Category Archives: Natural Building

Cordwood Sauna on the Iron Range (Part 2)

Tony and Denise have finished their gorgeous sauna on the Iron Range of northern Minnesota.  Hand-built out of Northern White Cedar (after taking a workshop at Kinstone Permaculture Academy) here is a glimpse at the next workshop at Kinstone  http://www.kinstonecircle.com/events/3-day-cordwood-workshop-july/ the Brough’s dedicated themselves to building this beautiful and practical addition to their camp grounds.   Here are some pictures to showcase their results. Tony and Denise Sauna Minnesota1The interior is bright and comfortable. Tony and Denise Sauna Minnesota2One can go sailing into warm dreams while taking a soothing sauna. Tony and Denise Sauna Minnesota3The pooch enjoys the sauna too!Tony and Denise Sauna Minnesota4The sauna stove is “fed” from the changing area. Tony and Denise Sauna Minnesota5

 

To see the early construction days of this wonderful creation check out https://cordwoodconstruction.wordpress.com/2014/09/26/cordwood-sauna-by-tony-denise-in-minnesota/Tony and Denise finished sauna13Tony and Denise would like suggestions about “how to finish the top of this section of wall” (above the sauna stove).   It has to be fire proof.   If you have an idea, please reply in the Comment Section below.  We thank you, in advance.

Should you be interested in learning more about Cordwood Construction, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Sauna at Kinstone finished and ready for some heat

On June 28, 2015 the final log end was placed into the Kinstone Cordwood Sauna!  Many wonderful and talented worked on framing, cordwooding, and making bottle ends for this much anticipated structure.  The workshop crew that finished to the “top plates” was focused and not to be denied.  I said, “I don’t think we can finish this by the end of the workshop.”  They took that as a challenge and worked diligently to prove me wrong.  I am so happy they did.  A group of fine folk who bonded with each other and the cordwood.  Here are some heartwarming photos to show the detailsKinstone 28
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Kinstone 5Deer antler for a towel hook. Kinstone 13Cordwood makes people happy:0)Kinstone 11Big Rich is setting the window box into place. Kinstone 14Working on each side of the wall. Kinstone 4Almost to the top and time for lunch.Kinstone 6The Michigan Girls (two lovely young ladies from central Michigan) invented a new technique (named by the class, “The Michigan Girls Top Plate Technique”) for finishing the wall “up to” a top plate.  We finished by 4:00 PM on Sunday!  Note the tree motif in the center of the wall.Kinstone 7Ed McAllen stopped by to pay a visit.  Ed has a gorgeous cordwood home in Galesville, Wisconsin.DCIM100MEDIADJI_0250.JPGAlan Stankevitz of www.daycreek.com cordwood fame dropped by to talk about PEM (paper enhanced mortar) and take pictures and video of the workshop.  It was great to see Alan.  Alan also took some of these pictures with his drone camera.Kinstone 21

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0244.JPGKinstone Permaculture Academy from the air.   www.kinstonecircle.com   There is one more cordwood workshop this summer on July 31 to August 2, 2015.  Registration is on the Kinstone Circle website.kinstone 30Putting in the shelf brackets, made out of half rounds of cedar. Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels 640 x 480If you are interested in learning more about Cordwood Construction, please click on the picture and you will be taken to www.cordwoodconstruction.org   To order books and plans click on the Online Bookstore link.

Questions?   richardflatau@gmail.com   or fill out the form below.

Does Cordwood belong in the Bathroom?

You bet it does!  Many people want to examine what possibilities they have with cordwood in the bathroom.   Quite a few folks who live in cordwood homes or have a cordwood motif (like a cordwood floor or countertop) have done creative and amazingly beautiful things in their bathrooms.   Here are a few examples.Mermaid cottage rental

Above is KimAnna’s gorgeous Mermaid Cottage in Colorado.  She made a wonderfully decorative visual splash with bottle ends, ornaments and move-able curtains (for privacy).Bathroom cordwood Dregnes

Julie in Minnesota has created a soaking tub for reflection and contemplation.   The cordwood barn beams add the mass and the cordwood & bottle ends, the muse. John Meilhan Copper Harbor bathroom

John in Michigan has created a very attractive sink area with a cordwood wall and a sink top infilled with Lake Superior stones.

