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What does it take to construct a Viking longboat or a stone tower like those that dotted the landscape of Medieval Europe? THE BIG BUILD looks to the past for challenges and tackles the ultimate “how to” projects. Host and contractor Nick Mystrom enlists experts from some of construction’s most esoteric fields as he puts his hands on history.

The Speakeasy
VIEW A CLIP {3.2M} || ORDER THE DVD 
Know the password? Then join us as we build a hidden room in a home in the Second City. In the 1920s, speakeasies were places where strong drink and soft voices went together, and our modern version is fashioned by master builder Frank Sullivan in the basement of a suburban Chicago home. Nick and team have two weeks to create this woodworking masterpiece in time to surprise recipient Joe Smith, who spent 32 years as a Chicago police officer, and his wife Daina, also a Chicago cop--both of whom are Jazz Age aficionados.

VIKING LONGBOAT 
VIEW A CLIP {3.8M} || ORDER THE DVD 
In Anacortes, Washington, a stronghold of Scandinavian-American heritage, an 1,100-year-old Viking longship takes shape under the watchful eyes of THE BIG BUILD. Boatwright Jay Smith leads a team of specialists using authentic Viking tools and techniques: making rope from twigs and vine, forging nails and tools with the local blacksmith, and stitching together an authentic 10th-century Viking sail. In the end, Nick gives the vessel away and watches as it plies the waves with its proud (and surprised) new owner aboard.

CASTLE TOWER 
VIEW A CLIP {5.5M} || ORDER THE DVD 
Nick is in northern Idaho to erect a 2-story castle tower the way masons did a thousand years ago. But he's on a decidedly modern timetable, with less than three weeks to create what could take up to four years in the old days. Will Nick be able to relax and gaze upon the stars from atop the tower before reveal day? Will the weather cooperate? And what will the reaction be when Nick presents the tower to Kris and Chalon Frandsen, two self-proclaimed castle lovers?

FRONTIER FORT 
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Speed is the key word for this down and dirty build--Lewis and Clark, racing Oregon winter chill, built the 50 foot by 50 foot Fort Clatsop, a double-structure shelter with seven rooms, a sentry box, and parade ground, in just 15 days. We'll build a scaled down, 2-cabin, 4-room version, showcasing the tools and technology of the frontier in 1805. We're building our fort in a dense patch of forestland 30 miles outside of Manhattan, Kansas, on land owned by Kris and Al Johnson. Our builder is John McPherson, a specialist in log structures and a master in frontier and wilderness survival. In addition to the fascinating process involved in building a frontier fort with minimal tools under harsh conditions--open fire pits, rawhide windows and doors, sloppy fits chinked and daubed with stones and mud, rough-planked ceilings, dirt floors, very few nails--host Nick Mystrom takes viewers through the most compelling aspects of the incredible Lewis and Clark saga.

LIGHTHOUSE
VIEW A CLIP {4.2M} || ORDER THE DVD 
What started out as simple signal fires evolved to become elaborate towers that sent beams piercing the night for miles to warn and guide sailors. Join the BIG BUILD team as they explore the inner workings of these iconic structures while reconstructing the historic Brant Point Lighthouse. The reborn tower will light up the life of John and Jean Hatfield, lighthouse lovers who have no idea this gift is coming.