Log Cabin Connections

If you’re looking to buy a log cabin and are looking for advice, if you take nothing else away from my blogs and ramblings please at least read this one and check with your log cabin supplier they use this connection.

We’ve got something we call Wind and Watertight Connections in the corner where our logs interlock. They’re pretty much the standard these days for any good manufacturer of log cabins as it is really very bad not to joint using this system or a variation of it.

It’s not something we shout about and nor do many other companies who use them as it should be a standard feature.

Not using a W&W joint leads to lots of problems in the future for the log cabin. It does though save the manufacturer a lot of money in machining costs and machinery.

No one in the UK would be that cheap to save on manufacturing costs, would they?

Promotional Video on Log Cabins

I saw a promotional video on YouTube recently from a prevalent internet only retailer.

This is a screenshot from their video:

This is just a straight cut, there is no secondary cut in the log. The secondary cut helps to form a seal and keeps out the weather. Without this there are possibly tons of problems.

Heavily advertised and prevalent retailer on the internet selling log cabins. This is a screenshot from their promotional video on YouTube.

You’ll be looking at this and I bet you don’t see anything wrong with it, it looks like a log joint you’d expect doesn’t it?

Wind and Watertight Connections for Log Cabins

These are our logs with a wind and watertight connection at the corners, look for the second offset cut that we make. Other good manufacturers of log cabins will also use something similar.

Wind and water tight connections on all logs except 19mm. Wind and watertight connections on all 90 degree corners. This connection though is impossible to use on angled logs.

Wind and water tight connections on all logs except 19mm. Wind and watertight connections on all 90 degree corners. This connection though is impossible to use on angled logs.

Here’s an exploded view, compare it to the screenshot above.

Wind and watertight connection should be present in all Good make of log cabin

Wind and watertight connection should be present in all Good makes of log cabin, it’s made of a second offset cut each side of the main notch.

Here’s a diagram of a log connection that doesn’t have the second offset cut:

With this connection there is a straight through route for water and rain. This is done to save manufacturing costs as the log only needs to be machined once. The machines that can do a secondary offset cut are very expensive.

With this connection there is a straight through route for water and rain. This is done to save manufacturing costs.

Using just a straight through connection you run a very real risk that when the log shrinks further as it will do in low relative humidity you WILL have problems guaranteed.

You can expect to see gaps appearing and then there is nothing to stop rain or wind coming in to the joint and the log cabin itself. More Information: Relative humidity and moisture content in log cabins.

Now we’re not saying the W&W joints are impervious to leaking ..”ever”.., but they will severely minimise the probability of it ever happening, You will still need to fully weatherproof the joints with the decent application and type of Treatment

This screenshot is from the same promotional video and is clearly showing a problem starting with this cabin

A gap is starting to form in the log, this is down to bad machining and no W&W connection

A gap is starting to form in the log, this is down to bad machining and no W&W connection. This is also a sign that the wood had too higher a moisture content level when it was milled

This next diagram shows how the log profile will look with a wind and watertight connection cut into it, notice the second cut that is made apart from the main notch cut. The second cut is offset.

Showing the cut of a wind and watertight connection is a log cabin wall log

Showing the cut of a wind and watertight connection in a log cabin wall log

Of course this is not to scale but you will get the general shape and idea of the connection. The machines that make these cuts are not cheap. If the factory does not have them it means they have to process this log twice and it all adds to the manufacturing costs.

This diagram shows two 90 degree logs connected together, they’re highlighted so you can make out the paths, it’s quite a complicated joint when you study it.

Logs connected with a wind and watertight connection milling

Logs connected with a wind and watertight connection milling

This last diagram shows the path the rain or wind would have to take to get inside the cabin.

Weather path is highly deviated

Weather path is highly deviated

You will see that the path through is highly deviated. With logs dried to 14% – 16% and then machined with this joint it is unlikely anything will get into your cabin regardless of Relative Humidity and especially if you treat your log cabin correctly.

Please watch out for this. My strong advice is to check with your chosen supplier what joints they use in the interlocking corners. If they don’t have these joints or something very similar you are buying something that is very cheaply made and you can expect problems in the future with it.

Please Note: You will only find these connections on 90 degree joints, no manufacturer is able to make them on angles so for corner cabins it is very important the wood is milled with the right moisture content in the wood for the UK market. You will also not find these on any 19mm log cabins as making this connection will make the actual log too thin at the joint and would easily break.

This entry was posted in Technical - Log Cabins and Timber and tagged , , by Richard. Bookmark the permalink.

About Richard

This blog is my personal platform which I do enjoy. It is my own viewpoint and my own ideas. I may not be right and other installers / experts may offer a different view point or a alternative way to do something. I welcome contributions from anybody experienced to do so.

All my blog writing is MY OWN personal opinion ONLY and is NOT always the opinion of TUIN | TUINDECO as a company.

Log Cabins and Garden timber have a myriad of intricacies , I love to give away the secrets, there are a lot!

I enjoy using this blog to expose them so you know what you are buying. I love to know I am causing a few problems in the industry as it can be on occasions less than honest.

I actively encourage everyone to install their own buildings. So many times I would fit and the company I was working for would charge loads for my time, only then to be faced with the embarrassment when the customer says 'I could have done that' and YES you can without paying hundreds of Pounds!

I have over 19 years experience within the garden timber industry. I have particular expertise in garden buildings including the manufacture, design and installation from sheds to log cabins and all the way up to timber framed houses.

In my time I have been involved with virtually every manufacturer and supplier of garden buildings. I have also installed pretty much every make of Garden Building there is from ALL suppliers and manufacturers.

Prior to my career change I was a Watch Commander in the Fire Service with particular expertise in chemical incidents, training, technical design / technology / IT /Procedures / ISO Systems and road traffic accidents. I retired due to a nasty injury after 20 years service.

During my time in the Fire Service, on my days off, I was a self employed fitter for any type of garden building, I worked with most of the well known companies as a subcontractor.

I now work with Tuin | Tuindeco in the UK, supporting and advising on the vast range of products. I keep an eye out for help requests when we a supposed to be closed and can usually get back to you out of hours via email only (wife and children permitting on my days off).

In my private life I consult as an independent expert assessor for companies or private individuals when a dispute is present over their structure which results in producing an impartial report and assessment for whoever requires it. This is often higher valued than a structural engineers report born from my credentials, experience and widely recognised as an 'Expert' in the field.

I am a freelance writer for numerous companies, publications and blogs as well as an independent expert and fault finder for parts of the Industry and consumers with a particular emphasis on timber structures, both framed and of an interlocking design such as log cabins.

I produce numerous articles about timber in general, information on general timber products and specific guides when needed. I hope you enjoy and find my writing useful.

Please contribute and comment to my posts as you would like and I will try to respond as best I can.

Thank you

Richard.

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