Category Archives: Alaska

25 Cordwood Homes: Beauty Inside & Out

Inside and Out:  When I post a cordwood photo, folks often ask, “What does that look like on the inside?  This is a 4 part blog post series about incredible cordwood homes, cabins, and cottages with pictures of the outside and the inside. Bryan_and_Lois_house_in Colorado for media 800 x 600  pixels Richard Flatau copyright with logo.jpgBryan & Lois Pratt built this unbelievably gorgeous cordwood home in Woodland Park, Colorado. It is 12 sided with a full post and beam log framework. This is a masterpiece of good construction and design.  The back windows and deck look out onto Pike’s Peak!Bryan_and_Lois_house_with logo1Bryan_and_Lois_house_with logo2The kitchen at the Pratt’s home is a lovely place for a healthy meal. Adam Norris Alberta small pixelsAlbert Norris built this beautiful cordwood cabin with double doors in Alberta, Canada.

Adam Norris Alberta 3 interior.jpgExterior cordwood wall blue windows small pixels with logoCordwood and blue windows with bottle bricks in Alberta, Canada. Alan Stankevitz Minnesota double wall with PV array with copyright.jpgDouble Wall with 4.3 KW array in LaCrescent, Minnesota by Alan Stankevitz.Alan wall 1.jpg

Nick Kautzer CA.jpg high rez with logo.jpgNick Kautzer post frame and cordwood in California.

nick kautzer 3 with logo resized.jpg

 

Alan & Rebecca 8 SE Oklahama small pixels with logo.jpgOklahoma cordwood using red cedar and bottles to make a cozy family room. WA for sale 2.pngWashington State cordwood with Western Red Cedar.WA for sale 3.jpgcordwood-for-sale-bc-1.jpgVancouver Island cordwood home with a fish pond.cordwood-for-sale-comox-bc5.jpg

Luke and Amy Metzger 4 with logoSpartanburg, South Carolina with a spiral staircase and a basement. Luke and Amy Metzger Spartanburg, SC g 2012adirt under my nails NC 3 with logoAsheville, North Carolina, cordwood on a mountain top.dirt under my nails NC 8.jpgWhite Earth Cordwood 2010c.jpgCordwood home at White Earth in Minnesota made of cedar, with a room in the attic truss for an additional 800 sq. ft. of living space. White Earth Interior 2010  bear paw  feather by door2.jpg

Large overhangsThe Cordwood Education Center Classroom in Merrill, Wisconsin.cec-interior-2015-high-resolutoin.jpgdon-gerdes-reedsburg.jpg

Northern White Cedar cordwood home in Reedsburg, WI.  Don & Cathy.Don Gerdes Reedsburg2Flatau's Chateau for book CCBP with logoFlatau’s Chateau lovely cordwood home in Merrill, Wisconsin (above and below).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cordstead 1 with logoThe Cordstead in Quebec: a BnB by Sandy and Angelika. The Cordstead 1

Sebastien Demers 13 large pixels with logo.jpgSebastien Demers and his round and rectangle cordwood home in Quebec City, Quebec.Sebastien Demers 11.jpgHis banana tree produced 30 pounds of bananas!Kinstone low rez with logoKinstone Cordwood Chapel in the springtime. Kinstone chapel in full bloom.jpgJohn Meilahn 5John Meilahn, Copper Harbor, Michigan. John Meilahn 6a with logo.jpgShould you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop DVD (2018),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print 2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their Online Cordwood Bookstore.  The books & DVD are also available as ebooks for a quick and easy shipping free download.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

This is the Cordwood Workshop DVD will show you how to build a best practices cordwood home.

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

The 30 detailed menu items from the Cordwood Workshop DVD.

DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2Thank you for your kind attention to Cordwood Construction.   If you would like more information, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Or email richardflatau@gmail.com 

 

 

Advertisements

Cordwood at White Earth

  “This was not a ‘spec house’ but one that has a unique personality and footprint. The purposes of this undertaking were to produce a natural, attractive home, provide labor opportunities on the reservation and instill pride of ownership within a community directed operation.”   –Richard Flatau

 Cordwood Home on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. White Earth Article 5

Making Contact
The MMCDC (Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation) contacted us with regard to the possibility of building a cordwood home on the White Earth Reservation in NW Minnesota.  The idea was to provide attractive, affordable, energy efficient housing on the reservation, while offering employment opportunities for the training of tribal cordwood masons.

The plan to work with the White Earth Tribal Land Office allowed the home to be constructed on Tribal Trust Land.  The local contractor and members of the tribe were enthusiastic about building a home that would be in harmony with the natural surroundings, be energy efficient and use locally available resources.  It would be designed and built with wood from the area and in accord with Ojibwa home traditions.  That is, the house would be a multi-generational home, it would incorporate a large family gathering area, the entrance would face east, and it would be comprised mostly of renewable materials.   White Earth Article 2.jpg    Floor plan for 1840 sq. ft. home (1,040 sq. ft. first floor, 800 sq. ft. second floor).

Vision

Here are the processes and  attributes of this very successful home building project.

  • Efficient design with owner input (Ojibwa Tribal member) leading to functional space usage
  • 12/12 pitch roof for additional 800 sq. ft. adding 2 bedrooms, and a bath upstairs
  • Insulated sand bed with radiant-in-floor heat (coupled with off-peak power usage)
  • Northern White Cedar post and beam framework (a sacred tree in Ojibwa culture)
  • 16″ Northern White Cedar cordwood log ends
  • High R-value foam insulation in center cavity (R-30)
  • Cold weather mortaring techniques
  • Ojibwa design features mortared into the cordwood walls
  • Ojibwa mortaring crews hired

Good People

We were fortunate to work with two very capable builders: Robert Zahorski, the general contractor and Bill Paulson, a tribal member who was the project coordinator.   Each dovetailed into the other’s strengths and the result was a building that evokes Ojibwa traditions, built with 21st century construction techniques.

Sand bed for heat storage White Earth Article 1.jpg

In the fall of 2009 the foundation was built with an insulated sand bed, beneath an insulated cement slab.  This sand bed will store heat during off-peak energy hours and then radiate it throughout the house during the high-energy-rate use daylight hours.   This is similar to radiant-in-floor heat, except the large sand bed under the foundation is insulated and provides heat energy storage for the home.  The drawing on the left, courtesy of Alan Stankevitz of daycreek.com, gives a rendering of this concept.

Cedar post and beam framework

The post and beam framework was erected by a local contractor.  Cedar posts gathered from near the reservation were milled on the two sides that would abut the cordwood infill.  They were left rounded on the interior and exterior.

East wall under construction.jpg

The cedar post and beam framework was braced.  The bracing is very important to maintain structural integrity and prevent sections from going “out of square.”  The braces are only removed after the cordwood walls approach the four foot mark.  As you will notice, the roof is complete and shingled. Having the roof finished before cordwood construction begins means that the cordwood mortaring can take place, for the most part, out of the elements. If a section is not finished in time, it can be ‘boarded up’ for the winter and work can continue on the inside of the building.  Attaching tarps to the fascia boards is helpful when it is necessary to protect the mortar and the workers from the drying rays of the sun.

Electrical

There are many code compliant ways to run electrical wiring in a cordwood building.  In general for wiring jobs we recommend that you follow your local building codes.  In cordwood buildings in various parts of the country, we have used conduit, Romex NM, and UL 12-2 wiring (with a resistant coated jacket) wire-stapled to the middle of the posts.   In this particular instance the electrical contractor chose to run flexible, plastic tubes (also called flexible PVC conduit). In accord with the blueprint, the ‘blue smurf’ wiring tubes were then installed throughout the building.  Bill injecting foam.jpgThe hanging blue tubes (with metal receptacles) were very irritating to work around during construction.  The masons were constantly bumping into them while mortaring.

