• Ben

Log Building Lingo

Updated: Sep 1

Like all trades, there is a lexicon associated with log building used to describe some of the specific processes, tools and techniques that we employ on a daily basis. And there are some great words, confusing words and words that mean something different in log building to other uses you may be more familiar with. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite log building words to help you understand the difference between caulking and chinking, what scribing is, why a ‘fluting’ might not be a bad thing and why a sleeper log is actually a really active part of the cabin!

A log cabin made by British Log Cabins
Handcrafted log cabins don't just happen!

Cap log

Also known as a plate log or wall plate, a cap log is the uppermost horizontal log of a wall which provides the fixing point for the feet of the rafters. This load-bearing structural log distributes the weight of the roof evenly across the width of the wall without generating pressure points.


Similar to chinking (below), caulking is used to fill smaller gaps (typically less than one inch) between logs and its more elastic properties allow it to shrink as the logs dry out and settle. Caulks typically have no texture and are therefore used to give a smooth finish to those smaller gaps.


Chinking is a filler used to seal larger seams between rows of logs. It can be used both internally and externally and typically comes in a range of colours and textures which allow it a decorative as well as functional role in the weather-proofing of a cabin. Certain textures may even give the appearance of mortar, which of course it isn’t.


A corbel is a short structural log that projects out from a support point such as a wall or a post as a load-bearing element, reducing the span of a structural beam above. Predominantly used to support extended roof spans or cantilevered balconies they can also be an aesthetic feature.