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The Oak Leaf – November 2010

By November 1, 2010March 27th, 2024Newsletter

Welcome to the November 2010 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

Trivia Question: Which US President specified that Thanksgiving would fall on the last Thursday in November and which President attempted to move Thanksgiving to the fourth Thursday in November to create a longer Christmas shopping season? (Answer at the end.)

Building Codes: When you are buying land, find out who issues the building permits or who has jurisdiction over that property. It may be a city, county, or state agency. Or it may be a homeowners association. GLH customers have built homes in some of the toughest building permit areas of the U.S. However, in some areas, this part of the process can take months (even years!) where in others it is a 15 minute process. The office that issues the permits should be able to tell you the specifications. Snow, wind and seismic loads can vary even within a county in some locations. Make sure you know what will be required on your piece of land. Also, window egress requirements (square footage of opening window) can be different from one county to the next. It is impossible for GLH to know what your county has approved, so we need you to get this information for us to make sure we do not have problems later. The fact that we have an engineer on staff is a huge asset when dealing with building code departments.

Designing a kitchen with an island. Many people want an island designed into their kitchen, especially with the open spaces found in log homes. The shape, orientation and features are determined by its intended use as well as the design of the kitchen. There are three basic heights. The standard height for an island work surface is 36″ tall. To accommodate regular chairs, the surface should drop to 30″. For stool seating, a raised bar should bump up to 42″. One advantage to bi-level counter tops is that it creates an opportunity for joints and breaks in granite or other natural slab surfaces. On the other hand, a level surface provides uninterrupted counter space and is preferable if you need space for multiple chefs. If you are going to have a sink in the island, be sure to allow enough length to center the basin and have sufficient space on both sides for prep work and stacking. And don’t forget walking space around the island. A minimum 42″ aisle clearance is recommended but 48″ is preferred.

What is a tankless hot water heater? You may want to consider one for your new log home. How do they work? Water flows from the intake lines through a heating element and directly to the open faucet. The water is heated as it is needed, rather than sitting in a tank ready to use. They offer many advantages. They are more energy efficient because they do not have to maintain water continuously at a high temperature. They are space saving because you do not have to allow room for a big tank in your floor plan. And you should never run out of hot water if you purchase a unit with a high enough flow rate, or install a point of use unit at each appliance that uses hot water. They do cost more to install than a conventional hot water heater, however.

“Have you seen something you like and want to have in your log home? This couple modified our Windsong with Loft plan to have three levels viewable in their living room. by removing part of the main level floor and opening it up to the lower basement level and adding a catwalk and loft in the upper prow, it became a truly unique and one of a kind living room!

New Option for Log Cabins 2 Go…logs around the porch!
We recently sent a cabin to Michigan which had a feature we had not previously built. The customer wanted logs around the bottom of the porch so that he could easily glass or screen it in at a later date. Here is how it turned out!

If you have never seen the beauty of an Oak log wall, here is a photo of a flat bevel interior. There is no stain on this log, only a clear varnish which really enhances the knots and grain. If you want a lighter color, use a water based finish like Sashco’s Symphony.

What is the difference between heartwood and sapwood? (Or would I be a sap not to choose heartwood?) The sapwood of a tree has very, very different qualities from the heartwood. In every wood species, the heartwood (center) is the “best” part of the tree. When looking at the logs provided by different log home companies, look at the end of the log to see if the sapwood (outer layers) has been removed. (You can tell by the color difference with the heartwood being darker.) If there is sapwood on the outside of the log, the quality of the wood is not the best. There is a heavy price to pay for buying inferior sapwood products to use in a log home. Also, don’t pay heartwood prices when what you are getting is mostly sapwood. Don’t be a sap; choose heartwood.

2010 Upcoming Building Seminars at GLH:

The last seminar for 2010 will be held on November 13, 2010 at the model home center in central MO.

Log & Timber Home Informational Fair GLH will be in Austin, TX on November 13 & 14 at the Woodward Conference Center. Come by and talk to us!

Autumn Open House in Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania Oak Log Homes – this Saturday Nov 6 from 10 AM to 4 PM. Call 610-790-7479 for information.

Imagine sitting on your porch on a cool evening enjoying the fire from your outside fireplace!

Email this month from one of our home owners:

We are moved in!!! The big day was October 8th. Our log home is so beautiful and our contractors are the best! We wanted to invite you and any Gastineau folks to our House Warming Celebration which will be held Sunday December 12 from 1-3pm. We hope you can plan on coming to Oklahoma!

Thanks for all your help. It is a dream come true and your company has been a huge part of the success.

Answer to the Trivia Question: Abraham Lincoln established Thanksgiving on the last Thursday in November and Franklin D. Roosevelt tried to move it to the fourth Thursday in November for a longer shopping season. For a quiz on turkey trivia, check out You will at least know two of them!

Quote of the Month: “Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.”

Malcolm S. Forbes