Lees bathroom 2

Steve and Sharon have created a real-stone-wall bathroom with wooden floors, a shower and birch cabinets.  Cordwood countertop BillandVicki Jarratt 1 with logo

“Bill Jarratt can do anything” and he proved once again that he is the master of the cordwood countertop. Bottle ends in the bathroom

This gorgeous second story bathroom window is filled with sea shells, bottles and glassware that adds a luster and sunshine to the morning.

 

cordwood floor bathroomA cordwood  floor is the perfect compliment to the white porcelain.Lees bathroom 3 with logo

The chickadee effect is understated and blends perfectly with the white birch cabinets.  Cordwood countertop BillandVicki Jarratt 3 with logo

Another view of Bill Jarratt’s masterpiece.

A mans bathroom FB page of Faluhelyen Itthon És Másutt

If you want to go with a “Man Cave Theme” here is a fine example.

Yurt cobwood Marcus Grossman NJ

When you want the whole bathroom OUTSIDE, here is Marcus’s cobwood privy in New Jersey.

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This bathroom is not cordwood at all, but rather a painted motif over plywood:0)

Cordwood has become a way to make a statement and build something unique and individualistic for yourself.

If you would like to learn a little more, please consider checking out the website www.cordwoodconstruction.org   Click on the pictures and read the articles in the pull down menus to get even more ideas. 

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Should you be looking for a book on the subject, check out the latest on the subject at the Onlinc Cordwood Bookstore (also available in ebook and print).  Click on the book cover once you arrive at the website to be taken to the Bookstore.

Cordwood in Hawaii

Ben Orchiderous of the Big Island of Hawaii has built a cordwood shed (for practice) and a 16 sided cordwood home for living.  Besides running an orchid nursery with 40,000 varieties, he also built a two story Earthwood style cordwood home in his spare time.   Here are some photos and descriptions of this gorgeously awesome cordwood home in one of the most beautiful places in the world.

From his deck he can see the Pacific Ocean to the east and the volcano Mona Kea to the west.  For his cordwood walls, he used large rounds of Ohia Lehua and Captain Cook Pine.”The ‘Ōhi’a Lehua tree is one of the most common trees in Hawai’i. Almost always the name ‘Ōhi’a refers to the tree and Lehua to the flower…The Red Lehua flower is the official flower of the Big Island. (Credit Hawaiian Plants.)”

Hawaii House 1 low rez logo

His home is surrounded with orchids and native plants.  This is the rainy side of the Big Island and provides the most perfect weather for orchid growing.  That is why David moved his family to the Big Island.

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Rob Roy introduced me to David via email once he knew we were going to visit the Big Island.  David was a gracious and engaging host.  I thank Rob for his kindness in helping make the connection.

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David and his log end buddy.

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David hollowed out some of the rotten Ohia log ends and then put a colored panel on the outside of the log.  The effect is very calming and colorful.

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Note the shelf with the sacred totem.

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Here is David in front of one of his 40,000 orchids!

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His practice building that got him started on his cordwood journey. It now serves as a potting shed.

Hawaii House 11

Best Specimen Award from the Hilo Orchid Society Show in 2010.

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The only thing David said he would suggest is putting a gated deck opeing on the 2nd floor.  Much easier to move things in and out.

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There are stars in the wood!

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A good picture of David with his beautiful walls.  The rafters are 4 x 12 Douglas Fir shipped over from Washington.

Should you be interested in more information about cordwood building, please feel free to visit my website www.cordwoodconstruction.org, my Facebook page www.facebook.com/cordwoodconstruction and check out my Cordwood Online Bookstore (specializing in ebooks and print) by clicking on the picture of my latest book.  Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels 640 x 480

 

Aloha and Mahalo!

Cordwood Construction by Tom Huber in Michigan & New York

Tom Huber is a cordwood savant who builds with nature on his mind.  An eclectic by nature, Tom espouses the philosophy of Christopher Alexander and his idea of using “Pattern Language” to create a homestead that is both meaningful and beautiful.  Let me walk you through some of friend Tom’s creations.

Cedar Eden cropped with logo

This is his latest building called Cedar Eden.  Made of Northern White Cedar, which is both beautiful and long lasting.  Tom built this complex in stages and has room for more additions.  His concept is “Build small with what you have and add on later.”

