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Cordwood at White Earth

  “This was not a ‘spec house’ but one that has a unique personality and footprint. The purposes of this undertaking were to produce a natural, attractive home, provide labor opportunities on the reservation and instill pride of ownership within a community directed operation.”   –Richard Flatau

 Cordwood Home on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota. White Earth Article 5

Making Contact
The MMCDC (Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation) contacted us with regard to the possibility of building a cordwood home on the White Earth Reservation in NW Minnesota.  The idea was to provide attractive, affordable, energy efficient housing on the reservation, while offering employment opportunities for the training of tribal cordwood masons.

The plan to work with the White Earth Tribal Land Office allowed the home to be constructed on Tribal Trust Land.  The local contractor and members of the tribe were enthusiastic about building a home that would be in harmony with the natural surroundings, be energy efficient and use locally available resources.  It would be designed and built with wood from the area and in accord with Ojibwa home traditions.  That is, the house would be a multi-generational home, it would incorporate a large family gathering area, the entrance would face east, and it would be comprised mostly of renewable materials.   White Earth Article 2.jpg    Floor plan for 1840 sq. ft. home (1,040 sq. ft. first floor, 800 sq. ft. second floor).

Vision

Here are the processes and  attributes of this very successful home building project.

  • Efficient design with owner input (Ojibwa Tribal member) leading to functional space usage
  • 12/12 pitch roof for additional 800 sq. ft. adding 2 bedrooms, and a bath upstairs
  • Insulated sand bed with radiant-in-floor heat (coupled with off-peak power usage)
  • Northern White Cedar post and beam framework (a sacred tree in Ojibwa culture)
  • 16″ Northern White Cedar cordwood log ends
  • High R-value foam insulation in center cavity (R-30)
  • Cold weather mortaring techniques
  • Ojibwa design features mortared into the cordwood walls
  • Ojibwa mortaring crews hired

Good People

We were fortunate to work with two very capable builders: Robert Zahorski, the general contractor and Bill Paulson, a tribal member who was the project coordinator.   Each dovetailed into the other’s strengths and the result was a building that evokes Ojibwa traditions, built with 21st century construction techniques.

Sand bed for heat storage White Earth Article 1.jpg

In the fall of 2009 the foundation was built with an insulated sand bed, beneath an insulated cement slab.  This sand bed will store heat during off-peak energy hours and then radiate it throughout the house during the high-energy-rate use daylight hours.   This is similar to radiant-in-floor heat, except the large sand bed under the foundation is insulated and provides heat energy storage for the home.  The drawing on the left, courtesy of Alan Stankevitz of daycreek.com, gives a rendering of this concept.

Cedar post and beam framework

The post and beam framework was erected by a local contractor.  Cedar posts gathered from near the reservation were milled on the two sides that would abut the cordwood infill.  They were left rounded on the interior and exterior.

East wall under construction.jpg

The cedar post and beam framework was braced.  The bracing is very important to maintain structural integrity and prevent sections from going “out of square.”  The braces are only removed after the cordwood walls approach the four foot mark.  As you will notice, the roof is complete and shingled. Having the roof finished before cordwood construction begins means that the cordwood mortaring can take place, for the most part, out of the elements. If a section is not finished in time, it can be ‘boarded up’ for the winter and work can continue on the inside of the building.  Attaching tarps to the fascia boards is helpful when it is necessary to protect the mortar and the workers from the drying rays of the sun.

Electrical

There are many code compliant ways to run electrical wiring in a cordwood building.  In general for wiring jobs we recommend that you follow your local building codes.  In cordwood buildings in various parts of the country, we have used conduit, Romex NM, and UL 12-2 wiring (with a resistant coated jacket) wire-stapled to the middle of the posts.   In this particular instance the electrical contractor chose to run flexible, plastic tubes (also called flexible PVC conduit). In accord with the blueprint, the ‘blue smurf’ wiring tubes were then installed throughout the building.  Bill injecting foam.jpgThe hanging blue tubes (with metal receptacles) were very irritating to work around during construction.  The masons were constantly bumping into them while mortaring.

