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Log cabin maintenance shores up city landmark

The Smith Log Cabin is getting some chinking in its armor – andthat’s a good thing.

As part of a Brookhaven Trust project, James Portrey has begunreplacing the chinking on the cabin in Railroad Park. Chinking is amaterial placed in the spaces between logs on a log cabin.

“It’s part of maintaining any structure,” said JimminettePhillips, who is overseeing the project.

In the Smith Log Cabin’s case, however, mortar chinking usedwhen the structure was moved to Railroad Park in the 1990s wasrigid and has been falling out due to passing trains.

“It would be great anywhere else,” Phillips said. “It’s just thevibrations from the railroad were shaking it off.”

The new chinking is a gray spongy, elastic material that canexpand and contract to allow for vibrations. Several seams on thecabin had been done Monday afternoon.

Some others, though, will need more work.

To cut down on the need for the costly chinking material,Phillips was cutting some Styrofoam strips to help fill along someof the larger seams.

Also, necessary wood backing is being installed in the seams.Portrey said some of the holes in the upper part of the buildingare large and it will take some time to fill those in.

“We’re going with more backing,” said Portrey, adding that heexpected the project to take several more days to complete.

Phillips did not have a project cost, although she said donatedmaterials from Columbus Lumber Co. and Brookhaven Rent-All werehelping offset some expense.

In addition to the chinking, Phillips said the project willinclude capping the cabin’s chimney to address another problem thatTrust officials recently discovered.

“Squirrels had gotten it and were tearing it up,” said Phillips,mentioning some wood and furniture damage inside the building.