Frequently Asked Questions
Why build with logs?
Properly constructed with the scribe-fit method, few types of dwellings are warmer in the winter or cooler in the summer. No other structures blend so well esthetically into a woodland setting. The cost of a good log house can be considerably less than that of a comparable frame building… if you do it yourself. Thus it is possible to avoid a long-term home mortgage. Once you are familiar with the technology of log construction, you can be your own designer of a home that may be the envy of neighbors and friends.
The ability to design and erect a durable log shelter on your own land may pay for itself many times over, not to mention the sums you will save on materials and labor. By taking some available training, you will save much trial and error. It takes about three days of using a log scriber, for instance, just to gain proficiency with the tool. At the school you can make a few mistakes on the student building project before you begin your own home or cabin. During Great Lakes courses, you will develop appropriate feelings for the raw material, as well as tools and design. Techniques learned by actually doing the work are internalized in such a way that they are not soon forgotten. At Great Lakes School, we use all of the hand tools that have been part of the heritage of log building. You, the student, are also taught many new skills with power saws.
Is safety stressed on the courses?
Safety, daily maintenance, and careful sharpening are basic to the instruction. A combination of thoughtful rules and protective clothing requirements makes Great Lakes School of Log Building one of the safest construction sites anywhere.
How many students are typically enrolled in a course?
Between two and eight students may be in attendance during each 10-day course. An average course is four or five individuals and one instructor.
Will the Great Lakes course actually prepare me to build my own house or cabin?
Yes, in most cases it will. Most of our graduates build at least one structure after graduating the course. It is, of course, assumed that you will do considerable reading during and after the course, and that you will practice your newly-developed skills at every opportunity.
Is any particular level of construction background required?
No, most students have little or no background relevant to log construction. Many have never encountered the tools we use. About half have never used a chainsaw.
How much will the required tools cost?
Some are everyday tools that many people already have in their shop or basement. The specialized tools, such as log scribers, chisels, axe, etc. will run $400. or more. Personal safety gear, such as hardhat, saw-proof boots, chaps, etc. is likely to total about $400. A new chainsaw of the recommended models costs around $600 new, and less if you can find a good used one.
When I take a course, what is the situation with regard to food and lodging?
There is no extra charge for lodging in one of the log cabins at the school. Registered couples or relatives will have their own personal cabin. Housekeeping facilities, including electric cook stove and refrigerators, are provided. A log sauna is available for bathing. You will need your own food and sleeping gear. Camper trailers are also welcome.
Is any ongoing assistance available after the course?
Yes, the instructor is available by mail, email, and telephone for questions, advice, and resource assistance long after the course. For those who may be heading for a career in the field of log construction, and wish to avail themselves of further training and experience, there are other opportunities around the country. Often the school is contacted by loggers and logbuilders with logs or equipment for sale. These items are shared with former students via the Log Review Newsletter on this website..
Great Lakes School of Log Building
1350 Snowshoe Trail, Isabella, MN 55607