Category Archives: Natural Building

Cordwood Construction: Summer Picture Bonanza!

The summer of 2014 has been filled with new and unique cordwood structures and adventures.  The following photos come from many different parts of the globe.  All are new to me, for which I am forever grateful.

Isaac Haumesser's cordwood building finished

Above is Isaac Haumesser’s practice cordwood building in Missouri.  Isaac built this as a practice run for his cordwood home.  The stone work is amazing, the roof is called Dragon Scale, the cordwood random pattern is outstanding and door is in a league of its own.  Nice work Isaac.

Germask Workshop Tammy Trupp 1 with Banjo Bob

This is the lovely cordwood “build” of Tammy and Sharon in Germfask, Michigan (think Upper Peninsula).

Germfask Workshop Tammy Trupp 7

Sharon has developed a gorgeous indoor garden!

Germfask Workshop Tammy Trupp 5

Having fun after a long days work!   Follow their adventure at

Amman 2

A gorgeous  bottle end wall at Honey and Mike’s in Holmen, Wisconsin.

The cordstead by Sandy Clidaras

Sandy Clidaras’s Cordstead in Quebec.

Cordwood sauna via Meander Ette no other details

A cordwood cabin deep in the mountains.

Viking sauna in Finland http

A cordwood sauna in Finland with Viking motifs.

Cordwood Construction Best Practices  available in print & ebook at online bookstore.

This blogpost full of “cordwood eye candy” is brought to you by Richard and Becky Flatau at Cordwood Construction Resources.

Cordwood Construction Best Practices is the latest and the best book to guide you through your cordwood journey.   Order it from the Online Bookstore at 


Imagine Cordwood

Imagine Cordwood   From time to time, I am asked to write articles for various newspapers, magazines and books.   Last year Die Zeitung requested an article for their eastern European readership.  The result was a fantastic collaboration with the reporter (Nina). Last month an international magazine asked for an article that would show the whimsical and ethereal side of cordwood.  Immediately three gals who had built gorgeous places with cordwood popped into my mind.  I contacted each one and “to a woman” they were overjoyed to help write a positively emotive article, showing more than construction details.

Faerie Mag page 1 high resolution

Click on the picture to enlarge the print. 

Faerie Mag page 2 high resolution

The article appears in the Summer edition of Faerie Magazine on pages 30-32.  It is a visual feast of cordwood eye candy, plus a 250 word beautiful flight of verbal fancy from each delightful author.

Faerie Mag page 3 high resolution


This article is used with permission of the editor.   If you wish to order this charming magazine go to and click on the 2014 summer issue #27.  To receive a 15% discount on anything, use the word Cordwood in the promo/discount box.

Cordwood Construction Best Practices  available in print & ebook at online bookstore.

For information on how to build using Cordwood Construction with Best Practices go to and order the newest book on the cordwood bookshelf.  Cordwood Construction Best Practices.

The entire article is also on my website under Articles “Imagine Cordwood”

Cordwood with Cob Mortar is “Cobwood”

We had the distinct good fortune to participate in a Cordwood with Cob Mortar Workshop at Kinstone Permaculture Academy.  Building a Cobwood Entrance Center for the school was the order of the day.   A kidney-shaped grade beam had been put in place and the cobwood rises off a “gneiss” stone stem wall.

The soil is first tested for clay content and the workability and firmness of the clay is determined by rolling a piece of clay for stiffness.  Note the sign which gives the cob mix proportions (2 sand, 1 clay, 1 sawdust, straw).

Cobwood workshop 14


Next the ingredients are mixed and stomped.  This can be a tedious process or a fun dance time:0)

Cobwood workshop 13


Cobwood workshop 12

A loaf of the cob mixture is laid down like a regular cordwood mortar bead.  However the cob mortar beads are thicker.  Here we are using 5 inches of cob on the inside and outside, with a 6″ insulation cavity.

Cobwood workshop 1

The walls rise similar to cordwood, except the cob will slump sooner, so the wall must be built one or two rows at a time.


Smiles are an integral part of natural building.

Cobwood workshop 3

This cobwood entrance center is an experimental build for the northern Midwest, as there are only a few examples of cobwood homes in this large geographical area.  Since cob is not a good insulator,we are combining it with an insulation cavity to see if it can be adaptable to our very cold winters (-30 degrees below zero).

