Tag Archives: building

Cordwood Greenhouse in Montana

Hanna fell in love with Montana, nature, gardening and cordwood.  She built a gorgeous cordwood greenhouse/shed and filled it with plants and gardening tools.hanna-montana-3Then she planted a beautiful garden of flowers and vegetables around the shed. hanna-montana-2Finally she added a deer fence to protect the lovely produce and beautiful plants.hanna-montana-1

greenhouse-hanna-montana-2-800-x-600During construction she repurposed windows for maximum light.  hannah-montanss-greenhouse-08a-800-x-600A few stained glass windows add a nice touch to the natural “feel” of the shed. Hanna wrote a blog about her shed and shared it with the website I helped moderate at http://www.daycreek.com   We are hoping she will update her blog and let us know how things are progressing.

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 Warming Shelter

We built a cordwood warming hut at the Merrill School Forest that gradually morphed into a public school classroom along the way. The goal was to create a natural building using materials from the surrounding woods for students to warm up in on their winter hikes.
The result is a state code-approved, public school classroom that boldly demonstrates “best practice building” using sustainable methods.  Many of  these techniques can be used with other alternative building methods like strawbale, cob, earthen plaster, adobe and cobwood. Cordwood Education Center Richard Flatau highresjpeg with logo

The building started with architectural drawings and blueprints. These were sent to the state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin to be assessed for code compliance  We were pleased when they were approved. [Note:  In the future this tiny cabin may become a care-takers cottage and so “knock outs” were made during construction to provide for plumbing for a kitchen and a bathroom.]

The wood for the entire building (posts, cordwood, window boxes, paneling, trim) was cut within 1000 feet of the building site.  We used tamarack (larch), pine, spruce and balsam. Crews of community volunteers from ages 4 to 80 turned out to help. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A Wood Mizer cut all the posts, beams and one inch lumber. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For planning, we started with an architectural drawing.

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A rubble trench is much messier in reality.  This poor soil is called “goose nuggets.” sfwh5

A 4″ perforated drain tile surrounds the foundation and carries the water away. sfwh12

In order to satisfy code requirements, we topped it with a Frost Protected Shallow Foundation (FPSF).  Five million of these foundations have been built in Norway, Denmark, Sweden and Finland and they are now approved in the USA and Canada.  They work very well in cold climates, keeping the heat in the building and most are outfitted with radiant-in-floor heating systems.  This type of foundation saves money by reducing materials and excavation costs.

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The building was framed using heavy timbers of pine and tamarack (larch).  The roof truss was built with a 14″ Energy Heel so that  starched cellulose could be packed to the outside edge of the top plate, giving the roof an R-value of 53.

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The high school construction classes and middle school students came to work and learn.  They wanted to live and work here all semester.

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Everybody pitched in.  We had 90 volunteers and 180 folks who came to “have a look/see.”  So, doing the math,  for every one who worked, two supervised :0)

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The split faced blocks are needed in this area because of the high snow depth (70″ per year) to protect the cordwood.  The double posts allow for a 16″ wall, which not only provides an excellent thermal mass, but also an R-value of 24.

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The sawdust mixed with lime provides a thermal break.

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As the walls began to rise, the community came together to help.

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Building the Big Dipper wall with seventeen volunteers.

Below, ready for the windows and doors as Autumn approaches.

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The cup end of the dipper points to the North Star.  “Follow the drinking gourd” was what Harriet Tubman sang to her escaping comrades.

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The dedication was planned and celebrations took place.  The Cordwood Education Center is now used every day by the students of the Merrill Area Public Schools. It is also used as a Warming Shelter by weekend skiers and hikers.

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The students celebrate!

Watch a brief video about beavers at the Cordwood Education Center .  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xh6uW663R88

Even the media found this little classroom in the woods appealing.

The local and national media payed close attention to the project.  Many other cabins, homes and cottages have been built using the Cordwood Education template.

