Category Archives: Natural home for sale

Roofs 4 Cordwood Homes

When planning your natural home, the roof becomes a very important part of your design.  From looking good, to insulating, to adding extra space, to protecting your walls, a good roof design is an essential part of every home.

Here are a few ideas “topping off ideas” to consider for your cordwood construction dream home design.Roof Gormely Minnesota building the roofA roundwood, log cabin style roof for the second floor. Roof king post truss.jpg

A simple “king post truss” can be handmade and spans a maximum of 16 feet.

Jessi hoy peterson9 living roof with logoA living roof needs a sturdy framework, proper waterproofing protection and good drainage.   The rule of thumb with living roofs is to build them like a fine cabinet maker. Ernie Slatter  roof framing.jpgThe angle cuts for a round living roof can be complicated for a beginner.

 

Cordwood workshop sauna 6.jpgA simple shed roof is very easy to build.Issac Haumesser MO larger pixel with logo

Issac built his own trusses and then cut his own dragon skin shakes by hand.Roof separate from structure.jpgThis roof is separate from the building structure.Kinstone 20 Tension ring and circular metal roof bracket makes for a strong system.jpg

A ring collar and tensioner helps to keep the poles in good alignment.

Truss room in the attic

This truss room in the attic adds an extra 560 sq. ft. of living space on top of our cordwood home. Flatau's Chateau winter with logo.jpg

This is how it looks from the outside, somewhat of a Swiss Chalet style. The pitch is 8/12.

Roof common gable or common rafter roof.jpg

A common rafter takes longer to install than a truss roof.

Reciprocal roof with cordwood and logoReciprocal roofs are beautiful, but do not provide adequate insulation in cold climates, but they sure do look good!Peter Turkow d Waterport NY with logoPeter Turkow’s childhood cordwood home.  Known as “The House with the Hat.”

These photos are meant to stimulate your planning juices.  This is certainly not a comprehensive treatise on how to build a roof, but rather a starting point from which to begin.  You will need to research the cost, buildability and “look” of the roof you choose for your dwelling.  Good fortune!

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

This is the Cordwood Workshop Video label. DVD label cover yellow

These are the 30 menu sections from the Video.DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2

 

 

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Cordwood Cabin North Bay, Ontario

Fred Robson has built a beautiful “Cordwood Bunkie” as he calls it on the shores of the magnificently beautiful Lake Kawawaymog in Ontario.Fred Robson bunkie 2 with logoFred makes mandolins and guitars and is a very talented craftsman.  You can see his talent in this light and airy cordwood cabin.Fred Robson bunkie floor with logo.jpgThe floors are acid etched with a compass motif.Fred Robson's cordwood cottage, acid etched floor and handmade bed wiht logoFred built his own bed and now he has to make it!

Fred Robson bunkie exterior2 with logo.jpgThe octagon windows add a nice touch of light.Fred Robson sauna Ontario with logo.jpg

His practice building was a cordwood sauna.  It gets might cold up on Lake Kawawaymog .   Very nicely done Fred!

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

This is the Cordwood Workshop Video label. DVD label cover yellow

 

These are the 30 menu sections from the Video.

DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2

 

 

Cordwood Doghouses around the world

Our furry friends need the warmth of a well built cordwood wall just as much as humans.   Here is an attractive Swedish cordwood doghouse courtesy of Olle Hagman.

Cordwood Doghouse Olle Hagman 1 with logo

Oliver helped me with the creation of the Wisdom of Downward Dog.

Cordwood dog

If you want to try the cordwood method with a practice building, this is a good starter project.  Olle was kind enough to send another cob mortar doghouse from one of his workshops.

Olle Hagman doghouse in Sweden 1.jpg

Below is a stackwall corner doghouse and its owner reside in Michigan.

Doghouse cordwood in Michigan from Lyn Wood.jpg

This roundish cordwood has bottles to enlighten the savage beast.

Cordwood doghouse from Susan Teague.jpgA Siberian Husky from Russia loves his log cabin.Log end doghouse  Konstantin Bogomolov.jpgTom Huber built this masterpiece in Michigan.Dog house cordwood www.cordwoodconstruction.org  photo credit Tom Huber with logo.jpg

A nice white pine doggy house.

Dog House from Andreea Rusu

Some dogs like to loll on top of their green roof.

nick kautzer dog houseShould 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.