Window Boxes

The window boxes (made of double 2″ x 8″s) were hung, using the sturdy top plates as fastening points.  The two exterior door frames were ‘roughed in.’   Later these would have doors with beautiful etched glass panels installed for both privacy and beauty (see picture at end of article).

 White earth for OB 1.jpgThe window boxes, door framing and wiring tubes are shown in the phot0.  Notice that the window boxes are screwed into the top plate of the post and beam framework.  This helps to assure that the windows will always open.  White Earth Article 15.jpg

Cedar Log Ends

Early in the process, the decision was made to use 16″ cedar log ends for the cordwood infill.  This length would provide an insulation value of R-24.   The logs had been cut and dried for four years in eight foot lengths.  After that they were cut into 16″ lengths and 70% of the logs were split to assure faster drying.

On the way to being stacked the logs were dipped in a borate solution (four cups of borax to one gallon of water). Finally, the logs were stacked in single rows for drying. While stacked, the exterior ends of the log ends were brushed with a UV blocker (Lifeline Exterior from Permachink) so that the faces of the exterior log ends would maintain their color.  The interior log end faces were left natural.

Mortar Mixing                                                    

A mortar mixer was purchased and three different individuals were trained on mixing proper cordwood “mud.” It was very helpful to have an alternate “mortar mixer” when someone had a scheduling conflict.White Earth small pixel window boxes with keyways on inside and outside

The mortar mixture used was the Flatau’s favorite mix of:

  • 1 part Portland Cement
  • 1 part Hydrated Lime Type S
  • 2 parts soaked softwood sawdust (coarse)
  • 3 parts washed, coarse sand

The overall feel of the mortar is an adobe style texture which is easily tuck-pointed with a spoon.

Injecting Foam Insulation 

For insulation, the initial strategy was to use regular coarse softwood sawdust mixed with hydrated lime in the center cavity, but a dearth of coarse, softwood sawdust in the area, led to another decision.   It was determined that injected closed cell foam was going to be used.  The main advantages of injected foam are:  high R-value (R-7 per inch), it bonds well with the wood and tends to fill every nook and cranny.  Cordwood builder Sandy Clidaras of  Quebec has been a pioneer in using closed cell foam in single wall cordwood and so we consulted him for advice.  Sandy generously gave of his time and information.  Convinced of the foam’s merits, we ordered eight kits of foam insulation.

White Earth Article 4.jpg

When using injected closed cell foam the cordwood wall is first built in two-foot-high sections.  Half-inch  tubes are inserted in the center cavity as the wall is being built.  The mortar is left to harden for at least 24 hours (any sooner and the wall may be lifted by the pressure of the expanding foam).   The foam is then injected into the tubes. The foam comes in two canisters, which must be warmed before being used and then shaken while injecting (this makes certain all the foam is used).  There are many companies that make expanding foam and quite a number of building supply stores carry the kits.  To find a foam retailer, do a Google search and make a few phone calls to get your best price.   On a 1,200 square foot home, with eight foot high cordwood walls, the foam will add approximately $4000 to the cost of construction.

The closed cell foam is rated at an R-value of 7 per inch.  A 5 inch cavity gives an R-value of 35.  Coupled with the usual 16″ cordwood walls’ R-value of R-24, we extrapolated that our wall R-value approached R-30.White Earth Interior 2010  bear paw  feather by door2.jpg

Cold Weather Mortaring

When we left to conduct another workshop in North Carolina the cordwood mortaring crew was about one third finished.  Little did we know at the time that the fall of 2009 in northwestern Minnesota would turn into one of the coldest on record.   Finishing the cordwood infill in October meant tarping the house, covering the cordwood walls with blankets and ‘firing-up’ a propane heater.  Starting a little later in the morning allowed the temperatures rise a bit.

