A multi-talent in log construction
The beauty of hand-carved logs and their hewed surface have fascinated people for centuries. The properties that make a log house last from one generation to another have been formed over centuries. Log construction is still a traditional handicraft profession where the log carver’s expertise is weighed as early as in the forest, when the suitable trees are chosen, and when the wood is dried and sawed. We use tools that help log processing, and, at the same time, nurture the handicraft skills of traditional log construction in every stage of the building process. Our goal is to utilize all leftover parts of the round tree used as raw material.
The Lonna Island sauna
Constructing, delivering and erecting the log frame for the 190-square-meter sauna located on the island of Lonna, outside Helsinki, has been one of our biggest and most demanding redevelopment projects. For the sauna, we logged 166 cubic metres of high-quality wood from Central Finland. The diameters of the largest tree trunk stems were up to 70 centimetres. The construction project was carried out in cooperation with a Finnish top-of-the-line architectural agency OOPEAA.
“The Lonna Island sauna is built masterfully. It is hand-carved from unprocessed logs.”
– Anssi Lassila, Architecht SAFA, OOPEAA
Särkänniemi amusement park Doghill Fairytale Farm
Hirsityö Heikkilä’s excellent wood construction skills are also visible in the Särkänniemi amusement park Doghill Fairytale Farm theme park, where the company built a cowshed, stable and a two-storey granary out of log. The head designer for the theme park was a world leading amusement park designer Bruce D. Brobinson who designed the park based on the Doghill children’s books written by Mauri Kunnas. The log buildings in the theme park were built to match the buildings in the Yli-Kirra Farmhouse museum in Punkalaidun, which Kunnas used as a reference when outlining the 19th century countryside milieu of the Doghill books, as accurately as possible.
Traditionally, the trees used for building new log buildings are logged no later than during the preceding midwinter. The optimal logging time is midwinter when the trees are in a so called “dead stage”. Thus the timber changes its form as little as possible while drying out, and weathering and other logging and storage related challenges can be avoided. When building the Doghill Fairytale Farm theme park, we did not have time to wait until the next winter as the construction had to begin as soon as possible. Therefore, we chose pine snag as our primary material since it is already dry and ready to be used. The pine snags were block-sawed and therefore lack the typical grey surface of snags.
Throughout the years, Hirsityö Heikkilä has built dozens of log buildings from residential house log frames to camping lean-tos.