After you sign your contract, drafting sheets will be drawn up for each wall in your home. These sheets identify for our factory crew exactly which kiln-dried timbers will be needed to be milled to complete your home.
After studying the drafting sheets, our crew will select enough timbers in the various lengths necessary to provide the necessary wood. For instance, the crew might mill thirty four 16′ timbers, forty seven 14′ timbers, forty 12′ timbers, eighty 10′ timbers, and twenty eight 8′ timbers.
An important step in the process of milling timbers is orienting the timbers before running them through the ripple profiler. Why is this so important?
As illustrated below, some timbers during the drying process will dry with no checks while some will dry with many. Some checks are narrow enough that you can only slip a business card inside while others can measure an inch wide or even larger. All of these timbers, checked in varying ways, must be used somewhere.
A kiln dried timber with checks on opposite sides will be milled so that the checks can be completely hidden within the splining. These logs can be used pretty much anywhere in the house but are typically saved for use in great rooms and other areas that will be readily exposed.
A timber with checks on three sides will be milled to hide two of the checks. A log such as this will be selected for a location where the checked side will either be hiddencompletely (such as behind kitchen cabinets,) or in a less conspicuous spot like the inside of a closet or in the garage.
One thing to consider here is that logs do not check at all until they begin to dry. If you are using a manufacturer that uses green timbers to make your home, their craftsmenhave no idea where a check might appear or where it might be aimed.
It is only by carefully poring over the “drafting sheets” that we can determine where logs with certain flaws can best be used. This process might seem simple on the surface, but it takes a lot of effort and discipline to sort logs in this manner—not just placing them in the order in which they happened to be milled. It also takes up a lot of factory floor space. If it were easy, everyone would do it, and we are one of the few companies that invest this time and effort into our homes. This is one reason why our way of doing things directly results in a better looking home.
As an example of how we do things, consider this case. Suppose we have a timber that is 144 inches long, but the last 24” of the log is marred by a bad check. We will try and find a place where this log can be used so that the nice portion of the log is visible while the last two feet are hidden in an inconspicuous spot.
We look to the drafting sheets to find out where such a log can be used. On a sheet it is indicated that a log is needed to enter into a window opening. (Most larger window openings have at least one row of logs that run through to add stability while the logs are being erected.) The last 24” inches will extend into the opening but will be cut out on the job site after all the logs have been erected. By using this log here we have neither created extra overhead through waste, nor have we compromised the appearance of the log home with the check.
After the logs have been milled with the rippled profile, each is then placed onto the production line where it will be cut to length, given its interlocking corner notches, dadoed for window and door openings and then drilled for the placement of lag bolts and electrical wiring. All of these critical operations are indicated on the drafting sheets.
After all of the notches and cuts have been made in each log, the logs are then packaged together by wall section. The rows that need to be placed first are located at the top of the pallet and so on until you reach the last logs you will need at the bottom of the pallet. This makes it possible for the people erecting the logs to work right off of the pallet and not have to do a lot of intermediate sorting and stacking at the work site. The stacked pallets are then wrapped with stretch wrap to keep them dry and clean during transport.
RippleCraft does not mill it’s logs in hopes of a future home sale. There is no warehouse filled with kits just waiting for a buyer to appear. Each home we manufacture is unique, made for a specific customer, and will be milled and shipped as closely to the building date as possible in order to minimize the likelihood of twisting and warping. Your logs will fit together easily and tightly and will provide you with the surroundings you hoped for when you first began dreaming of owning a log home.