A Montana Log Home Company Dedicated to Commitment of Quality

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Our History

Interior log home kitchen

As a third generation Western Montanan, my introduction to log building was initially through staying in log cabins on the lakes and rivers of Northwest Montana. As a young boy I remember marveling how each wall log intertwined with each other and the simple strength of the roof structures. Later I would learn that many of these structures were built by onetime-members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal program of the late 1930’s. These buildings would become a source inspiration and wonder that would guide my life. Memories of how these buildings felt imprinted me as much as how they looked. Coming in from the hot, bright Montana summer air, I loved the way the coolness would relax and revive me.

Books like the Fox Fire Books and One Mans Wilderness were my first guides. A hiatus from studying Art/Architecture at Montana State University was the opportunity. Operating on faith, with marginal borrowed tools, and using donated marginal timber my first attempt came to life. I still remember my amazement how well the logs fit using a very rudimentary scribe and hand tools. The lateral joints curving around the smoothed knots, the sharp chisels tracing corner notches and the satisfying “Whump” when the log was rolled into place are indelible images in my mind. My first attempt although not for sale sold before it was done. Old Style Log Works was born. School would have to wait. That was 27 years ago, school is still waiting.

My log building education, like many before me, came mostly through experience. Reference guides and schools were limited at the time. Studying pictures in the first Log Home magazines like Log Home Guide, visiting with other local builders and visiting the old CCC structures to analyze roof system details often became my way of solving problems. Later organizations like the ILBA and books by knowledgeable builders would solidify experiences and become the basis of employee training and refinement of certain fundamental techniques.

Seeing how building practices have evolved in the past 25 years has been inspirational in some ways sad in others. Inspiration has come from working with many creative architects in stretching design possibilities, with excellent builder/contractors who carry the visions of these designers into reality, with many great customers and most of all by seeing employees at OSLW carrying out guiding principles. But with it sadness and frustration with the mass production/success model that often runs at odds with design fundamentals and craftsmanship.

My goals as builder/business owner have been to marry a sound, artistic product, with the hard realities of economics. Since our business model is one of a kind and custom, I feel it is my job to show a qualified client all the possibilities before settling on one technique, log species or detail enhancement. This process is started by visiting OSLW’s sales office and production yard and meeting the people involved. Then following up by touring some of our current projects in the Flathead Valley and sometimes stopping by the local CCC buildings built in the 30’s that stand as a testament to the timeless nature of log building.

I look forward to showing you the possibilities of what Old Style Log Works can do for you.

Doug Mikkelsen