Tag Archives: natural

New Cordwood Website & Blog

Would you like to check out our new Cordwood Construction Website & Blog?  It is easy to navigate, filled with beautiful pictures, videos, instructional posts, books, plans & links.  Go to https://cordwoodconstruction.org/cordwood-timber-framed-sauna-in-michigan and have a “click around.”  If you’d like, please sign up to subscribe to the new blog. FYI, all NEW blog posts will be posted at this new site.  Charles Yeager sauna 4Want to learn about the Top Ten Best Practices to make your building warm and energy efficient (or cool and energy efficient)? Tom Huber Michigan masterpiece with logo.jpg

Alan & Rebecca 8 SE Oklahama small pixelsHow about a cozy place by the fire?Bruce Lord Alberta, Canada double wall with logo.jpgThinking about an Off-Grid cordwood cabin?  Alan house BEST cropped with logos

Cordwood Education Center solar tour 2Want to build a sauna that doubles as a guest cottage?Pelle Henriksson Sauna Sweden deck 1 pelle henriksson sauna stove.jpgHow about a cordwood castle?Alan Adolphson Hope, Maine aspen cordwood home 13 logo

Or a hybrid cordwood cottage?Clarke snell cob and cordwood with logoMillion dollar cordwood lodge.Cordwood hybrid timberframe and cordwood Wisconsin16 sided cordwood home?Curt and Annie Hubatch 1.jpg

Want to create a cordwood work of art for your community?Cordwood in ChicagoWhatever your cordwood ideas; on this new site, you will find detailed information so you can proceed with confidence. Visit https://cordwoodconstruction.org to explore all your options.

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25 Cordwood Homes: Beauty Inside & Out

Inside and Out:  When I post a cordwood photo, folks often ask, “What does that look like on the inside?  This is a 4 part blog post series about incredible cordwood homes, cabins, and cottages with pictures of the outside and the inside. Bryan_and_Lois_house_in Colorado for media 800 x 600  pixels Richard Flatau copyright with logo.jpgBryan & Lois Pratt built this unbelievably gorgeous cordwood home in Woodland Park, Colorado. It is 12 sided with a full post and beam log framework. This is a masterpiece of good construction and design.  The back windows and deck look out onto Pike’s Peak!Bryan_and_Lois_house_with logo1Bryan_and_Lois_house_with logo2The kitchen at the Pratt’s home is a lovely place for a healthy meal. Adam Norris Alberta small pixelsAlbert Norris built this beautiful cordwood cabin with double doors in Alberta, Canada.

Adam Norris Alberta 3 interior.jpgExterior cordwood wall blue windows small pixels with logoCordwood and blue windows with bottle bricks in Alberta, Canada. Alan Stankevitz Minnesota double wall with PV array with copyright.jpgDouble Wall with 4.3 KW array in LaCrescent, Minnesota by Alan Stankevitz.Alan wall 1.jpg

Nick Kautzer CA.jpg high rez with logo.jpgNick Kautzer post frame and cordwood in California.

nick kautzer 3 with logo resized.jpg

 

Alan & Rebecca 8 SE Oklahama small pixels with logo.jpgOklahoma cordwood using red cedar and bottles to make a cozy family room. WA for sale 2.pngWashington State cordwood with Western Red Cedar.WA for sale 3.jpgcordwood-for-sale-bc-1.jpgVancouver Island cordwood home with a fish pond.cordwood-for-sale-comox-bc5.jpg

Luke and Amy Metzger 4 with logoSpartanburg, South Carolina with a spiral staircase and a basement. Luke and Amy Metzger Spartanburg, SC g 2012adirt under my nails NC 3 with logoAsheville, North Carolina, cordwood on a mountain top.dirt under my nails NC 8.jpgWhite Earth Cordwood 2010c.jpgCordwood home at White Earth in Minnesota made of cedar, with a room in the attic truss for an additional 800 sq. ft. of living space. White Earth Interior 2010  bear paw  feather by door2.jpg

Large overhangsThe Cordwood Education Center Classroom in Merrill, Wisconsin.cec-interior-2015-high-resolutoin.jpgdon-gerdes-reedsburg.jpg

Northern White Cedar cordwood home in Reedsburg, WI.  Don & Cathy.Don Gerdes Reedsburg2Flatau's Chateau for book CCBP with logoFlatau’s Chateau lovely cordwood home in Merrill, Wisconsin (above and below).OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Cordstead 1 with logoThe Cordstead in Quebec: a BnB by Sandy and Angelika. The Cordstead 1

Sebastien Demers 13 large pixels with logo.jpgSebastien Demers and his round and rectangle cordwood home in Quebec City, Quebec.Sebastien Demers 11.jpgHis banana tree produced 30 pounds of bananas!Kinstone low rez with logoKinstone Cordwood Chapel in the springtime. Kinstone chapel in full bloom.jpgJohn Meilahn 5John Meilahn, Copper Harbor, Michigan. John Meilahn 6a with logo.jpgShould 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 Workshop DVD (2018),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print 2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their Online Cordwood Bookstore.  The books & DVD are also available as ebooks for a quick and easy shipping free download.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

This is the Cordwood Workshop DVD will show you how to build a best practices cordwood home.

