Home Page
Home Photos

 

Welcome to the Onalaska Log Building School, LLC  
Business license # 603-001-503  

Updated Sept 4.

One-day classes, you will learn to build a log building in that one day, guaranteed. The key to this success is the Butt and Pass building method, no notching and no need to season the logs before building, and no real building expertise is needed.   

The May 2014 classes were great folks with lots of enthusiasm.  The September 20 class if full but there are 5 seats available for the Saturday October 4 class, and that will be it until May 2015.    We will hold your seat with a $50 deposit.  

Please note, a prior student is currently constructing a log building and if you want, we can run out there the day after class and kick some tires, maybe lift a log or two.  The site is about an hour drive from our place, but only about 45 minutes from I-5 in Centralia. 

We can hold class at other times if you can get a group of at least 4 together.  Tuition is $325 per person ($300 per person for parties of 2 or more) and includes an outstanding pizza lunch provided by our local pizzarie. Phone number 360-978-4962.  Thanks.   

We finished constructing log building number 10 on our place in May, which contains a working model (photos below) for students to put hands-on lifting a wall log, a ridge pole and a set of rafters. It is one thing to be told and to see photos but quite another to actually do the task, invaluable experience for when you start your project. working model 1.JPG (657136 bytes) working model 2.JPG (527688 bytes)working model 3.JPG (494991 bytes)working model 5.JPG (506006 bytes)working mdel 4.JPG (475583 bytes)class lifting log.JPG (755335 bytes)class lifting ridge pole.JPG (574826 bytes)class lifting rafters.JPG (490513 bytes)

Need an idea for Christmas or birthday?  How about nabbing them a tuition to the class.  

My name is Jack Tipping and with my wife Sharon, we have built 10 log buildings on our property in rural Onalaska, Washington (see photos).  We took the Skip Ellsworth log building class in 1979 and built our log house in 1980, and our log garage in 1981.  Starting in 2006,  we've constructed one log building each year on our place with trees we planted in 1980, a total of 10 buildings.  2011 was the Fort, 2012 (The Saloon),  2013 (the 'Jail') and 2014 is a log building to house a working model.   We have learned many things during our building that we wished we knew before we built our first building. In fact, I would have gladly paid 10 times the tuition price to know some of the things in this class.  Students  frequently mention that the class far exceeded their expectations (perhaps we are not charging enough). 

Here is what a student from one of our May, 2014 classes had to say: " Thank you so much for the opportunity of attending your great class.  I feel I accomplished my learning goals. The Onalaska Log Building School significantly boosted my knowledge base and confidence in moving forward with my own log home.  

Earlier this year I attended a different training that taught the same  butt & pass method but it was solely classroom-based instruction (Las Vegas).  What positively distinguishes the Onalaska Log Building School is that you provided actual, physical hands-on experience of the different stages of log home construction.  Just as you explained on your website, itís proven very true that itís one thing to be told how to work with log construction but itís much more valuable to actually do it (with instruction). Thank you for providing that to me.

Learning from a husband-and-wife team who are truly experts in this style of log home construction was a profoundly inspirational and meaningful experience because it showed more than just the mechanics of construction - it touched on the spirit of family and home, and it gave me and my own wife a real example of what potential we have of doing for ourselves, just like you two.  Thank you for sharing your knowledge, your home and sincere hospitality.

 E.L.C.
Ashland, Montana"

Our house cost us $20,000 to build in 1980, including new appliances, and today it is valued at over $250,000.  Building our own house allowed me to retire in 2005 at age 52 after working 30 years for Washington State Fish and Wildlife (fish biologist).

Because we are hands-on oriented and local to the Northwest, we decided to offer a one-day class on log building construction.  2014 is our 5th year of teaching this class.  We have learned many things since taking the class in 1979 and some will save you hundreds of hours of effort and keep your house from being infested with golden bruprestids for decades, like ours is.  We've had a lot of students who had previously taken Skip's class and then took our class due to the hands-on opportunity and they tell us that they preferred our class (perhaps they are being polite?). It is one thing to be told about how to lift logs, peel logs and chink but it is another to actually do it.  The tuition cost is pennies compared to the cost of building, so why not learn all you can before you start. 

There is nothing like the comfort of a warm and cozy log house, you will never want a stick house again. By building your own log home you will acquire a great sense of accomplishment.  We estimate that a new 1,600 square foot log house will cost about $100,000 to $130,000 to build, depending on your desires and abilities, which compares to about $280,000 if you hired it done.  We spend $2,500-$4,000 on the 10' x 12' log buildings which include high quality metal snap-lock roofing but does not include the cost of logs as we have our own trees. 

Please do not buy a log house kit until you take our class, or you will regret it.  We've had kit owners call who have had to replace house logs for a steep cost after 7 years; we will show you how to design your structure so no logs will ever need to be replaced. 

We teach you how to construct your log building using ropes and pulley blocks, two people is the ideal number for building.  With the Butt and Pass building method, it is not uncommon to put up 8 logs in a day, compared to 1-2 logs for a notched house. The class will go into far more detail than the brief overview listed below, and you will be provided with notes and a CD of the PowerPoint for future reference. The class is about 60% PowerPoint and 40% outside.  Class size is limited to 8 people and is conducted in our log home, so you can ask all the questions that you need; our goal is for you to leave with the knowledge and confidence to build your own log building.  

You will also get to inspect our log buildings and the classroom part is held in our log house of 34 years.  You will also learn from our mistakes, just knowing the best time to cut your trees is worth far more than the class tuition; there is a window when the bark is easy to remove and the logs won't turn black from mold, and you will avoid insect infestations; did you know that golden bruprestids will eat your logs and reside for up to 50 years in the logs before boring out (not good!).  Some students said that they were really impressed with the looks of our home-made log furniture and redwood doors.  