Window Boxes

The window boxes (made of double 2″ x 8″s) were hung, using the sturdy top plates as fastening points.  The two exterior door frames were ‘roughed in.’   Later these would have doors with beautiful etched glass panels installed for both privacy and beauty (see picture at end of article).

 White earth for OB 1.jpgThe window boxes, door framing and wiring tubes are shown in the phot0.  Notice that the window boxes are screwed into the top plate of the post and beam framework.  This helps to assure that the windows will always open.  White Earth Article 15.jpg

Cedar Log Ends

Early in the process, the decision was made to use 16″ cedar log ends for the cordwood infill.  This length would provide an insulation value of R-24.   The logs had been cut and dried for four years in eight foot lengths.  After that they were cut into 16″ lengths and 70% of the logs were split to assure faster drying.

On the way to being stacked the logs were dipped in a borate solution (four cups of borax to one gallon of water). Finally, the logs were stacked in single rows for drying. While stacked, the exterior ends of the log ends were brushed with a UV blocker (Lifeline Exterior from Permachink) so that the faces of the exterior log ends would maintain their color.  The interior log end faces were left natural.

Mortar Mixing                                                    

A mortar mixer was purchased and three different individuals were trained on mixing proper cordwood “mud.” It was very helpful to have an alternate “mortar mixer” when someone had a scheduling conflict.White Earth small pixel window boxes with keyways on inside and outside

The mortar mixture used was the Flatau’s favorite mix of:

  • 1 part Portland Cement
  • 1 part Hydrated Lime Type S
  • 2 parts soaked softwood sawdust (coarse)
  • 3 parts washed, coarse sand

The overall feel of the mortar is an adobe style texture which is easily tuck-pointed with a spoon.

Injecting Foam Insulation 

For insulation, the initial strategy was to use regular coarse softwood sawdust mixed with hydrated lime in the center cavity, but a dearth of coarse, softwood sawdust in the area, led to another decision.   It was determined that injected closed cell foam was going to be used.  The main advantages of injected foam are:  high R-value (R-7 per inch), it bonds well with the wood and tends to fill every nook and cranny.  Cordwood builder Sandy Clidaras of  Quebec has been a pioneer in using closed cell foam in single wall cordwood and so we consulted him for advice.  Sandy generously gave of his time and information.  Convinced of the foam’s merits, we ordered eight kits of foam insulation.

White Earth Article 4.jpg

When using injected closed cell foam the cordwood wall is first built in two-foot-high sections.  Half-inch  tubes are inserted in the center cavity as the wall is being built.  The mortar is left to harden for at least 24 hours (any sooner and the wall may be lifted by the pressure of the expanding foam).   The foam is then injected into the tubes. The foam comes in two canisters, which must be warmed before being used and then shaken while injecting (this makes certain all the foam is used).  There are many companies that make expanding foam and quite a number of building supply stores carry the kits.  To find a foam retailer, do a Google search and make a few phone calls to get your best price.   On a 1,200 square foot home, with eight foot high cordwood walls, the foam will add approximately $4000 to the cost of construction.

The closed cell foam is rated at an R-value of 7 per inch.  A 5 inch cavity gives an R-value of 35.  Coupled with the usual 16″ cordwood walls’ R-value of R-24, we extrapolated that our wall R-value approached R-30.White Earth Interior 2010  bear paw  feather by door2.jpg

Cold Weather Mortaring

When we left to conduct another workshop in North Carolina the cordwood mortaring crew was about one third finished.  Little did we know at the time that the fall of 2009 in northwestern Minnesota would turn into one of the coldest on record.   Finishing the cordwood infill in October meant tarping the house, covering the cordwood walls with blankets and ‘firing-up’ a propane heater.  Starting a little later in the morning allowed the temperatures rise a bit.

If at all possible, cold weather mortaring is something to avoid.  If the water in the mortar mix freezes it can cause the mortar to flake and crumble.  Since this home was built within a post and beam framework there was no worry about structural integrity, but to have to re-mortar a complete wall or part of a wall would become a very labor intensive operation, especially since the mortar flaking may not be immediately apparent.

