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In this issue

The Wise Woman Builds Her House

By Mala Patterson
Bluegrass Musician

After graduating from college, the normal progression for most women is marriage. But, what is great, or even fun, about being normal? This neo-Laura Ingalls-Wilder, this Backwoods Barbie, embarked upon an adventure. I decided to build a log cabin!

I have had the pleasure of being around log cabins nearly my whole life. I grew up in my parents’ pine, D-shaped log cabin. They had a “turn-key” package; but we, mainly my father, ended up doing a lot of the work. Despite three children, pets, and fluctuating Alabama weather, their home has weathered nicely with little maintenance. Therefore, my parents are supportive of my log cabin, although they enjoy ribbing me about some comments I made when I was about ten years old.

I was ticked at my mother because she did not think that a black and silver waterbed (completed, of course) with a zebra bedspread was suitable décor for a ten year-old girl’s log bedroom. Thus, I declared that I would never have a house of wood. I vowed to have only wallpaper and paint in my house one day. (Never say never!)

Anyway, my adventure started when I found an ad for oak log cabin kits in a classified newspaper. Not wanting to be saddled with a large debt and realizing that I would be responsible for cleaning and maintaining the house, I decided to purchase the approximately 1,500 square-foot kit. The logs arrived safely and beautifully – Missouri oak heartwood dovetail logs. (Say that ten times fast!)

Since my kit consisted of only the perimeter wall logs, I drew the interior plans one Sunday afternoon; and Mom and I devised a plan that would allow me to “pay-as-I-go” and have the cabin completed and paid-off in three years. However, I did not realize how much I was going to be involved with the “hands-on” construction, and I never imagined how much I would learn to do and end up doing myself.

I hired an experienced carpenter to oversee my project (I later hired some helpers for a few days). My brother Tubby and the carpenter laid the block, and I started helping with the setting of the logs. Tubby would sing “John Henry” as he swung the sledge hammer! Our carpenter joked, saying he felt like he was building a pyramid. Dad, Mom, and I cut cedars for the porch posts (Mom and I caught poison oak to prove it) and hemlocks for the supporting interior posts. I wanted some octagon windows, but I could not justify the special order price. However, I found new ones (although the wrong color but paint corrected that) at a flea market for 1/10th the special order store price. Mom and I shopped ‘round and ‘round for the additional lumber at the best prices.

Before Mom and I started preserving the logs and additional lumber, Mom and I attended a Perma-Chink Systems workshop in Rome, Georgia. We learned countless tips and acquired useful information that has saved me both valuable time and money. (My father was very impressed when I informed him of what pressure-washing tip, at what pressure, and at what angle I had to wash the logs.) Mom and I painstakingly followed all the Perma-Chink products’ directions. The Energy Seal far-surpassed any other similar product in both ease of application and appearance during the sealing of the dovetail corners and joints. This very time-consuming task made me feel like the “Human Dirt Dauber,” and I lost track of how many hours I spent on this job. However, my leaks during pressure-washing were mostly confined to around the windows and doors that had not been trimmed at that time. The Log Wash, Wood ReNew, Armor-Guard, Log End Seal, Lifeline Ultra-2 exterior stain, Lifeline Advance clear topcoat and Cobra Rods were quickly and very easily applied or utilized.

Painting the 2X4’s with Chink-Paint was another time-consuming task. I completed this step fully by myself. If stacking the logs felt like building a pyramid, this step could be compared to engraving the hieroglyphics onto the stone pyramid walls. (One thing I quickly learned during chink painting is that it is much better to paint slowly and clean-up less than to paint quickly and clean-up more!) Mom and I were both surprised and impressed with the Lifeline Advance Exterior Gloss topcoat. When we cleaned out the containers from which we were applying, the dried Lifeline Advance peeled out like plastic wrap. I feel as if my cabin is securely plastic-wrapped from the elements.

The interior Perma-Chink Systems products worked as well as and look as great as the exterior products. Prelude beautifully prepared the interior logs for the Lifeline Interior stain. The Lifeline Interior stain and the Sure Shine Gloss look fantastic on the many different types of interior wood - oak, pine, spruce, hemlock, and hickory. The Chink-Paint also looks nice on the interior walls.

