the Month: "Nobody gets to live life backward. Look ahead, that is where your future lies." - Ann Landers

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