If at all possible, cold weather mortaring is something to avoid.  If the water in the mortar mix freezes it can cause the mortar to flake and crumble.  Since this home was built within a post and beam framework there was no worry about structural integrity, but to have to re-mortar a complete wall or part of a wall would become a very labor intensive operation, especially since the mortar flaking may not be immediately apparent.

If you must mortar in cold weather, it is imperative to finish all mortaring before freezing temperatures occur.  If this becomes impossible, then precautions need to be taken to assure the mortar will not freeze:

  • The freshly mortared cordwood wall must be covered with blankets or tarps and secured, so it is protected from freezing cold and wind.
  • If there is a crew working on different sections (as was the case on this project) wrap the entire building with tarps to cover the work. (see picture)
  • Even though there is a little heat generated from the chemical reaction of the Portland cement and the water, it is not enough to prevent it from freezing when the temperatures plummet.
  • On this project, not only did we tarp the entire house, but we placed a propane heater in the middle of the house to keep the mortar from freezing.
  • It is very important to keep the walls covered, except when mortaring, for at least seven days.
  • According to masonry experts, masonry mortar takes seven days to dry and fourteen days to cure.White Earth Article 17.jpg

There are ingredients that can be added to the mortar mix to retard freezing (calcium chloride), but with the soaked sawdust in this mix, no one can adequately be certain that these non-freeze agents will work properly.  So it is best to cover, seal and provide a source of heat if the temperature is going into the 20’s.  Diminishing the amount of sawdust as temperatures drop can be helpful, as the retarding feature of the sawdust is less important.On this project we were properly prepared to prevent the masonry from freezing during the very cold month of October.

       While the precautions kept the cordwood walls from freezing, it added to labor costs by requiring time consuming ‘take-down’ every morning and ‘button-up’ in the evening.  The cordwood masonry was finished by late October and the inside work commenced.  The entire cordwood infill was accomplished in less than six weeks.                                  

Native Cordwood Masons

One of the highlights of this project was meeting and teaching the cordwood mortaring group which had been assembled for this task.  The crew was paid a good wage and learned valuable masonry and construction skills in the process.  They were enthusiastic and learned quickly.  As the project went along, some of the guys started talking about building an Ojibwa Ceremonial Lodge and personal homes, using the abundant Tamarack on the edges of the surrounding wild rice lakes.  One of the many side benefits of being involved in this project was receiving gifts of hand harvested and processed wild rice.   Even though the project was open to women applicants, there were no takers.  Becky ended up being the only woman on the crew and enjoyed working with the guys.

Special Effects

Bill and Robert were instrumental in making some of the artistic Ojibwa motifs in the White Earth Home.  The owner of the home was a member of the Bear Clan, so Bill decided he would put a bear paw, a feather, the Medicine Wheel and shelves in the cordwood wall.  They became the focal points of the house. White Earth Article 10.jpgWe visited the home a year after completion to do any weatherizing that might be required   We applied  Permachinktm around a few log ends that had loosened and stuffed a few round log ends that had checked with white fiberglass.  This well constructed home is easy to heat and blends beautifully into the surrounding woodland.    White Earth Article 13

The home has caused quite a stir in the surrounding area, and there are plans for building a commercial law office, a ceremonial lodge and more cordwood homes. We are proud of our involvement, and grateful for the friendships made, but we are also thankful to the tribal members who welcomed us and provided insight and assistance in making this home come to fruition.  Being involved in a project of this magnitude was certainly a peak experience for us.

White_Earth_Winter_2009_best_Flatau300dpi

(Below) Note the feather (left) and the Bear Paw (right) on either side of the door.

Flatau White Earth Reservation Corwdood Home 3 Naytahwaush, Minnesota USA.jpgWinter or summer, the White Earth Cordwood home is comfortable and inviting to family and friends.

 

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop DVD (2018),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print 2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their Online Cordwood Bookstore.  The books & DVD are also available as ebooks for a quick and easy shipping free download.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

This is the Cordwood Workshop Video will show you how to build a best practices cordwood home.

