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Log homes built with modern touch in Dandridge | Business

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Log homes built with modern touch in Dandridge
Log homes built with modern touch in Dandridge

Log homes have a long history in the United States and in East Tennessee.

A local company is continuing the tradition of building the houses by using modern technology.

"We've got Douglas-fir here. This is yellow pine. This is eastern white pine. Then we have some pieces of oak over here, both red and white," Jobe Leonard explained.

Most of the wood at the log home maker in Dandridge comes from trees in and around East Tennessee.

Jobe Leonard is a project manager at Hearthstone Homes, a company specializing in hand crafted log and heavy timber homes.

"A lot of the original houses that were built here were built with this style of construction with the dove tailed corners and the chink space. If you go to Cades Cove or you go to any of the rest stops in the area you see this style of construction," he said.

Most of the process of converting trees to houses takes place in in Dandridge where logs arrive and are transformed.

"Then it goes to our saw mill where it's de-barked and it's turned into these squares that we call cants. Once the squares are here on site we'll take them and we'll put them inside of our dry kiln that takes the moisture out of the timbers," he said.

Computers guide the shaping of the timbers into perfectly fitted parts for what will become a house. The finishing process can be labor intensive and gives the logs a texture

Leonard said, "Our crews actually follow the project out to the site and they'll assemble it so that we know it's done correctly."

One example of a finished house is on the shore of Douglas Lake. It was named 2012 National Log Home of the year.

"We had that particular home drawn up in a brochure, they picked the home, and then we went through about a six month design phase where they tweaked the floor plan and got everything exactly like they wanted it before we actually broke ground and started construction," Leonard explained.

Log Home Living Magazine featured the kitchen in an article last summer. Then this spring, Hearthstone Homes found out the magazine would put the house on the cover of its best homes edition.

"I believe you'll be able to see why pretty easily," he said.

The custom interior uses a variety of wood from the property as accents. The exterior was created at Hearthstone Homes then assembled on site just like all of the log and timber homes the company creates.

"We have technology here on site that no other saw mill has in the entire United States," Leonard said.

Nothing goes to waste.

They sell the sawdust to paper companies and timber that doesn't meet expectations is given away as firewood every afternoon at 4:00.

Famous clients include Charlie Daniels and Steven Seagal.

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