Category Archives: Cordwood Construction

Cordwood Shed in Newfoundland, Canada

Paul & Josephine Johnson enjoyed the labor intensiveness of building a Cordwood Ladder Pad Shed in Newfoundland, Canada.The Johnson’s used Richard Flatau’s Cordwood Shed Plans (details at the end of the article) to build the simple, inexpensive framework.  paul-johnson-newfoundland-3Then they mortared the cordwood infill into the wall sections.  On certain areas they used 60 year barn boards for vertical siding.   Below is the article that appeared in the newspaper.paul-johnson-newfoundland-5(From the newspaper article)——————————————–Cordwood masonry appears to be a contradiction in terms   by Randy Edison

“When Paul Johnson first heard of the construction method from a friend it became a curiosity.He was curious enough, in fact, to turn it into a handyman project that, despite the challenges, brought a sense of accomplishment.

paul-johnson-newfoundland-1Cordwood construction consists of placing “log ends” into a wall within a mix of mortar. The method has been used on both sides of the Atlantic for hundreds of years.Johnson, a Grand Falls-resident, studied a little on the subject and decided to try his hand at it his “home away from home” in Rattling Brook, Green Bay.

“You can only use softwood so I cut some and thought, well, if I didn’t want to do it I can burn the wood anyway,” he told TC Media.

cordwood-shed-paul-and-josephine-newfoundlandNote the ladder pad, post framework above. paul-johnson-newfoundland-2The framework breaks the work up into manageable sections.

With admittedly more vigour than knowledge, he set about the task, which included the sinking of posts below the frost line to support to the pole barn structure he envisioned. That design called for seven holes.

Anyone who has worked the ground in Newfoundland knows that, in many areas, digging postholes can be a challenge as rocks abound.

Such is the case in Rattling Brook and before long he realized how labour intensive the task ahead was going to be.And that was before he and his construction partner and spouse, Josephine, actually began the wall construction and learned just how long the job would take.

“(A neighbour) stopped by one day when I was just at the pole barn structure and said, ‘You know Paul, if you had a few sheets of 3/8 plywood you’d be done by now.’”

“I said, ‘That’s right, but this is what we’d kind of like to do.’”

There isn’t an ounce of regret over the physical toiling.

In fact, he’s glad the project got his attention because it ended up “filling a gap” for him while he was unable to work due to a medical issue.

He does wish he’d realized what others had.

“Most people start with a kennel, or at least something small,” he joked.

With his wife’s artistic eye adding to the flare and presentation, the couple worked some bottles into the design for effect and plugged away for five months to complete the project.

While his wife brought the artistic flare, Johnson did have a design vision that came to life.

He wanted to incorporate some rustic looking barn wood and found the right touch – in an old building on the Jigg’s Farm property near Botwood.With permission, he gathered some of the board and worked it into the construction.
Undaunted (but a lot wiser in the ways of cordwood construction) Johnson is even considering another project.One distinct possibility is a gazebo to act as an art studio for his wife.

It’s fitting that he’d want to put that effort into something for his spouse since the Rattling Brook property was an anniversary gift of hers to him.After coming to Canada from England in 1967, Johnson had bounced around the country between Ontario and Nova Scotia and Alberta and, of course, Newfoundland.“I said I’d come for one year and if I didn’t like it, I’m out of here,” he joked.

In fact, he did leave again but decided to come back in 1996 and settled in central Newfoundland.

“I wouldn’t live anywhere else,” he says of his adopted province.

“And it’s been home ever since.”

Cordwood shed and all.”

———————————————————————-The booklet Cordwood Shed Plans is available as an ebook.  It contains 30 pages, chock full of color photos about how to build the inexpensive and functional ladder pad system that provides both framework and support for the cordwood infill, without having to pour a footer. .

cordwood-shed-plans-640-x-786-550

Cordwood Shed Plans is available at the Online Cordwood Bookstore.