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

These are the 30 menu sections from the Cordwood Workshop DVD.

DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2

Thank you for your kind attention to Cordwood Construction.   If you would like more information, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Or email me at richardflatau@gmail.com 

 

 

How to make a Cordwood wall look good

Some folks who build with cordwood are disappointed with the resulting “look” of their labor. In order to make a cordwood wall look good, it is imperative to learn how to make a random pattern.  While this may seem contradictory (we should probably say random no-pattern) it is important to place different size and shape pieces into the wall.  If you think of your logs as Goldilocks thought of her porridge (too cold, too hot, just right) but instead you piled your logs into stacks of small, medium and large pieces and you took a piece from each pile along each wall, you would end up with a random pattern.

Cordwood for Sale Comox BC9Western Red Cedar in a 30 year old cordwood home in British Columbia.  The mortar joints are approximately one inch and the cordwood has all been split into unique and interesting shapes. Nerdwood.com 5(Above) lots of well placed cordwood in a wall at Greg and Clare’s.  Random Pattern 1 using a round with the ears cut off.jpgAbove is a fine example of various shapes embedded in a mortar matrix. Ned Thilo mason from PA fire clay, lime, sand2Ned Thilo used a brick framework with a random display in the center.  He also used an off center crescent moon motif to create a work of art.

Kenai Chelsea 2As did Chelsea and Mark with their Alaskan sauna. Peter Debenham & Ann Lundquist 7 random pattern

Peter Debenham and Ann Linquist made beautiful cordwood music in Colorado. Peter Debenham 2Eric and Beth used rocks, bottles and a lightning bolt. Eric & Beth 29 pac man lightning bolt with logo.jpgHere deer antlers, bottles and marbles are used.   Random pattern Kinstone 2

Kimanna used bottles, logs and mermaids to make her memorable Mermaid Cottage in Colorado.

KimAnna mermaid cottage wall 2 with logo.jpgRandom pattern Kinstone workshop 2017BMaranda is rightly proud of the work she (and others) did on the star wall at Kinstone.

8. random pattern.jpgA sauna in Poland benefited from a very large, undulating piece of log and a red earthen mortar.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARounds and splits with 8 inch cordwood. jhdean Homer Alaska yak barn 4 homer alaska with logos

Sierra Exif JPEGPaying attention to and having many different sizes and shapes is incredibly helpful in creating your own piece of wall art.  This process starts when you are splitting and stacking your wood for drying.

(Below) This is what we are trying to avoid.  The Polka Dot wall effect. Polka dot wall 2

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop DVD (2018),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print 2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their Online Cordwood Bookstore.  The books & DVD are also available as ebooks for a quick and easy shipping free download.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

This is the Cordwood Workshop Video label.

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

These are the 30 menu sections from the Cordwood Workshop DVD.

DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2

 

 

 

Cordwood on a Basement is Off Grid

A beautiful cordwood cabin done the “right way” using Best Practices. The owner’s were meticulous and made sure every part of the cabin was finished properly.  The full walk-out basement required extra support.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe cabin rests in the middle of 320 acres of hardwood and conifer forest.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis 28′ x 36′ cordwood cabin was built on a full basement.  The engineer made certain the foundation was able to handle the significant weight of a 16″ cordwood wall.  An 8′ high cordwood wall weighs 500 to 700 pounds per lineal foot.  So every four feet you have a ton of weight sitting on your foundation.  Sierra Exif JPEGNOTE: People have been asking about the plans for Cordwood on a Basement. This cabin’s basement specs are featured in a comprehensive article in the Cordwood Conference Papers 2005 available for $10 at the Online Cordwood BookstoreOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe cordwood posts are red pine & cedar and the cordwood infill is pine, cedar  and aspen.  The basement was “capped” with a floor and the framework was added to the wooden sub-floor. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABoo Boo the bear cub walks across the central rafter log. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe heavy timber framing makes for a very attractive cabin.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sliding glass doors are attached to a large deck which overlooks a small spring fed pond. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A view from the loft. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe cabin boasts four bedrooms and a loft sleeping quarters. It also has an indoor sauna and an off grid system.