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

The 30 detailed menu items from the Cordwood Workshop DVD.

DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2Thank you for your kind attention to Cordwood Construction.   If you would like more information, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Or email richardflatau@gmail.com 

 

 

Tiny Cordwood Garden Cottage in England

We’ve never built anything before but we’re very pleased with how it’s turned out.” Jan and Baz Whitlock sent pictures of their cordwood garden cottage in Bristol, England.  They used the ebook Cordwood Construction Best Practices as their go-to source/guide.  Jan & Baz write: “Here are some pics of a small cordwood build we’ve nearly finished it in the middle of our garden in the UK.Jan and Baz Whitlock UK 3“It’s around 12 feet square, we used lime mortar, the wood is softwood-larch and pine. It’s in the garden between 2 areas. Front door to enter, back to get to next bit (side to BBQ area). I haven’t totalled the cost-the cordwood was free, mortar not much, but the post and beam frame and roof were costly… could have been done with much smaller beams etc – we just went for chunky so it would last.”Jan and Baz Whitlock UK 7“We still have to render the blocks once we get a bit of decent weather. We are planning to insulate in between the beams, as we have found it retains heat well. We have electric and a radiator, so it could be used as an extra room to sleep in when the family all descend on us.”Jan and Baz Whitlock UK 5It is a lovely place to sit, we have great views & it’s a perfect spot to watch the sunset.Jan and Baz Whitlock UK 4“We just used the lime mortar-there’s a lot of old stone buildings around us with thick walls, all done with lime mortar and they’re still standing and cool in the summer so we figured it would be fine.”Jan and Baz Whitlock UK 6“We cut and dried the wood in our polytunnel for around a year, and dipped each log in a borax solution before using. The mortar was easier, as we have a nearby supplier of lime mortar, which we mixed using your instructions for lime putty mortar. We used what they call a unhaired course mix and added a bit of argical as it’s pretty damp in Cornwall. We mixed it in a cement mixer a batch at a time and after a while learnt how much wall we could do per bucket of mortar.

 We went back over the lime putty with disposable foam paint brushes rinsed in a bucket of water, which worked well.   We nailed strips of wood down the door and window posts with nails protruding to anchor the mortar, and used extruded foam where the mortar met the beams (again as you suggested-thank you).

Jan and Baz Whitlock UK 1It was really good to have a range of shapes and sizes for filling awkward gaps but I often wanted little triangular ones and wood does not split into 4 evenly. (We ended up with a nice lot of kindling!) I would advise anyone attempting a build with a partner to be sure they have a good relationship, as we had quite a few heated ‘discussions’ during the process (but were always ready to tackle it again the next day)!

We found your book and advice invaluable and we thank you for taking the time to post a lot of useful information online.

Jan and Baz Whitlock UK 2We could only get green or clear bottles, so after cutting I painted the inside end with glass paint that is set by putting in an oven-a few didn’t take well, but the majority did and it’s nice to have some different colour in there.

My advice would be, as yours is, to do a practice wall. We didn’t, as we didn’t have much space to do one and the first bit we did looked fine,until we stood back and realised the logs were too far apart and too formal (in neat rows); so we took it all down and started again. We improved, obviously as we did more, and got much quicker and our final wall (the one with no doors or windows) is much neater than our first one.

Jan and Baz Whitlock UK 8.JPGBaz writes, “Another pic of the inside…using an old sanding disc, I used friction to “scorch” the wood to darken and bring out the richness in the grain and also to protect the cordwood...this part of the UK it’s very damp so charing the ends of posts etc without using chemicals is not uncommon. We will see how that turns out in years to come… for fun, under the window is “hidden” a sailing ship for our gran kids to find,on other walls there are a clown and a cat…skirting boards are nearly finished and the white double doors are going back to wood…it’s been fun and thanks for the positive feedback…ocean apart, but same ideas …happy builds, Matey’s…”

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 Workshop DVD (2018),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print 2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their Online Cordwood Bookstore.  The books & DVD are also available as ebooks for a quick and easy shipping free download.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

This is the Cordwood Workshop DVD will show you how to build a best practices cordwood home.