 

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 DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

DVDandPrint

Here is a picture of the print version and the DVD label in one composite.

For more information on Cordwood Construciton, click on the picture or visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Sauna: Medicine Wheel & Grade Beam

Dan & Kristen wanted a sauna on their 80 wooded acres in northern Wisconsin.  They had previously hosted a very successful workshop at the 2005 Cordwood Conference which resulted in the construction of a beautiful cordwood maple syrup shed.  novitch-shed-31

They wanted to have their teenage sons participate in the process, they decided on a grade beam  for economy and ease of building.Novitch sauna 2A grade beam is simply a shallow, perimeter poured slab which rests on a rubble trench foundation.  In the trades it is called a Frost Protected Shallow Foundation (FPSF) and is insulated on the bottom and sides. Novitch sauna 1The posts are anchored to the grade beam using angle iron and wedge anchors or anchor bolts.   All the posts were cut at a local sawmill. Novitch 19It is important to cross brace the framework.  The roof was built before the cordwood infill commenced. Novitch workshop 18Before the workshop portions of the walls built with the family for practice. Novitch workshop 20

On the top right hand side an “exploded log” has been split and then placed in the mortar matrix to regain its round shape.  This is done to eliminate log shrinkage. Novitch workshop 21We had an August workshop with a delightful and studious group of cordwooders from all over the country.  Novitch workshop 23A cardboard template for bottle end designs works very well.Novitch workshop 24The finished Ojibwe-inspired Medicine Wheel. novitch-shed-31

The Novitch’s are very happy with their new sauna!novitch-cordwood-finished-1-with-logonovitch-cordwood-finished-2-jpg-with-logoA butterfly checks it out!novitch-cordwood-finished-3-with-logonovitch-cordwood-finished-4-with-logonovitch-cordwood-finished-5-with-logoExploded large pieces look very good in a wall. novitch-cordwood-finished-6-with-logonovitch-cordwood-finished-7-jpg-with-logonovitch-cordwood-finished-8-with-logo

Cordwood Lessons by Dan Novitch

Cordwood Points gleaned from two cordwood projects: a cordwood pole shed built on a ladder pad foundation and a post-and-beam framed cordwood sauna built on a grade beam/ring beam foundation) completed 11 years apart:

* Tuck pointing – we used table knives to tuck point the mortar on our first building and tea spoons followed by a wet paint brush on the second building.  The spoon, brush technique was quicker and resulted in a smoother finish.

* First building used treated lumber for the frame of the ladder pad and the poles.  Second building used posts and beams from trees cut on site and milled on site with portable bandsaw mill.  Use as much site sourced or locally sourced building material as possible.

*. Both buildings used coarse sawdust for insulation and when soaked, as a set retardant in the mortar.  Really liked this due to low cost, local material, and completely “green” building material.  Plus, any leftover sawdust is great for composting or as mulch.

* Ladder pad foundation from first building is on a well drained, sandy soil site.  After 11 years and 11 Wisconsin winters, the building has NOT moved a bit.  I wouldn’t hesitate to use similar foundation in the future for a shed or similar out building.

* The second building is on a grade beam foundation.  I was originally going to build it on a floating slab until a grade beam foundation was suggested.  I think the grade beam is definitely the way to go.  In addition to greatly reducing the amount of and cost for concrete, it allows for a plethora of really cool flooring options.

* First building was built when our sons were 5 and 3 years old.  For the second building they were 16 and 14.  Besides being a great help as laborers and mortar mixers, they learned how to run a sawmill, do post and beam construction methods, use cordwood masonry skills, etc.  In the future, if they choose, their parents could be laborers for their own cordwood building dream.

*  For anything but a very small project, use a mortar mixer or modified cement mixer.  It will speed the project and reduce physical fatigue.  Definitely,  mix your first batches of mortar in a wheelbarrow or mortar boat, though.  That is the best way to truly get to know and understand the mortar.