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The first “add on” shows a curved cedar post on the corner.  It is certainly eye catching. Note is is on a rock foundation and the posts were not squared, but left natural.

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This was the first portion of the Cedar Eden homestead.

Tom Huber NY July 2012d

The interior of Cedar Eden with rock wall near the wood stove.  There is all manner of rocks, stones, gems and momentos in the wall.

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Tom’s original cordwood home was in Michigan.  This beauty sold back in 2005 when Tom took a teaching position at Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks.  It sold for the asking price and the buyer commented that the well done cordwood was the deciding factor in the purchase.

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The beautiful stone work, well laid cordwood, bottle ends and wavy pine siding speak about a builder who cares deeply about his creation.  Tom has the “artistic chops” to back up his work.

Tom Huber cordwood siding with stone with logo

The sitting porch is done with stone and the cordwood is actually “cordwood siding.”  Cordwood siding is 1″ discs of cordwood nailed or screwed to a mortar painted surface.  Bet it fooled you:0)

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The carefully laid out stone wall has insulation between it and the interior wall. The interior wall is made with 4″ cordwood stubbies which allow the cordwood wall to extend down to the interior floor, while the stone protects and beautifies the exterior.

Huber Shed MI with logo

Tom’s first attempt at cordwood resulted in this very attractive cordwood shed.  The stone protects the sides and the cordwood gives a feeling of additional sturdiness and warmth.

Should you get bitten, not by mosquitoes, but by the cordwood bug, you may wish to take a look at www.cordwoodconstruction.org   Read the articles by clicking on the 9 color photos, check out the Cordwood eNewsletter on the top menu, look at the workshop schedule and if you want to learn more check out all the ebooks and hard copy books at the Online Cordwood Bookstore.

The latest and in my opinion, the best book on cordwood is Cordwood Construction Best Practices, which was just updated.

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Double-wall Cordwood on Manitoulin Island, Canada

Double Wall Cordwood on Manitoulin Island, Ontario, Canada. 
Linda Willson Manitoulin Island with logoHere are segments from the article describing the double wall cordwood home of Chuc & Linda Willson in Ontario, Canada… “Manitoulin’s covered in white cedar and it makes sense to use wind-blown cedars and logging waste to make stackwalls.”

double wall stackwall Linda willson

They built each stackwall in two parts – an inside surface and an outside one, both using 7 inch long logs, with two layers of 1 1/2 inch extruded polystyrene foam between them and some air space. Wire ties every 18 inches extend from one side of the stackwall to the other, binding the two log assemblies together through the foam, creating a total wall thickness of 17 inches. This wall thickness makes for some deep and cozy window sills as well.

David Migwans carvings on Linda Willsons cordwood home

David Migwans is an Ojibwa artist who carves wood, stone and antler, works with clay and paints. He spent weeks at the Willson house adding carved details into wooden lintels, door and window trim using hand tools and his uniquely Native artistic vision.

Linda Willson FB Manitoulin Island double wall cordwood

Chuc and Linda sell vegetables and preserves from their organic garden. They also grow much of their own food, and this means they have good use for a large food prep area, a design feature that’s part of the floor plan in a big way.   The link to the entire article

https://stevemaxwell.ca/build-a-house/

If you are interested in learning more about how to build your own chicken coop, garden shed, cottage or dream home, please consider visiting www.cordwoodconstruction.org and checking out the pictures, the articles, the workshops and the online bookstore.

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels 640 x 480Cordwood Construction Best Practices is the latest book on cordwood building (updated in 2015) and will give you the whole range of possibilities in a full color, visually attractive, concise narrative.

Here is a diagram of a double wall post and beam framed home by Cliff Shockey of Saskatchewan, Canada.

double stackwall post and beam

Cliff Shockey Cover 2007 small pixels

Here is Cliff’s award winning double stackwall book.  Cliff’s book is available at the online bookstore in ebook or print edition.  www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Chicken Coops

With Spring arriving across the country, there is growing interest in raising chickens, gathering eggs and protecting this precious animal.  Cities are passing “chicken ordinances” (many are allowing 3 chickens per backyard) and folks are reading up on how best to feed, house and care for their fine,  feathered friends.  Needless to say, there are some interesting examples of cordwood chicken coops.  Here are a few of them.

