About The School And Instructor
The Great Lakes School of Log Building was started in 1974 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 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 42 years.
Brodigan served in the U.S. Navy aboard the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid (now a Naval Aircraft & Space museum in New York Harbor), and attended a local university. He was a local township supervisor for nine years, is on various Lake County committees, including serving on the Board of Supervisors of the Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District, Lake County Board of (zoning) Adjustment, and on the five-county Laurentian Resource Conservation & Development Council. He was also appointed as an Industry Advisory Group Member to the International Rainy – Lake of the Woods Watershed Board under the International Joint Commission – US and Canada.
He is a past president and former board member of the International Log Builders’ Association. Managing several hundred acres of his family’s property for wildlife and timber, he has also participated in the Minnesota Woodland Advisor and Woodland Stewardship Programs and is also a member of the Great Lakes Log Crafters’ Association.
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 publications.
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.
When 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.
Great Lakes School of Log Building
1350 Snowshoe Trail, Isabella, MN 55607