Category Archives: Off grid

Cordwood in New Zealand

Clifton Loveridge of Loveridge Woodcraft sent the following pictures of this beautiful cordwood build in Tokomaru Bay, New Zealand.  Clifton used Macrocarpa log ends 350mm thick (14 inches), posts were Macrocarpa and Manuka wrapped in thick plastic and mortared.Loveridge Woodcraft NZ Tokomaru Bay 2 with logo.jpgBeautiful flooring using stones and large slabs of stone.Loveridge Woodcraft NZ Tokomaru Bay 1 with logo.jpgIt boasts a “Hessian Ceiling”, (which is burlap stapled between the roundwood rafters)  glass wool (fiberglass) insulation and an iron roof.  Clifton states, “I’m keen to build more of these.”   Loveridge Woodcraft NZ Tokomaru Bay 3The cordwood building is 30′ x 20′ (600 square feet). The exterior has a few very large diameter pieces of wood.Loveridge Woodcraft NZ Tokomaru Bay 4A.jpgIt is built right into New Zealand’s  natural landscape.

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.

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

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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.

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The stone and masonry work is very attractive.

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The adobe block bricks are used for the bathroom.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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Cordwood Sweat Lodges & Dog Houses

Cordwood lends itself to many types of buildings, including ones that keep a person clean and a dog sheltered.  Below is a cordwood sweat lodge in the Pacific Northwest.  It is built with Western Red Cedar which makes for a beautiful cordwood wall. whidbeymagic.com sweat lodge cordwood

A tiny sweat lodge/sauna in Montana with a hollow log for light and ventilation.Cordwood Sauna montana small cabins blog site with logo

Another sauna bathhouse, sweat lodge in Montana. earth roof sauna cordwood montana with logo

 

If you add a few windows, the sweat lodge becomes a tiny home.

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Below are some cordwood dog house ideas for your prized pooch.

Dog house cordwood www.cordwoodconstruction.org photo credit Tom Huber with logo

Tom Huber made his dog comfortable in Michigan (above) and almost mortared his sausage log-dog into the wall in New York.

Tom Huber cabin Log End Dog

Olle Hagman shared doghouses from Sweden.  Note the stackwall corners and the clay mortar.

Olle Hagman doghouse in Sweden 1

Cordwood Doghouse Olle Hagman 1 with logoOlle made his dog house moveable by building it on a pallet (above).Dog House Tim Halverson Ohio

Tim Halveson of Ohio added some straw for bedding.

Dog House with cc.org logo 2 for TMEN

This one is made of tone, cob, an arch and a loafing, living roof.

Finally, this could be a man’s dog house when he has fallen out of favor :0)FB page of Tiny House Listings a dog house for hubby

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.

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

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Cordwood at Kinstone Permaculture Academy

Kinstone Academy of Applied Permaculture rests gently upon a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River.  The largest megalithic stone circle in North America, a walking labyrinth, rolling hills, a tepee, a yurt, a reflecting pond, permaculture plantings and three cordwood buildings accent the landscape.  Kinstone  low rez with logo.jpgThe cordwood chapel is a hexagonal structure with 12′ walls and 16″ cedar infill.  It has 450 bottle bricks embedded in the walls, creating a homage to the natural world. Kinstone cordwood chapel interiorBelow is Brother Sun and the flora and fauna of the grassy plains. The sunrise wall flowers stems dragonfly low rez with logo.jpgMany workshops were held at Kinstone and hundreds of participants placed logs, stones and bottles into the walls. Kinstone snowball testThe sturdy stone foundation is gneiss (nice) stone from central Wisconsin. workshop 37aThe Mississippi River runs through the building (symbolically).  Kinstone walls with logoThere is also a cordwood sauna on site that doubles as a guest cottage.

 

Cordwood workshop sauna 6.jpgIt was also a labor of love with many workshop participants.  Kinstone sauna 1 with logoThe interior feels warm and comforting. Kinstone workshop 2017 4The Dragon’s Den, an entrance center with a living roof, awaits eager visitors.  Kinstone Dragons Keep 1There are many dragons embedded in the walls.  Kinstone Dragons Keep 3A rich kaleidoscope of colors greets the welcomed guest.  Kinstone Dragon 3A                            Mandalas are an integral part of the buildings.  Mandalas offer balancing visual elements, symbolizing unity and harmony.

Kinstone is filled with good energy and good vibrations.  If you are in the Winona, Minnesota area (this is right across the Mississippi River in Fountain City, Wisconsin) it is worth a visit.  There is a self guided map at the Entrance Center to make sure you know where to go.  http://www.kinstonecircle.com/

If you wish to take a cordwood workshop, click on the Kinstone Courses menu.

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.

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

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Rubble Trench: The Basics

What is the one thing that will destroy a conventional foundation?  Water (freezing, thawing and heaving).  Frank Lloyd Wright (among others) figured out a way to move water away from the foundation.  He called it a Rubble Trench.  It is basically a trench dug around the perimeter of the proposed foundation, which then has drain tile sloped to “daylight.”  The idea is that the weight of the foundation will be spread out and the water will be funneled away.  Before you dig, it is important to remove all the organic matter (grass, weeds, roots and topsoil) from the foundation site.  Use a backhoe or dig it by hand?  Your choice.  Kurt dug his entire rubble trench by hand.Rubble trench 1 by Kurt Leslie.jpgDigging by hand provides a good workout.    Machinery helps if you have roots and big rocks to move or you just want to expedite your project.  Rubble trench with backhoe and drain tileThe drain tile has gravel below and on top.   It is then tamped.  Rubble trench 2 by Kurt LeslieA rubble trench lowers the cost of your building project:  Excavation, fill, and materials (gravel rather than a concrete footer or blocks) are reduced.  rubble trench 5The center is filled with sand and the perimeter is tamped. Rubble trench with slab on top by Kurt LeslieIt can be topped with a FPSF (Frost Protected Shallow Foundation), or a Grade Beam (below).Novitch sauna 9A grade beam.jpgOr the sill plates for the foundation can be made from naturally rot resistant, pressure treated or fire treated wood.  Irish Cottage Garden Shed.jpgCreativity is only limited by your imagination.

