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log cabin chink?
Hi In an effort to clean up a bunch of pine trees the previous owner had knocked down my husband and I built a log cabin from the trees.  This was a learn as you go project! We pretty much used what we had, as a result we have a whole lot of chinking to do!!Somewhere I read that you can use Styrofoam to fill some of gaps.  I have been given a bunch of very dense Styrofoam.  Now I wonder if we couldn't add it to the cement mixture after grinding it up.  This would lighten the chink and make it easier to fill the gaps. But I worry about the environmental risk.  All words of wisdom are welcomed!!
Well, first, have you seen "alone in the wilderness"?  What a fun DVD!

In that, he uses moss ...  at least I think that is what was used.

Somehow, styrofoam doesn't seem useful - and isn't it supposed to be riddled with eco problems?  I think because it offgasses something - but it has been a long time and I cannot remember.
Yes!!! I have seen it on PBS!!! That man was incredible!  Unfortunately there isn't enough moss in all of North Carolina for our cabin. !!!

paul wheaton wrote:
In that, he uses moss ...  at least I think that is what was used.

Yes, I have the video, and I remember he mentions that he used good old fashioned "oakum," which is, I believe, just another word for moss.
Oakum is a contraction of "off-combing", the stuff that scrapes off of old-fashioned waterproofed ropes as they wear.

It's a mix of coarse fibers and heavy hydrocarbons, say maybe hemp and tar.

Yes, you're right, I looked it up.  Moss was an even older material for chinking and sometimes they used it on the inside with oakum on the outside (or vice versa?) and I had just assumed they were the same. 

What's confusing on the video is that it looked like he used moss on the roof and so there was lots of it around, but he must have had the oakum flown in special by Babe Allsworth who supplied his camp.
A resourceful person could make oakum locally.

For example, putting shredded bark or similar in the exhaust of a pyrolysis chamber (e.g., in a chimney with a cool smoky fire) and keeping it relatively cool would deposit tar onto it.

Or one could use a setup like sepp holzer's bone tar still from the thread below, with arbitrary biomass in place of the bones, and wipe it up with half-decayed garden twine.


You could maybe even get away with a mix of moss and sap.
That's interesting.  I'm doubtful whether Dick Proenneke  did anything like that, though (understanding that you're not necessarily suggesting that he did).  For instance, on the video he builds the fireplace last, well after he chinks the cabin and just before the cold weather comes on.  And I'm doubtful he knew the Holzer technique, although it could have existed before him.  And if he had done something like that I kind of think he would have said so or shown it on the video given his propensity to do that. 

I just checked his 500 page journal (http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/lacl/proenneke.pdf).  Unfortunately, though, it's not the kind of pdf document that you can do a search in and a cursory look doesn't reveal anything about the chinking.
Wink, wink, nudge, nudge, say no more ... richsoil.com/wd-gardening.jsp

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