A meandering blog with no clear topic. You will find me talking about knitting, building, kids, social and economic issues, Alaska, and lots of other stuff.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


So, the bishop of our ward happens to own a log cabin business. In addition to providing full cabin packages, one of his other products is siding. This siding is made from logs that are sliced lengthwise, so that we have 10' long slices of log that are an inch thick. The slices of log are nailed in two overlapping layers along the sides of the house. The siding isn't done, but two walls are completely done, and the third wall is more than halfway sided. It should be completely done in the next few days, except for the tops of the gable ends. We haven't completely decided yet what we will do there, although James is leaning towards galvanized corrugated metal. The next project will be to weatherize the wood. We decided not to paint because we want to keep the wood appearance. So we will most likely do a colored penetrating stain, that adds some color but allows the texture and grain of the wood to shine through.

We like this siding for several reasons. It is rustic in appearance, in keeping with the character of the entire cabin. It is a local product, made from Alaskan logs that are milled less than 5 miles from my house. And buying it helps a friend.

The last two reasons are especially important from my perspective. It is important to us that we were able to use local products, and we wish it would have been feasible to do this with the entire cabin. If we had wanted a log cabin, we could have done much more of it with local materials, but that wasn't what we wanted, as 8 inch log walls only have a R10 insulation value. With economic problems becoming more severe, and oil depletion quickly becoming a looming issue, it is absolutely vital that local products be used as often as possible, in part to cut down on the distance things are shipped, and in part because I believe it will soon become necessary to rely on local products for many items that will become not worth shipping, so we need those businesses to stay open.

In addition, there is the issue of helping someone I know. Community building is critical with the economic struggles our nation is facing. In times of economic crises, people depend on the people they know for support. Studies have shown that the people that best weathered the Soviet collapse had networks of friends, neighbors, etc outside of the main economic system that they relied upon. If things get worse, and I very much suspect they will, those community ties will become critically important. I buy siding from my friend. Maybe I will give some raspberry jam from next year's harvest to a friend. That friend may drive my kid to school. And so on. And if we all help each other, we will get by much better than each family struggling to do it all. And in the process, develop those social ties that are important on an emotional level as well. That friend that gave you a bushel of potatoes may be the person you call on the phone when your camel's back has been broken by that last straw, maybe something major like a foreclosure, maybe something little like a draining day with quarrelling children, and you just need someone to talk to. And maybe they may turn to you for something big, like space on the floor to sleep if their heat breaks in the middle of winter, or they run out of heating oil, and the barge doesn't come back til spring.

So, yeah, I have siding on my house :)

1 comment:

Ted Clayton said...

Does your bishop have a website for his log-cabin and log-milling business? The vertical siding looks nice - I am interested in the vertical-log or palisade cabin-construction method: It uses logs too small for normal log-cabin building ... and I think could be adapted to be double-walled, with space for heavy insulation (sawdust, etc).

I came across your blog searching for 'cost of food in alaska'.