Q: How do I recondition and reseal the logs of my log cabin, and what exactly is chinking?

– Geno, Mazomanie, Wisconsin

A: Tom Silva replies: Well, chinking is what you fill in between the seams of the logs — like a big hunk of grout that goes between the logs. Chinking also refers, by the way, to the process of using small stones to fill in and balance big stones when you're building a stone wall.

To recondition and reseal your logs, if they're real logs, you've got to put in grout. In some cases, contractors use something that resembles a pastry bag with a little nozzle, which is used to squeeze and push in the grout. Then you just form it with a brush or a trowel. You also want to figure out what's already on the logs, because you're also going to have to stain them with a high-quality stain or sealer using a brush, roller or spray.
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