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:  Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop DVD (2018),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print 2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their Online Cordwood Bookstore.  The books & DVD are also available as ebooks for a quick and easy shipping free download.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

 

This is the Cordwood Workshop Video label. Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

These are the 30 menu sections from the Cordwood Workshop DVD.

DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2

 

Cordwood Chalet BnB in BC

Golden, BC cordwood rental.jpgCordwood Chalet in Golden, British ColumbiaGolden, BC cordwood rental2 Cordwood Chalet B&B.jpgThis cottage shows how different building styles compliment one another:   cordwood, lime plaster, cedar plank siding and stone, all take their turn showing off. In doing so, they make a truly unique cottage.Golden, BC cordwood rental3 Cordwood Chalet B&B.jpgFrom the Airbnb site: “Situated in the stunning Blaeberry Valley, 15 minutes drive from Golden, our Cordwood Chalet is the perfect getaway to peacefulness and tranquility in the heart of nature. Newly built and comfy, its location offers a wide range of outdoor activities.”    https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4440075

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop DVD (2018),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print 2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their Online Cordwood Bookstore.  The books & DVD are also available as ebooks for a quick and easy shipping free download.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

This is the Cordwood Workshop Video label. Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

These are the 30 menu sections from the Cordwood Workshop DVD.

DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2

 

 

 

 

Cordwood in the South

Can I build cordwood in a hot, humid climate?  Here are some fine examples of cordwood in the South.  Obviously, if best practices are used, cordwood can be very successful in warm, moist climes.Sam Felts round cordwood home in Georgia interior 3 Sam Felt and Bill talking about cordwood building in the center part of the home’s inner circle.  This is a very beautiful and dramatic building.  The arches were 1″ dimensional lumber, bent to make a frame and then pulled off once the mortar hardened.  Sam Felts Adel, Georgia with logo Sam Felt’s home in Adel, Georgia.   It is made of cypress and has arched doorways created by the Godfather of Cordwood,  Jack Henstridge.

Sam Felts son's cordwood home in Geroga small pixels with logoAbove is Renyard’s cypress cordwood home in Adel, Georgia. Rockmart, GA  built in the late 70's with logo.jpgTom and Ann’s post and beam framed beauty, in Rockmart, Georgia.  This one has a large stone fireplace and is built on an older stone barn foundation.  It has the wrap around porch that makes for good neighborly living.  dirt under my nails NC 3 with logo.jpgMaria & Toby built this masterpiece in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. It is a 12 sided, post framed cordwood with a living roof. dirt under my nails NC 8.jpgThe beams make a handy place to dry the garden produce.

Luke and Amy Metzger  Spartanburg, SC j 2012.jpg Spartanburg, South Carolina is graced with this post framed cordwood with a full walk-out basement.  The interior is also very attractive.  This home sold, when the family moved to Colorado, to the first person who looked at it (for the asking price!) The real estate agent said it was because of the quality of the build. Luke and Amy Metzger Spartanburg, SC g 2012a(Below) Kimberly built this 600 square foot cabin in western South Carolina for $6,000.  The majority of the materials came from the property.Kimberly Rak South Carolina 4.jpgThe The Cookie House (built in 1931) in Edgewater, Florida is a good example of how long cordwood will last in the south. Cordwood in Florida Cookie House 1930s.jpgWilburton, Oklahoma is so hot in the summer, that it’s hard to do heavy physical labor in the heat of the noon day sun.   This was built by a veteran on a military reserve and sold quickly, when he moved to Hawaii to be with his grandchildren.  It is made of Eastern Red Cedar.  Alan & Rebecca 8 SE Oklahama with logo.jpgSuffice it is to say that if a rot resistant wood is used, along with a slow setting mortar, within a post and beam framework, cordwood can be successfully built in many climates.

