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Traditional Norwegian Forestry Course

Course dates: 8th of March –13th of March, 2020

Arrival at Farm in Tangen (Norway), 8th of March (Sunday), 2020

Departure 13th of March (Friday), 2020

8 International students, 2 tutors, 2 guest tutors

Age limitation 15+

Location: Remote Farm by Lake Mjosa, Norway

Participation fee: 1450, Euros ($1600, USD)

Tutors

Marius Holje  (Born 1979)

"I'm 40 years old and started my own way as a carpenter at age of 19. I probably should have started earlier, because I've been into old log houses since I was a kid. I grew up on a mountain farm and went to forestry school. Wooden craftsmanship and carpentry has been big in my life, as well as my love for horses. I have built new buildings,maybe 15-20 ones over the years of different sizes. Most of the time I've spent on restoring and fixing up old buildings including a few buildings being preserved for national heritage interests. I've been working by myself mostly, but in the last three years I began to employ some fellow carpenters as well. Currently we are a team of four. At the moment we have three or four different projects going. We are taking all the logs for our buildings directly from the woods in the correct time of the year - winter. We are using old school horse logging to extract the logs from the forest. I am a father of my beautiful daughter."

Jacob Dimiters  (Born 1985)

Master carpenter and Timber Framing tutor in Northmen carpentry classes. Founder of Northmen guild and designer of Northmen woodworking tools. Has done a deep research in historical hand tools and medieval carpentry techniques. During last 3 years Jacob has been teaching traditional timber framing to more than 200 international students. Started his journey as a cinematographer at 18 and after 8 years working in movie making went back to his childhood dream to become a carpenter and create things with his hands building around himself society where people are intoxicated with the joy of making and creating. In 2017 formed Northmen Guild - a platform for independet craftsmen (more than 20) to share their work and passion with the world.

Jacob has been deeply interested in forgotten forestry. Learning lost knowledge about scaring growing pines - making wood resinfull and the way how nature’s healing process can impregnate the wood allowing it to last almost 1000 years. By his own experiments he will share his conclusions with the forestry students.

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Steinar Moldal - Norway   (Born 1948) Guest Tutor

Steinar Moldal (Born 1948) worked 11 years as a logger before he took his degree in 1975 and master’s degree in 1977. In 1978 he was an official educated engineer. After his education he was a teacher in the logging section at the Hjerleid School & Craftcentre for 25 years. From 1989 he has worked with documenting handcraft in most part of the country under the direction of the Norwegian Handcraft Institute. He has been the CEO of the Center for Rural Culture, been responsible for the building of the Historical Buildings Park and been a key figure in building a professional environment around traditional crafts.

Mikael Edström - Sweden  (Born 1968) Guest Tutor

Mikael is an educated carpenter, furniture maker and historical building preservationist with 40 years of experience. By researching old Swedish wooden buildings as well as Norwegian stave churches, which have been preserved for almost a 1000 years, he started to look behind the scenes why modern wood material has a life expectancy of less than 5% of what it used to be. He stumbled across almost lost knowledge of forgotten forestry - injuring, or scaring pine trees before felling them. In 1999 he founded the organisation - Fatwood (Resinfull wood) Friends, in Swedish called "Fetvedens vänner" - www.fetvedensvanner.com

He has been experimenting with several techniques of systematically injuring trees on purpose, making them last hundreds of years and ended up with his conclusions. His organisations aim is to promote this “slow wood” as similar to “slow food” benefits versus nowadays fast wood processing industry.

3 known techniques are - Strip barking (5 years proces), tree top removal (10-20 years process) and ring barking (2 years).

Mikael will be coming from Sweden to our course location in Norway to hold a theoretical & practical lecture about his experience.

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Overall course description

Course participants during 4 day winter hands-on class will learn the traditional way of preparing and harvesting timber/logs directly from the forest in the way it has been done for thousands of years in Scandinavia. Today, in Norway, we still have a few traditional carriers of this knowledge whereof only 1 that has this knowledge passed on to him uninterruptedly for generations as he is the last generation logger of our time. It’s one thing to harvest timber from the woods, which today is mainly used to build modern houses that are built to last approximately 30 years, but an entirely different thing to have the knowledge about how to make those logs last for a 1000 years and still they will not rot.