*  For the first project all log ends over 6-7 inches in diameter were split and air dried for 15 months before building began.  However, in looking at other cordwood buildings over the intervening 11 years, I found that I liked the look of at least  a few large, true rounds in each wall.  So for the second project, we used both “exploded” rounds and kiln dried true rounds in each wall along with smaller diameter rounds and various split log ends.  At three months post cordwooding, the exploded rounds haven’t changed or moved a bit.  For the largest kiln dried true rounds, some 12-16 inches in diameter, there is a 2-3mm gap between the mortar and the log ends due to further shrinkage/drying of these really large rounds with time.  I still like the look of the larger rounds but it looks like permachink will be needed in the future.  The kiln dried rounds up to 8-10″ diameter have not shrunk to this point, but I’ll keep my eye on them over the coming months and cold, dry winter.

*  Bottle end designs are really cool.

*  My wife is not only a wonderful, beautiful partner in this voyage known as life, she is a patient, forgiving building partner who knows all my shortcomings, but loves me anyway.

*  The 94# bags of Portland cement weigh more now than they did 11 years ago!

A cardboard template for bottle end designs work very well.
*  We used different mortar mixes for each building.  I liked the second building’s mix a bit better, but both worked fine.  If you plan to do a small “learning” cordwood building before undertaking a larger house or cabin project, consider trying different mortar mixes on different walls of the learner project to see which type of mortar you like best.

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 DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

DVDandPrint

Here is a picture of the print version and the DVD label in one composite.

For more information on Cordwood Construciton, click on the picture or visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

 

Cordwood Cabin (with 24″ thick walls) is energy efficient & fortress-like (revisited)

Editor’s Note:  This post has consistently been among the Top 5 most popular (on my site) and I have added new photos and new details to the original.  

Adam & Erica Konopka and their children, started building a Cordwood Cabin near the shores of Lake Michigan this past summer.
The cabin has 24″ thick walls with foam insulation in the center cavity.Adam 8 big strong cordwood menA cordwood cabin requires a lot of cordwood log ends and big, strong men!Adam 910The clean up of the yard required a pink dress,  green mud boots and a hair ribbon.  How sweet!  This reminds me of my daughter Katy cleaning up our cordwood site 30+ years ago in her red gingham dress.

Here is some detailed information about the "build" from Adam. "The design concept for the cabin is relatively straightforward – approximately 1,000 square feet (26x40), post and beam frame, built into an 8 foot sloped hillside (basically a half basement of concrete walls), single gable with 6/12 pitch, partial loft, and cordwood infill.  The cabin is located in Michigan, between Ludington and Manistee."  

Adam 9

There is an earth berm on the north wall that allows for moderating of temperature.

Adam earth bermed

Adam 2

Spraying the foam into the center cavity became a family affair.

Adam 6A 24″ inch thick wall makes for deep window boxes.  Not only will this cabin be safe and warm, it will be like “a fortress for well being.”  Quote from Adam “Thermal Mass is where it’s at.”Adam 15

Adam 14Cleaning up around the log ends is a task that requires patience and the right tools.Adam 1