Marie Conner-Glenfield  cordwood shed with logo.jpgOne schematic of a rubble trench (there are many variations).

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This rendering is an architectural rendering of how the rubble trench, foundation, cordwood and roof all tie in together.

Foundation Rubble Trench with FPSF.jpgBefore you start on any building project you should consult with qualified experts to make sure you are using the correct materials and load calculations.

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.

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

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Swedish Cordwood Sauna by Pelle

The interior of Pelle Henriksson’s sauna in Sweden is a work of art.   It is very pleasing to the eye, sturdy,  and simultaneously, whimsical (note the blue window).   The large sauna stove screening is filled with rocks meant to produce the sacred steam (the loyly) of the sauna (when splashed with water).

pelle henriksson sauna stoveThe sauna entrance door is also excellent craftsmanship.Pelle Kubbhausta 2.jpgThis is the interior door to enter the sauna.  The hinges and wood joinery are exquisite!pelle henriksson door sauna

The other side of the door.pelle henriksson door sauna2pelle henriksson sauna benchThe sauna bench has two tiers.  The bottom is the cooler one.  The top is for those who want to feel the hot water vapor pour over them and cleanse their bodies and souls. pelle henriksson scoop stickThe water scoop stick is for pouring water on the hot rocks, thereby making the sacred steam of the sauna.  A bit of Loyly history:  “Taking a sauna begins with having a wash (usually a shower), followed by a sit in the steam room, the room being typically warmed to 80–110 °C (176–230 °F). Water is thrown on the hot stones topping the kiuas, a special stove used to warm up the sauna. This produces great amounts of wet steam, known as löyly, increasing the moisture and the heat within the sauna. The word löyly is used for this particular type of steam.”

Want to see how Pelle built his sauna?  This design would be perfect for a Tiny Cabin.   https://cordwoodconstruction.wordpress.com/2016/10/16/cordwood-sauna-in-sweden-part-2/

pelle henriksson door sauna finished 2017 small pixels.jpgShould 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, featuring the Cordwood Education Center.

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

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Oldest Cordwood in the world?

Did the Pueblo build cordwood houses?  It looks like they did.  Archeological research indicated they used petrified wood and clay.  This is called the Agate House and is located at the Petrified Forest National Park in NE Arizona.Pueblo Cordwood 1 Petrified Forest National Park.jpgThe petrified wood is 200 million years old and the trees grew hundreds of feet tall. They have petrified over time into very colorful agate.

Pueblo Cordwood 4.jpg Petrified Forest National Park Agate House.jpgAncestral Puebloan people used petrified wood for a variety of purposes including tools such as projectile points, knives, and scrapers. Agate House demonstrates another innovative use of petrified wood: as a building material. The eight-room pueblo was built and occupied sometime between 1050 and 1300 in a location near agricultural fields and petrified wood deposits.

Pueblo Cordwood 2 Agate House demonstrates another innovative use of petrified wood a building materialAgate House now stands alone on top of a small hill in Rainbow Forest, but it was likely part of a much larger community. Since its excavation in the 1930s, hundreds of similar petrified wood structure sites have been found in the park. Many date to the same time period (Pueblo II-Pueblo III). Though built using original materials, the 1930s reconstruction is not a completely accurate replication of the original structure. Still it enables us to envision the daily lives of people that called it home.Pueblo Cordwood 3.jpgThe petrified wood is beautiful.  I guess it can be called cordwood even if the wood is 200 million years old :0)   A big thank you to the Klippel’s for finding and photographing this treasure on their way to the Grand Canyon!

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, featuring the Cordwood Education Center.

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

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Cordwood Outhouses & Bathrooms

One of the all-time-best cordwood construction practice projects is building a cordwood outhouse.  Not only do you get to hone your cordwood skills, but you get a functional addition to your homestead. Cordwod Outhouse with logo.jpgYou can practice with various styles of mortar and material.

Cobwood composting toilet by Olesia Antiushenia 4Cobwood outhouse by Olesia Antiushnia in Belgium. John Meilhan Copper Harbor bathroom with logoA sink in a modern cordwood bathroom in Michigan.

 

Marcos Grossman cobwood in Oxcala, Mexico

A cobwood, thatched building in Oxcala, Mexico by master natural builder Marcus Grossman.

Marcos Grossman for daycreek postA hexagonal cobwood outhouse in New Jersey built by Marcus Grossman before he moved to Mexico.
Yurt cobwood Marcus Grossman NJ with logoHe topped it off with a living roof.

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Julie decided that she was going to make her outhouse look like cordwood, so she took her paintbrush and her artistic talent.  This is what she created.  Nice work Julie.   Her home is built with cordwood, so she extended the look to her outhouse, but used paint, instead.

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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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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