If you must mortar in cold weather, it is imperative to finish all mortaring before freezing temperatures occur.  If this becomes impossible, then precautions need to be taken to assure the mortar will not freeze:

  • The freshly mortared cordwood wall must be covered with blankets or tarps and secured, so it is protected from freezing cold and wind.
  • If there is a crew working on different sections (as was the case on this project) wrap the entire building with tarps to cover the work. (see picture)
  • Even though there is a little heat generated from the chemical reaction of the Portland cement and the water, it is not enough to prevent it from freezing when the temperatures plummet.
  • On this project, not only did we tarp the entire house, but we placed a propane heater in the middle of the house to keep the mortar from freezing.
  • It is very important to keep the walls covered, except when mortaring, for at least seven days.
  • According to masonry experts, masonry mortar takes seven days to dry and fourteen days to cure.White Earth Article 17.jpg

There are ingredients that can be added to the mortar mix to retard freezing (calcium chloride), but with the soaked sawdust in this mix, no one can adequately be certain that these non-freeze agents will work properly.  So it is best to cover, seal and provide a source of heat if the temperature is going into the 20’s.  Diminishing the amount of sawdust as temperatures drop can be helpful, as the retarding feature of the sawdust is less important.On this project we were properly prepared to prevent the masonry from freezing during the very cold month of October.

       While the precautions kept the cordwood walls from freezing, it added to labor costs by requiring time consuming ‘take-down’ every morning and ‘button-up’ in the evening.  The cordwood masonry was finished by late October and the inside work commenced.  The entire cordwood infill was accomplished in less than six weeks.                                  

Native Cordwood Masons

One of the highlights of this project was meeting and teaching the cordwood mortaring group which had been assembled for this task.  The crew was paid a good wage and learned valuable masonry and construction skills in the process.  They were enthusiastic and learned quickly.  As the project went along, some of the guys started talking about building an Ojibwa Ceremonial Lodge and personal homes, using the abundant Tamarack on the edges of the surrounding wild rice lakes.  One of the many side benefits of being involved in this project was receiving gifts of hand harvested and processed wild rice.   Even though the project was open to women applicants, there were no takers.  Becky ended up being the only woman on the crew and enjoyed working with the guys.

Special Effects

Bill and Robert were instrumental in making some of the artistic Ojibwa motifs in the White Earth Home.  The owner of the home was a member of the Bear Clan, so Bill decided he would put a bear paw, a feather, the Medicine Wheel and shelves in the cordwood wall.  They became the focal points of the house. White Earth Article 10.jpgWe visited the home a year after completion to do any weatherizing that might be required   We applied  Permachinktm around a few log ends that had loosened and stuffed a few round log ends that had checked with white fiberglass.  This well constructed home is easy to heat and blends beautifully into the surrounding woodland.    White Earth Article 13

The home has caused quite a stir in the surrounding area, and there are plans for building a commercial law office, a ceremonial lodge and more cordwood homes. We are proud of our involvement, and grateful for the friendships made, but we are also thankful to the tribal members who welcomed us and provided insight and assistance in making this home come to fruition.  Being involved in a project of this magnitude was certainly a peak experience for us.

White_Earth_Winter_2009_best_Flatau300dpi

(Below) Note the feather (left) and the Bear Paw (right) on either side of the door.

Flatau White Earth Reservation Corwdood Home 3 Naytahwaush, Minnesota USA.jpgWinter or summer, the White Earth Cordwood home is comfortable and inviting to family and friends.

 

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 will show you how to build a best practices cordwood home.

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3

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

DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2

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

Or email me at richardflatau@gmail.com 

 

 

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How to make a Cordwood wall look good

Some folks who build with cordwood are disappointed with the resulting “look” of their labor. In order to make a cordwood wall look good, it is imperative to learn how to make a random pattern.  While this may seem contradictory (we should probably say random no-pattern) it is important to place different size and shape pieces into the wall.  If you think of your logs as Goldilocks thought of her porridge (too cold, too hot, just right) but instead you piled your logs into stacks of small, medium and large pieces and you took a piece from each pile along each wall, you would end up with a random pattern.