With the assistance of good helpers and the employment of recycling, creativity, gifts from generous friends, and affordable Perma-Chink Systems products, the exterior of my cabin is already completed and much of the interior is completed in only six months. My cabin is debt-free and is more beautiful than I ever dreamed that it would be. Before preserving the logs, I was concerned that by doing anything to the logs, I was going to destroy their natural beauty. (Boy, was I mistaken!) The Perma-Chink products are not only protecting, but also enhancing my logs’ natural beauty. Before using some of the products, I doubted the necessity of using them. (Boy, was I mistaken again.) Each easily-applied Perma-Chink Systems product is necessary for a beautiful, protective complete finish.

My adventure has changed me both mentally and physically. I am stronger, wiser, more grateful, and more self-sufficient. It has given me a strong sense of accomplishment. When someone asks me about my home, I am able to show them my hands and say that I’ve built my cabin with these two hands (despite the nail polish) and with the help of some good folks and great Perma-Chink Systems products.

Water Stains

By Vince Palmere

Some of the most challenging discolorations on wood are water stains. They can run the range from light brown to jet black and can appear on both interior and exterior surfaces. How do water stains form? All wood contains a number of components that are grouped under the category of “watersoluble extractives.” In other words, they can dissolve in water and as the water within the wood evaporates they can be carried along to the surface. Generally if wood is exposed to water for only a brief period of time the water does not get a chance to penetrate deep into the wood and dissolve these water-soluble components. However, if the wood is exposed to water for days, weeks or months, the water can pick up a high concentration of these components and deposit them on or near the surface of the wood.

Exterior water stains typically occur around checks, fissures and other openings that collect rain water. The water soaks into the wood and as it evaporates out of the wood it brings along the colored extractives which can then become visible on the surface. In some cases water-soluble tannins may react with minute particles of steel on the surface forming dark iron tannate stains. This process may occur on bare wood or under an existing finish. Interior water stains typically develop during construction before the home is sealed or from an ongoing water leak. They can be particularly ugly and may cause a lot of distress.

Getting Rid of Water Stains
The first step in determining a course of action is to find how deep the stain goes into the wood. Remove about a 1/16” thick sliver of the discolored surface with a sharp knife and if the discoloration comes off with the sliver the discoloration can usually be sanded off or treated with products like Log Wash, Wood ReNew or Oxcon. Since there are a number of components involved with water stains it's impossible to predict which product will work best. We recommend starting with Log Wash and if that does not work move to Wood ReNew and finally Oxcon. The problem is that even these products don't always work and sanding may be the only solution. If the discoloration goes deep into the wood and is still visible after the sliver of wood is removed it will be virtually impossible to either sand or chemically remove the water stain. In this case there are only two options, either replace the discolored wood or hide the stains.

Hiding Water Stains
Although Perma-Chink Systems manufactures and sells transparent finishes, some of our colors are fairly pigmented which gives them some hiding power. On interior bare wood surfaces Butternut color is a good choice since it is very close to the color of bare white pine. It may take several coats depending on the darkness of the discolorations. If a colored stain is going to be later applied it would be a good idea to first use Prelude over the entire wall to even out the absorption of the stain and obtain a uniform color. For hiding very dark discolorations one or two coats of Kilz primer will hide virtually anything. Kilz is available in both water and solvent-based formulations but only comes in white. The best way to hide exterior water stains is to use a dark colored finish like Walnut or one of our gray colors. If this is not to your liking you can try using the same hiding procedures as stated for interior stains but on exterior walls the opaque finished areas tend to be more pronounced than on interior surfaces.

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Two Extreme Makeover Projects

By Mike Way
President of Pine River Inc.

Our company has had the opportunity to participate in two Extreme Home Makeover projects. The first one was for a couple on interior rooms in a home in Toledo, OH which aired last fall. The second was for a full exterior and a couple of log walls in the interior of a home in North Carolina. Perma-Chink sealants and stain were used on both projects.

On the home in Toledo, we used the Lifeline Ultra-2 with the Advance Clear Coat. On the second project in North Carolina we used the Lifeline Ultra-1 with the Advance Clear Coat.

Our experience with Perma-Chink has been very good. The product is easy to apply, especially since we apply the initial coat in our factory. The entire Perma-Chink System, caulk and stain, works well together. Since we pre-stain, we want the Energy Seal to match as closely as possible to pre-stain color. It may take the home owner a few months to get the second coat of stain and the clear coat on the house. It is important the Energy Seal matches the initial coat color and be stainable to blend in as the second and future maintenance coatings are applied.

