Hand-peeling logs add richness and subtlety to their appearance no machine can duplicate. It leaves every log with hundreds of subtle facets that each catch the light in its own way, giving walls a richly varied appearance. But the only way to achieve this look is to peel each log by hand, using a drawknife.
GETTING STARTED: Before peeling, the logs should be laid out individually as close to the structure as practical. To avoid rot and ensure the passage of air all around, lay the logs on top of scrap poles or logs to hold them several inches off the ground. Support your logs every 8 to 10 feet to keep them from sagging, and roll them every so often to expose all sides to the sunlight equally.
PEELING TIPS: When it comes time for peeling, make it easy on yourself by constructing a pair of sturdy sawbucks that will support the log just above waist height. Pace yourself. A big log can take an hour or more to peel. And whatever you do, don’t scrimp on drawknives. We bought ours from bosworthtools.com; they’re quite simply the best drawknives in the world.
WHEN TO PEEL OUT: Should you peel your logs right away, or wait until you’re ready to set them? I would advise you to wait because peeled logs can turn an ugly shade of gray after just a couple of rains. But if you live in an area where insect infestations are imminent, you may not have a choice if your logs are going to sit for a season or two. Although it makes for more work, an effective compromise is to skip-peel the logs—which is to say, do a quick and sloppy job of it—before you crib them, then peel them more thoroughly before notching and setting.
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