Seattle city chicken coop tour via Green Tilth

This round chicken coop and pen is in Washington State.  It is a simple round structure with no post support, but is it so small, that reaching the top to put on the roof should be quickly accomplished.  Go to http://www.chickencastle.com to learn more about how this wonderful family built their coop.

Cordwood chicken coop from Pinterest Lisa Mullins

This one is from Pinterest and came with no details or photo credits.  It is a simple post and beam frame on a raised platform.  Note the chicken ramp which can be closed in the evening to keep the predators at bay.

Tom Huber Chicken Coop

Tom Huber built this chicken “coop-de-ville” for his laying flock in Michigan.  He used cordwood siding to make the place more attractive to the flock and said the new, attractive “look” helped increase the production of eggs:0)

Tom Huber Super Chicken Coop

This is Tom Huber’s newest chicken coop in Potsdam, New York.  He is now a professor at Paul Smith’s College and is establishing another gorgeous homestead called Cedar Eden.   You can see the “scratching pen” at the rear of the photo.

Cordwood chicken rabbit coop with thatched roof

This is William Cahill’s thatch work on a cordwood garden shed with attached chicken coop/rabbit hutch.   Located in southern Indiana, the climate is ideal for keeping the birds laying year round.

If you are interested in a cordwood chicken coop it would be wise to gather information on how to best build a cordwood shed/coop.  Cordwood Construction Best Practices  is the latest book on the subject (updated as of 2015) and it will teach you how to build a lasting structure using a best practices approach.

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels 640 x 480Or you can go to www.cordwoodconstruction.org and click on the online bookstore link to find this and many other cordwood books in ebook, CD and print format.

Good luck with your project.    If you have a question, please email me at richardflatau@gmail.com and if I am not out teaching a cordwood workshop, I will get back to you asap.

While at the online bookstore, you may also want to take a peek at Cordwood Shed Plans.  

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Cordwood Construction in Tomahawk, Wisconsin

Here is the beautiful 3 bedroom, code-approved, cordwood home of Pat & Beth Goulee near Tomahawk, Wisconsin.  Pat and Beth used the book  Cordwood & the Code: A Building Permit Guide (available in ebook and print format at www.cordwoodconstruction.org ), coupled with architectural drawings to get financing and code approval.  Pat & Beth 4

Pat & Beth 13.jpg  let the sunshine

The wavy pine siding adds a nice touch to the home.

Pat & Beth 14The deck looks out over a gorgeous pine and hardwood forest.

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Orion is in the walls with blue bottles.

Pat & Beth 9 cordwood love birds

The masonry stove keeps Pat & Beth warm and toasty on cold winter nights.

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The bedroom has large windows overlooking the forest.

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11 different types of wood were used in the construction.

Goulee stove ceiling cordwood wall

The masonry stove under construction.  The flues take the heat back and forth and drop it off in the brick and stone. It is then radiated back to the room.

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Stone mason above, wood mason’s below:0)

Beth Mercier & Pat Goulee Lincoln County 1To learn how to build your dream home, visit  www.cordwoodconstruction.org  read the articles and newsletters, click on the pictures to find out more.

To have all the right information in the right place you may want to have some literature.

Cordwood 320 x 414Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices

 

Questions: email me at richardflatau@gmail.com or fill out the comment form.

 

Cordwood Bed & Breakfasts in North America

There are a number of Cordwood Bed & Breakfasts and even more Cordwood Rentals (no breakfast:0) in North America.  Here are a few examples (with links) to a few of these beautiful buildings.

Cordwood in Bracebridge Ontario by Richard Flatau cordwoodconstruction.orgAbove:   This is the Cordwood Lodge in Bracebridge, Ontario.    http://www.bedbreakfasthome.com/datapowermedia/

St. Anne des Lacs, QuebecThe “Cordstead” boasts 4 round cordwood buildings.  The thought herein, is to give you a “cordwood living” experience to see if  a cordwood home is your cup of tea. Sandy and Angelika are fine hosts.  https://thecordstead.blogspot.com/ 

The gathering place b and b in Coe HIll, OntarioThe Gathering Place on Golden Ponds is in Coe Hill, Ontario and just so you are forewarned, many people who have stayed here, have gone on to build their own cordwood home.   http://www.gatheringbb.com/  