adam 3

"I have begin to reflect on the process and have a variety of appreciations and a few concerns with how it went for us.  1)  Thermal mass is where its at.  It doesn’t get enough credit.  Our cabin is basically half earth sheltered and has cordwood walls for most of the remaining exterior.  We could feel the interior get cooler as the walls went up.  Amazing!  We are planning on using the cabin in the summers and are optimistic that our building design and two foot cordwood walls will keep us cool during those hot summer months. 2) Loved the foam. We used froth pac insulation kits that we special ordered through Lowes.  Originally, we were planning on using the spray foam for the first few feet of our walls and then switch to sawdust - we decided not to put in a knee-wall and were concerned about moisture.  But we fell in love with the foam: user friendly, contributes to wall stability, superior R-value, and not susceptible to rot and bugs - and decided to use it throughout our cordwood walls.  The major drawback remains cost - we spent approximately $5,000 on it.  Brutal, but we still feel like it is worth it. 3) Rod Cox:  We have had a great experience working with him and would highly recommend him to others.  He understood our design concept, enhanced it, and made it be more cost effective.  The drawings were detailed and exceeded the standards of most of the people who worked with them." Adam and Erica 14) Building Design: Our cabin is basically a hybrid between a traditional post-and-beam and modern construction techniques.  We started out pursuing a timber frame structure, but were limited by our time frame and budget...    5) Cordwood is time-intensive:  We wrapped our post-and-beam structure and veneered (with approximately 8 inch cordwood) our concrete walls.  While the work was generally easy and enjoyable - it took a long time.  Going into the summer, I planned a month of labor for cordwood and it took a month and half.  It would have taken longer if we had not been rescued by family and friends.  We would not have gotten it enclosed (our minimum summer goal) without them.  It took us longer because we had additional cuts needed to wrap our post-and-beam structure. adam-13-with-logoeric-beth-12-jpg-kopanka-cabin-floor-plan

The way we hung our windows added labor time too.  We locally sourced true 2×8 white pine and constructed our window frames.  We think they turned out beautifully and, given the two foot width of our walls, will make a distinctive contribution to our living space.  We hung the window frames before we started laying cordwood due to 1) labor availability (we wanted to maximize my brother's help) and 2) installation efficiency (easier to align).  The trade off, however, was additional time needed for wall construction - we had to make extra cuts.  I would do it differently next time and would advise others likewise.  6) Red pine: We sourced our red pine from the Manistee National Forest through a hunters/firewood program.  Free!  The forest services over-planted red pine in the area back in the 1930s and 40s.  We are really glad to find a use for some, even if it is only a small amount.  We were able to get the moisture content down to 14-16.  We dunked each log in Borax, sprayed much of the logs with Shell-guard, and stained the ends.  Generally happy with it.  We left approximately 80% of the logs round and split 20%.   I am concerned about bugs - we are in an old growth forest and, over the summer, we is covered the most amazing bug life in the woods.  Freaky too.  I am anticipating maintenance down the road for our red pine and am hoping for the best. 7) Mortar cracks: We had small cracks around most of our window frames. How do you avoid that?  The wood was kiln dried and we used keyways, protruding drywall screws, and even applied sealer.  I thought we might do better.  My impression is that it is probably par for the course and nothing Permachink can't help.  Minimal cracking so far on our logs (dozen or so), even given that some of them are large and left round.  So far, we are doing better that I thought we might with them."  

Adam 4Thank you Adam & Erica for sharing your wonderful  journey.

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 DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

DVDandPrint

Here is a picture of the print version and the DVD label in one composite.

For more information on Cordwood Construciton, click on the picture or visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood: Living off the land

Curt and Annie live in northwestern Wisconsin.  They have built a good life by working with the natural resources at hand. Gardening, foraging, harvesting, building, heating with wood, conserving and improving their land are all important parts of their journey.   They are involved in their small community and Curt coaches baseball and is running for the local county board.  curt-and-annie-1-low-rez-with-logoHere is the beautiful 16 sided, post & beam framed, 16″ thick cordwood home they built in 2005.  It boasts a living roof with a masonry heater in the center of the house. curt-and-annie-2-low-rez-with-logoNote the 16″ thick window well.  Great for plants and momentos. curt-and-annie-3-low-rez-with-logoThey built a gorgeous practice building (first) which serves as a guest house.curt-and-annie-4-low-rez-with-logoWinter in the northwoods can be long and cold, but they fill their larder and their freezer with food from their garden and the surrounding forests. curt-and-annie-5-low-rez-with-logoShould 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 DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

DVDandPrint

Here is a picture of the print version and the DVD label in one composite.

