Over the last three months I have gained a wealth of knowledge that has given me the confidence to make it happen on my own.
Thomas Sloss, North Vancouver, BC, Big Wood, 2012
A truly awesome 3 months. I have gained a new appreciation for wood and how to work with it. Great people, great teacher, great location. I would recommend it to anybody interested in working with wood.
Jon Garland, Edinburgh, Scotland, Big Wood, 2012
I had the time of my life!
Thomas Oja, Pemberton, BC, Big Wood, 2012
It was very cool and informative, interesting, and the best thing, I can use my experience in Switzerland.
Stefan Hunkeler, Beromuenster, Switzerland, Building with Logs, 2012
I learned a lot about efficiency in log building and therefore affordability, great ideas in perspective to building your own business.
Goetz Natenhorst, Langley, BC, Building with Logs, 2012
The course has been great, learned much more than I expected and really enjoy the hands-on experience.
David Stotz, Basel, Switzerland, Timber Frame Bents, 2012
Very inspiring, only in one month I take much confidence in woodworking than the entire past year.
Guillaume Plante, St-Marc-sur-Richelieu, Quebec, Timber Frame Post and Beam, 2012
Perfect balance of class/shop, theory/practical
Patrick Walker, Trail, BC, Timber Frame Post and Beam, 2012
Lars Liebig, Saxony, Germany, Decorative Stonework, 2012
Lars Liebig, Saxony, Germany, Decorative Stonework, 2012
Definitely enjoyed the hands-on learning the short amount of time in the classroom was very helpful too
Jamie Irvine, Edmonton, Alberta, Decorative Stonework, 2012
An inspiring place to learn
Justin Weber, Revelstoke, BC, Custom Door Making, 2012
A great course with lots of learning and challenges. A quest in learning.
Richard Kalina, Calgary, Alberta, Timber Frame Post and Beam, 2012
I learned a lot and had a lot of fun! It was a huge experience for me.
Mike Reiser, Building with Logs, 2011
Learned tons from James, very interesting stuff. By far the best training I've had in a long time!
Hugo Thorn, Post and Beam, 2010
Great Group! James was a perfect teacher, allowing students to make mistakes and be responsible for their projects.
Joni Panko BC, Post and Beam, 2010
Loved the course, was a great feeling to see the conversion from rough timbers to a standing structure. Enjoyed working with all new people and the camaraderie input.
Kalvin Bosh AB, Full Building Semester, 2010
The ISBA staff is helpful friendly and fun it is great to learn live and build surrounded by timber and log structures.
Doug Calo Florida, Full Building Semester 2010
It's been the best building educational experience I've ever had. Great Teacher, great atmosphere and it was nice seeing students with no building experience become proficient at the craft.
Kevin McCallion ON, Big Wood, 2009
I started with virtually no experience with any aspect of building. I now have the confidence to approach a company for a job.
Vincent Ardley AB, Full Building Semester 2009
Everyday I learned something new either from the work or my fellow students.
Kellie Shinkie Full Building Semester 2008
Great Job James and Naomi, I have enjoyed myself tremendously over the last two months and look forward to the log building. I will absolutely recommend your school to others.
Maurice Poulin, Big Wood 2008
This was truly an epic experience. I came and got what I was hoping for. Now the confidence is installed to really start working on the goals I have set for myself.
Josh Wetmore, full semester student, 2007
My experience at the Island School of Building arts has been awesome. The environment that has been set has made learning easy for me, I had an unreal time.
Tony McRae, full semester student, 2007
Good balance of theoretical and practical work. I like the work with logs and power tools.
Malte Pannecke, Building with Logs, 2007
A real eye opener!
Brian Drahnak, Building with Logs, 2007
The hands on style of learning is the best way to learn, Working on the different posts and beams (styles) after classroom instructions as well as one on one with (the instructors) during the week was the very best way for me to learn about post and beam.
