Testimonials from students


Like watching “The making of Tamahagane”, taking part in your course has been one of my most memorable experiences. But this was doing, not just watching. So now I have a new personality in me, the carpenters, which I will cherish and develop.

Thanks for everything.

Gergely Bana/Luxembourg


To Jacob + everyone else that made these 10 days possible,

I cannot thank you enough for this opportunity, I have learned much more than I imagined I would and made many friends. I hope that one day we might all meet again.

With love,

Jos Atwood/UK


Dear Jakob, Andrejs, Una, Ansis, cooker team, Northmen crew..

Thanks a lot for this great 2 week holidays I spent with you. I enjoyed it and learned really a lot. It has been a very intense experience.

I discovered how green your country is, and how cold the water from your lakes can be. ;)

I’m very happy to have come. I learned a lot about a construction from timber frame and log cabin works and I get introduced into the use of these inherited tools.

My grandfather and my mother built shoes. My other grandfather baked bread, my father designs houses. My sister is a biologist.

So after 4 years studying “modern” architecture and 4 years working in agriculture. I realized that I was very attracted by transforming nature to house. This course was one of my first steps to go and achieve a dream.

So thanks a lot. De tot cor.

I thank Jakob, that the movies that you make, help young generations addicted to Netflix and IPhones to get interested by being pro-active in their lives and motivate them to enter into a real world.

Take care. Thank you all. See you soon.

Joan Pascual Palomo/Spain


To the Northmen,

Wynn said well when he told Jacob:

“You’ve made a good thing here.”

But it’s much more. I had hoped for a bit of Carpenter skill, a bit of brotherhood, some good Coffee of a few laughs.

I laughed so much, enjoyed all the brothers (and Una who looked after us), the food, the talk, the Latvian culture and hospitality, and the generous spirit of all.  And of course the sound!

I will heep in my mind all the lessons and memories. And also Wynn’s dream of Jacob jumping of a cliff.

“It is easy! Just do this!”


James McCaffrey/USA, Florida


Dear Jacob, Una and all The Northmen, I had an amazing time. I got a nice glimpse into traditional wood working, and I can’t wait to go home and try to apply what I have learned to the Yarious trees of Israel.

Yours sincerely,

Uri Neri/Israel


That was a proper job! Cheers mate!

Thank you to Jacob and all the Northmen for such an unforgettable and life-directing experience. I look forward to taking those skills into the forest and transforming some nature into culture.

Marc Cox/UK


Dear Jakob and all the other members of Northmen guild. I really didn’t expect such a great time here in the forest of Latvia! I’ve seen many places and met many people during the last 2 years and this course was a very special and great time to end my journey and go back home full of new inspirations and ideas. Thank you very much for this! Keep transforming nature into culture and men into carpenters!

All the best,

Christien Haarman/Germany


Thank you so much for showing me your passion and visions of how the world should be. It was great working with you Jacob, Ansis and Andrew. I really hope to see you all again sometime and if not this Course was more than perfect!

Keep exploring,

Stewart Locke/Canada


Thank you, Northmen! You have all created something special here and should be really proud. A great spirit in all things. Loved the hands learning, direct teaching, wonderful food, beautiful setting, great humor, and on and on. I admire what you’ve built and the way you’ve gone about it. It inspires me in multiple facets of my own life.

Kenneth MacKenzie/Canada



It’s been a wonderful experience for us. Thank you for inspiring my wife and me to new levels of creativity, closeness with the world in which we live, and making things with our hands. The local-food dinner is a wonderful way to stay close to the world in which you live. It was a delight.

Tools made by hands, held and used by other hands, make new art and lashing thing to be enjoyed for generations. You have inspired us to pay more attention “now” and to make the place we live bring us closer to our world.

You are welcome in Alaska anytime. We would love to see you again.

Kris + Chris Sargent/Alaska


Dear Jacob and Northmen!

It was a pleasure for me to have the possibility to be part in your course.

We had a lot of fun there and I really enjoyed the working with so many different and beautiful hand tools.

You have done a great job as a teacher and it was a perfect way to exchange experiences.

I will keep the course in memory, and specially the use of traditional hand tools.

I’m proud of you and what you are doing with the project Northmen guild.

To show people what Handcraft is able to do, and the special quality of it.

It was the best end I could have on my over 3 years journeymen time. We will stay in contact and maybe can do one day a project together.

Best greetings,

Nils Schaberger/Germany


This course exceeded my expectations by far! I learned enough of the theory by doing the work to return home and start some projects of my own. In addition to the education, I have had an experience that I will never forget! Getting to meet the people from all over the world and work with them on a project is priceless. I feel like you can’t really know someone until you work a long side of them, and I have worked with some of the first people ever.

Jacob and his family were very hospitable and made me feel right at home for these 2 weeks I have been in Latvia. Andres and Ansis were very kind as well and always willing to lend a hand or give some helpful advice.