For more information on Cordwood Construciton, click on the picture or visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood For Sale

What is the resale value of a cordwood home?   Many people don’t consider this when they are planning their cordwood home.  Here are examples of cordwood homes that have sold in the past few years.  The deciding sale factor in each one was the “quality of build.”   Well built cordwood walls, good overall appearance and excellent interior choices were often the deciding factor in having a SOLD sign placed in the yard.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATom Huber’s beautiful cordwood home in Watervliet, Michigan sold quickly.  The buyers said that the deciding factor was the excellent cordwood and stone work.   Here is how the house was listed.  http://daycreek.com/huber/ rockmart-ga-built-in-the-late-70s-with-logoAbove, this cordwood home was built in the 1970’s in Rockmart, Georgia.  It sold a few years ago. I think everyone can appreciate the long front porch, the sturdy, off grade foundation and the well done cordwood walls.

Below, Luke and Amy Metzer of Spartanburg, South Carolina sold their cordwood home in a month in 2016.  The realtor and the buyer were effusive in their praise of the quality of workmanship throughout.luke-and-amy-metzger-spartanburg-sc-with-logoluke-and-amy-metzger-6-with-logo  https://cordwoodconstruction.wordpress.com/2012/08/16/cordwood-in-spartanburg-south-carolina/luke-and-amy-metzger-5aAlan and Rebecca of Wilburton, Oklahoma sold their home to a neighbor who loved the look of the eastern red cedar with the post and beam framework.oklahoma-1https://cordwoodconstruction.wordpress.com/2014/06/02/cordwood-home-for-sale-in-oklahoma-2alan-rebecca-3-se-oklahoma-small-pixalan-rebecca-8-se-oklahama-with-logoMarlys Bacon is in the process of selling this lovely cordwood home on the shores of Lake Superior near Calumet, Michigan.  It is a quality build throughout.  The spiral staircase, the wood carvings and the stackwall cordwood corners are beautiful and inviting.wayne-and-marlys-higgins-calumet-mi-with-logohttp://www.zillow.com/homedetails/58091-Lakeshore-Dr-Calumet-MI-49913/106384992_zpid/marlys-bacon-mi-3marlys-bacon-mi-2marlys-bacon-mi-1Should 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 DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

DVDandPrint

Here is a picture of the print version and the DVD label in one composite.

For more information on Cordwood Construciton, click on the picture or visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Sauna in Sweden (Part 2)

Pelle Henriksson has added these wonderful pictures of his backyard sauna in Sweden. The foundation (ring beam), framing (post & beam) and cordwood infill are very well done using “best practices” throughout.  Pelle recently uploaded a video about his sauna.  It is in Swedish, but you can enjoy pictures of the finished product.  Pelle’s Cordwood Sauna Videopelle-kubbhausta-8pelle-kubbhausta-9pelle-kubbhausta-6Kubbhusta 5 Pelle HenrikssonPelle’s  pictures tell the story very well.Kubbusbsta 10 Pelle Henriksson FB page KubbhusbastaThe logs for the framework are 100 years old and were found in Pelle’s uncle’s barn.  The photo shows the grade beam and part of the drain tile (orange colored pipe).Kubbusbsta 14 Pelle Henriksson FB page KubbhusbastaThe foundation is a ring beam on a rubble trench with a drain tile sloped to a lower grade.  Each post has a roofing shingle placed on the bottom to stop moisture from “wicking up” the post. Kubbusbsta 1 Pelle HenrikssonMany of the older cordwood (kubbhus) buildings in Sweden use a clay based mortar.  Olle Hagman has been very instrumental in documenting the migration of cordwood throughout Sweden and has located 150 buildings.  His excellent article is told in the Cordwood Conference Papers 2015.   http://www.daycreek.com/dc/html/paypal_flatau.htmKubbhusta 6 Pelle HenrikssonNote how the windows are placed within a post and beam framework.  This is my favorite style of window framing. Kubbusbsta 8 Pelle Henriksson FB page KubbhusbastaPelle used keyways (vertical strips of wood on the posts) to hold his wall sections in place. The sauna will have a changing room and a sauna chamber.  Putting the roof on first allows Pelle to work and store his materials out of the elements.