Jim Antoine, Post and Beam & Introduction to Stonework, 2007
I had a great time here. This was a unique and rewarding experience. The group was great as were the facilities. The whole process of working with big timbers was the most interesting aspect.
Thor Emory -Timber Frame Post & Beam and Bents Spring 2007
ISBA is great, James is a very good teacher with a professional attitude. Thanks also to Tony Elston (visiting Engineering Lecturer) He is an impressive guy. With this knowledge, I will make some sawdust in Quebec City soon!
Dominic Briand - Timber Frame Bents Spring 2007
The course more than exceeded my expectations. I learned a lot on these 2 courses on how to build houses using Post & Beam and Bents. I will use this to build houses in the North West Territories
Jim Antoine - Timber Frame Post & Beam and Bents Spring 2007
This has been a positive experience for me. The Course has given me a basic understanding of Timber Frame and a desire to learn more. I have lake front property and want to build a Timber Frame House and buildings.
Keith Hickman Timber Frame Bents Spring 2007
I've had a great experience as a student in post & Beam. I feel like I've learned a large amount in a short time. The course was very rewarding- getting to actually build a real structure!
Lindsay Fuller - Timber Post & Beam Spring 2007
Excellent! This hands-on type of learning means if we encounter problems within the workforce we'll know how to look at the problem and fix it.
Tumbah Antoine - Timber Post & Beam Spring 2007
The Hands-on style is the best way to learn. Working on the different Posts and Beams after classroom instruction as well as the one-on -one with James and Richard during the work was the best way for me.
Jim Antoine - Timber Post & Beam Spring 2007
The course met and exceeded my expectations. The course work was well- balanced between the class room and workshop time. I plan to build our dream house in Nelson, New Zealand and possibly find a future career.
Stuart Edens - Timber Post & Beam Spring 2007
I thoroughly enjoyed Timber Frame Post & Beam. Every day we went from our class instruction, breeaking down the components on the chalkboard to actually making them.It was great working with the tools..the best way to learn any craft.
Jim Hardill - Timber Post & Beam Spring 2007
It was great; I learned exactly the information I was after- Post & Beam from start to finish- without time spent on other aspects of construction. I hoped that I'd feel confident to map out and embark on my own P & B project and thanks to this course, I do.
Stefan Bjarnason - Timber Post & Beam Spring 2007
James gives just the right amount of instruction...His expertise is apparent, and he is very forthcoming with help and info at the right times. Richard Lloyd was an excellent Assistant. Extremely helpful and understanding.
Krishna Plocher - Timber Frame Bents Fall 2006
Excellent experience.. met a lot of nice co-operative people, learnt some new skills, and had fun piecing the Bents together. The teaching style was good (hands-on learning) , because one has to think about what you are doing, not just follow instructions but think independently.
Al Hannig - Timber Frame Bents Fall 2006
The course met my expectations, with enough joinery work and layout to prepare me to attempt projects on my own. The modular concept of building was excellent especially as a product to offer customers, for eventually running my own Timber Frame Business.
Kimmo Kuoppala - Timber Frame Bents Fall 2006
Very step by step and easy to learn. Corrections and advice while performing cuts was so helpful. I will be building a garage /timber workshop and the Dream Home and hopefully have a small business.
My experience with this course is very good. The students, course outline & tools make it well worth the time invested.. I hope to use it in a new career.
James- Just wanted to thank you again for the awesome class. It's really amazing what creative ideas have developed since I've left Gabriola. Your teaching and building methods clarified the entire log building process, I trust and plan to implement them to my fullest ability. And, in the spring I'd like to start building a modular log house with friends.
Iam now endowed with the knowledge to confidently attempt a construction of my own. To be able to provide quality & beauty into a home is a gift from ISBA, the brainchild of James Mitchell, to whom we are all grateful for sharing his knowledge experience, wisdom & of course "Overstanding".