The magnitude of this sustainability is unleveled by any other industry and if we take just a little of our the time to look back and apply the knowledge our forefathers knew and invented for us (before it’s too late) we could seriously turn around todays modern consumer based home building industry and greatly affect the environment on our planet, and even our personal health, for the better.
This course will not only provide you with this knowledge, practical ability and knowhow but also give you an insight in the historical aspect, effect and importance of these methods.

  • Learning how to read and understand timber/trees, what to look for and how to choose the proper tree according to a material list.
  • Learning how to turn trees into long-lasting and extremely sustainable material for building houses etc. using traditional hand tools and techniques
  • Learning and understanding the “Ringbarking” technique. Like all vascular plants, trees use two vascular tissues for transportation of water and nutrients: the Xylem (also known as the wood) and the Phloem (the innermost layer of the bark). Ringbarking results in the removal of these two vascular tissues, in a certain way, and permanently stop all further transportation of sugars and water. Executing the ringbarking in the correct way will cause the tree to go through a slow death process, removing all the sugars and drying the tree all at the same time before it is even felled. The result is a material/log that is ready to use, more stable, less cracking and will last for many centuries more because rot will find no more “food” to attack.
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  • Learning and understanding the “Blæking” (Injuring) technique. “Injured” meaning – the bark will be chopped off randomly with an axe so that the tree can start to heal itself and push all the sugars out of the sapwood and fill/replace it with resin and antiseptics. It is an almost forgotten technique in nowadays forestry. This is one of the ways logs for log-buildings have been prepared in the Northern Europe for thousands of years, making them stronger and resistant for rot as all the sugars and water in the sapwood have been replaced with resin and antiseptics.
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  • Learning about horse-logging. How to prepare the horse and the timber and take part in the execution. Learn about the benefits of using a horse vs machines.
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  • During the course there will be many “Stubbeforedrag” (Stump Lectures). This is the Norwegian traditional way of teaching, hands on, as it has been done informally through 1000’s of years.
  • Learning about the “moon wood” or the moon importance in the nature’s processes our ancesstors preciceselly followed and made their conclusions about the moon affection to the quality of the wood. What is the best time to cut the trees based on the moon phase and star astronomy based on an old carpenters clendar.
  • Turning fresh logs into timbers just after felling using different Axes - traditional Norwegian way of hewing
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Wild food on a pot in the forest

We will have daily meals - breakfast and dinner at the Farm and we will make our own lunch on the open fire pot in the forest.

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Excoursion to Mork gård historical farm

An excursion to an old manor farm at Romerike dating back to 1732. The main and monumental building is over 300 squared meters large and is the second largest log building in the region. This is a valuable building and it has a very rare furnace. Many famous people have lived here and it's in a very good shape for its age. It is nowadays in a 4 years lasting comprehensive restoration process, due to finish in 2020. Everything is being done by hand with old school hand tools just like they did back in the 1730's. The course tutor Marius Holje is the one responsible for the restoration process and will give the in depth tour of the whole process.

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Horse sleding under the moonlight

During the class we will have draft horses to extract the logs from the forest as well we will be able to have a ride in a sled under the moonlight in the forest like in old days, to experience the same feeling our forefathers had.

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Course Location

Vardebergvegen 647, 2337 Tangen, Norway

google maps

Age limitation: 15+

Training site: The course will be held in remote historical farm Located by the sohres of lake Mjosa in Norway.

Conditions for cancelling your participation in the course: if you cancel the participation 3 months before the starting date, we give back 75% of the deposit, if you cancel it 2 months before the start of the course, we return 50%, if you cancel later, we do not return the money.

Cost: 1450, Euros - includes everything in-country: tuition, accommodation, all meals, organized field-trips. Participants are responsible for their own international transport, travel insurance, and extra-curricular costs. Half (50% deposit) of the courses cost should be paid after online registration and the remaining 50% in cash on check in at the farm.

Conditions for cancelling your participation in the course: if you cancel the participation 3 months before the starting date, we give back 75% of the deposit, if you cancel it 2 months before the start of the course, we return 50%, if you cancel later, we do not return the money.

Language: The course will be held in English.

More information/questions - courses@northmen.com

Teach the young! Honor the elders!