A beautiful flower motif chain saw cut into a log end shows off the Swedish love of all things wooden. Kubbhusta 4 Pelle HenrikssonTo fit a glass into a cleaned out hollow center log.   Cut out a sheet of glass after tracing and cutting the paper template.Kubbusbsta 11 Pelle Henriksson FB page KubbhusbastaKubbusbsta 12 Pelle Henriksson FB page Kubbhusbasta

This is how the finished product looks.

pelle-kubbhausta-1Hanging a wooden floor off a “grade beam” is done in the following manner. pelle-kubbhausta-5The door is handmade as is the wooden lock.  Pelle is an excellent carpenter. pelle-kubbhausta-2Scribing log ends that protrude to make for a clean floor, wall or ceiling line can be difficult so Pelle put together a visual “how to” section.  Pelle has a serious woodworking skill set. pelle-kubbhausta-3Pelle has become something of a cordwood rock-star in Sweden with articles being published in various newspapers.  pelle-kubbhausta-4Many of these pictures and more are also on Pelle’s Facebook page  www.facebook.com/pages/Kubbhusbastu/  You may want to bookmark Pelle’s page and check back every now and again to marvel at his progress.  Thank you Pelle for the explanation and the photos!

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 DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

DVDandPrint

Here is a picture of the print version and the DVD label in one composite.

For more information on Cordwood Construciton, click on the picture or visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood (you see) can be Mortgage Free!

mortgage-free-landscape-photoNew Pioneer Magazine published a four page article on DIY Cordwood Cottages.  The editor allowed me to place the article in various social media sites to encourage the idea of natural building.   The article details the building of cordwood cottages, cabins, classrooms and homes.

new-pioneer-page-1The second page talks about how we built our mortgage free cordwood home.new-pioneer-page-2

The next page details the advantages of being mortgage free.  new-pioneer-page-3

The last page shows a cordwood sauna and a cordwood garden shed built after attending one of our two-day cordwood workshops.  new-pioneer-page-34jpg

This article is reproduced with permission from New Pioneer magazine (www.newpioneermag.com).  If you wish to find out more about Cordwood Construction visit www.corwdoodconstruction.org and read a few of the many instructional articles about many unique and interesting cordwood buildings.

The article is available online in a larger print format at:   http://www.cordwoodconstruction.org/img/Newpioneerarticlewinter2014 or you can press Ctrl and + to increase the size of the text.

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

DVD label cover yellow

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

Cordwood Lodge

Cordwood is usually chosen as a building style in order to save money. The fact that it uses locally available, sustainable materials is an added incentive.  However, sometimes cordwood is built to impress, and here is a fine example.  This million dollar cordwood lodge was constructed in 1995, by a wealthy family from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.   It is located in Northern Wisconsin in the lake rich area northeast of the beautiful area of Minocqua.  cordwood-mansion-on-star-lake-with-logoThis timber framed, cordwood infill beauty is located on a gated, private road.  The 62′ x 42′ lodge boasts a full basement, a field stone fireplace and three floors.

Star Lake architects homeAs good fortune would have it, the architect for this cordwood mansion lived right next store, in a beautiful cordwood cottage.  He designed the cordwood lodge in the shape of a capital I so there would be an entrance and exit that would be shielded from the elements.

 

lake-side-1-cropped-more-with-logoThis is an excellent view from the east side of the building.  The fieldstone foundation keeps the cordwood up “off of grade” and allows for proper air circulation.  The cordwood is 18″ Northern White Cedar.  It was built with three 4″ mortar beads of a vermiculite/lime/sand slurry (vermiculite was used in place of sawdust).  There are two 3″ dry vermiculite insulation rows down the middle of the logs.  The roof is standing seam green metal.