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.

If you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsReaders have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

“Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015, Cordwood House Plans & Cordwood Shed Plans are the newest publications available from their ever expanding online cordwood bookstore.”  www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

Click on the picture to access the ordering information.  The DVD is an incredible bargain at $25.

Alaska: The Last Frontier Cordwood Cabin

Shane & Kelli Kilcher of the Discovery series Alaska: The Last Frontier have built a beautiful cordwood cabin on their land near Homer, Alaska.  The Discovery Channel has been documenting their journey.  Shane & Kelli bought my book (Cordwood Construction Best Practices) and stayed in contact via email and text throughout the building process.  We answered questions as they were building on site. Here are a few photos they sent of their progress.  That’s the film crew in the background.

Shane and Kelli Kilcher with logo cropped

Kelli recently wrote on her Facebook page  “This guy (Richard Flatau) literally wrote the book on cordwood building and has been a great help with all our questions!”  They also purchased the Cordwood Workshop DVD, which is a great way to prepare for building your first walls.

Shane and Kelli Kilcher 6

It was a pleasure to help them navigate all the many decisions and details that can bog a natural builder down.  They were rushing to beat the winter weather that inevitably comes to Homer, Alaska.

Shane & Kelly Kilcher cordwood in Homer Alaska3 with logo

They used 24″ peeled, dried pine logs and a traditional cordwood mortar mix with plenty of sawdust, perlite and sand.

Shane broke a vertebrae in his back in a fall recently.  He assures me that he is on the mend, can still walk, but is limited to lifting.   There have been hundreds of people who have offered their good thoughts and support to the family.  We are hoping that he will make a full recovery.

Alaska: The Last Frontier is seen on the Discovery Channel and this production is in its 7th season.  The singer Jewel is part of the family and brings her son Kase to visit and learn survival and homesteading skills.

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:   Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided instruction for thousands of cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop Video (2017),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Here is a picture of the Cordwood Workshop DVD cover, featuring the best practices Cordwood Education Center.

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3.jpg

 

For more information on Cordwood Construction, click on the picture or visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   Below is the 30 item DVD menu. 

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg

Tiny Cordwood Home

Kit & Jesse are building a 768 sq. ft. tiny cordwood home with a sleeping loft for their family of four.   Using best practices, they have radiant in floor heat, post and beam framing, 16 inch cedar cordwood infill and an R-value of 50 in the roof.

Kit Jesse 14.jpgThe log end that appears to be levitating has been drilled out to accept a wiring receptacle.  Then it is temporarily attached to a 2 x 4.  It will become part of the kitchen wiring above the counter top.Kit Jesse 1The timber frame uses 8 x 8’s of southern yellow pine with 6 x 8 inch tamarack post on the inside to complete the 16″ wall.   A dormer has been added to the 10/12 pitch roof to provide space for the two room-in-the-attic-truss bedrooms.

The wiring is 14-2 attached with wire staples to the center of the post. Kit Jesse 10Work parties with friends and family help to speed the building process. Kit Jesse 12Nearly 100 bottle logs have been made.  Some have special family momentos.

Favorite Musky fishing lures.

 

Posts anchored properly to the FPSF. Kit Jesse 4Sawdust for the mortar mix. soaking in the far barrel and draining in the near one.  Kit Jesse 5Jesse used a pressure treated 1 x 8 on the bottom of the post to prevent moisture wicking into the post above.  He will also place a shingle between this post and the slab.  Kit Jesse 6One of the many advantages of a post and beam framework with roof attached is the functionality of being able to store materials under cover. Kit Jesse 16A window box (buck) is attached to the post and the top plate.  This will insure that the window will always be able to be opened.  Kit Jesse 15.jpg

More pictures will be added to this post as the building continues.  Stay tuned.