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

The 30 detailed menu items from the Cordwood Workshop DVD.

DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2Thank you for your kind attention to Cordwood Construction.   If you would like more information, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Or email richardflatau@gmail.com 

 

 

Cordwood on a Basement is Off Grid

A beautiful cordwood cabin done the “right way” using Best Practices. The owner’s were meticulous and made sure every part of the cabin was finished properly.  The full walk-out basement required extra support.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe cabin rests in the middle of 320 acres of hardwood and conifer forest.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis 28′ x 36′ cordwood cabin was built on a full basement.  The engineer made certain the foundation was able to handle the significant weight of a 16″ cordwood wall.  An 8′ high cordwood wall weighs 500 to 700 pounds per lineal foot.  So every four feet you have a ton of weight sitting on your foundation.  Sierra Exif JPEGNOTE: People have been asking about the plans for Cordwood on a Basement. This cabin’s basement specs are featured in a comprehensive article in the Cordwood Conference Papers 2005 available for $10 at the Online Cordwood BookstoreOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe cordwood posts are red pine & cedar and the cordwood infill is pine, cedar  and aspen.  The basement was “capped” with a floor and the framework was added to the wooden sub-floor. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABoo Boo the bear cub walks across the central rafter log. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe heavy timber framing makes for a very attractive cabin.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe sliding glass doors are attached to a large deck which overlooks a small spring fed pond. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A view from the loft. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe cabin boasts four bedrooms and a loft sleeping quarters. It also has an indoor sauna and an off grid system.

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 Workshop DVD (2018),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print 2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their Online Cordwood Bookstore.  The books & DVD are also available as ebooks for a quick and easy shipping free download.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

 

This is the Cordwood Workshop Video label. Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

These are the 30 menu sections from the Cordwood Workshop DVD.

DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2

 

Cordwood Chalet BnB in BC

Golden, BC cordwood rental.jpgCordwood Chalet in Golden, British ColumbiaGolden, BC cordwood rental2 Cordwood Chalet B&B.jpgThis cottage shows how different building styles compliment one another:   cordwood, lime plaster, cedar plank siding and stone, all take their turn showing off. In doing so, they make a truly unique cottage.Golden, BC cordwood rental3 Cordwood Chalet B&B.jpgFrom the Airbnb site: “Situated in the stunning Blaeberry Valley, 15 minutes drive from Golden, our Cordwood Chalet is the perfect getaway to peacefulness and tranquility in the heart of nature. Newly built and comfy, its location offers a wide range of outdoor activities.”    https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/4440075

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 Workshop DVD (2018),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print 2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their Online Cordwood Bookstore.  The books & DVD are also available as ebooks for a quick and easy shipping free download.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

This is the Cordwood Workshop Video label. Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

These are the 30 menu sections from the Cordwood Workshop DVD.

DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2

 

 

 

 

Cordwood Home for Sale

Another cordwood home is being offered for sale in the Pacific Northwest.  This gorgeous 2,176 sq. ft. build  in the state of Washington, halfway between Portland and Seattle.  WA for sale 1Made from Western Red Cedar and Douglas Fir, this is a massive post and beam framed beauty with large overhangs.WA for sale 2.pngQuality construction throughout, the floor plan is open and filled with light. WA for sale 3WA for sale 4A primary check will run right through the large rounds,  from inside to outside and must be stuffed to prevent air and insect infiltration. WA for sale 5Huge Douglas Fir posts make a sturdy statement. WA for sale 6These large pieces will continue to shrink in the wall, so a caulking like Permachink or Log Jam (which comes in mortar colors) is important to have on hand. WA for sale 7WA for sale 10This home was built in 1994.  It is on the top of a hill and shows a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains and valley.  It has 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths and sits on 1.26 acres.

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 pixelsReaders 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 Workshop DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015, Cordwood House Plans & Cordwood Shed Plans are the newest publications available from their ever expanding online cordwood bookstore.”  www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

Click on the picture to access the ordering information.  The DVD is an incredible bargain at $25 and the DVD is available for an immediate download! 

 Online Cordwood Bookstore

 

 

Buy a Cordwood Home?