Great, Never worked with wood before, but now I have the confidence to build my own house! Richard and James were awsome, a huge help, lots of little tps, that more experienced people would already know, but that I didn't. Great people , Hope I can come back and learn more.
I got here 3 days late but got a bit of everything, I now have a clueabout what I'm doing.
This course pretty much has me converted to a new trade.The hands on method is the only way. The most useful was the spread sheets, and aspects of building costs etc.
I wanted to thank you for everything you taught me this past spring and especially for the recomendation letter. I started a new job in Bozeman, Montana at a place called BT Timberworks. I have been working on several giant timber trusses the last few days.
With this hands-on type of learning, you leave the course in no doubt on how to execute all the necessary joinery to build an actual log house. I learned a lot of useful skills that I can now apply to not only logs, but a wide variety of building disciplines.
Gabriel Le Roux, Mpumalanga, South Africa Building with Logs Fall 2006
There wasn't too much time wasted, we got down to building quite a bit, which was great: probably the most important part of the course. This is the best way (for me at least) to really learn something. It allowed us to make errors and fix them!
Elliot Hedges, Geneva, Switzerland Building with Logs Fall 2006
One of the better courses I've taken. Hands-on learning allows one to apply the theory of what was learned in class, to actually how it's done. Very enjoyable, with a good chronological order to building with logs, from buying material to layout & constructing log homes, as well as how to record all steps, and hours to be able to build & bill for customers.
Tom McGill, Kelowna, BC Building with Logs Fall 2006
It's the only way to learn this stuff, particularly for us right-brain types that aren't so keen on book learning.
Noah Hedges , Dubois Wyoming Building with Logs Fall 2006
Great Skills, great environment, good staff!
Nic Rioux, Victoria, BC Building with Logs Fall 2006
The experience of the log building course has been enjoyable. Both stimulating for my mind and body.
Kevin Himech, Houston, BC Building with Logs Fall 2006
Great experience- I learned a lot. I didn't know what to expect before the course—and there’s a lot to learn! Thanks for a really positive experience
Tony Painter, Yukon Territory, Canada Timber Post & Beam Spring 2006
The course content and environment were exactly what I was looking for. I was hoping to gain enough knowledge& experience to comfortably build a log structure, but I gained much more than I expected
Tim Hache Building with logs Spring 2006
An excellent course that I would recommend to anyone. It met my expectations and covered all disciplines. The piece en piece was a real bonus!
Dwight Martin, Saskatoon SK Canada Building with Logs spring 2006
It was an awesome experience doing the full 12 week semester course at ISBA. I like the combination of theory and practice. It's a good way to really 'know' what's going on!!
Helius Stel, Holland Valedictorian --12 week Spring Semester course 2006
My overall experience at ISBA was undoubtedly one of the most valuable ones I've had. ISBA is a laid-back, easy going type of school that has a lot to offer to those who really want to learn. I thought James was a natural teacher who had a lot of patience and understanding.
John Swope, Pennsylvania 12 week spring semester 2006
The ISBA experience was positive. Life changing in many aspects. An awesome first step of a journey that will last a lifetime. Shaving wood with a sharp chisel...Rejoice! Up into the trees...
Ian Heaps, Ontario Sping 2006 12 week semester
This was by far one of the best things I have ever been involved with, great people, great atmosphere, great knowledge! This course allowed me to see into, in depth Timber Frame Bent joinery, designing of the structure, drawing, writing, mathematics and so much more. It definitely met and exceeded anything I could have imagined. I will use the knowledge to build a shop to start, then who knows where it may go from there, but I will never lose this knowledge.
Shane Mackintosh, Twin Butte, AB. Fall 2005 Timber Frame Bents Graduate
The Building courses were fantastic! This was a once in a lifetime chance for me to really learn the Trade/ Art of Timber framing. Everything about the experience was a positive influence in my life. The course was a perfect blend of practical knowledge and theory. Learning and having tangible results, what a thrill! I will use the knowledge to 1) to build a timber frame home in the Okanagan. 2) To build a chalet/ cabin in Christian Lake, BC. 3) to make some 'noise' in an untapped timberframe industry... James - you have a natural gift and have many skills that are rare in this ultra modern world. You have taught us many skills about timberframing and working with wood in a natural and timeless way. For this I thank you greatly...
