“I learned the butt-and-pass method in Seattle,” Heizer said. “It’s simple and it’s beautiful. Steve really believed in the method, and I think it’s the only way to build a log house.” The secret of a good log home, according to Heizer, is to make sure it can breathe. “If it breathes, it won’t rot,” he said. “Air moves through the whole house, nothing is stagnant. If the water dries, there’s no rot.” The logs were chosen one at a time from a ranch near Helena. “They were very environmentally aware of how they were harvesting the trees,” Copeland said. And they are very big. Huge. The ridgepole weighs over 13 tons and is three-feet in diameter. “We selected each tree from a south-facing slope so the sap uniformly is the same,” Heizer said. “It also helps assure that the logs will dry in a similar way.” The 22-inch diameter wall logs were put in green, and they were put in “on-center.” “That means I took each log and figured out the exact center,” Heizer said. “Each tree is slightly different, so it might take me two hours to select the right log.” Heizer said building with the butt-and-pass method, using natural logs, is not like placing dowels down. Each log is so different that every four rows Heizer stopped to assess the levelness of the walls. “It’s more like placing carrots down,” he said.
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