Heroes. Presidential Red.
George Washington was the first U.S. president not to be born in a log cabin, but he liked wood. Instead of using stone for his Mount Vernon home, he clad it with wood cut to simulate stone and topped it with cypress shingles. He painted the walls white and the roof red. When the Mount Vemon Ladies Association took over Washington’s estate, they vowed to maintain the wood and the paint just as Washington had. That promise became exceedingly difficult after the government outlawed lead paint in 1978.
Paint had effectively protected the old- growth cypress shingles used for the roofs of nearly all 52 of Mount Vernon’s buildings. Without lead, the new paint coated the shingles but didn’t protect them. Pinholes developed that allowed water to infiltrate and eventually rot the shingles. As a result, roofs needed replacing on average every seven years. Aghast, the MVLA contacted the American Wood Protection Association, which in turn referred them to СТА Products, which specializes in making wood preservatives for the log-home industry.
The challenges were protecting the shingles and matching the official red color. But first, the project needed old-growth cypress for new shingles. СТА was able to solve that problem by referring the MVLA to В K Cypress, a log-home manufacturer in Florida with access to swamp-grown cypress trees.
To preserve the shingles, СТА applied its Q8 Log Oil, a penetrating solution containing copper 8 quinolinolate, which protects against mold, rot and termites, and controls cracking and splitting. СТА offers Q8 in six standard colors for its log-home customers but was able to match the Mount Vernon red close enough to satisfy the MVLA (inset above). It restored authenticity and longevity to one of America’s most cherished presidential homes.
Cabin dreams. Prefab Illusion.
The newest take on the cabin-in-the- woods theme comes from the Netherlands. Designed by Piet Hein Eek for Hans Liberg, the building resembles a pile of rough-cut wood, but it’s actually a wood facade covering a prefabricated plastic and steel frame. The cabin shown is a recording studio, but it could also work well as a mobile forest home or camouflaged hunting blind. No floor plan is available for the rectangular building, whose angular window openings reveal its artificial nature.
Mailbag. Crafty Survivor.
My home is made of reclaimed logs, evidently hewn by Hessian craftsmen following the Revolutionary War. Other reconstruction materials include the mantel, stairwells, flooring, trim, doors and paneling from a long deserted Shenandoah Valley home.
A local craftsman, who also built many of the structures of the Frontier Museum in Staunton, re-notched the 200-year-old logs — and the yellow heart pine still oozed fragrant sap! These logs have definitely withstood the test of time.
I enjoy seeing your coverage of the wide range of log adventures. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm for genuine wood structures.