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The architect also used a capital I for his cottage, which he built within a post and beam framework.  His cottage is also 18″ Northern White Cedar.  He asked me to not use the name of the owner of the Million Dollar Cordwood Lodge and I have respected his wishes.

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The interiors of the lodge and the architect’s cottage are both attractive and tastefully appointed.  The Lodge has sold two times since it was built, which is typical in a highly prized recreational area. This simply shows what can be done when money is no object, however, it is relatively easy to build a modest cordwood home (depending on your parameters) for much, much less.

 

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

DVD label cover yellow

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

 

Moveable Cordwood Cabin

Usually a cordwood cabin’s mortar is prone to cracking if it is moved.  Ernie Burgener has figured out a method of moving a small cordwood cabin (for short distances). He has devised a set of sturdy skids on which he built the frame.  Then he has applied “stay in cross bracing” into the actual walls to stabilize them for an eventual change of scenery.  ernie-burgner-14-new

This 10′ x 12′ cordwood cabin has been lovingly built out of cedar this past summer.  ernie-burgner-10-new

Ernie is a northern Wisconsin horizontal log cabin builder and knows a thing or two about how to make a cabin warm, sturdy and safe.

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Ernie is going to sell this cabin, so if you are interested please send me an email  richardflatau@gmail.com 

ernie-burgner-2Ernie farms, logs, hunts, fishes, builds and gardens.  He is 80 years old and still going strong.  ernie-burgner-4

The inside shows how the bracing extends all the way through.

The viewer can see from the inside and out that the cabin is well braced.   Since it hasn’t been moved yet, we are not sure how it will hold up.  When that happens I will report back to the Cordwood Construction Blog page.

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

DVD label cover yellow

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

Bottle Bricks @ Cordwood Walls How to make ’em (Part 1)

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Pictures showing how to make bottle bricks.  In this case a picture truly  is worth a thousand words.  The finished  bottle ends are being pricked with a map pin to allow moisture to transpire.

workshop 31Dozens of bottle ends ready to provide a spot of light in the wall.  We have found that that aluminum flashing needs to go to within an inch or two of the end on each side for maximum light transfer.

Bottle ends at Kinstone wrapped to the end and with handi coilHow did we make all of these bottle bricks?  It is important to start collecting a large number of bottles and vases ahead of time.  The glass must be clean and dry.  It helps if the labels are removed.Kinstone bottle end layout.jpgThere needs to be an ample amount of clear and colored glass to brighten your walls.I want to make bottle ends too Kristine with logoSometimes even paws and a wet nose are helpful to sort and select bottle sizes. Bottle end tile cutter.jpgIf you are building a thin wall you may need to cut your glass.  You can use a tile cutter or a home made bottle cutter.  Always use safety equipment.  Here the Bottle sections are (4″ + 4″ = 8″).Cordwood workshop making bottle endsTo see YouTube videos about methods of cutting bottles  visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org and click on the YouTube button in the top right hand corner.  

A pictorial primer for putting bottles together withOUT cutting. Note that the neck of one bottle is accepted by the opening in the other.

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It is good to have extra hands.

bottle ends 2Objects can be placed inside bottles.  These are being used at the Cordwood Education Center, which is a a cordwood public school classroom. Aluminum flashing and tape were added to these before placement in the wall.

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Sponge Bob makes it into a wall!

Flashing is then applied and aluminum tape.

The middle bottle (below) is the best example of how to finish a bottle brick.

Sierra Exif JPEG Finished products reposing in the grass:  bottles, aluminum flashing, aluminum tape

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Placing the bottle bricks in the wall.

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Some fine examples of bottle brick walls.

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bottle bricks with logo bottle bricks Ted Amman color bottles on the outside with logoSome folks are using colored bottles on both sides.

Airlie Gardens NCThe Airlie Chapel in North Carolina is all bottle bricks!KimAnna15 with logoKimAnna uses bottle bricks in the most amazing ways.  Let your imagination be your guide.

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

DVD label cover yellow

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