Aaron Lester, Edmonton, AB. Fall 2005 Timber Post and Beam/ Timber Frame Bents Graduate.
This course over shot any expectation I had. It was a mind-blowing introduction into building in general, that's how green I was before the course. Now I feel I know enough to put up frames. The hands on style of learning was perfect, just exactly what I needed. I will use the skill gained here to continue in woodworking, learn all I can and travel while doing so. Thanks so much for the wobbly pops and thanks for taking care of us Kathleen, you really do deserve more credit.
Michael Munn, Amherst, Massachusetts. Fall 2005 Semester Graduate.
I came into the course not understanding what I was getting into. It exceeded my expectations and gave me a respect for the Industry. Thanks for opening my eyes to this.
Liam Cullen, Redwood Meadows, AB. Fall 2005 Semester Graduate.
A very enjoyable way to spend two months. I appreciated the speed at which we got the projects underway and enjoyed working with all the guys and living out here on the West coast! The hands on style of learning was excellent! It requires more of the student compared to being told how to do it. I think Timberframing will be a great addition to the woodwork that I already do, Thanks!
Luke Dubbeldam, Sherwood Park, AB. Fall 2005 Timber Post and Beam/ Timber Frame Bents Graduate.
My overall experience was very informative, exciting and demanding physically and mentally. The course met my expectation in the sense that it taught me not only to build but to be self sufficient and clear in everything leading up to the Raise. I will use my skill in a career in construction ad to build myself my ideal home. The course was refreshing and exciting because it gave me a new appreciation for timber.
George Providas, Montreal, Quebec. Fall 2005 Semester Graduate.
My overall experience was very positive. A lot of material was covered in the course opportunities to try and practice various techniques. The course met my expectations. I learned more in just four weeks than initially expected. My objective was for application of the knowledge is my own building activity and that now can be done.
Conrad Bagne, Anchorage, Alaska. Building with Logs, Spring 2005 Graduate
First and foremost, I thank you! First for your knowledge, second for your friendship, third for the good laughs! It has been the best holiday experience that a guy could ask for. ISBA reinforced some beliefs that I already had about what building really means to me. It is more than a shelter, it does live with us and our beliefs. How long is up to to our own abilities. It could be centuries before anyone recognizes our commitments to build well and make families just simply feel better through identity in their own home... I have met a lot of new friends and learned a lot of different things. I think it's good to surround myself with a bunch of people with a common interest of timberframing. It has been a great time...
Thomas Stitt, Kelowna, BC. Timber Post & Beam/ Timber Frame Spring 2005 Bents Graduate
It was more physical than I anticipated, but I got used to that quickly (and thank you Kathleen for the ROM and yoga, it was great!). I was impressed with the completeness of the course material in that we touched on most all of the components of completing a post & beam structure. James, I appreciated your teaching style and that you never get rattled by anything, and manage to keep things on track when it's so easy to get off on a tangent . It was nice that your also humble enough to learn things from the students as well, what a great example of being balanced!
It was thrilling to learn and complete each joint and watch the entire structure come together. I could see the doors opening each day as I learned the beginnings of the age old craft of timber framing. Incorporating new technology into it, while striving to keep costs low, and yet faithful to the wood, is in my mind the best way to advance the craft into the 21st century.
I came to Gabriola expecting to learn timber framing, mainly the joinery, and how to erect the structure. What I was taught and what I experienced were so very much more.
I was pleasantly surprised that by the second day we were already creating knee braces. I see that my tentative nature , thinking would have slowed my learning curve tremendously. I now know that this is the only good way to teach and learn this craft, just jump right in. I felt so bad when I made mistakes and mis cut something, but James again you were so gracious and encouraging that it made me not worry about it, and instead just learn from it and move on to the next task - THANKS!
