Name: Steve Maxwell
Occupation: builder, cabinetmaker, writer, photographer, videographer, syndicated home improvement expert, homesteader
Serious Hobbies: stonemasonry, hiking, gardening, swimming, reading
Values: craftsmanship, honesty, hard work, generosity, beauty, Christian faith
All about Canada’s Handiest Man
Steve Maxwell, “Canada’s Handiest Man”, is an award-winning home improvement authority and woodworking expert. For more than two decades he’s been helping people renovate, repair, build and maintain their homes.
Follow Steve Maxwell
2 million people read Steve’s how-to, DIY and tool review articles monthly through various publications and by following him via:
- Maxwell’s House blog
- Maxwells_Tips on Twitter
- Canada’s Handiest Man on Facebook, and
- Mother Earth News
His First Home Building Project
Steve and his wife Mary began their homesteading adventure in 1985, designing and building their 3,000 sq. ft. stone and timber home — on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada — with their own four hands. Constructed to standards that exceed current code requirements for insulation and strength, Steve used locally-source, sustainably harvested wood for the timber frame. He also quarried his own limestone to build the basement and above-ground walls, and completed all wiring, plumbing, ventilation and interior finishing work.
Interesting Features of Steve’s Home and Life
- Steve heats his house with wood burned in a masonry heater. This is an ancient approach that burns a clean, hot, fast fire at very high temperatures to reduce emissions, storing heat in the 4,000-pound masonry body of the structure, radiating it out slowly over 12 to 24 hours.
- A gasification outdoor wood boiler is in the works for next year to heat his workshop and house, as well as all domestic hot water.
- All Steve’s wood heating is done with blown-down trees or trees felled by beavers or cut for construction projects and transmission line work.
- Steve supports his family financially by working digitally from his middle-of-nowhere homestead. He almost never leaves the place, driving his 20-year-old F-150 less than 5,000 miles per year.
- Major tool companies consult with Steve regularly on tool design, and his published product reviews cover everything from power tools to building materials to vehicles.
Steve’s values go beyond green building and living into other aspects of his life. With his wife Mary, Steve adopted an orphan from South Africa in 2008, and his family of seven sponsor a bunch of children from developing overseas countries (through Compassion Canada and World Vision). He also home schools three of his five children, grows an organic vegetable garden, pastures cattle and keeps a root cellar (an area he explains in the book he co-authored: The Complete Root Cellar Book).