Cobwood workshop 7

We will keep you apprised of our progress and how the building functions, winter and summer.

Cobwood workshop 5

The children make great cob mixers.

Cobwood workshop 6

Our plan is to keep track of the cob kiosk and see what we can offer/add to the increasing interest in cobwood construction.

Cobwood workshop 15


The stem wall is being built with gneiss stone.

Below, we laid down a lime bead to highlight the insulation cavity.  The sawdust insulation is mixed with lime to prevent insect infestation.

Cobwood workshop 8

Having the Kinstone Cordwood Chapel in the background is a valuable source of inspiration.

Cobwood workshop 9

If you have questions or comments, please email them to me at  Follow this blog for further updates.

For more information on cordwood construction using many different types of mortar go to


Cordwood Article in LaCrosse Tribune

The LaCrosse Tribune’s Allison Geyer wrote an outstanding article about Cordwood Construction in the Saturday, July 12, 2014 edition of the LaCrosse Tribune. The article not only gives a concise and accurate history of why and how we built our cordwood home in 1979, but it also details the reasons for building with cordwood in the 21st Century.

LaCrosse Tribune Cordwood Article

LaCrosse Tribrune artilce 1Kristine, Jarad and Mike decide on log placement for the cordwood sauna.

LaCrosse Tribrune artilce 2

The stunningly beautiful cordwood chapel with thatched roof,  is ready for to provide a sanctuary for reflection.

LaCrosse Tribrune artilce 3

The interior is filled with motifs from nature.  This is the sunrise wall with plants, flowers and trees.  The center of the door has wood carvings to honor the Native American  presence in Buffalo County.

LaCrosse Tribrune artilce 4

The sideways slabs are the stems and the bottles are the flowers.  Imagination knows no bounds when building with cordwood.

To learn more about Kinstone Permaculture Academy 

To learn more about Cordwood Construction

Email with questions  (copy and paste this email address)

Cordwood Workshop July 19-20, 2014 Wisconsin

One of the final Cordwood Workshops of the season will be held at Kinstone Permaculture Academy (SW Wisconsin) on July 19-20, 2014. This workshop will be a Best Practices workshop where participants will be taught by hands-on methods, how to build their own cabin, cottage or shed. The agenda will cover all the important choices that need to be made when building with cordwood.

Cordwood eNewsletter Summer 2014

The registration form is Online

You can call me (Richard Flatau) 715-212-2870 or send me an email at if you have questions or you want me to reserve your spot.

Don’t miss out on a chance to learn cordwood construction the right way.Here are some pictures of the work site and some of the workshop participants.

Kinstone Workshop June 2014

Kinstone with stone circle low rez

Workshop Kinstone JUne 2014 Jarad and Richard explain how its done

workshop kinstone june 2014 planning their work working their plan or mugging for the camera

Kinstone workshops brochure 1

Looking forward to seeing you there.  Questions?  Ask me.

Richard Flatau                        715-212-2870


Cordwood Construction Sauna Workshop June 12-15, 2014

We had the distinct pleasure of teaching a Post & Beam Framing Workshop and a Cordwood Workshop at Kinstone Permaculture Academy on June 12-15, 2014.  The students were wonderful, energetic and full of ideas.   We used the first two days to frame the Cordwood Sauna.

Workshop Kinstone JUne 2014  framework of the sauna

This is a 12′ x 16′ sauna that is next to the camping facilities and solar showers at Kinstone.

Here the students are learning to frame a building and keep it level and plumb.

Workshop Kinstone JUne 2014 leveling the post

Damp proof rolled roofing is in place (to stop water migration) and the first post is being leveled and anchored.   Holes are drilled in the foundation and 3/8″ angle iron, anchor sleeves and lag screws are added to keep the building from going anywhere.

Workshop Kinstone JUne 2014 sleeve anchors angle iron brackets and lag screws to secure the post

It is important to have “many hands on deck” to keep these large 8″ x 8″ girders in a secure place.

Workshop Kinstone JUne 2014 final girder in place

Workshop Kinstone JUne 2014 learning to use a chop saw

Students had an opportunity to learn how to use power tools safely with instruction and supervision. Many students shared their expertise.

Workshop Kinstone JUne 2014 putting on hurricane ties

Hurricane straps are important to secure the top rafters from wind shear.

