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When things don’t slide

August 24, 2015
by

It can be dangerous if things are slippery, but sometimes things should just slide nicely. What happens when things don’t slide you can see in the photo below.

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The beams of a log house settle over time. They shrink naturally because they are delivered with a humidity in the logs between 20-30%. The entire building is designed in such a way that everything can slide downwards. There shouldn’t be a single screw in any vertical beam that holds up the logs from moving downwards. However, that does not seem to be the case on the second floor around the door of one of the tower rooms. You can see where the unpainted beams have made an appearance. There is a one centimetre gap between two logs. It was time to sort this thing out before the winter comes. And while working around the tower room door I might as well fix another mistake I’ve done.

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Due to cost-conscious on the finishing stretch of building Villa Linnea I decided to use the left-over shorter pieces of the cover lists and glue them together in few places. It looked great after glueing them, sanding them, and painting them evenly. However, it doesn’t look so good after two years anymore. There is a visible “crack” in the list. Well, because I was looking for the source of the failure in settlement anyway I might as well replace those lists with new ones (saving at the wrong places kicks you sometimes in the bud and you end up paying twice).

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The potential culprits being responsible that the logs don’t settle where found after a 1 hour de-assembly sprint. Firstly, the grooves of the beam holding the door frame were too slim for the screws to slide. The assembly crew had just cut with the table saw a groove once but that is too slim (which is silly because for the screws in the middle of that same beam they actually used a rooter to make a wider groove). I took out those two beams and doubled the width of the grooves allowing the screws to freely slide when the logs behind it try to settle. The screws where probably also too tight but that is just a guess and one meter of snow on the roof would have taken care of that eventually. Secondly, I probably used the wrong kind of screws to attach the door frames. I used special door frame screws of 90 mm length. That should be fine because the vertical beam is 50 mm wide and the door frame 40 mm, but because the screws sink into the wood to some extend they might have entered also the logs and prevent them to slide downwards. I switched the screws to 70 mm versions just to be sure. If they were in the logs then I don’t want to know what would have happen if the whole tower roof is putting it’s weight onto 4 screws inside of the door frame with a meter snow on it. Something would have caved in surely.

Anyway, I put everything back in place and now it looks like just before, only better. I still have to wait whether the beams are now finally settling down. Some temperature and humidity changes should help to wiggle them downwards. And if that doesn’t help than I hope for lots of snow in the next winter.

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