The Great Lakes School of Log Building was started in 1975
by Ron Brodigan. Subsequently, Brodigan studied with Allan Mackie at the latter's original school near Prince George, British Columbia and later accepted an invitation to be a guest teacher at the Mackie School in 1983. In addition to the Great Lakes courses, Brodigan has taught special log building courses for several colleges, environmental learning centers, and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources Conservation Corps, among others. Thousands of skilled log home owner-builders and
some professional log builders have been taught by Mr. Brodigan
in the past quarter-century.
Brodigan served in the U.S. Navy aboard the
aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (now a Navy aircraft & space
museum in New York Harbor), and is a graduate of a local
university. He currently serves as supervisor of his local
town board, on various county committees, and is a past president
and current board member of the International Log Builders' Association.
He manages several hundred acres of forest for wildlife and
timber, is a participant in the Minnesota Woodland Advisor
and Woodland Stewardship Programs and also a member of the
Great Lakes Log Crafters' Association, Minnesota Forestry
Association, and the Timber Framers Guild.
Great Lakes workshops have been featured in Sports
Afield, Popular Mechanics, Minnesota Conservation Volunteer,
Mariah/Outside, Log Home Guide, Minnesota Monthly, Men's
Journal, Log Home Living, Complete Guide to Building Log
Homes, Men's Health, Country Home, Backwoods Home, Practical
Survival, Lake Superior Magazine, television specials such as PM Magazine,
Venture North, Environmental Journal, PBS Hometime, and many other periodicals,
newspapers, and books.
The school is a member of the
International Log Builders' Association
(ILBA) and teaching is in accordance
with the Association's Effective Practices and Methods
for Handcrafted Log Building.
Articles by Ron Brodigan have appeared in Backwoods
Home, Better Forests, Log Home Guide, Minnesota Conservation
Volunteer, Great Lakes Log Review, ILBA Log Building News, and other
Great Lakes courses are designed to accommodate people with an avocational interest in log building - that is, building for themselves in their spare time. Many participants have land or the intention of acquiring a place upon which to build a recreational cottage or permanent home and outbuildings.
All men and women between 18 and 80 are welcome on the courses
(or younger if accompanied). No construction or carpentry
background is needed, nor is any unusual strength required -
just a strong motivation to learn log building and a
willingness to abide by school rules.
you participate in a course, you may meet some of the
most interesting and energetic people you have ever
encountered. And you may find yourself collaborating with
them on later projects. The occasional presence of students
from as far away as Denmark, The Netherlands, England,
Germany, Japan, Canada, Australia, and, most recently,
Ukraine and Karelia, lends some of the
courses an international flavor.
Students from Canada, U.S. and New Zealand view the roof system of the David Drown house in Silver Bay during a field trip.