I am seeking reviews on Noah Bradley's handmade log cabin course. It contains 11, one hour videos on how to build a log cabin, for 397 bucks. For an additional 200 bucks, he has a stonemason and timber frame course, along with 3 hand drawn log home plans. The reviews on his Facebook page seem like they're from people that have only watched his free videos, thus inaccurate, so I'm hoping for a more credible report.
I understand that eventually I will need to do a more hands-on workshop, or possibly an apprenticeship or school, but right now I have a full time job working under a custom stair craftsman, so the craving I have for for a traditional building experience will have to be contained through reading, watching videos, and subtle experimentation. If anyone has some alternative suggestions for a book, course, or workshop near Georgia, I'd love to hear about it.
Here's a bit of background and my envision:
- I'm 24, live with my parents, and am saving up money to buy about 10 acres in north Georgia. I plan to build my house on the weekends, then work towards an on-grid homestead once it's move in ready.
- At first I considered cob, until I learned about the code enforcement and the need to hire a private engineer for approval. Maybe cob will come after I build my first approved structure hehe
- So then I decided to move towards something more familiar and timeless - a log cabin. This is when I encountered Noah Bradley's courses.
- I am still considering a roundwood framed house, and love the idea of learning through the Japanese discipline. Though I figure building a log cabin would be a better introduction, unless I can be convinced otherwise.
I am Serkan from California. I was also looking for reviews for Noah Bradley's log cabin course. I could not find anything except yours. As you mentioned, his facebook page posts may not be very helpful. So I was wondering if you finished watching all the videos and what your thoughts about them. I am thinking about enrolling to $600 course. I wish there was some additional hands-on workshop he could offer. I will appreciate if you can help me on this.
Hello Serkan, here is my review as promised (thank you for reminding me I posted this! XD):
If you want to build your own house on your own, without hiring other people to do it, then you will want get the full package that includes the log cabin academy. Those are the videos that go step by step on how he does it. If your young, fit, have the time, I say go for it. I live at home with my parents, so I'm able to save a lot of money and afford the cost. It's a lot of money - 600 dollars if I can remember.
Each topic is covered in about an hour video:
the basics of types of logs, hiring someone with a portable bandsaw mill to cut your logs (if you have good ones on site)
footers, foundations, floor systems,
notching and setting logs
making door and window openings
ceiling joists and the second floor,
finishing it up
then some videos of some log cabin tours, and theory about aesthetics and why some houses are beautiful and why some aren't
Also, he just released a new section for the full package members, the stonemason academy. I have yet to watch it, but I'm sure it will be helpful because he doesn't really cover stonework in the previous chapters.
Keep in mind though, in the videos, he doesn't show you how to do flooring, build a staircase, build cabinets, apply cedar shingles or a copper roof. Those things you will have to research on your own time. I managed to get a great apprenticeship at a small custom wood staircase shop, and it has given me the knowledge to go about these other trades within the house. There are other things that you will likely have to hire someone to do, such as grading, cement foundation, stone chimney, and definitely electrical work... unless you have a lot of time and patience on your hands.
If you go the cheaper route and buy the The Handmade house guild/academy package, you'll get a more general knowledge for someone who would want to contract work to other people to build their house. The best part about this cheaper package is you get 3 of his classic cabin blueprints. However, without the knowledge you get from the log cabin academy videos, you won't really know how to apply them yourself, without hiring tradesmen.
I'd say the only critique I have is he is not the best with speech, and is prone to rambling.
I've never done those workshops where you go somewhere to build a timber frame/cob house etc., but from the little research I did about them, they're really expensive (like 2k for 3 weeks). It would be helpful to research some of those in person workshops around you, read reviews, and see if thats a worthwhile experience instead. I know they post some workshops on this forum.
Feel free to contact my anytime if you have more questions
I did the Noah Bradley course about a year ago, and really enjoyed it. His ephasis on natural building materials (stone, logs, copper roofing, etc..., is wonderful to see, the results are gorgeous and he really encourages you to give building your own home a try - whether you do all of it or some of it.
His love of natural building and his enthusiasm in general are contagious. I think the course is worth the money.
I confess I have yet to put my new knowledge into action, I do hope to try my hand in the near future on some smaller outbuildings.
“All good things are wild, and free.” Henry David Thoreau
Connor, don't know if this will help but my wife and I built a log cabin and barn over the years ,we've been homesteading for over 30 years.
We build all of our log structures with little more than book learning and Sweat Equity, one of the best books I've ever seen and used while building our structures is Hand Hewn by William C Leitch.
The book discusses log building technique log building tools and much of the philosophy behind traditional log building.
The book may not be in print any longer but can probably be found online.
Thank you Rick and Rose. Thanks for the book recommendation. I'd love to see pictures of your cabin. How old is it? One of the things that appeals to me so much about them is that they can stand the test of time and require little maintenance. Has this been the case for you?
posted 5 months ago
Hi Conor, I'll see if I can round up some pictures to post.. as for how old our cabin is the first room was built in 1980 and just one room we continued ,to build on as we had the time and could afford it. The last room was added in about 1995.
We haven't had to do much maintenance ,every few years we oil the outside logs. The big issue with logs is to keep them dry, we did have some issues where water got into the logs and caused some decay we were able to correct this problem in various ways by using cement patching or log inserts. The main thing Is to put a good roof on and be generous with the overhangs.
In 1980 I bought a 40-acre piece with a large amount of Popplar, what you might call Aspen, we went directly to the woods and built the cabin using the nativetrees and sand from a creek on the property for footings and chinking.. it's been a very enjoyable and economical way to keep a roof over our heads for nearly 40 years..
Can anybody tell me if the videos are downloadable to my my computer once I have paid for the course. The reason being, that I do not have an Internet connection out in "the Sticks" where I am planning to build.
Hey Conor, if you're still looking, I'd recommend 2 folks. Tamarack Log Homes in West Virginia is owned by Tim Bullock and his wife. Honestly I haven't reached out to him in several years, however, I drove to WV one time to see him and see if he was the real deal. He is, and I would call him and talk to him about any kind of dovetail build/construction if I was going to do it. The other group for DIY folks I always recommend is the Log Home Builders Association. They teach log home construction butt and pass style, using rebar to hold together. LOTS of info about the class, and you can look at lhba.com. They have a class, plans, and most recently videos. There are also several youtube videos up of folks building using LHBA techniques. It is a preference many folks have used (some hate it and curse LHBA, but I don't) and there are several cabins and owners all over the USA that usually will let you come see the house. I visited one in Texas while we lived there and was totally amazed. Two very different folks to contact and different methods for sure, and I don't work for either. Blessings for a great build! John
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