Friday, May 29, 2009

Brunswick, Maine Real Estate

2000 Square Foot condo for Sale in Brunswick:
Built in 1984 this condo just had a face lift with two additional rooms and a half-bath added to the second floor. It Offers first floor living w/spare bedroom on 2nd floor, spacious dining and living with walkout to wooded lot. Washing Machine, dryer, Refrigerator, stove, dishwasher included. One car garage offers addition storage and protects your car from Maine winters! It is easy to heat with propane direct vent heater (last years heat bill amounted to under $1000) on city water and sewer. Association fees just $195 per month and annual taxes $1869. Great location with easy access to beaches, hiking, restaurants, movies, healthcare, shopping & more. Your right in the midst of it with this home but the setting is secluded and even offers a glimpse of the Maine woods! $179,900 Email for more information:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Financial Times' Learning Vacation

Shelter Institute was featured in The Financial Times Saturday May 23, 2009:
"A hands-on revolution" By Madeleine Johnson
"A few years ago Jon Biehler took a life-changing bicycle ride through the US state of Maine. He happened upon a school – the Shelter Institute – which would eventually transform him from a teacher into an architect and builder, the sort of man able to put a roof over his own head. . . . Biehler and many others have discovered, taking a self-building course not only improves your project’s bottom line. It can improve your life too."

See the full article on the Financial Times Website

Join us for the Design Build Class in July and Improve your life too!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Free Gransfors Axe with Purchase of Tormek T-7

As if any of us really need an incentive to purchase a Tormek T-7 Sharpening System! Tormek is now offering a free Gransfors Hand Axe (valued at $105) with the purchase of a T-7 between May 1, and July 31, 2009. This is a pretty spectacular combination of tools -- two of our favorites! We've got the Tormek T-7 in stock. you simply register your Tormek at and type "Free Gransfors Axe" in the comments section and you will get a special form to complete and mail along with a copy of your receipt to the address indicated. Claims must be received by their office no later than August 15, 2009. Receipts must be dated between May 1 and July 31, 2009.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Masonry Heaters

Intro to Masonry Heaters
June 20, 2009 9:30 AM
In this ever-changing energy market those of us living in cooler climates are always exploring more efficient ways of heating a home. Join us for a one hour presentation on Masonry Heaters. When built well and integrated with the floorplan of a home, masonry heaters provide continuous and even heat with minimal poking, stoking and fussing. Masonry heaters store a large amount of heat in the mass of the heater. They combine the aesthetics of a masonry fireplace with the funtion and efficiency of a sealed combustion heater. This means that you can rapidly burn a large charge of wood without overheating your home. The heat is stored in the masonry thermal mass, and then slowly radiates into your house for the next 12 to 24 hours. The workshop will cover history and basic function of masonry stoves, different styles, and information regarding the effective integration of a heater into your home plans. Cooking and baking stoves as well as issues surrounding domestic hot water will also be discussed. Bring your floorplans along and our instructor will walk you through identifying the best location for a masonry heater.This is a FREE one hour workshop with a question and answer session at the end but you must register in advance as space is limited. Send an email with your name, address and phone number as well as the class subject and date to or call 207-442-7938 to reserve your spot today.
The instructor, Eric Schroeder, spent three years working as an apprentice for different masonry heater builders in the United States and Canada. In 2007 he took a trip through Europe to attend the Austrian Kachelofenverband's annual trade show, and to visit with a stove builder in Friesland, northern Holland. He brings tales from the road and technical and practical information about heaters to this workshop.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Draw Your House with Your Computer

Saturday June 13, 2009 9:30-11:30 am
Now you can take a hands-on drafting-on-computer class. While we have always offered drafting with pencil and paper in our Design-Build Class, we know that many of you have stopped using pencils and paper and we don't want that to be an excuse for not creating a thorough design. Although Pat will always draw his projects by hand, many of you have asked about our favorite computer programs. Although there are a myriad of choices out there with a wide range of price tags attached to them, we thought we would start with a cost effective version.
Google has brought 3D modeling into the mainstream with their FREE distribution of a product called “Sketchup.” This software has a remarkably flat learning curve compared to most CAD programs. This 2-hour session covers a tour of the software and its capabilities, as well as hands-on guided modeling. This is a great tool for visualizing spaces. Professional builders are able to share ideas with clients and sub-contractors in perspective, plan and elevation view while only having to create one “drawing”. Sketchup even makes it possible to export your model to your site on “Google Earth”

The instructor, Patrick Wright, is a self-taught Sketchup artist who has experience as a teacher, homeowner/builder, land use planner, and Timber Framer with the Hennin Post and Beam Crew. In 2007, he led a group of novice volunteer modelers who created 45 buildings in Downtown Brunswick, ME. These models have been accepted in Google Earth's "3D Buildings" layer. Patrick's practical building experience helps to bring together the realities of home design and construction with the expertise of computer aided design.

Students should bring a laptop computer to gain the most from the workshop but it is not required. If possible, please download Sketchup ahead of time at: Google Sketchup If you have trouble installing the program, the instructor will help you at the beginning of class (please arrive early). Be sure to bring a mouse, as a touchpad is much more difficult to model with.
For more information, please visit this products webpage. Tuition for this class is for services rendered. The Shelter Institute makes no warranty, and holds no license for "Sketchup" software. The Shelter Institute and its instructors are not employed by or agents of Google, Inc. Non-Refundable Registration: $45 (This Registration fee can be transferred once at no charge. A second request for transfer will result in the loss of deposit.)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Composting Toilets

Saturday May 16, 2009 9:30 am

Composting Toilets 101
Join us for a FREE one hour discussion of composting toilets: we'll provide first hand experience with a variety of styles, information on how they relate to the building code and how best to use and maintain them. As always a question and answer session will follow in which we can provide information specific to your situation! 'Tis the season for composting with the opening of summer cottages and guest cabins come explore whether this is a good choice for you or not! Free coffee, tea and snacks provided!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Maine Public Broadcasting Auction

Shelter Institute supports Maine Public Broadcasting Networks annually by donating one course tuition to the MPBN Great TV Auction. This year you can bid for items online! Check out our class and make a bid and see the other great items up for auction!

This year we donated tuition for the One Week Small Housebuilding Class. Cabins, camps, sheds, guest houses, cottages, and tree-houses are all tiny houses. Learn to design and build a small structure to suit your own particular needs in this one-week hands-on seminar. We will design and build a small cabin to serve as a year-round guest house. The size of this particular house will be less than 200 square feet!We address such issues as design (how to make a small space feel big), basic structural engineering, heating and cooling as well as alternative plumbing solutions. Our structure will demonstrate low environmental impact on its surroundings and is designed for minimal maintenance through the years. Learn to use basic hand tools effectively in this class - upon registration, we will provide you with a list of suggested tools. Part of the class will be an introduction to the best tools for the most common tasks. And of course, any tools you do not already own, you can purchase here at Woodbutcher Tools during your stay. A key component of this seminar is our panelized construction technique which allows for efficient, fast construction that is strong and durable. You will learn the tips and tricks to make your own tiny house as permanent and useful as any larger structure.