The first time you meet Ethan and Jacob Waddington, you might think you're seeing double. Considering the fact that they're identical twins, that's not too surprising. As a matter of fact, even some of their closest friends can only tell them apart when they are wearing their hats. However, a strong resemblance is not the only thing these two boys have in common. One of their biggest similarities is that they're both determined that anything they've done before they can do again and do it better; in other words, they're both hopeless perfectionists.
They like to build things. They like to create things; but no matter what it is, it's never good enough. It has always been this way. In their early years this desire to create took form primarily in building wooden guns, complete with cardboard holsters hand sewn with fishing line. In 1997 their Father, Caleb Waddington, decided to move away from ranching and relocate to Northwestern Montana to try something he'd always wanted to do—build log homes.
After seeing a local chainsaw carver at work in Libby, Jacob thought he'd like to try his hand at it, but being only eight at the time, he was told he'd have to wait until he was a bit older, fifteen to be exact. In the mean time he satisfied himself by doing miniature carvings in balsa wood blocks using Xacto knives, copying the carvings he'd seen done by chainsaw artists. In 2002 the family moved again, this time to North Dakota; and in 2004 their father started a tree removal service. As soon as they were old enough Ethan and Jacob joined their dad and older brother Seth in the family business. Jacob turned fifteen and reminded his dad about the chainsaw carving deal they made. Somewhat reluctantly he was given a small saw and some logs to hack away at. He caught on to carving with a saw quickly, and over the next ten years made a good side business out of it.
Music was also a big part of the Waddington family life. In the summer they cut trees and in the winter the family toured the lower 48 and Canada, playing bluegrass and gospel music. Ethan played banjo and bass, and Jacob played mandolin and drums. In 2009 at the age of eighteen Ethan placed second in the National Banjo Championship in Winfield Kansas. He also placed in the top four two years later in 2011. Music was the primary focus in their lives at this point and when their musical ability demanded they get better instruments, they found they couldn't afford them—good mandolins sold from $4,000 on up and banjos were pretty much the same. They became luthiers (stringed instrument builders) mostly out of necessity. Ethan built his own banjo and Jacob helped Seth build the mandolin he played. Jacob also excelled at the art of inlay, cutting designs out of mother of pearl and abalone blanks and setting them in wood.
In 2012 Caleb decided it was time to try a project he'd been thinking about for quite a while: to build a log home with his sons during their slow season. Upon completion of the log kit, they sold it, and it now stands in the black hills of South Dakota near the town of Belle Fourche. This was the first log home the boys had been involved with, and by the time it was finished they knew they wanted to do more. In early 2015 they had an opportunity to go to work for a log home company in Montana. Anxious to gain more experience, they jumped at the chance. The more they built with logs, the more they liked it, but it bothered them to have to build to a quality standard that didn't meet theirs. It didn't take long for them to decide it was time to branch out on their own. As always, they were pushing for higher quality workmanship than they were seeing elsewhere and went to work applying the skill and eye for fine detail they had acquired building musical instruments. In 2017 they founded Waddington Log Homes based out of Thompson Falls Montana. Their goal is simple: To offer the highest quality log homes available anywhere. Achieving that goal? Maybe not so simple; but that doesn't discourage Ethan and Jacob Waddington. After all, to them, building with logs isn't about construction. It's about art.