Pros and Cons of Poplar for a log cabin

Thread starter #1

Capt Quirk

Senior Member
We mostly have Loblolly Pine, and small scrub oak. What we do have in a good amount, is large Tulip Poplar. If these were cut into squared logs and beams, how would they work out? I hear conflicting stories from around the country, so specifically to the wet south, are they subject to rot and termites?
 
I have built a log cabin and a log sided cabin.
I liked the looks of the inside of the logs and it went up very fast.
The downside is that the logs will shrink and split over time. They are higher maintain than most construction and unless they are well constructed are not as energy efficient.
Also, wiring and plumbing are much easier in a stick built house.
You'll save some money on materials using your own logs but I think you will have a hard time finding a contractor willing to use them and if so it will be expensive.
All that said, I love log cabins.
 
Thread starter #3

Capt Quirk

Senior Member
Oh no, you misunderstood my question. We have already built one small cabin... or a very large doghouse. We would do the work ourselves. My question is strictly concerning the use of Poplar for the beams and logs, and how well they would last.
 
A lot of old barns were covered with popular siding and have stood for 100 years. As long as you have good overhangs to help keep water off them you'll be fine. I would spray them with a product like boracare to keep the powder post beetles out of them. Treat them before staining and should be good to go.
 
Thread starter #5

Capt Quirk

Senior Member
A lot of old barns were covered with popular siding and have stood for 100 years. As long as you have good overhangs to help keep water off them you'll be fine. I would spray them with a product like boracare to keep the powder post beetles out of them. Treat them before staining and should be good to go.
I hav also rad that they should be at leas 24 inches off the ground, but haven't heard anything about bug issues. What can I expect?
 
Thread starter #7

Capt Quirk

Senior Member

Killdee

Senior Member
Just a thought, see if the barn wood builders? on tv has a website and send them your question, they specialize in moving and rebuilding very old log structures so they should know. This is a good show for someone with your interest
 

NCHillbilly

Administrator
Staff member
The mountains here are full of old poplar log cabins, some of them pushing a couple hundred years old and still solid. And it's wetter here in the Smokies than about anywhere in the US outside of the Olympic Peninsula.

Poplar was the choice for log houses here back in the day, because it's plentiful, straight, strong for its weight, works and splits easily, and is very durable if kept dry. It is no more susceptible to rot and termites than any other wood commonly used in house building. Most of the "showplace" cabins here were hand-split and hewn dovetailed poplar logs.
 
Thread starter #11
Sounds good enough. Just need to find a long sawmill and rent some machines now. Just one more question, how long should I let it dry out before cutting and building with it?
 

SASS249

Senior Member
What do you consider a "large" tulip poplar? Most of the old cabins were built using trees that provided a lot of heartwood which is pretty rot resistant tulip poplar sapwood is another story. If your large tulip poplar trees do not have a DBH measured in feet then they really are not that old and would mostly provide you sapwood. As for drying, times depending on the moisture content you are trying to get and the season you cut them can vary from 1-3 months per inch of thickness
 
Thread starter #13
If I can't reach my arms around it it might be a big tree... I appologise to Jeff Foxworthy for that. They are about 3' across. I'm thinking I could probably cut the tops and bottoms for planks, and still leave a thick enough chunk in he center to get 2 D logs, and the heart. They won't be as big as some of those old cabins, but easier for me to move around, and still provide a solid wall.
 

Killdee

Senior Member
Barnwood guys are dismantling an 1800s popular log cabin tonight in Leivasy w Va. huge squared logs. DIY network.
 
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