Would you consider buying a cordwood home?  I have known of several dozen cordwood homes that have “come on the market” in the past ten years.   What would encourage you to buy?  What would be a deal breaker? Here is a home in British Columbia that came for sale and the asking price was under half a million dollars.  Cordwood for Sale BC 1With half an acre, 1800 sq. ft. and western red cedar as the cordwood infill, this beauty sold as soon as it hit the market.  Cordwood for Sale BC 2

Cordwood for Sale BC 3Lots of wood, but oh, so well done.  Personally, I love a wood ceiling. Cordwood for Sale BC 4Cordwood for Sale BC 6Well placed cordwood log ends, with clean mortar joints,  make for very attractive, complimentary walls. Cordwood for Sale Comox BC5Cordwood for Sale Comox BC7Cordwood for Sale Comox BC8The specific features: 3 bedrooms 2 bathrooms, timber frame & cordwood; vaulted ceilings, a large open kitchen, a bright Sunroom & a cozy fireplace. The kitchen is large & open with an eating area. The roof was replaced a few years ago with light weight metal.Cordwood for Sale Comox BC9Cordwood for Sale Comox BC10Most cordwood homes that do sell quickly sell because of the attention to detail and the quality of the build.  The doors, windows, posts, roof, mortar, cabinets, closets, interior fixtures all play an important role in the attractiveness of the home.

This cordwood home sold very quickly.

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 pixelsReaders 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 Workshop DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015, Cordwood House Plans & Cordwood Shed Plans are the newest publications available from their ever expanding online cordwood bookstore.”  www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

Click on the picture to access the ordering information.  The DVD is an incredible bargain at $25 and the DVD is available for an immediate download! 

 Online Cordwood Bookstore

 

 

Cordwood in the South

Can I build cordwood in a hot, humid climate?  Here are some fine examples of cordwood in the South.  Obviously, if best practices are used, cordwood can be very successful in warm, moist climes.Sam Felts round cordwood home in Georgia interior 3 Sam Felt and Bill talking about cordwood building in the center part of the home’s inner circle.  This is a very beautiful and dramatic building.  The arches were 1″ dimensional lumber, bent to make a frame and then pulled off once the mortar hardened.  Sam Felts Adel, Georgia with logo Sam Felt’s home in Adel, Georgia.   It is made of cypress and has arched doorways created by the Godfather of Cordwood,  Jack Henstridge.

Sam Felts son's cordwood home in Geroga small pixels with logoAbove is Renyard’s cypress cordwood home in Adel, Georgia. Rockmart, GA  built in the late 70's with logo.jpgTom and Ann’s post and beam framed beauty, in Rockmart, Georgia.  This one has a large stone fireplace and is built on an older stone barn foundation.  It has the wrap around porch that makes for good neighborly living.  dirt under my nails NC 3 with logo.jpgMaria & Toby built this masterpiece in the mountains near Asheville, North Carolina. It is a 12 sided, post framed cordwood with a living roof. dirt under my nails NC 8.jpgThe beams make a handy place to dry the garden produce.

Luke and Amy Metzger  Spartanburg, SC j 2012.jpg Spartanburg, South Carolina is graced with this post framed cordwood with a full walk-out basement.  The interior is also very attractive.  This home sold, when the family moved to Colorado, to the first person who looked at it (for the asking price!) The real estate agent said it was because of the quality of the build. Luke and Amy Metzger Spartanburg, SC g 2012a(Below) Kimberly built this 600 square foot cabin in western South Carolina for $6,000.  The majority of the materials came from the property.Kimberly Rak South Carolina 4.jpgThe The Cookie House (built in 1931) in Edgewater, Florida is a good example of how long cordwood will last in the south. Cordwood in Florida Cookie House 1930s.jpgWilburton, Oklahoma is so hot in the summer, that it’s hard to do heavy physical labor in the heat of the noon day sun.   This was built by a veteran on a military reserve and sold quickly, when he moved to Hawaii to be with his grandchildren.  It is made of Eastern Red Cedar.  Alan & Rebecca 8 SE Oklahama with logo.jpgSuffice it is to say that if a rot resistant wood is used, along with a slow setting mortar, within a post and beam framework, cordwood can be successfully built in many climates.

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 pixelsReaders 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 Workshop DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015, Cordwood House Plans & Cordwood Shed Plans are the newest publications available from their ever expanding online cordwood bookstore.”  www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

Click on the picture to access the ordering information.  The DVD is an incredible bargain at $25.

Alaska: The Last Frontier Cordwood Cabin

Shane & Kelli Kilcher of the Discovery series Alaska: The Last Frontier have built a beautiful cordwood cabin on their land near Homer, Alaska.  The Discovery Channel has been documenting their journey.  Shane & Kelli bought my book (Cordwood Construction Best Practices) and stayed in contact via email and text throughout the building process.  We answered questions as they were building on site. Here are a few photos they sent of their progress.  That’s the film crew in the background.

