I have the queen headboard and footboard done and in the process I have some more hints to pass on.

HINT #1 : How to Center Mortise Holes on a Lodge Pole Log
To center the mortise holes on the log, which is especially necessary when building the rails, first find the center of both ends. Measure half the distance horizontally (remember to measure straight across at the widest part of the end) and mark it on the end. Then use a square to make a vertical line the length of the ends. Now use those two marks to make your line. To do this I used a laser just because it is cool but you could also use a chalk line. Now you can mark all of your mortise locations.

HINT #2 : How to Keep Your Mortise Holes Vertical
Now that you have your holes marked the problem is keeping the round and prone to roll lodge pole log along the same plane. If you don’t do this right, your headboard posts will not match up. You can see how difficult and important this is by placing your forstner bit on the hole and then rotating the log back and forth. Notice how the drill bit is still in the center of the mark but your holes will be dramatically different and slanted. After trial and error I resolved this by first making a horizontal line on the end (now you have a cross since above you made a vertical line to center your holes). Then I affixed a small (about 3-4 inches wide) level along that horizontal line (I just taped it on but you could tap in a small nail etc depending on your level). Now to make sure the hoes are vertical just check the level and line up the bubble to level the log. Remember to check this every time you move the log because there is a good chance you will have taken it off level.

HINT #3 : How to Make Tight Mortise and Tenon Joints in Lodge Pole Logs
My problem here came because I made the tenons about two weeks before I made the mortises and so the tenons dried out and shrunk in diameter. I found that because they had shurnk, my tenons were not quite 2 inches wide and were instead between 1/8 and 1/16 to small. When I connected the joints this lead to too much slop. I have a 1 7/8 inch forstner bit but that was a little too small for the size of the tenon. So I used both bits. I drilled about 3/4 of the way with the 2 inch forstner bit and then finished out with the 1 7/8 bit. Then I sanded my tenons a bit to smooth them out. This provided for a very tight joint. There are two secrets here: First, make sure you make your mortise and tenons around the same time period. Second, to measure your tenons before you drill your holes because if you make the mortise too big you can’t get that wood back.

HINT #4 : An Easy Way to Assemble the Lodge Pole Logs
Now that you have a bunch of logs you need to line up the mortises with the tenons and assemble the headboard etc. This is harder than you think because both of the horizontal braces have to line up with your 6-10 vertical logs. Then once you have them together you need to fully seat the tenons into the mortises. My secret is ratcheting tie down straps and a rubber mallet. Once you have the piece initially assembled, wrap a strap around it and snug it down. I use two for the head/foot boards, one on each end. Then start cranking both of them down to snug the joints together. Use the rubber mallet to convince things together. If you just use the rubber mallet you end up really whacking the logs and can risk putting dents in the logs. My favorite strap is a huge 25′ 3500 lb load strap which is about 3 inches in width and is perfect for fitting around beds.

Good luck!

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