You should check out The Linux Documentaion Project
pages... they have HOW-TOs on lots of things (including how to compile a kernel). In a nutshell, you need to do the following:
+ Get a kernel, either from www.kernel.org
or on your install CD.
+ Unpack it to /usr/src/linux (and possibly keep a backup copy of the kernel that may already by there).
-+ make xconfig (if you want to configure it graphically)
-+ make dep
-+ make clean
-= make bzImage (with a capital I)
-+ make bzlilo (not always necessary)
-+ make modules (you'll find out about these in the docs)
-+ make modules_install (with an _underscore_)
+ Reboot your machine and cross your fingers.
I would advise that you look at the documentation now
because there may be steps that I have forgotton.
The error log file you should
find is /var/log/XFree86.X.log
, where the X is normally either 0 or 9 (or both... I have both files).
Hope this helps.