Cordwood in Oregon

Don Noe built two beautiful cordwood structures in Oregon. His hybrid shed with the cordwood wall was built with 90 percent construction scrap. It was  timber framed with timbers from large machine crates. The logs  came from an arborist who was planning to use them for firewood, the stone, windows and wood siding were also recycled. Don Noe's Cordwood shed in Oregon 2The building below is a worm farm. Look at these magnificent door hinges and the Western Red Cedar doors.  The bottle brick and cordwood masonry is also very well placed. Don Noe's Cordwood shed in Oregon 1 The shed with the cord wood wall was built with 90 percent construction scrap  timber framed with timbers from large machine crates. The logs  fromarboristDon states, “The doors (above) with the limb hinges are for worm bins located on Portland Community College Campus.”

More pictures of the hybrid cordwood work shed under construction.
Don Noe's Cordwood shed in Oregon 3Below if another set of massive hinges, a beautifully decorated celtic knot timber and excellent use of a skull and antler.   The different dimensions of rock stem wall are pleasing to the eye.Don Noe's Cordwood shed in Oregon 4All I can say is nice work Don!Don Noe's Cordwood shed in Oregon 5  www.offgridquest.com slash read-more slash 19-james-noe-s-3500-cordwood-shed-is-breathtaking

Check out the carving on the vertical timber!  Don certainly knows how to reuse, recycle and make beautiful.

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 Window Boxes: How to build

Making a well built window box (also called window buck) for your cordwood home is crucial.  Done properly your windows will open and close with ease in perpetuity.  There are a couple of important points to follow.

  1.  Buy your windows first so you can make the right size window box. Window boxes 1.jpg
  2.  Make the window box out of dimensional lumber for added strength adding 1/4″ to each side (called the rough opening).  Have windows of all the same size:  make a template like in the picture above. White Earth small pixel window boxes with keyways on inside and outside.jpg
  3.  Secure the window box to a post, top plate, lintel or framework.  Window box with top plate and masons line.jpg
  4.  Brace the window box diagonally so it stays square, level and plumb.Window install into window box.jpg
  5. Stack your windows safely out of the elements and then install carefully to keep them level on the outside of the window box.  If they come with a nailing flange, make sure it is nailed securely to the outside edge of the box. Cordwood window with logo.jpg
  6. It is possible to float small windows into a cordwood wall.

7. More photos of well built and well installed window boxes. Random Pattern 3 and window.jpg

8. These tips  work for all natural building styles.

Window boxes and door frames installed.jpg9. Door frames and window boxes attached and ready for cordwood infill.Window boxes.jpg

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 Video cover, featuring the Cordwood Education Center.

DVD label cover yellow.jpg

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

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg

 

Cordwood Books & Videos

Which one? If I could only buy one cordwood book, which one should it be?  This questions pops up frequently as folks look to find one book that gives all the answers. Cordwood is evolving.  What worked 20 years ago has changed.  So, get a book from a reliable author and enjoy the latest information.  It may be in your best interest to get a couple.  Prices and ordering information at Online Cordwood Bookstore

Cordwood Shed Plans with frame.jpg

Many of these are available as ebooks in PDF format.  You can print off the pages you need to take to your building site (formulas, mixes, drawings) and keep the rest safe.

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices 1200 x 1600

The Cordwood Workshop Video/DVD is like taking a workshop in your own home.

DVD label cover yellow.jpg

The Cordwood Workshop Video is also available as a DVD and a digital download.

House Plan with border

House plans come with the floor plan for my 30′ x 40′ cordwood home, but also shows options for other cordwood styles.

Cliff Shockey Cover 2007

The double wall technique was invented by Cliff Shockey.  He continues to build and advise cordwood neophytes.

CoCoCo15 Papers.jpg

The Cordwood Conference Papers are a wealth of information and ideas.

CCC11 with frame.jpg

CoCoCo 2005 cover.jpg

Rob Roy has revised Cordwood Building with lots of new information and suggestions.

Cordwood Building 2016.jpg

Timber framing made easy with mechanical fasteners.

Timber Framing

If you need to have your cordwood building code approved, here is the book that has all the latest testing on cordwood.

Cordwood and the Code cover bleed to edge.jpg

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 Video cover, featuring the Cordwood Education Center.

DVD label cover yellow.jpg

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

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg

 

Cordwood Star Wall Celebration

So, how do you celebrate finishing a cordwood wall?  Here are a few cordwood completion poses for your enjoyment.  First of all:  What is a cordwood star wall?  Well at Kinstone we built a wall with 8″ x 8″ cedar posts, 20′ long and 5′ high and loaded with 67 bottles that oftimes resemble constellations.  The wall is attached to the Dragon’s Keep Entrance Center and is sheltered by a green roof.

