Drying Logs for Cabin Construction

Advice on drying logs for cabin building, including how long to expect air drying to take and how hot to heat logs to set the pitch. October 19, 2014

I have some 6"x8" southern yellow pine for building a log cabin. The moisture is down to around 14 MC in the center after air drying over several months. Will pine sap bleeding out be a problem if I choose not to kiln dry the logs? Does the pitch need to be set before building the cabin?

Forum Responses
(Sawing and Drying Forum)
From contributor X:
Are you sure about that MC? It seems awful quick even for pine. As to the pitch, it'll definitely leak but it's not possible to say for how long or how often. Theoretically, if you luck out and get a real hot summer this year, the pitch will be set to that temperature and won't run again unless you get a hotter one, but I know from experience it doesn't always work that way. There's a loblolly pine log home in a neighboring town that one of my friends used to own, that was built 25 years ago, He had running pitch one summer in the early 2000's and whichever summer it was, it was a fairly mild one that year. That probably doesn't help much, but my answer would be yes unless you kiln the logs you're going to have pitch issues to some degree on an ongoing basis. I'm not a log home expert though so take it for what it's worth.

From Gene Wengert, forum technical advisor:
I agree with Contributor X. The MC is way too low for such a large timber that has been only air dried and air dried for a short time. If you do not mind sap dripping from the ceiling or dripping from the walls, then you do not have to heat the logs. I prefer heating to 150 F rather than the somewhat cooler temperatures that you would see on a hot summer day.