How to Do Butt & Pass Corners on a Log Cabin

Written by timothy burns
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How to Do Butt & Pass Corners on a Log Cabin
Log home butt and pass corner joints create a rustic cabin look. (Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

A butt-and-pass corner joint on a log home creates the look of a rustic, old-fashioned cabin. As the logs are laid to create the outside corners of the building, the first log on each layer extends pass the corner, and the log forming the other wall butts into the first. As the timbers are laid to build up the corner, the extended logs alternate for an effect that resembles interlaced fingers.

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Things you need

  • Log home plans
  • Log home timbers for exterior walls
  • 7 1/4 inch builder's saw
  • 12-inch sliding mitre saw
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Hammer
  • Chisel
  • Log Builder caulking compound and caulking gun

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  1. 1

    After the foundation of the home is placed, lay the first timber for the exterior wall, and cut the timber so that it extends 6 to 8 inches past the corner of the building, hanging over the foundation. For this example, we will call this wall the "north wall."

  2. 2

    Cut and lay the next timber, which forms the building's corner, so that the timber butts into the side of the first, extended timber. For this example, we will label this wall the "west wall," The north and west walls form one of the home's corners.

  3. 3

    Seal the joint where the west wall log butts into the north wall log with Log Builder's caulking compound. A butt joint such as this, which has no mechanical fastener to pull the logs toward each other, needs to be sealed to prevent water or insect infiltration.

  4. 4

    Lay the next layer of timbers starting with the west wall. On this layer, extend the west wall beam so that it hangs over the corner the same distance as the overhang for first timber for the north wall.

  5. 5

    Remove the milled ridges and grooves on the top of the first-layer logs to get the timbers to fit together, and rest on top of one another. The tops and bottoms of the wall timbers are milled with matching grooves that fit into one another when the timbers are on top of one another. When the corner timbers cross over one another, these ridges and grooves must be removes so the logs will be flush.

  6. 6

    Cut and lay the next timber of the north wall, which completes this level of the building's corner, so that it butts into the side of the west wall extended timber. Seal the joint with Log Builder's caulking compound as the north wall timber is pushed into place against the side of the west wall timber.

  7. 7

    Examine the bottoms of the timbers that extend beyond the corners after the second-layer timbers are in place. The milled groove will create an opening under the timber, which could allow moisture or insects to enter the building. Make sure to caulk these grooves with Log Builder caulking compound, and completely seal this void between the logs.

  8. 8

    Continue building the wall following this alternating pattern.

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