Build a Dovetail Log Building Course – Fall 2023
**FALL DATES TBA** Join us for this 2 week comprehensive, hands-on course to learn the techniques and knowledge required to build a traditional chinked, dovetail log cabin. For the course tool list, please select from the tabs below.
Dovetail log construction takes its name from the shape of the interlocking corner notches. The dovetail notch is recognized for its classic form but also known for its locking strength and efficiency of design. Though the Dovetail is a very old log building technique, it is still very much alive at the BC School of Log Building because it is a practical way to build beautiful, enduring houses. Through years of dovetail experience, we have developed an efficient 10 step process to laying out and cutting dovetailed logs. The 10 step process results in a tighter, more aesthetically pleasing log shell than can be attained using any one of the available dovetail jigs. It is critical to learn the layout techniques and mechanics behind each individual notch in order to truly master the art of dovetailing. Click on the following link to watch a 3 minute video of the Dovetail log building courses: https://youtu.be/DC9hDKkZhBU
Join us for this engaging hands-on course to learn the techniques and knowledge necessary to construct a traditional chinked, dovetail log cabin.
“As an owner of an LT 15 Woodmizer, Dave’s course was a perfect fit to give me the knowledge and confidence to turn my timbers into a dovetail notched building. Dave is a master of his craft and his training was excellent.”
John Niddrie, Invermere, BC
* All courses are instructed in English*
This course will cover the following through a hands-on approach, while working on a full scale log cabin:
- Tools of the trade talk
- Safe log building techniques
- Chainsaw skills development for the log builder
- What makes a good building log
- Log house design
- Preparing the timber for a dovetail log house
- Timber surfacing options
- Determining suitable timber size for your own project
- Laying out a traditional half dovetail notch
- Shaping the notch, using our efficient and repeatable cutting techniques
- Laying out and preparing the first round
- Door and window openings
- Installing loft beams
- Pegging and shimming the logs for lateral and shear stability.
- Laying out and preparing ridge pole and purlins
- Chinking the log shell
If a tool rental is required, you can find our rental prices below this list. Reserve early to ensure availability.
The following items are required to ensure that you can fully engage in the course:
- Chainsaw 45-60 cc (in safe working order) 16”-20” bar length is best, over 20” bar is not recommended
- Full safety gear: Steel toe boots, saw pants/chaps, eye protection, ear protection, hard hat, work gloves, dust masks.
- 2′ level
- 25′ Tape Measure
- Carpenters Square
- Chalk Line (red or blue chalk)
- Knife (large yellow Olfa is best)
- 1” or Larger Chisel
- Dust Masks (several)
- Notebook & Pencil
- Log Scribes **Optional for dovetail courses, see note below**
- Camera (optional but recommended)
** Log Scribes are an important tool for accurate marking and layout in the log building industry. They are a fairly expensive tool. ($150.00 and up) For dovetail log building you can get by without having log scribes but layout is more efficient and accurate when using scribes. If you think you will be building a house or cabin after the course I would recommend buying scribes, if you are unsure or just taking the course for interest it isn’t necessary to purchase scribes. I have several sets that can be used. I use Starrett 9” log scribes available online through Magard ventures: logbuildingtools.ca I find the Veritas scribes that are available through Lee Valley tools a lit bit bulky for log building but certainly do the job and are cheaper. Having your own set of log scribes for the round log building courses is necessary. I do have a couple of extra sets available for use so check with me if you would prefer not to purchase a set.
We have a couple of complete tool packages that we can rent to students for the duration of the course. This may be a good option for someone who is coming to the course by air, or for someone who would like to try out some different tools before purchasing their own. Please Contact Us to discuss.
As well as the items listed on the required tool list above, please bring to the course:
- A lunch and any desired snacks as well as ample drinking water to last the 8 hour day. (Log building is hard physical work…).
- Rain jacket/Warm clothes, tuque
- Sun screen
- Balance of course fees and signed waivers
- Log building is a very hands on activity that requires your full attention to perform safely and efficiently; no booze, drugs, or hangovers please.
Smoking is permitted only on the road outside the log building yard please (fire safety, a lot of sawdust….).
We love dogs but please leave your pets at home.
If you have any questions regarding the course, specific tools or where to buy tools please contact us.
Tool Rental Costs
- Complete Tool Package Rental $175/ week
- Just Scribes $40/ week
- Just Chainsaw $125/ week
- Safety Gear $40/week: Helmet, Chaps, Glasses, Gloves
**Must bring own Steel-Toed boots and Dust Masks**
Log Yard Address: 2745 Dejordie Rd, Golden BC
The log building course will be held at the Stonehouse Woodworks log yard in Donald BC. It is approximately 15 mins west of Golden on the Trans Canada Highway with inspiring mountain vistas and easy access.
Directions from Golden: Head West on the Trans Canada Highway, approx 15 mins until you reach the highway truck scales. Pass the scales and take your next right on Donald RD, then another immediate right on Dejordie Rd. will bring you to our gate. Parking is available outside of the gate.
Directions from Revelstoke: Head East on the Trans Canada Highway, over Rogers pass and towards Golden. About 20 minutes before you reach Golden and just after you cross the large highway bridges over the Columbia River and the train tracks, there will be a turning lane to your left for Donald Rd. Turn left onto Donald Rd, then an immediate right onto Dejordie Rd. will bring you to our gate. Parking is available outside of gate.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What size of chainsaw do we need for the log building courses?
We recommend a 45-60 cc size saw fitted with an 18’’ bar. The shorter bar length allows for safer, more controlled cutting when fitting logs. Stihl and Husqvarna are our recommended choices.
2. Do you rent tools if participants don’t have their own?
We have several complete tool packages that we can rent for the courses. These are typically reserved for students who are flying and can’t easily travel with a saw. Participants are still required to supply their own personal protection equipment.
3. Have any past participants gone on to build their own log and timber buildings?
Yes, many students have built log and timber buildings of their own after completing our courses. Student projects have included cabins, saunas, houses, and outbuildings.
4. Have past students found log and timber building employment after taking a course from the BC School of Log Building?
Yes, some of our students have chosen to pursue employment after completing their courses and have been successful in securing a position in the trade. Our courses provide a great foundation for someone who is interested in working in the log and timber building industry.
5. What do you do with the buildings that are constructed in the course?
We sell the completed log shells and timber frames that are built in the courses. If the building is not sold prior to the beginning of the course, then the students in the course are given the opportunity to purchase the shell.
6. What if I need to cancel my course?
All deposits and tuition paid for a course with the British Columbia School of Log Building are non-refundable. However, if you do need to cancel and there are at least 6 weeks remaining before your course starts, we will refund you your deposit less a 15% credit card and administration fee.
The BC School of Log Building reserves the right to cancel any log building course at any time. In the case of a course cancellation, the BC School of Log Building would refund the price of the course. The BC School of Log Building and Stonehouse Woodworks Inc will not be responsible for any other cost incurred by the student in the event of a cancellation.
Please ensure that your equipment and personal belongings are adequately insured before you arrive at the course. Equipment that is lost or damaged during the period in which the course takes place is the responsibility of the student. If a student purchases an equipment rental package, the BC School of Log Building reserves the right to charge the student for lost or damaged equipment.
Finally, we recommend that students purchase trip insurance which covers you for cancellation, delay or injury. No refunds are granted in the event of an incident stopping you from taking the course either before your course begins or during your log building course.
7. Where do students stay?
If you click on the ‘Location’ page of the website, you will find several options for accommodation during the courses including hotels and motels, b&bs, hostels and camping. You can also find a complete list of accommodation at http://www.tourismgolden.com .
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