Workshop Kinstone JUne 2014 Jarad and Richard explain how its doneDiscussing and learning to “problem solve” on a job site is one of the many advantages of taking a workshop.

The framing is now ready for cordwood infill.

Workshop Kinstone JUne 2014 mixing a batch with bandanas

The first step in cordwooding, is learning how to prepare and use a proper mortar.  The bandana’s are fashionable dust masks.

workshop kinstone june 2014 planning their work working their plan or mugging for the camera

Many hands make light work:0)

workshop kinstone june 2014 first row

The first row is the most important!

Folks are happy when they learn the proper techniques.

Workshop Kinstone JUne 2014 Roger and Deb

Workshop Kinstone JUne 2014 busy hands and focused intentions

Tuck pointing is a learned art.  Rubber gloves are important to keep the hands safe.

Workshop Kinstone JUne 2014  bottle end

Learning to install a recycled bottle for a “stained glass” effect.

Workshop Kinstone JUne 2014 group photo

It was supposed to rain on the last day, but the rain held-off and we were able to get quite a bit of work completed.

Workshop Kinstone JUne 2014  ready to cover with tarps

The building is now ready for the next workshop.   We will be teaching a Cobwood Workshop (cob and cordwood) on June 27-29, 2014 at Kinstone and we will do another Cordwood  Workshop on the Sauna on July 19-20, 2014. 

If you are interested please go to and click on the Workshop links on the right side of the page.

For information, photos, articles and books on Cordwood Construction, go to  if you are interested in books, ebooks, CD’s or videos check out the Online bookstore 

Cordwood 320 x 414Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices


If you have any questions please leave a comment or email me at 

Cordwood Home For Sale in Oklahoma

                For Sale:   Cordwood Home in SE Oklahoma

Alan & Rebecca's 16 sided cordwood home made of 12" eastern red cedar.

Alan & Rebecca’s 16 sided cordwood home made of 12″ eastern red cedar.

    At the edge of Ouchita Forest ten miles south of Wilburton, Ok, is a small community of homes in a serene and quiet treed area called the United Spanish War Veterans Colony.  About 100 veterans and their families live here.

A Hearthstone free standing stove takes care of all their heating requirements.  Easter red cedar has beautiful patterning.

A Hearthstone free standing stove takes care of all their heating requirements. Easter red cedar has beautiful patterning.

We acquired a three quarter acre lot here, and built a 16 sided cordwood home.  It has an earth floor which has 8 coats of resin for hardening, and a living roof planted with sedum.  The house is approximately 900 sq. ft., one bedroom 1 ½ bath. The ceiling is douglas fir and the structure is all locally milled pine.  We used local cedar for our 12’ thick cordwood walls.  The windows are low e and double hung.  We added a sunroom on the south side for solar gain in the winter.  It could be used as a second bedroom. We added a mud room on the north side where the main door is, for shoes and coats.

The red cedar is a weed tree in the southern middle portion of the country and it is naturally resistant to insects.

The red cedar is a weed tree in the southern middle portion of the country and it is naturally resistant to insects.

The kitchen and bathroom cabinets are knotty alder built custom for us by Quality Cabinets in Quinton, OK.  The interior is all open with partial walls 7 feet high for the bath and bedroom.  We have a soapstone wood stove that keeps us more than toasty in the winter. There is plenty of wood on the property to cut and split for years to come.  We cool it with a heat pump.  Our biggest electric bill in the summer has been $65.00.  The county maintains the streets here and we pay no property taxes.  We built a 10 by 12 deck on the east side of the house.  Our water heater is propane on demand.  You’ll never run out of hot water in the shower. There is a community hall here where a pot luck supper is held once a month for residents.  Breakfast is served every Saturday morning at 9 AM.  Holidays are celebrated at the hall also, with the colony providing the meat and each family bringing a dish to share.

Alan Barreca house for sale 6 low rez Each lot is a lifetime lease for each war veteran, and he or she only owns the improvements made on the property.  Residents must be war veterans to buy a property in this community. Included in the sale is a 20 by 26 car port, two storage buildings, one cordwood, and one Rubbermaid.  We have a half share in a fema approved storm shelter.

We are asking $80,000 for this unique and beautiful home.  Our contact is  You can call us at

(home) 918 465 1112 or

(cell) 925 519 1096

Alan Barreca house for sale 1 low rez