Preparing the Wood

Two Workers Shaping Logs

The man on the left used a broad axe and the man on the right used a draw knife to smooth and shape logs for siding. 

Because logs are the most visible representation of a cabin, it was important to the site planners that workers used old wood-shaping techniques whenever possible to create a level of authenticity. While the timber was sawn by machinery, the logs were hand-hewn. These tools left evidence in the form of markings visible on the exterior log siding.

Wood Shaping Detail

A worker used an adze to make a notch in a log for siding.

Workers also had to hew notches into the log siding. The notches fit together in a style called dovetailing. The notches had to be crafted with precision to ensure the joining of two logs would fit evenly. One uneven joint could make the entire cabin lopsided. The creation of these joints demonstrates the mastery of the workers who reconstructed the Vance house. 

Three Workers Treating Logs

Workers treated logs with weatherproofing chemicals.

Wooden structures are especially prone to quick deterioration from insects, climate, and weather. Workers prepared logs to withstand the elements by treating it with a weatherproofing chemical. They also installed a metal termite shield above the stone foundation. Eighteenth and nineteenth century builders would not have added these modern elements, but they were important to the cabin's new function. The site planners wanted to ensure that their reconstructed cabin would last for future generations and be safe for visitors. 

Preparing the Wood