I feel like I’m leaving a group of friends tomorrow. I miss my family at home terribly, but I will also miss my friends that I made here.

Thank you all for putting this together and inviting me to participate! I will never ever forget this wonderful time!

All the best,

Jesse Beddingfield/North Carolina,USA


Thanks so much to Jacob, Ansis, Andrejs and Una for such an awesome experience! I have learned so much over the duration of this course… I can’t wait to start trying to build my own cabin in Latvia in a few weeks of time - hopefully it “looks promising”. The whole course and set-up has just been such high quality with awesome food every day, and perfect facilities. You guys have been so incredibly helpful and patient with teaching me.. I was a bit worried before the course that I would be too bad at the work with not being experienced with woodworking, but you all made me very comfortable and helped me to learn so much! It was also really cool to meet lots of likeminded and interesting people from all over the world to share the experience with.

Hopefully we all keep in touch and can meet again in the future!

Thank you again so much!

Hamish Jones/Australia/Latvia


Jakob, Ansis, Andrew and Colin of course,

Thank you very much for an experience that tops my list. Not only did I learn a lot about log building, timber framing and Latvian culture, I also learned a lot about myself and my ethics. The last two weeks gave me more direction where I want to be in 20 years.

Please enjoy your nature (and the cold swims) on my behalf, because it is something to cherish.

Keep it up, and I hope we will meet again.

Tijn Floris/The Netherlands


It is rare for me to meet people that have developed and thought about a code to live by. It is even more rare to meet people that authentically live by their code. It has been worth my time, sweat and development. This has enriched my life, thank you.

Adam Ticknor/USA


Jacob, Una, Ansis, Andre and Colin,

Thank you for a wonderful experience. You are all great teachers and a tribute to woodcraft. The workshop was unforgettable and I was most impressed with your generosity, kindness and friendship. Be well.

Rick Bowlds/USA


Thank you Jacob, Ansis, Andrew for welcoming and sharing your Northmen culture and spirit. I will leave your place, Latvia, not only with new skills but also and especially with new friends and the spirit of the Northmen: “Love what you do, do what you love…”

Nicolas Gruter/Scotland


To all of the Northmen… I feel honored to spend 2 weeks with this family of craftsmen. I plan to return and would be honored to be welcomed in the future! The value of my time here is priceless and something I will carry with me for a lifetime! Two weeks from ‘work” was the coolest real work I could have hoped for.

Till we meet again… soon!

Richard Pittman/Germany



Jacob, Una, Ansis, Andew!

Thank you for this life-changing experience. A good friend told me.. if I want to change my life I have to change my surroundings and experience something new.

I believe God brought me here. And it deeply impacted me. Bless your families and may God protect and grow you all.

Your friend from Australia,



Irregural timber!!!

Mathias Ketonen/Finland



Thank you for a great time. Hope to see you soon!

Arman Hashemi Damneh/Sweden


Jacob, you have sent Zakari home with a new light shining in his eyes. His is so happy to have met you and to have had such a great experience with the Northmen. If all your students find this passion and renewed sense of purpose, you may change the world!
Thanks so much for sending our boy home a better person, a better man and one with a new sense of awe for his chosen craft! 

Zakari's father Andy LeBlanc/USA


Thanks gents for an unforgettable experience.

I have made some friends for life and awesome memories.

I have taken more than carpentry knowledge out of this course, so for that, say thank you.

Jacob, you have shown what it is to lead.

Yours standarts and ethics have reignited what I have needed for some time, keep on mentioning the lost. Paldies!

Ansis, Brother we are best mated, thanks for teaching me and being a great friend. I’m sure we’ll meet again! Ya made me cry when you left ha ha! All the best with your new addition!

Big and little Andis. From the moment we met we were family. Felt I have known you forever. Thanks for your kindness and patience.

Jack y boy! Well what a funny guy you were/are lol!

Mate keep on being yourself, thanks for teaching me a variety of skills and to show me that laughing is a gift.

You’re a bloody legend.

Una and the girls, on behalf of all students, thank you for your care and support of us, but mostly of Jacob and the Northmen, without you it wouldn’t work.


Ben McDermott /Australia


Log building


Shaving the pine.

Scribing the log.

Sharpening the chisels.


Rain on the barn.

Log onto log,

Tight, tight, tight.

Saw cuts.


Framing the door.

Coffe and tea.

Latvian dishes.


Once more.

Nicole Kalberer, Switzerland


Working with the hands, to learn and to build a house has been inspirational.

Not to do anything by perfection, but to do in the natural way.

The moral and ethics from the masters have been great.

I leave now with a new mine and new way of seing things.

