Manufacture of wooden houses

At Doralnic we talked about log house ramming, log wall positioning, mentors and future plans

Most viewed video from the youtube channel Wooden magazine is about log houses. It is a subject that has always aroused interest, and the information conveyed by Dorin Văideanu and the certainty with which he speaks is, in my opinion, what captivates those interested. Doralnic, the company represented by Dorin, is one of the best known log house builders in the country. We recently went back to Coșna, to the Doralnic building site, to see what he has been doing since we last saw each other, what houses he has built, what plans he has for the future. For me, meetings with Dorin always mean interesting technical discussions in a field where quality information is hard to find.

Tasering, left and right shafts and other technical topics

The theme we had left Bucharest with was the tasking houses in bușteni. This is one of the most important aspects of this type of house and if it is not given proper attention, big problems can arise. I had the opportunity to see the aftermath of subsidence in a cottage near Gheorgheni where we stayed for one night. The floor, where the rooms were, was all tilted. After a short time in the room I had the continuous feeling of losing my balance, I was dizzy. The doors would hardly close (if at all) and the water in the shower failed to drain.

The wood is stained due to the drying of the wood. As the trunks are whole, water is harder to get out and it takes 3-5 years to reach equilibrium. Immediately after felling, free water comes out, which has carried nutrients into the tree. The wood quickly reaches a moisture content of about 30% without dimensional changes or tension. These occur when the bound water, which is part of the wood cell wall, comes out. This is how contracting which changes the size of the log. The most important changes are in the radial and tangential direction, while those along the fibre (longitudinal) are insignificant. As a result of water loss, the diameter of the log decreases, leading to its repositioning in the wall.

The construction of a log house is done in two stages. The first takes place on the builder's site, where the logs are processed and laid out to form the wall. This is also the first stage of the ramming. After processing, a gap of 1-2 cm remains between the logs, which disappears during the 3-4 months that the house is on site. At the end of the period it is disassembled, the logs are numbered and transported to the customer where the second stage of construction takes place. The house is erected again according to plan, after which it is left for a further 6-8 months before the windows, doors and installation and finishing work is carried out. The way the logs have been processed is crucial at this stage. Correct processing will ensure that they find their correct place in the wall resulting in solid, well-fitted houses. Incorrect processing will result in loss of tightness and holes in the wall, uneven planks.

Taxation continues after this period, but at a slower pace. In order not to damage doors and windows, they are mounted in a special frame with a weatherstripping box on top. The cassette will take up the pressure, the windows will not warp or crack and the doors will close normally.

Talking to Dorin we found out that logs can't be put in the wall of the house anyway. The addition of wood mass to the annual ring follows a helical pattern in resinous, like that of branches grown in a year on the trunk. In most trees this fibre twist is to the right. There are, however, also left-handed trees. Their contraction is different during drying and therefore they cannot lay down randomly. The tree's shape can be seen after removal of the bark, especially if it is done with a water jet. That's why Dorin bought such a system for peeling.

Mentors - teachers and log home builders from the USA and Canada

To get all this technical information, Dorin tracks down famous log home teachers and builders in the US and Canada. In the site office, among the chainsaws, chains and wood treatments, there's a small library of books by Robert Chambers, Allen Mackie and other specialists in the field. Chambers is a well-known teacher, consultant and home builder in the US, and Mackie is a teacher and log home builder in Canada, where he founded the log home school that bears his name.

In order to keep up to date, he is a member of the International Log House Builders Association (ILBA) from where he regularly receives newsletters with the latest building techniques, methods and materials. That's how he ended up bringing special strips from Canada for better sealing between logs.

Not quantity but quality. Better performing homes as close to "the key"

For Dorin it is not important to build more but better. He doesn't want to build more houses like last year, but more special ones, with new challenges. He wants to make log - timber frame houses, to have the opportunity to build large buildings that will challenge his skills.

A project for the future is to provide customers with the most complete service possible. That means from architectural design ideas, to strength design calculations, to interior design so that the client gets the house "turnkey". In this way they will be able to ensure quality to the end according to Doralnic standards. But it's a tough project that takes time, money and energy. Because a log house is hard to make, has a long lead time and the investment is only justified if the project is of a certain scale.

I talked a lot with Dorin, and I was on site from morning till evening, at the end of the program. We also filmed, so about all these topics, but also about the price of log houses, you now have the opportunity to learn more in the video below, made with Dorin Văideanu at Coșna.

About the author

Mihaela Radu

Mihaela Radu is a chemical engineer but has a great passion for wood. She has been working in the field for more than 20 years, wood finishing being what defined her during this period. She gained experience working in a research institute, in her own company, as well as in a multinational. She wants to continuously share her experience with those who have the same passion - and more.


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  • We also have a house made in 2016 by the gentlemen from Doralnic. And they were indeed perhaps among the most serious of the tradesmen we have worked with. Unfortunately they did not deliver a finished product - a turnkey house. The moment you do the foundation with one builder, the house is assembled by another team, the carpentry, the painting with someone else, you end up with a chain of this where one team blames the previous one and no one is responsible for mistakes and errors that occur. The fact that the windows and doors are subsequently fitted by the recipient (with another company obviously) and he gets absolutely no warranty on their fitting because any decent carpenter who sees the structure of the house knows that changes will occur (wood always moves). The fact that almost every aspect of interior decoration from kitchen furniture, any shelves - the simplest things in a normal house with straight walls - here have to be made to order, becomes difficult (same with bathroom fittings, fitting radiators). If you don't know skilled tradesmen who take an interest you end up doing them twice, three times or having to repair them all the time. You should show cottages and houses done by Doralnic that are already a few years old and explain what happens to these walls and the gaps between these logs that don't dry evenly over the years? We have had wasps, wild bees, crickets, mice, bats that have made their way into these spaces between logs that (even after 6 years) have not dried out as they explain. Moreover, the volume of the logs has decreased and these spaces have become even larger 3-4cm in some places. Wind and cold in winter I don't even mention. Yes, it's a beautiful house at first glance, but if I had my mind right now I'd make a classic brick or concrete house and use wood only as an accent.

    • I forgot to mention that I respected the waiting times and deadlines recommended by Doralnic at the time. Even though their recommendations changed along the way (at first they recommended using a water based dip - Italian brand) then they changed the recommendation to oil based paint. Do you realise what it means to clean water based bait and re-treat a whole house with oil based paint? Just so people know what they're getting into when it comes to wood.

  • Hello!
    We have always wanted to offer our customers the most complete and high quality services, which we have completed and achieved over the years.
    The working technique used by us was and is constantly being improved according to current standards, but as we discussed, and as we were guided by our teachers, the working technique was correct at the time, the minuses being the lack of studies, sealing materials and round wood protection.
    All builders in this field have faced such situations in the past, not because of poor implementation of the technique, but because of its limitations.
    Because of these shortcomings, materials have appeared on the market in Canada and beyond that correct these imperfections in homes that are already inhabited, thus giving homeowners the comfort of their home!
    We have access to these new materials, and we invite you to contact us to remedy any unpleasant situations that have arisen in your home. Thank you!


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