International Log House Builders’ Championship Set New Records

On May 25th, the International Competition for Log House Builders was held in Räpina as part of the European Capital of Culture Tartu 2024 program and Räpina Good Home Days. The event saw a record number of participants and the 2024 champion is Madis Jaaska from Hobbiton OÜ.

For the first time in Estonia, a week-long event program was organized to honor the heritage of log building. This included seminars, workshops, and the International Log Building Conference “Revitalizing Heritage.” The events brought together log home building masters and enthusiasts dedicated to traditional construction techniques and eager to advance the field. The week concluded with a log building competition, where participants showcased their skills and speed in crafting one of the most crucial parts of a log home – the corner notch and tenon.

Participants included masters from Estonia and abroad, with competitors from Canada and the USA. A total of 35 participants registered for the competition, marking a record in the event’s 14-year history. The competition was intense, requiring participants to give their best until the very last moment to claim the championship title along with a valuable prize package.

The competition winner is the participant who completes the task in the shortest time with the highest accuracy. The competition has three categories – professionals, students, and axemen. In the professionals and students categories, all hand and power tools are allowed, whereas, in the axemen category, only non-motorized hand tools can be used.

In the professionals category, Madis Jaaska claimed the title for the third consecutive time with a final time (including penalty seconds) of 22 minutes and 53 seconds. His task was to craft an Estonian square notch with wind lock. Although Madis’s overall final time wasn’t a record, his corner notch crafting time deserves special mention. The maximum allowed time for the task in the professionals category is 40 minutes, and Madis completed it in just 15 minutes and 15 seconds. The second place in the professionals category, with no penalty seconds, went to Ahto Naruski with a time of 23 minutes and 36 seconds, while the third place was claimed by Alari Suun. All three master craftsmen work for Hobbiton OÜ, Estonia’s largest log home manufacturer.

International Competition for Log House Builders 2024 – 1st place Madis Jaaska (Hobbiton OÜ). Photo: Mikk Otsar

The axemen category, where participants also had to build the most accurate and high-quality notch within a set time, saw a thrilling competition. The winner, Alari Suun, completed the task in a time that is considered world-record-worthy. Completing the task so quickly without using motorized tools earned recognition from both judges and fellow competitors. Alari Suun’s final time was 41 minutes and 5 seconds, while the maximum allowed time in the category is 2 hours and 40 minutes. The second place in the axemen category went to Mikk Mustmaa (Majakratt OÜ), and the third place to Margus Palolill (Vanaajamaja MTÜ).

Palkmajaehitajate meistrivõistlus 2024 - kirvemeeste kategooria võitja Alari Suun (Hobbiton OÜ). Foto: Mikk Otsar
International Competition for Log House Builders 2024 – 1st place in Axemen category – Alari Suun (Hobbiton OÜ). Photo: Mikk Otsar

In the students category, the best performance was delivered by Erki Vinni from Hiiumaa Vocational School, with Mikko Kokkmaa taking second place and Siim Esko coming in third. The apprentices from Hiiumaa Vocational School are the foundation of the sector’s future workforce. “Acquiring the skills to become a log home builder takes a long time; it takes five to ten years to achieve high-quality construction proficiency. Today’s top competitors have been in the field for about twenty years,” said Ragner Lõbu, board member of Hobbiton OÜ.

The next log building championship will be held next spring in Tallinn, continuing to honor and advance traditional construction craftsmanship.

The Estonian Woodhouse Association thanks all participants and supporters and congratulates each winner once again!

The log building competition is organized by the Estonian Wooden Houses Association (Woodhouse Estonia) in collaboration with South Estonian log house manufacturers and Hiiumaa Vocational School.

Käsitöö palkmajaehitajate meistrivõistlus - korraldajad ja osalejad 2024. Foto: Mikk Otsar
Competition for Log House Builders 2024 – organizers and participants. Photo:Mikk Otsar