Building Homes or Extensions/wood


I'm building a log home and am doing most of the work myself. There is a box elder tree down that is about 22in in diameter and 18ft long. While I'm not going to use it for walls because boxelder isn't strong and durable, would it be an ok choice to cut into 2x4s and use it for studs in the walls of interior rooms. I know white pine is used a lot and it is a rather weak pine. Its a good straight log and its easily accessible and I would hate for it to go to waste.

Box elder is in the maple family and you are right it is not a strong wood.  I would not use any ungraded studs in any load bearing wall.  The lowest grade allowed in non bearing walls is "utility."  Unless you are capable of grading the wood you won't have any way of knowing what grade it is. Also, do you have the tools and equipment necessary to size the lumber to standard uniform sizes (3.5" x 1.5")?  If you don't you would have a mess on your hands if the walls turn out not uniform in thickness.  Think about how you would set an interior prehung door if the studs that form the rough opening vary in thickness but the door jam is uniform.

Also, how will you dry the wood to 10% moisture content or less?  You don't want it shrinking substantially after you have installed the wood.

Last, the amount of labor required to saw rough sawn lumber, then dry it, than size it is a lot!  I'd opt for Home Depot or Lowe's.  Good luck.

Len Kroll
Wood House Log Homes LLC

Building Homes or Extensions

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Len Kroll


I can answer questions concerning log home design, manufacture, construction, maintenance/repair, restoration and insect control in log homes. I can also answer questions pertaining to wood properties, characteristics and performance as they relate to log home applications. Additionally, I can answer questions pertaining to residential construction and repair, some engineering and trade issues.


I have been in the log home and construction industry for 38 years, 10 years in a specialty contracting field and 28 years in the log home field. My company has designed, produced and supplied over 3,000 log homes and built over 500 and restored over 600 during that 28 year period. I was a volunter in AllExperts for several years and somehow fell off the map. I answered hundreds of questions during that term and had a very high rating.

I authored a monthly column in an in house publication expressing the Vice President and General Manager's "Observations and Insights" which was distributed to approximately 300 employees and management.

I have a BS Accounting degree from the University of Illinois, 1963, and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Chicago, 1968. I have participated in numerous relevant seminars over the years including an intense two week broad business administration seminar at the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business, 1978. I have participated in the National Association of Home Builders Graduate Builders continuing education program.

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