“Nothing makes the earth seem so spacious as to have friends at a distance; that make the latitudes and longitudes." /Henry David Thorean/

Liam Hultelid, Sweden


Liels paldies par lieliskajām brīvdienām! Tā bija vienreizēja iespēja, gūstot vērtīgas zināšanas un praktiskas iemaņas, piedalīties koka ēku radīšanā. Ātri tika aizmirstas ikdienas rūpes, atrodoties tik internacionālā, bet saliedētā komandā un baudot dažādo kultūras programmu. Paldies atsaucīgajiem meistariem par palīdzību un padomiem@

Tā turpināt!


Mārcis Strautiņš/ Latvija


Love to all,

Respect to all.

Zakari LeBlanc/USA


Dear Northmen!

Thank you for such lovely hospitality and warm welcome. I was fascinated to discover Latvia with such good people in it.

Working with you been uplifling experience for the soul and mind.

Thank you for sticking to your own true Self Belief.

All of you bring happiness to this world!

I hope to have the chance to meet you back in Israel. If you’ll ever wanna come to visit, I ‘ll be there fot you!

Tzuf Brand/Israel


Radīt, piecelties un radīt,

Noticēt sev un radīt,

Tieši tik vienkārši tas ir!!!


Paldies par vēl vienu spēcīgu atgādinājumu, lai top gan Jums, gan mums.

Gustavs Gotauts/ Latvija



Ozan Demirtas/Switzerland


Thank you, Northmen Guild, for all that you do and all that you stand for. This time has been such a blessing, in so many ways, far beyond just the tools and the learning.

The joy, the warmth, the laughter and the encouragement have woven throughhout the days. Each of you has been such a joy to learn from, and I have the highest respect and admiration for each of you.

The heart behind Northmen is pure gold. Thank you for giving me the gift of this time, for graciously inviting me to come and making this hard time into somehing beautiful. My time with each of you, and this course, truly is going to mark my life and has impacted my future.

My favourite Latin saying I think is echoed in the heart of the Northmen guild, and I encourage you: -“Fac Fortia et Patere…” “Do Brave Deeds and Endure.”

Thank you so much, and you will always have a friend in Colorado.

Zack Bowman/USA


A real honour to spend time and work together with such talanted and inspirational carpenters. Great motivation and life changing experience.

All positive.

Edward Dunne/Latvija/Ireland



It has been poetry in motion!

With love,

Jack Kearns/Ireland


Flexed mind and body

Turning trees into culture!

Kindred suols unite…

Jake Weber/USA



Thank you for  your teaching, inspiration, work...

Jēkab, Jake, Andrej, Ansi Jūs esat vareni cilvēki, tautieši, mākslinieki, Ziemeļvīri.

Paldies no Austrālijas!

Andrejs Liepiņš/Austrālija


The course taught me that I am not a young man anymore,

and that time doesn't exist. 


Ole Kretschmann/ Germany


10 days - Lifetime dream.

A little boy wanted a sword, an axe, discovered WOOD, started to dance.

Had no idea how all that works.

Then went to Latvia workshops.

Dream is no more, it is real now,

Let's build house, I know how.

Karel Bouček/ Czech Repubic


Thanks to all the Northmen for taking the time to impart a bit of your experience + culture to us.

Best wishes to you all in everything you attempt. 

Should you ever find the winter too long, you have a place in Alabama!

Much love,

Nathan Payne/ USA


To all the Northmen-

Words can not express my gratitude and deep appreciation for allowing my son and I the experience of a life time.

The quality of your work and lives are without equal. And I shall forever remember these weeks as some of the best in my life. Your hospitality reminds me of "good ole southern hospitality" and should you ever find yourself in our "neck of the woods" I hope you will look us up.

I can only hope to one day achieve the skill I have witnessed.

With love and admiration,

Wynn Payne/ USA


The last 10 days have taught me to listen more closely to the heart.

Create time,

Create space,

Create passion,


Thank you Northmen for something I will not forget.

Adam Dwight/ Australia


Dear Northmen,

My time here has been unforgettable, the lessons you shared with me are priceless, you have ignited flames in the hearts of us all. 

Come visit me in Alaska!


Dan Swanson/ Alaska


They say that the North is a place of dark, cold and where the shadows of ones self are kept.

Thank you Northmen for helping us all to see our shadows and step into a brighter life of ourselves!

It has been a great two weeks of introspection, brotherhood, laughs and building skills.

My friend of the North you are always welcome to our home in the west!!!

Much love,

Cagney Pisetsky/ USA


I arrived hoping to experience the basics of wooden house building.

I have left having experienced culture, hospitality and artistry that has no bounds.

I realise now that the Northmen Code is not the result of marketing, it is an ethos that is being lived, a true brotherhood.

I hope to return home following this initiation and apply the principles I have learnt, where they have been missing in my own life.

Thank you to all the Northmen,

Nick Deakin, UK


I really enjoyed the time here. Everything was excellent. The students, the teachers, the food, everything.

I leave Ratnieki with more knowledge about woodworking but also about myself.

Thank you Northmen. This was by far, one of the greatest experiences of my life.

Bernando Kroll/ Peru