Cordwood has a tremendous amount of “thermal mass” which means it has the capability of taking and holding and then releasing the warmth or coolness that has been introduced by passive or active means.   In other words your warm building will stay warm and if you cool it, it will stay cool:0)

Ready to welcome the students!cordwood-education-center-with-summer-small-pixels-for-new-pioneer-sample

We host an annual Solar Tour of Homes and Businesses. solar-tour-cordwood-education-center-2015-with-logo

Best Practices used in this building.

  • Rubble Trench
  • FPSF  (Frost Protected Shallow Foundation)
  • Natural materials built up (off grade)
  • 16″ cordwood walls (R-24)
  • Post & Beam Framework
  • Energy Heel Truss
  • Large Overhangs (2′ and 6′)
  • Gutters to prevent splashback
  • Metal Roof (to shed extreme snow load)
  • Energy Efficient Windows and doors
  • Passive Solar Design
  • Natural materials sustainably and locally harvested (posts/sawdust/cordwood/lumber)
  • Random patterning of well dried softwood
  • 200 recycled bottles/stones/momentos placed in the walls from the volunteers

Let’s be clear. Not everyone has to use all these best practices.  They are simply listed for the owner/builders consideration.  The choices you make will be based upon your time, talents and treasure.

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

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

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

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

DVD label cover yellow

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

Cordwood Dollhouse

Jim & Barb Collette of Duluth, Minnesota are master glass fusers.  They wanted to build a cordwood sauna, but decided to make a 3D model mock-up for their first grandchild.  When I first saw the results, I said, my daughter would love that!

dollhouse-8Here are Jim’s words on the subject. “The reason I built this house is because in your book you say to build a smaller project first before moving on to building a house. Well I wanted to build a small shed or maybe a sauna in the yard so I thought I would start small. Also we have a grandchild coming soon and I thought it would be nice to build something he/she can play with. I framed it up on a piece of plywood. I then put in the floor which is 3/4” oak flooring cut down to size.

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The walls are only 1 1/4″ thick, if I were to make another of this size I would go with 2″ long “logs” instead to make it stronger. I think the wood was dry enough but I experienced some shrinkage possibly because it was mostly hard wood. The mortar I used was one part sawdust to one part regular bagged mortar mix. The sawdust was maybe too fine and I would use a coarser product next time. The door is made from a piece of 3/4″ flooring and there is a fused glass window in it and a glass beer for a door knob.

dollhouse-4dollhouse-5dollhouse-6 The other windows in the house are all fused glass windows. My wife made the windows for the house. After completing the house I masked everything off and put 4 coats of shellac on it all inside and out. The floor inside has 5 coats of poly on it. Looking forward to constructing a larger project outside, maybe a sauna.”
Jim and Barb Collette

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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

 

Tiny Cordwood home in Nova Scotia

Michael Fuller is in the process of building a tiny cordwood home in Nova Scotia, Canada.  He has incorporated delightful twists and turns to make his design elegant and intriguing.

michael-fuller-nova-scotia-flying-art-cordwood-cabinThe large gable end overhangs add protection from the prevailing wind and rain.michael-fuller-west_wall_with_stack-nova-scotiaThe stone foundation provides protection from snow, rain and moisture.michael-fuller-flying-art-stackwall_front

The “swoosh” in the walls gives the feeling of a wave cresting and rolling into shore.

michael-fuller-flyingartseasidehighspeed-com-nova-scotia-small-pixelsThe curved porch post, the hand-made door, the decoratively cut fascia and the attentive canine,  all give a homey feel to this delightful little cottage.  Coming in at less than 500 square feet, it has all the rubrics for an attractive, sturdy tiny home.

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 Shed in Newfoundland, Canada

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He does wish he’d realized what others had.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“And it’s been home ever since.”

Cordwood shed and all.”

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

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Cordwood Shed Plans is available at the Online Cordwood Bookstore.

