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Construction in progress


In the fall of 2022, we received the logs for the construction of a third gîte. This one will be smaller than the other two, it will be able to accommodate 2 people for one-on-one stays.

1. Remove the bark
winter 2022 - 2023

The first thing to do is peel the logs. It doesn't seem like much, yet this grueling step is crucial, both for the aesthetics of the barrel and for its longevity. In fact, removing the bark prevents insects and humidity from lodging there and causing the wood to rot prematurely.

In November 2022, Johane started debarking with a high pressure water washer. After a few logs, the construction site was put on hold for several weeks because of the snow. He finished debarking at the beginning of 2023, using a hand debarker because the frost still prevented the use of the water cleaner.

The advantage of the high pressure cleaner is that it removes the bark very effectively, without damaging the wood. Whereas by hand, we are not safe from biting into the sapwood, under the bark. The fibers thus damaged become permeable and water can infiltrate into the heart of the wood, whereas as long as they remain intact, the wood fibers are naturally waterproof.

Did you say ecological?!

Of course, the water cleaner consumes... water! And these images made our subscribers react on social networks at a time when the drought is wreaking havoc. However, the water we use is collected a few meters from the site, it is not drinking water, and it is directly returned to nature without having been treated. Of course, you also need a generator to supply the cleaner with energy. However, it should be noted that a log construction remains much less energy and material intensive than a traditional construction: the trees are felled a few kilometers away, there is little transport, little processing of materials, no coatings, insulation or others. Each material in traditional construction has a much greater impact due to its extraction, transport, transformation, even if the liters of water used at the time T are less visible!

2. The first round
March 2023

Now that the logs are nice and clean, construction can begin! Finally, uh... when Johane has finished rereading her notes! Yes, because it may already be his fifth barrel, this work cannot be improvised... Especially since there are as many ways of doing it as there are barrels. You have to constantly adapt, because each log is different, and you have to re-master the technique, because it's not your professional activity either: "in real life", Johane is a taxi driver. At the moment, he spends more time reviewing and taking measurements than operating the chainsaw.

The first round (the first 4 logs) are still already installed. The site is located a few kilometers from the final location where the new fuse will be built. We do this because relocating the site has several advantages:

- Firstly, the construction requires flat and clear land, and enough space to place the crane and spread the logs around the construction. In addition, the ground is muddy, and it makes noise, not ideal for the neighborhood.

- Then, because the fuse is assembled for the first time without thinking about the insulation, the electrical conduits, etc. Once the logs are cut, they are numbered according to their location, and you simply reassemble them in the correct order. When dismantling, we can then drill the pipes for the sheaths, and when reassembling we put a little wood wool between each trunk.

3. The log structure
April - May 2023

Turn after turn, the structure of the new fuse gradually rises. It is a work of reflection and observation in order to choose the right log, the one which will adapt perfectly to the previous one, before being a work of precision to cut the log so that it precisely matches the shape of the previous one, and that the whole thing fits together to the nearest millimeter to form a waterproof and solid wall .

Roughly speaking...

Once the log is chosen, it is positioned exactly vertical above the previous one, using wedges. We then trace the pre-notch with a special compass which allows us to accurately transfer the shape of the log below to the one above. Then the log is placed back on the ground for cutting the pre-notch and the facets.

After this first cut, we place the log again on the structure. Thanks to the pre-notch, the log will fit onto the others and the space with the previous one will be smaller: this time there will only be a 5 cm gap between the two logs, which will make it possible to trace the final cut with much more precision, because the compass will be less open.

We can now trace the final notch and the groove which will be dug over the entire length of the log so that it is firmly anchored to the other barrels.

They do not tell you all...

Building a log requires a lot of know-how, great mastery of tools, but also great knowledge of this unstable material that is wood.

Here we summarize the main stages of the technique implemented by Johane... But you should not believe that all the technical constraints are detailed in these few lines!

Likewise, there are as many variations as there are barrel manufacturers in the world. Know-how varies according to region and country; each log maker adapts to the different constraints he or she must face, and to date there is no universal method for taming irregular, unstable logs of totally different natures depending on the species of tree and the region where they are located. they pushed.

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