Build a Dovetail Log Building – Online Course
We’ve taken our popular 2 week Build a Dovetail Log Building Course online! In 25 detailed modules, you will learn all the techniques and knowledge necessary to build a dovetail log cabin in your choice location and on your own schedule. With this online dovetail log building course, you are purchasing:
- Professionally produced, clear video demonstrations
- Comprehensive step by step written instructions with over 240 photos and diagrams
- Our repeatable 10 Steps to Laying a Dovetail Log guide
- A detailed Log by Log Graphics Package for our 16′ x 20′ Willowbank Course Cabin
- A complete set of log shell building plans
- A sawmill materials cut list with an accompanying explanation of how to produce your own
Let the sawdust fly!
Dovetail log construction takes its name from the shape of the interlocking corner notches used to construct the log shell. 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 still a practical and efficient way to build beautiful, enduring houses.
Through years of dovetail experience, we have developed an effective and efficient 10 step process to laying out and cutting dovetailed logs. This 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.
After teaching our dovetail log building course over many years, we are confident that we are able to translate our teaching and techniques into this all-inclusive online version. The BC School of Log Building has created a program that combines step by step written instructions, comprehensive video demonstrations, and detailed log by log diagrams illustrated through our course build; the Willowbank Cabin.
Join us for this comprehensive, hands-on course to learn the techniques and knowledge necessary to construct a traditional chinked, dovetail log shell. This course is hosted online; you will need an internet connection to view the materials. However if you are working offline, pdfs of the detailed written instructions and log by log graphics package are included.
The following is included with your online course:
Detailed Video Demonstrations and Explanations with each lesson
- 23 video lessons giving you an inside look at all the layout and cutting techniques
- 2 hours and 50 min of high quality, professional video footage
Written Instructions and Explanations
- Step by step written instruction covering all aspects of building the log shell
- 240 photos and diagrams for detailed examples and explanations
- 10 Steps to Laying a Dovetail Log Guide
- Builder’s tips and safety reminders from an experienced, professional log builder
Log by Log Sequential Graphics
- Detailed images depicting every log from the first round to the ridge beam
- Professionally produced, high quality for accuracy
Complete Log Shell Plans for the Willowbank Cabin
- Floor plans and wall elevations for a 16’ X 20’ log shell
- Specific construction details
Sawmill Materials Cut List
- A complete dimension list ready to give to a sawmill
- Includes all the log and timber materials required to build the Willowbank Cabin
- An explanation of how to create a materials cut list for your own cabin.
Watch a brief video sample of one of the 25 course modules here. Every video is accompanied by detailed written instructions, as well as log graphics. The videos in this course range in length from 3 to 24 minutes per module for a total of 2 hours and 50 minutes of professionally captured log building instruction.
As well, you can view a sample of the log by log graphic package here: Sides, Round 1 .
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.
- 2′ level
- 25′ Tape Measure
- Carpenters Square
- Chalk Line (red or blue chalk)
- Knife (large yellow Olfa is best)
- 1” or Larger Chisel
- Notebook & Pencil
- Log Scribes
- ½ inch drill
- An internet connection
The online version of the Learn to Build a Dovetail course will cover the following in 24 Modules while building the example 16’ x 20’ log shell; the Willowbank Cabin. The plans for the Willowbank are the standard plans that we use in our onsite courses, and it is the building that we will use in this course to show you all of the log building techniques and strategies. The course has been created in such a way that if you prefer, you can learn the skills while building your own custom sized dovetail shell. The Willowbank Cabin contains the all of the necessary design features to introduce and practice the many facets of dovetail construction. It is a manageable size on which to hone your skills. Building codes and regulations can vary by jurisdiction so, be sure to have the Willowbank plans or your custom build plans inspected and certified by a local engineer or architect.
Each module has several lessons: written instructions, video demonstrations and explanations, photos and graphics, and detailed log by log drawings and diagrams.
- become familiar with the dovetail notch and all of its surfaces
- learn what tools are necessary to construct your log shell and how to skillfully use them
- practice and perfect laying out and cutting the receiver and the connector
- learn about a variety of material choices used to build your log shell
- layout and cut the first half round, followed by the first full round
- learn how and why we wane the log
- learn and master our specific and repeatable ‘10 steps to laying a dovetail log’
- work with mid blocks and headers
- layout and cut the sides of your cap logs
- layout and cut the front and back half cap logs
- layout and fit the centre beam
- install your loft joist
- layout and cut the ridge beam and calculate the required length of support posts
- learn how a combination of pegs, shims and timber screws are used to bind the shell together
- learn to calculate the required opening size for a given door or window
- be able to properly layout and cut out your doors and windows
- learn how electrical is installed in a log wall
- trim the finished dovetails
- learn how to install doors and windows and properly deal with settling
- learn how to label your logs in preparation for moving your log shell if required
- learn how to chink you log walls
We highly recommend that in order for this course to be a successful learning experience, you first take the necessary time to read through and watch the all of the lessons from beginning to end before doing any cutting and log building. Once you have gathered the materials and tools, and you have a general knowledge of the progression, use the content as references as you build your log shell alongside ours.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I access the course?
Directly upon purchasing the course, you will receive 2 emails from the BC School of Log Building; one to confirm your payment, and one to provide your login and password information. Use this login information on the BC School of Log Building website (top right hand corner) to log in and access the course. Here you can also update your preferences with a new password.
All the material is held online and you will need an internet connection to view it but if you are working offline, in the woods, pdfs of the detailed written instructions, log by log graphics, and log shell plans are included. You will have unlimited online access to all of the instruction materials and there is no limit to the amount of review and practice that you choose to do before you build your log home.
2. What size of chainsaw do we need for the course?
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.
3. Can I really learn to log build from an online course?
We appreciate that not everyone is able to travel to our courses in BC, Canada, nor take several weeks away from their busy schedules to commit to our courses, but we wanted to make it accessible to as many people as possible. YES, you can certainly learn how to build a dovetail log cabin online! If you are able to join us for an onsite course at our log building school in Golden, BC, it is the best way to learn but this is undoubtedly the next best option.
Developing an online course requires insight into the tendencies and habits of an apprentice log builder. After teaching our dovetail log building course over many years, we are confident that we have translated our teaching and techniques into this all-inclusive online version. Our online program combines step by step written instructions, comprehensive video demonstrations, and detailed log by log diagrams of our 20’ x 16’ course build; the Willowbank Cabin. Where you might have a question in one of the formats, it is always complimented by written, video, or drawing. This course is hosted online, so you will need an internet connection to view the materials.
Through all of our teaching experience we have anticipated the most common log building questions and created this course with them in mind. We provide several tips before you begin to help make the online experience a success for you. Finally, we provide you with a complete set of log shell plans, a comprehensive tool list, and a complete sawmill materials cut list that you can hand over to the sawyer or cut yourself to get you started. Be safe and have fun!
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