Timothy Reimer, Wellington, Colorado. Timber Post & Beam Spring 2005 Graduate
I'm working to get involved with some of the local timber framers here in Colorado to further my education and experience, and create plans to build a home for my family. Then take that knowledge and turn it into a living that I can enjoy the rest of my life.
Timothy Reimer, Wellington, Colorado. Timber Post & Beam Spring 2005 Graduate
The courses at ISBA exceeded all my expectations. It was an amazing experience to see a building rise from the work of such a small team in such a short time. I feel completely confident that I can go forth and build the log or timber frame building of my choice. When I entered the course I was cautiously optimistic. I am now entirely confident that I can build what I want to build. The course offered a perfect balance of knowledge transfer & hands on experience. Striking a near perfect balance between facts & figures and the art of building with wood. I came to the school to change careers. Using what I have learned here, I secured a new job in the timber frame industry prior to graduating. This change would not have been possible without ISBA. I think James is a truly gifted educator. Clearly he has the knowledge, but conveying that right is a different challenge. A challenge he has obviously mastered. He communicates clearly. He illustrates very well, and most importantly he knows exactly how and when to push and when to let a student go forward themselves. He tunes this to each individual. I feel fortunate to have has this experience.
Ron Jasper, Seattle, Wa. Fall 2004 Semester Graduate.
My experiences of the courses were great. The fact that everyone is going to use it as a stepping stone to benefit the rest of their life, and hearing all their stories made this an unforgettable experience! The Timber Frame Bents and Post & Beam courses exceeded my expectations. I was kind of disappointed at first that we would be doing Piece en Piece for Log Building, but now I feel that I did learn more than if we would have used long logs. I found the hands on learning to be very refreshing. I was at a turning point at University, and ISBA has made me appreciate learning in general. This course not only taught me about Timber Frames, it also taught me how to approach any building project. I will use what I have learned here, first to build a Timber Frame of my own to shed a little College debt, and then to land a job with a Timber Frame Company when I graduate with a BS. Construction degree from W.W. Stout.
Nathan Balthazor, New London, Wisconsin. Fall 2004 Semester Program Graduate.
This Program was a life changer! I have found what I can see myself doing for the rest of my life. I came into this program knowing nothing of this type of building and now I feel I could do all of this on my own. I loved the hands on style of learning. With this type of teaching and learning, I have learned more in the last three months than I did in College. Thank you for the experience.
William Denton, Arlington, Virginia. Fall 2004 Semester Program Graduate.
Overall, an intense, well thought out program that let a person go at his own pace and learn from his own mistakes. The course was everything I had hoped for, and has been a great experience right from the tool usage and selection on up. I will use the knowledge obtained here to build my own Post & Beam workshop this summer and perhaps a business in the future.
Blair Morphet, Victoria, BC. Spring 2004 Timber Post & Beam Graduate
It was a really interesting and good experience for me. At the beginning, log building was my main focus, now I have changed my mind, I realized that Timber Frame is the job of my life! I learned better than expected. I really enjoyed all the courses. Thanks for the teachings and all the kindness. This style of learning is really good for us, even with my little English. I was able to see, do and easily understand.
Ryota Konno, Suzuka, Japan. Spring, 2004 Semester Graduate.
I expected to be able to build my own log home and /or feel prepared to enter the Log Building trade with an understanding of the main skills. I am there.
Ian Clarke, Chilliwack, BC. Spring, Building with Logs graduate.
It all comes together when you see the buildings going up! It blows your mind how you can build three beautiful, amazing buildings in that time. You have to take the course to experience this wonderful Art! Great atmosphere, with excellent Instruction and exciting outcomes.
Jason Moll, Trail, BC. Fall 2003 Semester Graduate.
