LESLIE: Deborah in Pennsylvania needs some help with a log home. Tell us what you’re working on.
DEBORAH: My husband and I are renovating a Lincoln log house.
DEBORAH: I have – there is – in between the logs, there is log cabin chinking.
DEBORAH: And in between our chinking, it is filled with stone. And I just – I want to keep the stone there and rechink it because it deteriorated over the years.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Right.
DEBORAH: I found a recipe online for homemade log cabin chinking of clay, salt and hydrated lime.
TOM: Mm-hmm. Right.
DEBORAH: We did a couple test spots and when it dried, it cracked. So I don’t know if the recipe is a good recipe or maybe we made it too liquid-y and it cracked. And I do know that in the old houses, they also put straw or horsehair in the clay.
TOM: It’s the same reason they put rebar in concrete: it reinforces it. I don’t know about the recipe with hydrated lime but I know that there’s a recipe that’s similar to that that uses wood ash. Of course, where you’re going to find enough wood ash to do an entire house, I can’t tell you. So, I couldn’t determine if whether – if that is what caused this issue or not. Do you have an inversion to using one of the commercially available, very reliable products for this? Because you can buy chinking.
And by the way, if you’re driving down the road thinking, “What the heck are they talking about?” Chinking – c-h-i-n-k-i-n-g – chinking is – think of it as sort of the caulk between the logs of a log house. You know, when you see logs stocked together and it looks like almost masonry or has been – or mortar has been pressed in between like it would for – be for bricks, that’s called “chinking.” And so, that’s what we’re trying to restore here and it’s unique to log homes.
DEBORAH: Does the horsehair – does that act as a binding to hold the plaster together so it won’t crack?
TOM: I think it would because that’s what a reinforcement material would do. But you know what? I’ve got to say good luck finding ash and horsehair today.
LESLIE: You can buy a horsehair mattress.
TOM: There’s going to be a lot of horses out there that are getting a haircut to chink this house.
DEBORAH: Yeah. I have the horses.
LESLIE: Oh, you have the horses? So that’s good.
DEBORAH: I have the (inaudible at 0:04:55).
TOM: You’ve got the horses, so you’ve got the horsehair covered? We wish you a lot of luck with this but I would say that you ought to just experiment with a couple of different versions of this. And you find log cabin chinking that works, go for it because you are in a very unique position there. A very unusual project.
DEBORAH: Yep. OK.
TOM: Alright. Good luck.
LESLIE: She’s got to be different.
TOM: Yep. Thanks so much for calling us at 888-MONEY-PIT.