2018 Logbuilding Course Student Testimonial
Passion, enthusiasm, knowledge, experience, entertaining, professional, brilliant communication are just a few words that describe Graeme (Mouldy) in his tuition of the art of Log Building. From the first introduction to our Teacher & Mentor the whole experience was very intoxicating and refreshing to meet and learn from one that has a true love for his/our craft.
Our course only had four pupils due to unforeseen circumstances for others to cancel but this worked to our advantage in having more individual and joint tuition. Our course was hosted by Graeme's partner Christine whose plan involves constructing a small home/cabin to go on her newly purchased property in Twizel before building the main log house at a later date. Each morning Christine would greet us with her warm smile and enthusiasm to get logs on the wall but never failing to provide us all with great food during the course on each of day. Most nights back in my accommodation I opted not to have any dinner due to being full and knowing that we would be rewarded with a new variety of food the next day. Thanks Christine. (Christine has her personal chainsaw colour coded pink - original and unique.)
Each specific task required for each log for its preparation to join its buddy on the wall height was thoroughly explained as well as the consequences if the proper procedure wasn't adhered to. Each log is lovingly respected and cared for as its own unique features are going to be on show for all to admire as well as the tradesman's skills. It's constantly repeated to the students that each log wall is the wall paper of the house. During brief times that Grahame was unexpectedly called away (Grahame is the local Voluntary Fire Chief) his long term employee Rob would step in as our tutor. In Grahame's owns words what Rob doesn't know about Log Building isn't worth knowing. This was soon obvious as Rob's knowledge and experience is also very rewarding and they both share patience in teaching.
During the course we were rewarded with two road trips, one at a local house currently under construction where Rob was performing specific and precise cuts in the internal log walls to accommodate conventional frame walls. This also allowed us to witness different flashing installations and provision for shrinkage. Our second road trip covered completed log homes in the surrounding area. At each different location it was very evident that each owner holds a real passion for their home as conveyed in conversations, personal experiences and sincerity in opening their doors to show their homes to Grahame and his students.
In conclusion, did I enjoy the course? You bet and I believe the smorgasbord of words at the beginning best describe my experience and testimonial.
P/S I feel that all who attended the course have a certain bond that will proceed with time.
“For the last couple of years I have had a dream to live a life where I didn’t have to rely on the “system”. As part of that dream I wanted to build my own house, to become self-sustaining and off the grid. I researched ways I could build a home for my fiancée and I without needing all the different materials and skills required to make a conventional home of milled timber and bricks etc. I came across log cabins and looked at their seemingly simple construction with the minimal amount of materials required to have a beautiful, organic, chemical free home. My fiancée and I haven’t been in New Zealand that long and the reason we came here was to make a new life and naturally we wanted to get started straight away. I ran a search in Google looking for courses on log cabin building and of course I stumbled across Natural Log Homes’, right here on our doorstep.
I knew absolutely nothing about log homes and their construction, but I knew it was something that I wanted to pursue in order to follow my dream. The beauty about the Natural Log Homes course is that you don’t need to know anything (except for a little reading prior to starting). Anything I needed to know prior to starting the course either Adie or Graeme kindly answered.
What can I say about the experience of the course itself……… absolutely amazing! I don’t think I have had so much fun on any course that I’ve done before. Graeme and the crew are like a big family and we were made to feel welcome straight away. If you want real world training with the most up-to-date techniques in the Log Building community, then this is the course for you. I know that anyone should expect this from someone who is going to teach courses, but Graeme really does know his stuff and has been in the field for many decades and his knowledge truly is priceless. From day 1 we were straight into it, shown the basics of using a chainsaw for the first couple of days, by day 3 we were given the privilege and complete faith of working on actual projects on the yard.
