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Summer Beam Books

Your Log House: The On-Site Manual for the Do-It-Yourselfer

Your Log House: The On-Site Manual for the Do-It-Yourselfer

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Author: Vic Janzen

Trafford Publishing, 4th Edition, 2003

Le Chateau Montebello circa 1930, during its June opening. (Photo courtesy Muir Publishing.) It is a joy for me to see the 3rd edition of this book launched upon such an auspicious occasion as the 25th anniversary of the American/Canadian Log Builders Association International ( and at such an historic site or Mecca for log builders like the Chateau Montebello. It was my privilege to have met Victor Nymark, the master builder of this project during the Depression. I met him at the 1977 historic log structures conference held in Banff. A quarter of a century ago, a somewhat coincidental or serendipitous meeting took place in the wilderness at the log home of B. Allan and Mary Mackie. It was at this momentous meeting that the group of six gave birth to the CLBA. The founding group of six consisted of B. Allan Mackie, Mary Mackie, Vic Janzen, Ed Campbell, Art Long, and Bernie LeGault. The early years were probably the most fun, the characters most colorful, and the methods most primitive. The builders were a small fraternity (with some sorority elements) of bearded refugees from other trades and professions. We all wore knives at our belts, even in polite company. When asked by civilians why we did so, our reply was inevitably, "To sharpen the indedible (spelling error deliberate) pencils for our scribers." I used horses to parbuckle logs onto buildings in the earlier years of my career, and later a 1954 Ford pick-up truck. The high tech development of the old truck with an A-frame and wrecker winch came to early builders much later. Older association members will remember dreaming about cranes and cherry pickers. As a previous president of the association, I hosted two annual meetings. For me, the last was most memorable and in marked contrast to the one I attended at the Harrison Hotel in BC-even in more marked contrast to the year 2000 Montebello site of today. For the conference of 1980, we met in the neighborhood of my present cattle ranch in Columbia Valley-the rain-drenched cedar forests of southwestern British Columbia. We rented the local community center. My wife Claudia and her mother cooked for the crowd. The delegates were fed Mennonite borscht from huge vats. Six large chickens were used as the stock. Most delegates "crashed" (an old Hippy word) in my barn, woodshed, or in the living room and kitchen. Some camped in the yard. I mention this scenario because it is in such dramatic contrast to where we have arrived at today as both a profession and as a professional association. It is my hope that my fellow association members will be able to use this book as a training device for their apprentices. I also have a heart for "once-in-a- lifetime builders". I hope my book will be of particular use to them. I am both impressed and proud of the excellence in craftsmanship that our current generation of builders is capable of performing. Those of us who pioneered this revival can only look in amazement at their superior work.

ISBN: 9781412016384

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