For many, a piece of wood is just that, a piece of wood. But for Joel Roorda of Timber Kings, it’s the beginning of a masterpiece.
Working with his father over the many summers of his childhood in the remote B.C. community of Nimpo Lake, Joel learned the fundamentals of building. Most importantly, he learned that hard work and good ethics lead to great achievements. Those lessons would come in handy later in life when he was faced with the many challenges of building a log home.
“I was home schooled for a year, and that was the year that my father built our rustic home on the lake,” recalls Joel. “At that time, working over that summer with my father, I didn’t know that I would be building things, in some shape or form, for the rest of my life.”
When he was 19 years old, Joel’s primary job was peeling logs.
Fact: It can take one person an entire day to peel a single house log—depending, of course, on the caliber of the person. Peeling is the first job a new employee will get, and it is the most physically grueling job in the yard. Some new hires will only last a few hours, but those who tough it out earn the possibility of being trained for more complex jobs in the log construction process.
“I had recently cut my palm open on my drawknife, and then being the stubborn Dutchman that I am, kept working peeling logs all day.”
Joel was constantly opening the wound, and on that cold winter day, the bark was frozen to the tree and coming off in little chips.
“My hand was aching, my feet were frozen and I thought to myself ‘what are you doing Joel? There must be a different need for you in this world.’”
But he kept pushing through the pain and it was shortly after that when he started to build homes with the crews and did a lot less log peeling. He never looked back, learning to push through the many cold days and deep cuts that came his way.
Timber Kings follows the master builders of Pioneer Log Homes, the largest builder of handcrafted log homes in the world. The Timber Kings travel across North America constructing log homes, showcasing their tremendous passion and talent for getting the job done, while maintaining a humorous dynamic and friendly competition among the members.
“It’s funny having the film crews and the log builders collide; it was tough for the directors and the film crew to understand our lingo and the terminology used in construction. The film crew comes from the city and do not understand things that happen in the construction field, but now that we have filmed two seasons I would say they are really catching on.
At the same time, it can be difficult to have a film crew following you around all day and recording your every moment. I still have a job to do each day and when you get slowed down on the job because of filming, it can make things difficult. But I can’t complain, the film crew always makes sure we look good on the show.”
Joel says that the Timber Kings sometime have their fights and disagreements but at the end of the day, Pioneer Log Homes wouldn’t be what it is without all six characters.
“This group is like family,” says Joel. “We all know how hard each of the guys works and we respect each other very much.”
Peter: He is passionate and drinks a little too much coffee at times, has a fairly good temper, and he can fix anything.
Bryan SR: He is the roots of the entire group, dedicated to Pioneer to build the best log homes in the world.
Bryan JR: Can be quiet, but really thinks deep and works hard. He has his dad’s talent of doing well on whatever he touches.
Andre: Likes to stick his foot in his mouth sometimes, but is passionate about the employees of Pioneer. He is amazing in dealing with people whether in sales or everyday issues.
Beat: Small but loud. He is amazingly creative and knows how to impress his clients with creative additions to their homes.
“I love working with wood because the possibilities are endless,” says Joel, who makes up the sixth team member. “I build all day at the log yard and then go home and work on projects in my workshop. You could say I’m addicted to wood.”
Did you know:
- Each log needs to dry for an entire year before it can be used in a home, to allow the moisture content to fall from 25% to 15%.
- There are no nails in a Pioneer log home. Everything is custom carved to fit together perfectly with notches and special timber joinery.
- For each tree they harvest, Pioneer plants seven more. To date, they have planted over 1.5 million trees.
To learn more facts about Timber Kings, visit their website.
Season two of HGTV’s biggest series ever – Timber Kings – premiered earlier this month and airs each Sunday at 10 p.m. EST/PST. Season two will feature builds from B.C., in Langley, Shearwater, Quesnel and 100 Mile House.