"I would like to thank you for taking the time and having the patience to discuss the design and details of construction. The decisions we made proved to me over and over again that your guidance was based upon solid construction principles while achieving the desired aesthetic appearance."

John & Susan N., Ontario
tel  705.833.1203
[email protected]

Handcrafting in Canada

Log House Construction in Early Canada

DIY log home building has been taking place in Canada ever since the early settlers first came to our land. Upon their arrival, these pioneers would construct small shantys or cabins using the most readily available materials...local trees chinked together with mud, horse hair, cow dung or whatever else they could find. (It's nice to know that we have more user-friendly products available now.) Post and beam structures were used for army outposts and large storage halls. The design of these rustic log homes was generally less important than the need for protection against harsh Canadian winters as well as wildlife. Of these log structures still standing today, many seem to point toward Scandinavian and German influences in architecture and construction design.

A New Era in Log Home Design

In the early 1900's, mills were established and sized lumber became readily available in North America. Framed homes that didn't require the same degree of strength and manpower to build became popular. This meant that early log homes that were once the family cabin were demoted to livestock barns or farmyard storage areas.

Around that same time the Arts and Crafts movement, led by master woodworker and architect Gustav Stickley, brought new attention to the art of handcrafting. He emphasized the need for homes to be constructed in harmony with the landscape with careful attention given to the selection of building materials. Stickley also promoted family interaction with open floor plans and emphasized environmental appreciation with large window groupings to allow light in and provide appealing views of the outside. Following is an excerpt from "The Craftsman" (the publication founded by Stickley), written by Gustav Stickley in April, 1914:

"The truth lies right here, that there are some things in the world that you cannot buy. There are good things that can only be created by the person desiring them. It is not enough to have walls to live within; to have an actual home which expresses your own life, you have got to contribute your own thought, your own effort to it. And the great result of this is not the house itself, but the development that you gain through your work; as a matter of fact it is seldom the material result of anything that counts, it is the spiritual result which is more significant, and the spiritual result of work done in the right spirit is character."

Although Stickley's approach to life and building continued to influence great architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright in the decades that followed, the popularity of handcrafting homes from wood diminished alongside the Arts and Crafts movement in North America. But thankfully, especially in Canada, the art form did not die altogether.

Canadian Log Building Revival

A small group of master craftsmen living in Canada can be thanked for reviving the almost-forgotten-art of handcrafting in North America. These purists were the children and grandchildren of early Stickley followers who were handed down the secrets of the trade. When the notion of harmonious living gained widespread attention in the early 1970's they played an integral role in fuelling the newly-popular log home building industry across Canada and the United States. In 1974 the Canadian Log Builders association was founded and builders across the country would meet at the B. Allen Mackie School of Log Building every Thanksgiving to share ideas and information. Over the years, the log buildingindustry has re-taught itself and new handcrafting companies have sprung up all over the country. The CLBA expanded to include countries all over the world and is now known as the International Log Builders Association. They are still keeping the dream alive.

The Dream Lives On

We at Davidson are excited to see the resurgence of interest in this unique and enduring art form. And we're convinced that with continued leadership, Canada can carry on the torch first lit by the master craftsmen of old...the torch of beautiful, lasting and meaningful custom-designed homes that inspire the human spirit.

Davidson Log & Timber Artisans handcraft log homes for clients in Toronto, Hamilton, Niagara, Muskoka, Haliburton Highlands, Kawarthas, Uxbridge, Greater Peterborough: all over Ontario, Canada, the United States, North America, Europe, and beyond. Contact us today for a free information package about our truly beautiful handcrafted homes or to schedule an introductory conversation with Owner and Master Artisan, Matt Davidson.

Copyright © 2017 Davidson Log & Timber Artisans, Inc. All rights reserved.