Kinstone workshop 2017B

Maranda gives her best happy pose.  This is what she had to say: “Cordwood Construction is exhausting and exhilarating. I built a wall today. I seriously built this. Fabulous. I’m spent. I’ve learned so much in one day. I love this skill, I can take this into the wilderness and build myself a very warm, durable, cost effective, simple, yet gorgeous structure. And I don’t need electricity or fancy tools to complete an entire shack. This will literally save my existence. I love it. -Maranda”

Kinstone workshop 2017I

Tuck pointed, bottles bricks cleaned and ready to be covered to slow the set and cure.

Kinstone workshop 2017H

We had rather small pieces of cordwood to work, but these walls came out very well.

Kinstone workshop 2017GCygnus and the Red Planet (without Matt Damon).

Kinstone workshop 2017F

Rachel & Rollin are pumped!Kinstone workshop 2017EMany hands make light work. Kinstone workshop 2017D

The wall is 20 feet long and nearly 5 foot tall!

Kinstone workshop 2017C

The marvelous Cordwood Workshop Crew is in repose, but obviously not done yet   Left to right, top to bottom. Zac, Rollin, Rachel, Jeff, Richard, Kendall (middle row) Greg, Maranda, Terry, Jo, Becky, Ed, (bottom row) Bentley, Jackie and Dawn.  This amazing crew finished the entire wall in one day!   Now that is some kind of record!               Thank you to Kristine of Kinstone for 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 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 Video cover, featuring the Cordwood Education Center.

DVD label cover yellow.jpg

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

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg

Cordwood Cottage in Tlaxcala, Mexico

Mario Alberto Bastida Vargas sent these lovely photos of his cordwood building project in the forests of Nanacamilpa, Tlaxcala, Mexico.   Here are some of the details.  He used red cedar and white cedar for the cordwood infill. The posts are white cedar. The beams are Oyamel wood and Pino Ocote.

Mario Alberto Bastida Vargas 9.jpg

The stone and masonry work is very attractive.

Mario Alberto Bastida Vargas 6.JPG

The adobe block bricks are used for the bathroom.

Mario Alberto Bastida Vargas 10 logo.jpg

The interior is comfortable and inviting.

Mario Alberto Bastida Vargas 5Mario has completed some other cordwood work for the Nature Sanctuary at Canto del Bosque in Mexico, like the bath house (below).Mario Alberto Bastida Vargas 11.jpg

The bathhouse was built a few years ago.  The mountains in the distance certainly add to the ambience of the site.   There is now a large round celebration pavilion made partially with cordwood near the bathhouse.

Mario in Mexico 5.jpg

Mario in Mexico 1.jpgMario used my favorite mortar recipe of 3 masons sand, 2 soaked softwood sawdust, 1 Type S hydrated lime and 1 portland cement.  He is very pleased with the results.

The Canto del Bosque Nature Sanctuary can be contacted at the following link.

 https://www.facebook.com/santuario.delasluciernagasnanacamilpa/

Cordwood Construction Best Practices is in English and although the pictures are worth a thousand words, it can be translated in any language using Google Translate (which is free).  Simply copy and paste text into the program and select the language.

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 thousands of 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

Here is a picture of the Cordwood Workshop Video cover, featuring the Cordwood Education Center.

DVD label cover yellow.jpg

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

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg

 

Funky Cordwood Windows

Can you make a window using a hollowed out log and plexiglass?  Of course you can if you follow the method that Pelle Henriksson used in his sauna.  All pictures are courtesy of Pelle Henriksson and are used with permission.  Pelle window log 31.  First you clean out and sand the hollowed out log.  Pelle window log 7

2. Once clean it must be routed with a hand router so that the window can be cut and fit to the opening.  Pelle window log 63.   Make a template with a piece of heavy duty paper and a scissors or sharp knife. Pelle window log 5 Did a paper trace and then googled how to cut glass.4.  Cut the piece of plexiglass (available in hardware stores and building supply stores) to match the template. Pelle window log 45. Then use silicone caulk to attach the glass securely to the routed edge.  Pelle window log 36.  Note that the glass portion goes to the outside of the cordwood wall and the inside is more like a shelf.  This would not be advisable for a house in a very cold climate as it would have a very low thermal resistance (R-value).  This application is on a sauna.   Pelle window log 2

7.  Pelle caulked his window on the outside and painted it before inserting it into his cordwood sauna wall. Pelle window log 1Want to see how Pelle’s built his sauna?  Click on the link below:    https://cordwoodconstruction.wordpress.com/2017/06/08/swedish-cordwood-sauna-by-pelle/

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 thousands of 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

Here is a picture of the Cordwood Workshop Video cover, featuring the Cordwood Education Center.