 

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

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

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

DVDandPrint

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

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

Moveable Cordwood Cabin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

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

DVD label cover yellow

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

Cordwood Mermaid Cottage in Colorado

Did you know there is a cottage filled with mermaids in southern Colorado? KimAnna16 with logoKimAnna18 with logo Even though it is a thousand miles from the nearest ocean, this B n B has a bevy of seafaring sirens. It has gorgeous views, breathtaking skies, wonderful structures. The Mermaid Cottage is available via AirBnB at  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/685335KimAnna9 with logoBuilt by KimAnna Cellura-Shields and her husband Michael, the Mermaid Cottage is a testament to the possibilities of building with log ends, glass and mortar.KimAnna14 with logoThe shower is an entire glass bottle wall. KimAnna17 with logoThe surrounding countryside is beyond compare. KimAnna13 with logo If perchance, you are interested in moving to Colorado and starting a business, the Peace of Art Cafe in Del Norte, Colorado is FOR SALE  The details are available at http://www.organicpeddler.com/peace-of-art-cafe.html  KimAnna11 with logoThe kitchen sign says “The Mermaid is in.”KimAnna10 with logoThe bedroom is vibrant with color.KimAnna15 with logoEven the bathroom will bathe you in light and beauty.

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

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

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

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

DVD label cover yellow

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

 

Cordwood Countertop Turtle

Patti Brehler from near Roscommon, Michigan sent these gorgeous photos of the cordwood top she made on top of her husband’s corner cabinet.  You will notice a walnut turtle in the center. How creative and delightful! Thank you Patti for sharing your creation. I love these shares. Patti is editor at the “Voice of the Ausable.”

Patti Brehler 3 turtle Roscommon Michigan

Here are Patti’s directions on how to build one for yourself!  We bought your book several years ago after moving to northeastern Michigan from the Detroit area. I was interested in building a cordwood writing studio at the back of our 13 acres of hardwood forest, that butts up against a state recreation area. After figuring out how much work this meant, we kind of gave up the idea. But, I still had an itch to do some cordwood! My husband, Andy, is a nice woodworker. I’ve always wanted him to build me a corner cabinet in the kitchen as a “beverage” counter, with a lower drawer to house the dog dishes, and doors to put the dog food containers in. Well, he finally got around to it in 2015.

Patti Brehler 2 Roscommon MichiganFirst step, he build the wine rack at the top, then started on the bottom cabinet. He made a triangle template for me to make the cordwood design for the counter top. That was my job! I knew I wanted the center piece to be a slice of walnut from David Miller’s Sawmill in Mio, MI. The other pieces I pulled from our wood shed – ash, birch, maple and oak. Andy built a jig for his bandsaw so I could slice the wood pieces the same – 3/4″. I made my design on the template and the turtle just sort of came to life on it’s own. We did a few things to experiment. First, Andy glued a test piece on a board to see if just the glue would be enough to hold the wood slice on for sanding. That worked just fine. We decided on the dark grout and I went to work gluing the pieces to the counter top. Andy did an initial sanding and coated them with polyurethane to protect them from the grout. After grouting, he sanded again to clean them up and added another coat of polyurethane. We learned how to pour the epoxy on the lazy susan, so felt confident when we did the counter top. We did three pours on the countertop. The first pour was to seal and did not result in a flat surface. The second pour made it flat, but we made a mistake by adding “dams” at the edges. We weren’t sure about letting the epoxy run over the edges because we knew we wanted to add the decorative piece on the front edge. But, it was evident that we needed a third pour to let run over the edge for a more finished look. We’re very happy with the results! Here’s the photo of the lazy susan, which is a nice compliment to the cabinet.Patti Brehler 1 Roscommon Michigan

Here is the  15 1/2″ octogan Lazy Susan we built as a practice piece, so I could try out grout colors, and we could test the epoxy pour.

Patti 4

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 and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Cabin (off grid) in the Adirondacks of New York by Larry Schuth

I was fortunate to have Larry Schuth share his cordwood cabin adventure.  He sent beautiful pictures of the cordwood cabin he and his family built for $9,000 in the 1990’s.

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The basic cabin is 20′ x 30′ with a 30′ x 10′ loft.  Just right for bringing family and friends for a visit.

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The upstairs bedroom is a wonderful place to sleep , surrounded by thick cordwood walls and large windows.

