André Chevigny of Timber Kings never had it easy. A hard upbringing has formed André into a hard-working master craftsman. His devotion to and appreciation for working with natural elements to build beautiful log homes is apparent in each piece of work. In an exclusive interview with Pioneer Log Homes, André opens up about how he came to be a part of the team and the true value of a hard day’s work. By Amanda Fuller and Alexa Keeler
In The Beginning
Q: When did you start working at Pioneer Log Homes?
A: Peeling logs in 1978 for Bryan Sr., then graduated in 1982 and wanted to build my own house. I kept working evenings and weekends while having a full time job at Chucks Auto Supply. Built my first home for myself in 1986, I left Chucks in 1988 and started working with Sr. full time. I worked at the Sugarcane Site until about 1998 with Beat, Joel, Sam, Peter, and Bryan Jr: working and training them, building the team. Bryan Sr. worked on the road. I started working at the office full time that same year and ran all aspects of the business.
Interview originally seen on Pioneer Log Homes.
Q: Have you always wanted to be a “Timber King”? When did you first know that this was what you wanted to do?
A: I always wanted to be a builder of relationships, I love working with people and I absolutely loved building log homes. I love to work hard, work efficient, and do different things than all the other companies. When I was at the Sugarcane Site in the early 90’s I pushed all of us to do something different, separate ourselves from the rest of the generic log builders. I wanted people in hundreds of years to look back and see the quality of work and to say ‘that guy was one heck of a Master Craftsman.’ I knew I wanted to work with wood since I was a young boy building additions or decks or railings for my Mother’s trailer, I also remember the nice smells in my woodwork classes.
Photo credit: André Chevigny Twitter.
Honor, Respect and Honesty
Q: It’s safe to say that since the show aired, many young men and women are now aspiring to become “Timber Kings” themselves. What advice would you offer to them?
A: Work hard, work passionately, work more, and work longer and smarter than anybody else. Appreciate the wood, respect it, and honor it. Be above all very honest in your dealings with clients and always be true to your word.
This photo features André with his son Tevis and their dog Benjamin picking huckleberries in the mountains. Photo credit: André Chevigny Twitter.
Favourite Perk of the Job
Q: If you had to choose one favourite thing about what we do here, what would it be?
A: For me it’s, above all, building relationships, meeting folks, doing our best to understand their wants and desires. I always say under promise and over deliver!! Of course I also love and cherish the wood as I know it is such a blessing to be able to do what I love, and that is creating things with my own hands.
This photo shows André building a barn in Alberta with Peter, Martin, Tom, Brad and Ory. Photo credit: André Chevigny Twitter.
The Project He Is Most Proud Of
Q: Of all the builds you’ve done, do you have a favourite? How about one that challenged you most?
A: The Loveland in Colorado is probably my favorite. Incredible wonderful folks, they spoke to Pioneer at the Denver show for 3 years prior and I met them there in 2002. I drove up to see their lot and told them that their idea of adding onto their existing little 100 year old log home was a bad idea. I then started to design and work together with Don Gesinger and build their current home. Even to this day they continually call and keep in touch as lifelong friends. We are not just building log homes we are building dreams and relationships. It’s an honor to meet folks and have this kind of impact on their lives.
Photo Credit: Pioneer Log Homes.
Fame and Fortune
Q: How has your life changed since the premiere of Timber Kings?
A: Going anywhere, whether local or travelling abroad and being recognised. My kids and wife are in disbelief when Dad has to stop and talk or get a photo with someone. Also for me it’s about everyone being impressed in awe of our team and the projects we get to build. The privacy thing has been hard but at the same time we are humble and very thankful and blessed.
André and Peter on the set of Global News in BC. Photo Credit: André Chevigny Twitter.
Q: Tell us about your saw of choice!
A: I have used Jonsered since I can remember, probably 1989, always loved the red saw and again having something different than all the other guys in the logging or log building industry. My first log building saw was a Husqvarna 65 that I bought from my brother Bryan, and then a smaller Husky before I got my first Jonsered.
This photo circa 1988 shows young André cutting a doorway in Minden, ON. Photo Credit: André Chevigny Twitter.
In His Spare Time
Q: When you aren’t busy being a Timber King, how do you like to spend your time?
A: I am first and foremost a father and a husband, I cherish every moment I can with my family and I lean on God to keep my family safe. I especially enjoy time outdoors with my wife and our family camping trips or travelling. I also enjoy time with our kids hunting and fishing, where there are no cell phones or communications. There I can have all my family all to myself and there are no distractions. I sincerely enjoy time with all my extended family also which includes the crews and people that make up the Pioneer family. The men and women I work with are a driving force in my life and make me want to get up in the morning and do what I love to do.
This photo of André and his sons Tevis and Mathew was taken on a camping trip in the fall in the mountains of BC. Photo Credit: André Chevigny Twitter.
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