How to preserve a wood log

Written by cheryl macman
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How to preserve a wood log
Logs can be treated to preserve their strength for many years. (wood image by Amjad Shihab from

Wood logs are solid pieces of lumber cut from the whole or half trunks of trees and used in various woodworking applications. A common way to use wood logs is for the construction of homes from small, hidden cabins to large, fully wired and fitted houses in the countryside. If you have a wood-log building, there are a few ways that you can treat the logs to preserve the wood for a longer, healthier life.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Sandpaper
  • Borate-based wood sealer
  • Tung or linseed oil cloth
  • Shovel

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  1. 1

    Wash down the logs with water to remove any dirt and marks. Inspect the logs, particularly at points where the logs may have come in contact with furniture or other marking items.

  2. 2

    Remove any tough stains from the wood using sandpaper if they won't come clean with the water. Use light strokes to clean the wood without damaging it.

  3. 3

    Leave the wood to dry completely after washing, then spread on the sealer in a thin, even layer. The sealer will protect the logs from bugs and fungus.

  4. 4

    Allow the sealer to set into the logs and finish them with an oil treatment. Use tung or linseed oil and a cloth to rub the oil into the wood.

  5. 5

    Check the wood after a few hours to see how much the oil has seeped in. If the wood feels dry then apply more oil. Keep applying oil until wood stays supple and looks healthy.

  6. 6

    Move snow away from the sides of the logs to avoid excessive exposure to water. Use a shovel to keep the snow a good distance from the logs.

  7. 7

    Minimise the amount of humidity inside the building by allowing excess steam to be released. Open a window or door when cooking or bathing for good ventilation.

Tips and warnings

  • Reapplying the oil treatment every few years will help keep the wood at its best.
  • Do not try to preserve rotted or damaged wood because you won't be able to correct the damage that way.

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