DVD label cover yellow.jpg

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

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg

Cordwood Flooring DIY

Cordwood Flooring         

It’s not just for the walls, anymore…” 

A neighbor of mine, Steve, called one cold January evening and said,  “Richard, come on over and see my cordwood floor!”  Needless to say, we hurried over and were amazed.  Lee's Floor 1 with logo.jpgSteve is a mason by training and a general contractor by profession, so he has a knowledge and skill base that is both deep and wide.   The hard maple (Acer saccharum) slices he used were 100 years old.

During the past year, three creative souls have sent me pictures and descriptions of their experiences with “laying” interior cordwood floors.  There are, of course, commercial cordwood flooring options available, but most cordwood aficionados are looking to save money and come away with a building “statement” that “wows” and is attractive.Sunny Pettiz Lutz Cordwood floor 9.jpgSunny Pettis Lutz from Arizona was the next one to send photos and an explanation of her cordwood floor in Arizona.  While Steve Lee’s flooring was fastened to a wooden sub-floor, Sunny’s was glued to a slab-on-grade.Sunny Pettiz Lutz Cordwood floor 1 with logo.jpgFinally, Miroslav Bentley Kubala of the Czech Republic regaled me with photos of his beautiful cordwood storage garage complete with a cordwood floor. Miroslav Bentley Kubala Prague3.jpg from Pintrest site floor manufacture 3.jpgHerein follows a brief explanation of three cordwood floors with three different applications.

  1. Cordwood Floor: Steve Lee After finishing his remodeling project, Steve puzzled over what to do with the floor. He had many options in his construction skill set.  Since J & J Lee Construction had poured the foundation at our cordwood home in 1979 and assisted in the addition of a dormer in 1992, Steve thought a cordwood floor might look good in their new, open concept “great room.”  Here the idea of a cordwood floor came to fruition.

While listening to the local radio station’s “Swap Shop” program, Sharon heard about the availability of a pick-up truck load of 100 year old hardwood barn beams.  Dry as a bone, leveled on two sides, of varying diameters, these, when sliced would become the mosaic pattern for the floor.  Each eight foot timber was cut to three feet and leveled on the ends.  The log was then placed in a band saw and  braced vertically.  (Before cutting, these logs were checked with a metal detector, so any nails or screws could be removed.)  Like slicing a loaf of bread, the logs were then sawn into  5/8″ pieces.  In addition all the sawdust was saved for eventual use in the tile-grouting mixture.  The great room’s 600 sq. ft. sub floor was leveled and the cordwood slices were arranged to create a pattern. When an orientation was resolved (flat side north and south, rounded edge east and west), the construction adhesive, purchased in one gallon pails, was applied to a small section of the floor with a notched trowel. Steve suggests following the manufacturer’s instructions for applying the glue.  Dealing with only a small portion at a time is important so the adhesive doesn’t “skin over”.  The slices were firmly set and secured to the floor and the adhesive was allowed to dry for at least 24 hours.  The next step was packing grout in the spaces between the log end slices.  Steve used commercial tile grout mixed with the sawdust he had collected during the cutting process (the ratio was 80% tile grout to 20% sawdust.

After the grout had dried, an industrial sander was rented and coarse 24 grit sandpaper was used to clean the log faces.  (Steve now suggests sealing the top faces of the cordwood BEFORE grouting, so that the log faces do not become coated with grout.)   Steve sanded until he had a fairly level and smooth surface.  A non-latex, commercial varnish sealer was applied with a lamb’s wool pad to achieve a smooth, level surface.  Steve allowed the varnish sealer to set for 24 hours.  Then he used a scuff pad between coats and reapplied more sealer, until he achieved the surface he wanted.Lees' Floor 2.jpgSteve did the flooring at night and on weekends, but he projects that if someone could work full time on the floor, while allowing ample time for drying of the glue and finish coats, that it could be completed in one to two weeks.   Sharon suggests letting the completed floor set for a week before replacing the furniture.  When the furniture is returned to the room, place pads underneath of legs or pressure points to avoid damage to the final coat.