Awesome courses! I was worried my lack of experience in woodworking would set me behind the other students. But the teaching and explanations I received quickly raised my awareness with step by step processes that were challenging yet easily interpreted.
Eric Kirstein, Kelowna, BC. Fall 2003 Semester Graduate.
Wonderful overall experience. A beautiful setting on an island,and a unique workspace. I learned a lot with the other students and will not forget the time spent.
Jordan Yee, Pensacola Beach, Florida. Fall 2003 Timber Frame Bents Graduate.
My experience here was exceptional. I enjoyed meeting all the different people from all over the world. And to take a concept, to design and then to construction, Awesome! I also enjoyed fixing my mistakes, as everybody makes them, but not everyone can fix them, I see that as a positive.
Fred Stenhuisen, Forest Grove, BC. Spring 2003 Semester Graduate.
There are some things that you do in life that really make a huge, positive impact on your journey through life, for me this was one of them. You have passed on to me enough skills and knowledge to have confidence to construct, strong, beautiful Timber Frames, which I feel will stand for a long time. The hands on style of learning is the best, it boosts your confidence and allows you to learn from your mistakes. Keep doing what your doing and keep the school strong!
Mark Kachaluba, Vancouver, BC. Spring 2003 Timber Post & Beam Graduate.
I came to the course with very little knowledge of the building process. James' course facilitates fast and thorough learning in a very enthusiastic environment. I feel I have learned very, very much. I came with expectations of learning the basics of home building and have come away with not only theory, but skills that will greatly assist me in the construction of my own home.
Ian Vincent Godfrey. Spring 2003 Building with Logs Graduate.
The Building courses were amazing. The three months went by too fast. I learned an incredible amount I found the hands on learning great, nice to break up the theory, I found practice was very important with some tools like chain saws. Good reinforcement of the classroom theory. I will use the knowledge gained here to build my own house and contemplate a new career.
Mark Crawford, Vancouver BC. Spring 2003 Semester Graduate.
I came looking, leaving the Corporate Rat Race, for a better way to work/learn/play. It is here, on the island and at this school. Much more is taught than just chisels, chainsaws and construction. I will use the knowledge that I gained here as a guiding reference in the second half of my life. The past three months have been a blur ( because I couldn't wait to start each day) I want this feeling to continue. I love achitecture, natural organic methods of building and the satisfaction of seeing the results of your effort each day.
John Cox, Raleigh, North Carolina. Spring 2003 Semester Graduate.
My overall experience with ISBA was really positive. I really enjoyed myself. I feel good with what I learned and feel I am leaving with a good understanding, ready to enter the Industry. I have gained comprehensive knowledge through practical experience, learning from my own mistakes with positive support from an experienced Instructor.
Paul Smith, Golden, BC. Fall 2002 Semester Graduate.
An all around good positive experience, the students, the Instructor - all positive! The teaching style really fit my personality with a hands on/ hands off mentality.
Seth Weissman, Vashon, Wa. Fall 2002 Timber Frame Bents Graduate.
The atmosphere at the school is excellent for learning. James is a wealth of information and a pleasure to work under. Kathleen adds the feminine touch to the school. The course met my expectations and has provided me with the knowledge to further my goals.
Garry Rivard, Smithers, BC. Fall 2002 Semester Graduate.
My experience here was rewarding. Better understanding of working with Big Wood. Made some good friends who I will always keep in contact with. I now know how Log Buildings, Post & Beam and Timber Frame Bents are all constructed. The proper use of power tools and all the layout involved prior to the cutting of the timbers. I will use the knowledge gained here to first seek employment in the Timber frame Industry and eventually start my own Log and Timber Frame business.
Esyan Sakaya, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Fall 2002 Semester Graduate.
The program was quite enjoyable. It was a good mix of hands on and theory, enough to balance the level of skills the student has. I felt privileged to work at the school . The best part was having somebody like you (James) to give me the opportunity to work with big wood.
Bryan Webb, Gabriola Island, BC. Fall 2002 Semester Graduate