Jesse and Kit Peterson WI

 

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.

If you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

“Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Construction: Best Practices DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.”   www.cordwoodconstruction.org  

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

 

Here is a jpeg of the new Cordwood Construction DVD cover also available for immediate download  at http://cordwoodconstruction.org/

Cordwood Workshops: The way to DIY

Cordwood workshops are the best way to learn the cordwood construction technique.   When you take one from Richard & Becky Flatau of Cordwood Construction Resources LLC, they emphasis the “Best Practices” approach to building.  The Flatau’s have honed a set of 14 best practice building techniques that will not only make your home, cottage or cabin beautiful, but they will ensure that it will be safe, comfortable and code compliant.  Here are some sample pictures from our hands-on workshops that gives the reader a taste of what goes on.  Kinstone 3

Hard workers are determined to finish the sauna…and they did!

bonners ferry 4The mountains give off their misty glow near Bonners Ferry, Idaho. .  Germask Workshop Tammy Trupp 1 with Banjo BobBanjo Bob sings Country Roads as we teach a private workshop in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

Cobwood workshop 13

Singing and stomping Cob for the Entrance Center. workshop kinstone june 2014 first rowLearning to do it the right way, with smiles and positivity.

Workshop Kinstone JUne 2014  framework of the saunaThe sauna post and beam framework with grade beam and keyways at Kinstone. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACordwood workshop at Love’s Organic Farm near Mars Hill, North Carolina.  Tulip Poplar and Calendula.

Kinstone happy mortarers

Planning their work, working their plan with smiles.

Workshop 12a

What is the R-value of a cordwood wall (under construction)Two teachers build a wall at the Cordwood Education Center in Merrill, Wisconsin.

workshop 8

Sawdust and lime insulation is added and packed in the center cavity.

workshop 16jpg

Learning to “screen” sawdust becomes a lesson in wind direction:0)

Kinstone snowball test logo.jpgThe snowball test is crucial to a proper mortar mix.

workshop 13

Hands on mortaring of a cordwood wall in a “learn it by doing” style is the best way to “cement” the tricks of the trade.

workshop 14

If I see it and do it, I remember.

Kinstone August 19. 2012 Mortaring crew3 small pixels

The Kinstone Chapel mortaring crew poses for an end-of-the day photo.

Kinstone 19 August 19 small pixels

Bottle ends made from vases from the Thrift Store.

Kinstone workshop 22

Becky and Kirsten are proud of their river motif wall.

MREA 11 year old cordwood cobber the next generation 2012

Using “Cob Mortar” at a demo at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair in Custer, Wisconsin.

Kinstone 18 August 8c

The six sided chapel walls are being completed at a natural building pace.

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

“Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Construction: Best Practices,  Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 and Cordwood Workshop DVD are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

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. 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 www.faeriemag.com 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 www.cordwoodconstruction.org online bookstore.

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

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:  Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop DVD (2018),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print 2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their Online Cordwood Bookstore.  The books & DVD are also available as ebooks for a quick and easy shipping-free download.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org                                                Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

“We watched the video and have to report it is excellent. You and Alan did a great job.”    -Rob Roy  NY

“This guy (Richard Flatau) literally wrote the book on cordwood building and has been a great help with all our questions!”   -Shane & Kelli Kilcher of Alaska: The Last Frontier

“This is the definitive guide to cordwood building. Richard is the first person we call to the Natural Homes building group for advice.” – Oliver

These are the 30 menu sections from the Cordwood Workshop DVD.

DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2

A picture of the Mermaid Cottage in an architectural magazine in the Czech Republic.

Mermaid Cottage 1

Heidi Vilkman’s cob and cordwood artist studio in Finland. Heidi Vilkman cottage with logo

The Kinstone Chapel near Fountain City, Wisconsin showing off with autumn colors. Imagine Cordwood Kinstone with logo