Some of the reasons that folks like our class over other classes include: 
1. We teach code compliant construction, including continuous foundations,  
2. We use ropes and pulley blocks rather than expensive equipment, 
3. We use log rafters and a ridge pole so you can enjoy an open beam ceiling, 
4. We show you the time window for cutting your logs, saving hundreds of hours of log peeling. 
5. We review and show the five different log finishes that we've used to keep logs looking great, and some that you'll want to avoid. 

The hands-on demonstrations include:

1) lifting a large log (Bertha) with ropes and pulley blocks, 

2) walking through timber trees to view which ones would make good log building logs,

3) peeling a log with a drawknife and spud,

4) reviewing and handling the tools needed to build a log building,

5) viewing actively used lifting poles, guy lines, and pulley block assemblies, 

6) using tape measurers to lay out and square up a foundation, and use of board-and battens, 

7) stringing a set of pulley-blocks,

8) how to use the 2-stick measuring method for vertical poles and story-stick for wall heights,

9) reviewing the existing log buildings for the various differences in construction,

10) lifting a wall log, a ridge pole and a set of rafters with pulley-blocks on a working model,

11) mixing up mortar mix and chinking part of a log building, 

12) viewing what various log treatment products look like on the logs,

13) laying out several rows of a butt-and-pass building with lumber, so all will understand the concept.  

It is one thing to see photos of how things are done, but it helps considerably to actually do it yourself, even on a small scale.  

One thing we recommend is that before you build, that you construct a scale model of your building with sticks or dowels.  As part of the class, we provide each party a  stick package to build a model at home.    model of fort.JPG (411129 bytes)

Brief class overview:

bulletBuilding site and permits.
bulletFoundations
bulletTools needed
bulletLogs (when to cut, sizes needed, peeling, etc.)
bulletLearn how to avoid insect infestations in your logs.
bulletLog building assembly
    Lifting logs
    Placing sill logs
    Putting up wall logs
    Getting logs to fit
    Ridge pole
    Rafters
    Gables
bulletFinish work
    Roof
    Floor joists, flooring, electrical.
    Heating
    Stairs
    Doors/windows
    Chinking
    Log care
 

If you want a class on a certain date, we can put that date on the webpage and if at least 4 people sign up, we will conduct the class. 

Students putting together model to illustrate Butt and Pass method of construction. 2x2 model.JPG (463721 bytes)

Another outside demonstration includes training on setting up and using batter boards to level and square your foundation.  You will save a ton of money doing your own foundation.

Students working on laying out a square foundation. Sharon w batter boards.JPG (1105096 bytes)

There is also a log lifting station where you will easily lift a 11" diameter x 16' long log with pulley blocks.   log lift class.JPG (1067053 bytes)log lift 2.JPG (804467 bytes)log lift 1.JPG (767254 bytes)

Other stations include log peeling with spuds and drawknives. P1140489.jpg (98203 bytes)P1140494.jpg (109782 bytes)spud 2 2012.JPG (817093 bytes)spudding 2012.JPG (985558 bytes)

Spinning a log with a peavey. P1140492.jpg (104345 bytes)

You will learn how to string a set of pulley blocks. pulley block stringing.JPG (631265 bytes)pulley block stringing 2.JPG (621704 bytes)

Reviewing the hand and power tools needed. P1140488.jpg (53649 bytes)

You can see if it is worth cutting rebar pins with boltcutters. cutting rebar.JPG (709293 bytes)

 Learning how to chink between logs. chinking.JPG (607996 bytes)chinking2.JPG (566096 bytes)chinking 2012.JPG (656756 bytes)

Classes are conducted in our log home and class size is limited to 8 people.  You will receive a 28 pg booklet of the class and a copy of the Powerpoint CD.   If you organize a group of 4 or more and want the class at another time, just let us know and we will set one up for you.  

Sign-in is at 8 am, class starts at 8:15 am and ends around 5 pm. Tuition is $325 per person ($300 per person for parties of 2 or more) and includes an outstanding pizza lunch provided by our local pizzarie.  We will have vegetarian, pepperoni, etc., to get everyone covered.   To register for class, contact us via email tmusky@tds.net  or phone 360-978-4962 and send a $50 deposit per person via Paypal or check (send to 2101 Hwy 508, Onalaska, WA 98570) at least two weeks before the class.  Deposit will be refunded if your reservation is canceled more than one week before class.  Balance due on day of class.  We do not accept credit cards although we do take Paypal (Paypal address is tmusky@tds.net ).

The last class of 2014 is October 4 so sign up now or miss out !  Reserve your spot today. 

Please note, we have cats, so if you are badly allergic to cats, you should not attend the class. 

We are located about 30 miles south of Olympia and 10 miles east.  The area is rural and quiet. You are welcome to take a walk in the woods at lunch break.  Be sure to bring a raincoat and shoes that you can remove easily  as we will be going outside several times for demonstrations (no muddy shoes in the house).   Thanks !

 

Links to related sites:

Need a cool B&B to stay overnight while attending the log building class?  Great lodging  and food at a good price. Students staying there say the food is excellent and abundant.  http://www.theshepherdsinn.com   phone: 360-985-2434

Log Homes, Log Cabins & Log Furniturehttp://loghomelinks.com/

Log building tools and supplies (prices look good). www.kingsbridgesupply.com

www.loghomestore.com Log building supplies, etc. What you need to get the job done !