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Last Update: Wednesday June 23, 2021

Key Idea: Automate Art

Technology is enabling Oregon Log to reach customers worldwide and increase the efficiency with which they build homes.

Key Question:


Find ways to automate some of the processes.

Q:  What can home buyers do if they can't afford a handmade log home?

They can choose to have their home built from the milled, rather than handcrafted, logs. Mike's inventions have opened up an entirely new market for Oregon Log Homes and that market is bigger than is his original potential customer base.

Mike is not the only person who has created a way to automate art.

If you have studied our episode about Ken Done you know that a single fish or flower painted by him twelve months ago could find it's way on to clothing for men, women and children. It could end up on a watch, handbag, tote or cosmetic bag. You might find the same fish or flower on a mouse pad, calendar, or in a poster or a silkscreen. You could see the fish or flower on bath towels, napkins, placemats, dishes or golf balls!

Also here in our library you can learn about how the famous photographer, Ken Duncan, created a growing company by investing in state-of-the-art printing techniques. This investment allows him to duplicate his art faster, cheaper and better. He keeps prices up by producing limited quanities and fully utilizes his equipment by doing printing for other photographers.

Q: Why would an artist -- and that includes our custom log home builder -- want employees and expensive equipment?

It might seem strange to see an artist fooling with employees and expensive processing equipment because we tend to think that artists are moody and private. But, they also can be fascinated with the challenge of getting costs down while keeping quality up.

Q: How does a business determine the new product offerings that will appeal to their customer base?

A: Unlike a lot of the challenges that face business owners, this is a question that can actually be addressed mathematically! Every time one of Mike's potential customers bought from another builder or gave up on owning a log home, Mike saw cash walk out the door. Now he has log homes most any home buyer can afford.

Think about it

What can you automate? How much will it cost? How long will it take for you to recover your investment in technology and machinery?

Clip from: Oregon Log Homes - they're building beauty.

National Home Builders'  "Best in America" Award

Oregon: As a young ski instructor on Mount Hood, Mike Neary built his first log home for himself.  When friends and family all bragged on it and wanted a log home too, he knew he had stumbled on to his life's work.

Today his company, Oregon Log Homes, builds the most beautiful log homes in the world.  The National Home Builders Association gave it "The Best In American Living" award and that won the attention of Disney.  Oregon Log Home was given the opportunity to build the Fort Wilderness Lodge in Orlando.

While much of the work is done by hand, Mike invented a way to automate some of the process which keeps the company competitive while still thoroughly unique.

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Oregon Log Homes, Inc.

Mike Neary, CEO, founder

1399 N. Highway 197
Maupin, OR 97037

Visit our web site:

Business Classification:

Year Founded:

Automate Art

HATTIE: (Voiceover) Mike has invented a machine that allows them to build log homes faster, therefore, cheaper. The hope for the future is to grow the lower-cost end of the business.

JEFF: They're more cost effective than what the hand-crafted is, plus the time frame is reduced tremendously. For example, a handcrafted house may take us anywhere from eight to 16 weeks to prebuild. We can cut a milled log home in a matter of sometimes days, sometimes weeks.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) You have your houses all over the world and all over the country. But here you are in Sisters.

MIKE: (Voiceover) Right.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) What is that teaching us all?

MIKE: Well, you know, that was kind of a hurdle for a while because we were the only log home company out here for a long time. There's a conglomerate of them in Montana. They all seem to get going there and congregate in this one little area. So when a client thought of log home, they thought of Montana. So that was a hurdle to overcome. But now with the new technology and the fast pace and the computers, we're able to be anywhere and everywhere.

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