Donald J. Claxton | The Timberlander
Braving the Wild, Crafting the Unique
Off-Grid Living in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Welcome to The Timberlander *, by Donald J. Claxton, where I share firsthand experiences and DIY tips for off-grid living, woodworking, and connecting with nature in Michigan’s remote and rugged Upper Peninsula.
During the warmer months of the year, my Great Pyrenees, Maycee, and I camp/live deep in the timberlands northwest of Marquette, Michigan.
Through our accumulated experiences, now 24 weeks from July – October 2022, and July – September 2023, my knowledge base has increased in ways I never could have imagined.
There also are the years of my youth, 1969 – 1970, 1973-1975, and 1975-1978, when I roamed freely throughout the woods on and off KI Sawyer AFB in Gwinn, Michigan.
Also featured on this site are my woodworking and woodcarving creations with wood almost 100 percent sourced from the UP. These are shared and sold via The Timberlander’s Treasures Gift Shop.
On this site you will find:
- Fall Foliage reports from the UP
Examples of off-grid living and woodworking and products I’ve made in the process
Quality information from living off the grid and woodworking projects for sustainability
How-to guides for timber frame shelters, wooden custom crosses, and basswood carvings
Field tests of off-grid gear, vintage hand tools, solar, water, and waste management projects
YouTube videos highlighting deep woods off-grid life in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
- Merchandise featuring The Timberlander and Maycee!
One-of-a-kind wooden custom crosses (Coming soon!)
Handcrafted figurines inspired by nature (Coming soon!)
Driftwood Christmas trees from the shores of Lake Superior (C s!)
Cool t-shirts featuring Maycee, my Great Pyrenees (Coming soon!)
Artful basswood carved ornaments for the holidays (Coming soon!)
Check out our Etsy shop to see available carvings like UP-themed gnomes, wildlife, Santa ornaments, and Lake Superior wood spirits. Or contact me for custom carving commissions.
Off-Grid Living: A Brief Overview
Donald J. Claxton | The Timberlander loves the experience of off-grid living.
Off-grid living is a topic gaining popularity every year.
The website’s goal is straightforward: to provide accurate, proven, and easily understandable information on off-grid living.
The primary off-grid living topics covered on this site include:
- Essential Advice before starting your off-grid journey
- Off-grid living chores
- Video from a black bear’s rampage of our 2023 campsite
- Video from reloading a BlackMax weed eater 2023
- Video of rescuing a wounded chipmunk in the UP 2023
- Video of off-grid living beginning in the UP in July of 2023
- Sustainable water sources
- Eco-friendly technology
- Off-grid homes
- The application of physics
- Emergency Preparedness
- Off-grid appliances
- Waste management
- Sustainable gardening
- Off-grid communications
- Off-grid finance
- Accessing amenities.
As the site expands, you’ll find dedicated pages for each topic mentioned.
Are you captivated by the scent and allure of freshly cut timber?
Do you enjoy creating visually stunning and functional pieces, large and/or small? Let’s attempt, build, carve, and experiment with woodworking as it applies to off-grid living.
Together, we will identify, plan, carve, and timber frame shelters with different:
- Wood species
- Vintage hand tools
- And present inspirational ideas you may apply to meet your needs
You can also learn about:
- Building a Rex Krueger Workbench
- Video on building the Rex Krueger Minimum Timber Workbench
- Video on the tools I use for off-grid living woodworking
Enchant yourself in the world of woodworking!
Looking for one-of-a-kind gifts, furniture, and wall decor?
Click to find unique items from The Timberlander Treasures Gift Shop. My specialties include:
- Branded Timberlander Treasures like T-shirts, candles, and more!
- Making rustic home decor into one-of-a-kind gifts like wooden custom crosses
- Basswood carvings of gnomes, Santas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas figurines (Coming soon!)
- Lake Superior driftwood art (Coming soon in Sept. 2023)
- Wooden furniture (Coming soon!)
- A. Maycee Grace crazy dog t-shirts (Coming soon in Aug. 2023!)
- Scenic landscape photography of Lake Superior and cool views of the UP
I also collect, use, and sell vintage hand tools, not to mention very sharp carving knives, gouges, and more.
The latest Timberlander blog posts.
We made it to the UP After months of planning and anticipation, we finally made it to the UP, ready to embark on 2023's off-grid living adventure. The trip up north from Montgomery, Alabama to the UP took two days, and Maycee and I were pooped when we arrived here in...
The UP Trip 2023 The Challenges The car is loaded and Maycee is ready to join me on the UP trip 2023. One of the biggest challenges of off-grid living is being self-sufficient. Despite last year's tent camping adventure of 13 weeks and four days from July 8 to...
An update on the Santa Sleigh and the Santa workshop builds. It's been a busy weekend of woodworking at the Claxton house. If you do not know, our house in Balch Springs, Texas serves as a waypoint for Santa during his around-the-world adventures of gift-giving each...
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The Donald J. Claxton | The Timberlander and A. Maycee Grace guarantee.
About Donald J. Claxton | The Timberlander
About A. Maycee Grace
“Woofff and Hi!” Maycee says.
Maycee is a 9-year-old Great Pyrenees who protects the campsite and worksite wherever the two travel.
Her master makes t-shirts and other merch featuring the coolest Great Pyrenees on the planet–Maycee!
Nothing ships without passing her “smell test.”
Like most Great Pyrs, when told to do something she does not want to do, Maycee doesn’t.
Also, when her daddy fusses at her, she always gets in the last “moans.”
But not to worry, this is how she keeps him out of trouble.
Maycee loves her daddy so much and hopes you will love her, too!
My woodworking; Let’s chop things down to size….
Woodworking Craft and Influence
My maternal grandfather, an artisan himself, began influencing my passion for woodworking more than 50 years ago.
He imparted his craft through books, articles, hand tools, and occasionally, harsh critique.
Growing up a good many years as a kid on K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base nurtured my enduring affection for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
Reverence for Materials and Attention to Detail
Every woodworking project includes reverence for the materials used, regardless of their purpose.
Inspired by my grandfather’s teachings to examine art from multiple perspectives, including upside down, my emphasis centers on details that accentuate the distinctive attributes of every creation.
My hope is to craft enduring heirlooms that will withstand the passage of time.
Uniqueness, Quality, and Customer Satisfaction
My custom creations will never sell in big box stores.
They exemplify excellence, therefore, I do not compromise quantity at the expense of quality.
Satisfaction with price, experience, and timely delivery are top priorities.
Self-Sufficient Living: Clearing an Off-Grid Cabin Site – Donald J Claxton | The Timberlander
Are you dreaming of building an off-grid structure like a Shawn James or Trustin Timbers’ log cabin?
I’m taking on the challenge of building timber frame shelters while camping in the wilds of Upper Michigan. This is the greatest adventure of my lifetime.
Watch as I eliminate rust-infected balsam firs, answer questions about layout and health issues, and explore possibilities of running water.
With my experience and your dreams, let’s examine the possibilities of making your own off-grid dreams come true.