Flying LM B & B in Pierce, Nebraska2The Flying L M B & B is located in Nebraska.  It is a huge cordwood building with massive beams and lots of space. It is near Pierce, Nebraska.  https://flyinglm.wordpress.com/   

Barna 1The Barna’s Vacation Rental in in Houghton, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula.  Nicole built this as her college dorm room and now rents it to weary travelers. http://www.homeaway.com/vacation-rental/p281714

Mermaid cottage 1b low rez Mermaid Cottage near Del Norte, Colorado is not necessarily a B & B (no breakfast:0), but it is a gorgeous vacation rental.   http://mermaid-cottage.org/ 

AirBnB Rarilee Conway Adirondacks cordwood 1aThis beautiful cordwood rental is in the White Face Mountains of upstate New York.  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4872916?s=vcDi 

If your goal is to find out if cordwood living is for you, take the time to visit and check out some of these places.  With a rental you can poke around and enjoy your stay rather than imposing on someone to open their cordwood home at your convenience.

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cabin, cottage or home, visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org and read the articles, click on the pictures and consider buying an ebook or print copy of Cordwood Construction Best Practices.

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

Cordwood Construction Best Practices available in print & ebook at http://www.cordwoodconstruction.org online bookstore.

 

Camp Cordwood in Copper Country, Michigan

My dear departed friend Wayne Higgins took us around to see some of the outstanding cordwood building that has sprung up from his stellar influence in the Keweenaw Peninsula of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Wayne is not only a fine tour guide (his knowledge of the area is phenomenal), but he takes genuine pleasure in all the conversation, meeting & greeting that ensues.
One fascinating place he took us to, was Camp Cordwood built by George & Paulette Beveridge. Beverage home camp cordwoodFor me it was like going to Cordwood DisneyWorld. The central pine tree in this home is 30 feet tall and has carved into it a bear, wolves, an eagle, owl and bobcat. The cordwood infill rises 24′ and there are more interesting features than you can shake a log end at!
A few photos of our tour.

George Beveridge UP of Michigan wallHere is a bottle end replica of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!  This is the poster child for Christopher Alexander’s book Pattern Language, where he suggests that people place something of their lives in their home. George Beveridge (with Paulette and Wayne Higgins) UP of MI with chain saw carving by Grizz Works of Maple, WIPaulette Beveridge & Wayne Higgins lean against Smokey the Bear. I love the way this cordwood lodge has so many fun and unique wood artifacts. The playing cards on the ceiling are a fine example of Yooper whimsy. I love these people, their fine wood craftsmanship and their most wonderful spirit. They are the most joyous folks I have ever met. A big thanks (again) to Wayne Higgins for introducing us and taking us for a visit!

Beverage ceiling 1aThey we so gracious to open up their home to us. Their energy is contagious. The burls on the post is outstanding.

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George and Paulette Beveridge

Paulette and George at the downstairs entrance.  Note the words Maw and Paw on the log ends.  These are salt of the earth type folks.  You come away feeling better for having known them.

Here is a close up of the buffalo head. It is a large burl found in the woods. It was painted and carved to bring out the buffalo.  Beveridge buffalo burl The rectangle blocks of wood that you see on the OUTSIDE cordwood  wall (below) are the end of the steps that run on the inside (they run through the cordwood wall.  If you are going to put steps in your cordwood walls this is the way to do it.  The sign on the right says “WIPE YER PAWS.”   Note the rope around the octagon window.

Beveridge wipe yer paws

The steps are massive and overbuilt, but this is the only way to insure that they will never move in the cordwood wall.   This is the right way to build a cordwood stairs into your home. Stairway beveragesBelow are some copper agates that are found all around in Copper Country (the Keweenaw Peninsula) of the UP of Michigan.

Beveridge copper agates and cordwoodThis is a close look at the interior cordwood/bottle/copper/memento wall.

Beveridge bottle ends gone wild

On the one side of the second floor deck the sign says Camp Cordwood.  On this side it says Tree House.

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Interested in learning more?  Visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org and click on each of the 9 pictures to learn more about his old fashioned method of building.

Should you get interested and want to build one that is warm and energy efficient?  Want to learn from others mistakes and not have to repeat them?   Then you should get a copy of Cordwood Construction Best Practices.

Click on the picture below to find out how.  

Cordwood Construction Best Practices    http://www.daycreek.com/dc/html/paypal_flatau.htm