Shane and Kelli Kilcher with logo cropped

Kelli recently wrote on her Facebook page  “This guy (Richard Flatau) literally wrote the book on cordwood building and has been a great help with all our questions!”  They also purchased the Cordwood Workshop DVD, which is a great way to prepare for building your first walls.

Continue Reading as the adventure of Shane and Kelli’s continues in Homer, Alaska.   Cordwood Construction

Round & Rectangle Cordwood: Best of both worlds

Who doesn’t love round?  Everyone right.  But there comes a time when folks who have been living in round (or nearly round) start to complain about the idiosyncrasies. Just recently a friend who lives in one of the most beautiful 16 sided cordwood homes ever, said to me.  “Rich, if I had it to do over, I would build a rectangle.  Every time I have to make a cut for roofing, flooring, cabinetry it has to be 11 degrees.   It takes forever to do the work.”

However, combining round and rectangle cordwood styles provides the best of both worlds.

Don Gerdes Reedsburg3.jpg

Don Gerdes an engineer from Reedsburg, Wisconsin built a post framed “curved front” attached to a rectangle.  Here are some pictures of his beautiful creation.

Sierra Exif JPEG

Cathy Hubbart and Don Gerdes in 2006.

Don Gerdes Reedsburg2The interior shows off Don’s Brilliant Bottles invention (which light up at night) and its curved walls.

Don Gerdes Reedsburg10.jpg

Brilliant bottles are made ahead of time as a single unit to mortar into the wall.  They boast a changeable LED light in the middle.

Don Gerdes Reedsburg11.jpgPlowing snow is easier with a straight line.Don Gerdes Reedsburg13.jpg

The workshop garage doors make it easily accessible.

Don Gerdes Reedsburg5.jpg

Hanging cabinets on straight walls is a breeze.

Don Gerdes Reedsburg4.jpg

From curved to rectangle is a smooth transition.

Rairlee and James Frame it firstOctagon with a “square” back room.  Rainless’ B and B in the Adirondacks.

Sebastien Demers 10Post framed, curved front with a rectangle on the back, a masonry heater and two stories high by Sebastien Demers. Sebastien Demers 12 build a modelA 3D model with a round front and   a rectangle on the backside by Sebastien Demers of Quebec.

Round, Rectangle, Octagon, or 16 sided?

When deciding which style of cordwood to build it is of the utmost importance to know that every cordwood author recommends building within a post framework.  The reasons are very simple:  1.  The roof can be built before the cordwood is finished.  2.  With the roof on, the materials stay dry and so do the builders.  3.  The cordwood wall building can be completed in manageable sections.  4.  You can cover the walls that remain unfinished and continue interior work. 5.  It makes the building inspector very happy.

Even if one decides to “go round,” a framework can be hidden in the middle of the wall using wraparound cordwood. Why would anyone build a hidden framework within the structure?  To get code approval, to make certain the roof is going to be properly supported and to allow for the use of a “slower setting mortar” which reduces mortar cracking and log loosening.

16 sided cordwood creates a large number of 11-degree cuts:   The roof sheeting, the roofing material (metal or shingles) and the many valleys that accompany 16 sides.  Then the interior ceiling the interior flooring and the interior cabinetry all require angle cuts.  The cordwood itself will end up having small, tight mortar joints on the inside and larger ones on the outside.

If you decide to build an 8 sided octagon, keep in mind that you will need to re-engineer the structural parts (think posts and rafters) if you want to go larger than 300 sq. ft.  One way to get the curved and the straight to work together is to build a half round, half rectangle home.  

Bottom line, the choice is yours.  If you plan to build 16-sided cordwood, you can do yourself a favor by checking out the successful 17-page building permit application for a 16 sided cordwood home in SE Minnesota.  The approved permit is, in its entirety, in the book Cordwood and the Code: A Building Permit Guide.   It is meant to be copied and pasted and modified for your local building codes.  BN new 2 with logo.jpgThis beautiful round cordwood guest cottage,  by Bruce Kilgore and Nancy Dow has a post and beam framework hidden in the middle to support the roof. BN new wraparounds with logo.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.

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 pixelsReaders 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 Workshop Vide,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their ever expanding online cordwood bookstore.”  www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3 small pixels A picture of the new Cordwood Construction DVD cover available at http://cordwoodconstruction.org/