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The stairway takes visitors to the loft.

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The family likes to head to the cabin in the winter and stoke up the woodstove and live off of the grid as long as they choose.

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The sturdy hand built pine breakfast table provides time to plan the days activities.

Schuth 9  Note that the shutters are lockable so the cabin can be secured. Schuth 15 low rez.jpgPV Solar panels have been installed to provide electricity.

Larry offered a few details about his cabin. “The facts: The ground floor is 20’ X 30’ inside and the loft is 10’ X 30’. Time to build is about one man hour per square foot of wall. Total cost for the building (mid 90’s) was $9000. Today’s (2012) cost would be about $2500 more with most of the increase for cement, lime, metal roofing and insulation. There is 6” of reused (salvaged) Styrofoam in the floor and 4” of 4’x 8’ sheets of urethane foam in the roof. The total cost for the cedar logs was $500. I found a place that was logged for cedar. Anything large was cut for lumber and the tops were cut for fence posts. About 2/3 of the cement blocks for the foundation were reused. Most of the windows were used. The timber frame, floors, rafters and floor joists are white pine. We had a lot of fun with this family project.”

This is just the kind of pioneer spirit that blazes bright across the world. Building ones own shelter is certainly a feeling like no other. Nice job Larry and crew.

hould 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 and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

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Cob & Cordwood Cottage in Finland by Heidi Vilkman

Heidi Vilkman sent me photos of her wonderful natural building project in southern Finland.

Heidi Vilkman's cob and cordwood cottage in southern Finland.  Beautiful flowing motifs in the walls, a living roof, whimsy and artistry everywhere you look.

Heidi Vilkman’s cob and cordwood cottage in southern Finland. Beautiful flowing motifs in the walls, a living roof, whimsy and artistry everywhere you look.


You can read more about Heidi’s adventure at http://www.heidivilkman.com/ go to the Eco link.
A close up of Heidi's tree motif.  To me this, along with the cobwood connects teh building to the earth and the surrounding Finnish countryside.

A close up of Heidi’s tree motif. To me this, along with the cobwood connects the building to the earth and the surrounding Finnish countryside.


Here is Heidi’s intro “This blog is about following my dream to build a small Eco dwelling in a forest in South of Finland, by using only my bare hands, some friends’ help, as little money as possible and only natural materials from the surrounding environment (strawbale, wood and cob).

A view from the front door.  While Heidi intends to do more work next summer, she has left her cob cottage with a sense of  deep satisfaction and the pride of a major accomplishment.  The door rings of her artistic nature as the blue medallion gives a personal message to all who are welcome.

A view from the front door. While Heidi intends to do more work next summer, she has left her cob cottage with a sense of deep satisfaction and the pride of a major accomplishment. The door rings of her artistic nature as the blue medallion gives a personal message to all who are welcome.


A panorama of the many changes that took place as Heidi's cottage went from dream to drawing to building.

A panorama of the many changes that took place as Heidi’s cottage went from dream to drawing to building.


Heidi made some drawings and models of her cottage before she started building. In my mind this is a critical step for any owner-builder and if you are an artist like Heidi you can make your model be a work of art. Ah, if only I had that talent:0)

If you would like to see some exquisite jewelry go to Heidi’s webpage

http://www.etsy.com/shop/Taikaearth

Heidi also makes some fabulously earthy and whimsical jewelry, drawings and crafts.  You would be well served by Heidi should you be in the market for something unique and one of a kind.

Heidi also makes some fabulously earthy and whimsical jewelry, drawings and crafts. You would be well served by Heidi should you be in the market for something unique and one of a kind.

Heidi's cabin in mid-winter with a wish for everyone.   Stay warm and toasty!

Heidi’s cabin in mid-winter with a wish for everyone. Stay warm and toasty!

For information on cordwood or cobwood go to http://cordwoodconstruction.org/

Cordwood Construction Best Practices    The latest and most comprehensive book on All Things Cordwood

Cordwood Construction Best Practices The latest and most comprehensive book on All Things Cordwood