The floor creates a cozy and beautiful ambiance to the home which is filled with other wonderful examples of repurposing (cabinets, paneling, cedar ceiling, claw foot bathtub, etc.) and is a fine example of using surplus materials in a new way.  These projects show the warmth of wood and the attraction of natural materials. The Lee cordwood floor provides an opportunity for creativity when using recycled wood in the home.  One can only ponder the variations of cordwood flooring that could be produced using different patterning and cutting techniques. Visit our blogsite at www.cordwoodconstruction.wordpress.com/ to learn more about cordwood flooring.

  1. Cordwood Floor: Sunny Pettis Lutz in Arizona    Cordwood flooring by Sunny Pettis Lutz in Cornville, AZ.jpg

   Sunny Pettis Lutz sent some photos of her gorgeous, hand-made cordwood floor.  The following is a detailed list of how she and her husband, Tony, made their floor with legal pickings from the state forest.   “Get a permit to go out to the forest and harvest dead trees. In our area that means Juniper and Pine.  On this floor we are using Shaggy Bark Juniper and Alligator Bark Juniper.” Note that their flooring is on top of a cement slab.   Sunny Pettis Lutz new floor pix 2.jpg  Here are their directions:

  • Cut each piece with a chop saw set at 1 inch.
  • Sort ‘disks’ for clean, useable slices.
  • Remove any loose bark.
  • Sand both sides using a belt sander
  • Prepare concrete surface by sweeping and mopping clean.
  • Begin to layout the disks on the floor getting them as close as possible. Work in 2′ sections.
  • Glue the layout you like using Loctite PL Premium Construction Adhesive.
  • Sand the glued discs, using a belt sander until everything is smooth and level.
  • Use a shop-vac to cleanup all dust and debris.
  • Apply a light coat of polyurethane to the surface of the disks (this is to prevent the grout from adhering to the tops).
  • Grout the spaces with a mix of 80% grout & 20% sawdust.
  • Apply 2-3 coats of polyurethane to finish.  Sunny Pettis Lutz cordwood floor  Floor has 3 coats of oil polyurethane. I'll take pics tomorrow. We are VERY happy with this floor with logo.jpg
  1. Cordwood Floor: Miroslav Bentley Kubala of the Czech Republic installed his cordwood flooring on a concrete slab using the same basic techniques as Steve Lee (see above).   Miroslav Bentley Kubala near Prague25 no logo.jpg

Here are instructions from Miroslav:

  • Clean the floor.
  • Cut slices of wood (hardwood or a rot resistant softwood) 3/4″ to 1 inch.
  • Seal the top of the slices so they don’t get stained by the grout.
  • Glue the slices to the floor
  • Fill the gaps with grout
  • Miro used a mortar/bentonite/acryl mixture
  • Seal the floor with polyurethane

Miroslav Bentley Kubala near Prague28.jpgAnd now for something completely different … A cordwood floor using reclaimed cypress by Matt Marwick of www.PrecisionFloorcrafters.com out of river recovered heart cypressCordwood Flooring from FB page of Woodworking Ideas precisionfloorcrafters.com end grain cypress.jpgNote: Anyone wishing to try a DIY project like cordwood flooring is encouraged to study all the available literature and hone your skill set on a small “practice project.”  The success of your venture, will be commensurate with the skills you have acquired and the quality of your construction.  There are commercially available cordwood floor systems which can be examined through an internet search. Google “wood block flooring” and “end grain log flooring,” for starters. You’ll find manufacturers, DIY articles and videos.Cordwood countertop by precision floor crafters and Matt Marwick.jpg(Above) Matt Marwick also built this beautiful cordwood countertop.Cordwood countertop BillandVicki Jarratt 3.jpg(Above) Bill Jarratt, an excellent craftsman from Florida, built this bathroom countertop using cedar and epoxy.  Check out his article on how to do this project. https://cordwoodconstruction.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/cordwood-construction-website/      

Plus, for good measure, we have thrown in a cordwood garden pathway!Cordwood garden path.jpgFinally, many folks have seen exterior cordwood garden paths and outdoor cordwood slices laid in the soil.  This is a different animal than interior flooring.  For outdoor cordwood paths, choose a rot resistant wood (like cedar or cypress) and lay the cordwood slices – two inches thick or better – in a soil or sand base. Then tamp the wood pavers in place and smooth and stomp the soil/sand/aggregate, similar to how one would “lay” a brick or stone patio path.

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home (in which to build your cordwood floor), 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 thousands of 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

Here is a picture of the Cordwood Workshop Video cover.  DVD label cover yellow.jpg

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

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