Well now I understand why you wanted people to pay attention to the cutting statement. While I would have much enjoyed sitting around a fireplace sooner I would have missed out on the fun and challenge of building myself. Not to mention my wallet would be a lot thinner.
You have mentioned a common problem with the kits; and that is whether or not they are complete. Unfortunately it is all too usual for someone to buy one and then discover the extraordinary time and difficulty (for an amateur) in cutting and assembling the package.
On to cleaning the logs. Avoid bleach. The olympic deck wash contains oxalic acid. That is why it works. We used a product from permachink which is oxcon, or is it oxycon? In any case that is also oxalic acid. Mix it with 4 parts water and it works quite well.
Last year I tried Sansin's multi-wash. Also mixed it 4 to one. We found that it works better, costs a little less and is not so harsh to breath as is the oxalic acid. Rinse well no matter which product you use.
Bob, I have not tried the Sansin product but thanks for the tip. We use their stains exclusively and are trying a new product for keeping the logs clean......It is experimental at this time.......we shall see. The humidity here is a problem and we are also experimenting with another product from ISK Biocides.
We used the Sansin multi-wash on all of our jobs last summer. It was effective in taking off the mildew & UV gray on most of the homes we did. Most homes we also mixed 4-1, but have also used it 50/50. Had one home that was a little tougher with molds & dirt where we used the Sansin Wood-cleaner. I'm a believer in their products.
I should have bought stock in the tarp company, their net worth has got to have gone up with all my purchases. I think to date I've bought 6 tarps...the biggest being 60 x 100. I started construction in June of '08. The upper logs are still in fairly decent shape but the lower ones are a mess. I hope they clean up when I'm ready. If I remember correctly the manufacturer claimed the logs are kiln dried down to 12% moisture content. I went the kiln dried route after after comparing the pros and cons of kiln dried vs. air dried. I'm more concerned about completing the last of the construction phase this summer which is why I don't want to stop and move on to log finish yet. I'll put up some photos
My logs are pine. The bottom 10 courses which were installed in '08 are water stained and have turned gray. Stupidly, I didn't cover them while I was still working on the first floor. Now I regret not taking the extra time to do that. I can only devote every other weekend to working on the house during the winter months but during the summer I get there more often. Still not a solid hands on for long periods but better than the wiunter so this year I should wrap up all the outside stuff and in the spring of next year address the log finish issue.