This course will educate those attempting to go it alone, it gave me a reality check. This is a craft, a craft that has been honed for thousands of years which requires skill and concentration at all times. You will learn the skill required to build the log shell, but there is so much more involved that this course will awaken you to. This is the best money I’ve spent in a long time, not only for the skills I was taught but the thousands saved from possibly making huge mistakes attempting to build my own log home alone. I have a new found respect for log builders as this is a true skill and craft.
This was an experience of a lifetime and I thank Graeme and the team for all they have given, they are tremendously inspiring human beings.
Log Home Building Course Summary, January – February 2015 in Geraldine
I enjoyed the course and learned a lot of new skills. Graeme is a very good teacher and an incredibly talented Builder.
The course taught me all the basics and some of the tricky stuff about Log Home Building. The atmosphere on the Yard with the Workers was really good and helpful as we could gain additional skills from them.
Apart from all the practical knowledge and the class room time, I enjoyed the assembly and the tour, where we visited Log Homes that Graeme and his team had built.
Thank you, Graeme, for everything including the great food during the course.
Stephen Smith, Dunedin.
Log Home Building Course 2015
(Course dates: 19 January 2015 – 05 February 2015)
The course overall was excellent. Graeme Mould is an outstanding tutor with a wealth of knowledge about Log Home Building. We got to know Graeme as a very relaxed, knowledgeable man and learned that he has more than 20 years Log Home building experience. The Log Home Building Course was very well structured with a good mix of practical experience and teaching time.
We started the course with a introduction to the concept of Natural Log Home Building and a comprehensive tour of the Natural Log Home Building Yard. I note that it was a real advantage right from the beginning that the course was conducted on Graeme’s “Natural Log Home Business Premises”. Graeme had put aside an area for us students in the yard, but at any time we were able to watch the “real Log Builders” (his team) on the job. During the course we also had the opportunity to work with the Log Builders. Our “classroom time” was either spent in a cozy Log Home Cabin on site or in front of the white board in the Yard.
During the first few days we learned all about importance of Log selection, design concepts, peeling of the logs and the safe operation of tools such as chainsaws, chisels and sanders. Graeme has a very good way of teaching the skills that he has perfected over his career of more than 20 years of Log Building. He managed to explain and pass on the skills to us; some of us had some woodworking or building experience, others had none.
After a couple of days we were scribing logs, cutting notches and saddles, as well as the V and W cuts. For the first few days we were using test logs which was great, as the pressure of making a mistake wasn’t there. Graeme told us there are no mistakes: there are only “learning curves”.
Apart from all the necessary cuts on a Log, we also learned about setting out a building, cutting doorways, sills and window openings. We learned about the different options of Roof constructions with or without Log work.
One day of the course we went to an assembly of a rather large Log Home on a nearby Dairy Farm. We were amazed to learn that it only takes a few days to re assemble a Log Home that was constructed in the Yard of Natural Log Homes.
Towards the end of the course Graeme took us and our Partners on a tour of approximately 15 Log Homes in the area. This was a very enjoyable day as well as an eye opening experience. We saw a lot of different finishes and designs, especially the introduction of Stone work or conventional Gib Walls and ceilings were amazing to see. Without exceptions, all owners of the Log Homes were very happy with their homes built by Natural Log Homes and proud to invite us in.
I cannot stress enough how valuable it was, that the course was on the Premises of Natural Log Homes. We greatly benefitted seeing several homes being built on site at the same time as our course.
It built my confidence in using all the necessary tools and strengthened my belief that Log Home Building is a worthwhile pursuit. I found the course incredibly informative and useful for gaining new skills.
I admired Graeme’s feedback during the course; it was the perfect mix of praise and challenge. He inspired me to try better at each step of the Log Home Building process. I now have more confidence in using Power tools. With Graeme’s guidance and support, I can visualize my dream of one day building my own Log Home, becoming reality.
I can’t express my gratitude enough to Graeme from Natural Log Homes for his seamlessly never ending energy and patience during the course. I can highly recommend this course to anyone with an interest in Log Homes.
Sigi Herbst, Christchurch.