Installing European Cabinets in a Log House

Here's advice on attaching cabinets to a log-house wall in a way that allows for shrinkage movement of the logs. January 23, 2009

I am looking for the proper techniques for installing cabinets on a log wall. The house is 28 years old. Is there much movement in this house after all that time? I live in climate that ranges from -35C to +35C.

Forum Responses
(Cabinet and Millwork Installation Forum)
From contributor M:
I have seen this done once but I am not a cabinetry expert and will only try to convey what I observed. Basically a 3.5" slot was cut down the logs (somewhat like a dado) in the vertical orientation and a 2x4 was lag bolted into the slot. The bolts went through a slot cut into 2x4 that was several inches long and the lag bolt was tightened down enough to hold the 2x4 into the slot but also loose enough to allow the bolt to travel up and down in the slot.

Plywood was shealthed on top of the 2x4's and then the cabinets were mounted to the plywood. The idea is that as the logs settled the bolt would travel in the slot and not crush the shealthing or the cabinets. Kind of the idea used on the stretchers of tables that have tops that are glued up.

The slot in the wall was cut with a chainsaw I believe and then chiseled out. To make it look nice at the end a single slot was cut outside of the shealthing just thick enough to fit the outer panel of the cabinets into the slot so it disappeared into the wall, but it was "floating" not mounted to the wall.

From contributor E:
I cut a slot in the back nailers and use washer on the screws to attach to the logs. Screw the boxes together and screw the tall cabinets to the floor where possible and use only enough screws in the logs to level and secure where needed. The cabinets will be supported by the floor and the slots in the nailers will allow for movement.

From contributor T:

The easiest solution is to hang cabinets as usual but only screw the cabinets in across the top of cabinet. Since you are using European cabinets I would use power screws by Fast Cap. They have a 9/16 head on them that with their installation tool and Caps make the screws disappear.

From the original questioner:
I wonder if you were to screw the top screws directly to the log and lag bolt the bottom with the slip joint if that would be good enough.

From contributor C:
What did you do for the base cabinets where the countertop meets the logs and where your open ends meet the logs.

From contributor T:
If installing Granite the splash is 1.25 wide and it can just be set to top. Solid surface with cove splashes work well. With Solid surface or laminate a deck top with a very good template then scribed to the 1/16th and silicone works. On lower cabinets it depends on the grade of construction. Many times a piece of scribe or a scribed end panel is sufficient.

From the original questioner:
One log house has already been done that is 28 years old. The cabinets were screwed directly to the logs and the end panels were scalloped to fit the logs. They were scribed within a half an inch and then siliconed with a silicone that is supposed to stretch twice as much as the gap you fill in.

The second house that we are just about to do is a timber frame house which is brand new. The decision that has been made is to screw the top screws permanently and use screws and washers with a slot on the bottom of the upper cabinet. The bottom cabinets we will screw with a slot as well. The gable ends for the cabinets on this house will fit snug to the wall just like a normal house. We will use some kind of corner mould and attach it to the gable and not to the wall to allow expansion and contraction. These techniques are probably not the way I would want to do things in an ideal situation. I am just trying to deal with what’s put in front of me.