Ease of use, environmentally friendly, customer support and quality are what we are looking for and Perma-Chink is meeting the challenge. Pine River is not a stain company, but our product is 100% dependent on being protected by a high quality long lasting product. Our customers look to us to provide the complete solution for the the e-log system. It is our goal to make them and keep them happy.

Project #1 - Toledo, Ohio

Talk about a great Monday! Let me explain... It was a normal late August Monday morning when Don Neill (Director of Sales) walks in my office and says, "Guess who I was just talking to?" Of course, I said "I have no idea." And he said "One of the designers from the ABC Extreme Makeover: Home Edition and they want to use e-log on an upcoming "Hearts and Hands for Heroes project" in Toledo". My immediate reaction was, "Yeh, sure, whatever.Who was it really?" Well, he said it again and I had no choice but to believe him, and that's where the story begins...

From that discussion came the fact the family who was selected wanted a rustic log feel in their home in suburban Toledo. In fact, the mom wanted logs so bad she had log wallpaper in her bedroom. The designers from ABC and those from Buckeye Real Estate Group (the local builder) began an internet search for log siding. The story has it that they both ran across When they saw the pictures of the "lobby remodel" in our factory, they decided that was the look they were after, so they that's when they called. Of course, they had to get Ty's approval first and we are delighted that he agreed!

Project # 2 - Jamesville, North Carolina

Well it happened again... Once again, the call from the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition producers came and e-log was there to answer with a resounding YES! What can we do to help? As always, energy-efficency and ease of maintenance is a goal of all the Extreme Makeover homes so that the home owners can manage their home expenses for years to come. That is one of the reasons e-log was chosen for this log home project.

This "Hearts and Hands for Heroes" project is for a wounded veteran from Operation Desert Storm and his family. All have suffered from the war, plus endured a life threatening injury to their son, who was able to be saved by his father because of his war time training. Jeff Cooper is a decorated, disabled veteran who has committed his life now to improving the lives of veterans who have so selflessly served our country.

Since the Cooper family wanted a "Log Cabin", we worked closely with the architect. We came up with a design where we could use our newly patent pending Saddle Notch corner system to complete the log cabin feel. As you can see in the photos below, we captured it and the home looks like a pretty modern looking log home.

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Bald Eagle Comes to Life in Redmond

By Kevin Piatz

One of my favorite customers asked me what could be done to fix a log sculpture that had come with the log home he purchased. The log sculpture of an American bald eagle was nearly in complete deterioration. I had all kinds of ideas of how to restore the sculpture and offered to test our restoration and finish products on it.

When the bird arrived, I saw that I was in for some work. The feet and base had been decimated by carpenter ants. There were spiders nesting in rotted cavities throughout the birds back and head, and there were several beetle exit holes to repair.

I started by grinding away the feet and base with one of our Wood Shark grinding disks. There was a huge pile of rotted wood on the ground and a large piece of the tail feather broke off during that process.

After applying S-100 finish remover, followed by Shell-Guard RTU application, it was time to apply M-Balm 2 part epoxy to all of the cavities and areas that would be filled with E-Wood putty.

I used Sierra Brown Energy Seal and Backer Rod to fill in the upward facing checks. Then I applied Lifeline Ultra-2 in multiple colors to stain the bird and Lifeline Advance clear topcoat to protect it. Amazing transformation!

This project can be seen in person in the lobby of our Redmond, Washington store. For more info please contact me

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D o n' t M i s s O u t
Application Workshops SUMMER/FALL 2009

September 5 Irasburg, Vermont
September 12 Marlborough, New Hampshire
September 19 Knoxville, Tennessee
September 19 McHenry, Maryland
September 26 Mammoth Lake, California
October 3 Medford, Oregon
October 10 Carson City, Nevada
November 7 Stevensville, Montana
November 14 Knoxville, Tennessee
November 14 Rifle, Colorado

If you would like a referral to an experienced contractor to perform an inspection, contact your nearest Perma-Chink Systems office.

If you like to request a copy of our newsletter for your friend, relative or neighbor, please call us, send an email to

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