Cordwood for Sale Comox BC9Western Red Cedar in a 30 year old cordwood home in British Columbia.  The mortar joints are approximately one inch and the cordwood has all been split into unique and interesting shapes. Nerdwood.com 5(Above) lots of well placed cordwood in a wall at Greg and Clare’s.  Random Pattern 1 using a round with the ears cut off.jpgAbove is a fine example of various shapes embedded in a mortar matrix. Ned Thilo mason from PA fire clay, lime, sand2Ned Thilo used a brick framework with a random display in the center.  He also used an off center crescent moon motif to create a work of art.

Kenai Chelsea 2As did Chelsea and Mark with their Alaskan sauna. Peter Debenham & Ann Lundquist 7 random pattern

Peter Debenham and Ann Linquist made beautiful cordwood music in Colorado. Peter Debenham 2Eric and Beth used rocks, bottles and a lightning bolt. Eric & Beth 29 pac man lightning bolt with logo.jpgHere deer antlers, bottles and marbles are used.   Random pattern Kinstone 2

Kimanna used bottles, logs and mermaids to make her memorable Mermaid Cottage in Colorado.

KimAnna mermaid cottage wall 2 with logo.jpgRandom pattern Kinstone workshop 2017BMaranda is rightly proud of the work she (and others) did on the star wall at Kinstone.

8. random pattern.jpgA sauna in Poland benefited from a very large, undulating piece of log and a red earthen mortar.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARounds and splits with 8 inch cordwood. jhdean Homer Alaska yak barn 4 homer alaska with logos

Sierra Exif JPEGPaying attention to and having many different sizes and shapes is incredibly helpful in creating your own piece of wall art.  This process starts when you are splitting and stacking your wood for drying.

(Below) This is what we are trying to avoid.  The Polka Dot wall effect. Polka dot wall 2

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 Magnum Opus

Some folks have a way of taking a building style and doing beautiful and amazing things with it.  Here is a fine example of  the cordwood construction method of building, refined and made beautiful.  Cordwood cabin with storage attached love the green door FB page of Cordwood AccentsThe covered porch, the curved railings and the green painted side doors blend with the cedar to give the building unmistakeable charm. Cordwood Sauna with arched door and water tank for off power sites FB page of Cordwood Accents CROPPED.jpgThe nearby sauna is completed with the same attention to detail and the cordwood infill is done with clean mortar joints and attractive patterns. FB page of Cordwood AccentsThe side porch has an ingenious method of drying kindling for the wood stove.  Here comes the sun!Stackwall corners framework of posts buried in the mortar addition to a cordwood cabin.jpgIt is quite evident that this building has a vertical post and beam framework that is hidden with cordwood stubbie pieces.   It is in the middle between each set of windows.  These are all the photos I have of this amazing build.  My attempts to get more information from the owners has not produced results.  All we can do it enjoy the beauty of this work.

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 are also available as ebooks for a quick and easy 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 Yak & Yow Barn in Alaska

Jeffrey H. Dean is a true Renaissance man: a builder, sculptor, painter, metalsmith, potter and jack of all trades/master of all trades.   Here is but one of his many projects:  a gorgeous timber frame barn with cordwood and board & batten.  This serves as home for yaks, yows and goats.  [The following pictures are the copyright of Jeffrey H Dean and are used with his permission.]  jhdean Homer Alaska yak barn 2 with logos.jpgJeffrey and his beautiful wife Ranja are offering Homestead Tours of their gorgeous Homer, Alaska paradise in August and September 2017.   Sign up or take a virtual tour at the following link if you would like to be amazed and/or commission a piece of artwork.  https://jeffreyhdean.com/tour/   jhdean Homer Alaska yak barn 3 homer alaska with logos.jpgNice juxtaposition of cordwood, framing and board & batten siding.jhdean Homer Alaska yak barn 4 homer alaska with logos.jpgNow, wouldn’t you like to be a pampered yak or yow (cow/yak cross) in this building!  jhdean Homer Alaska yak barn 7 homer alaska with logosThe vistas are truly breathtaking. jhdean Homer Alaska yak barn 8 homer alaska with logos.jpgThe hay is sweet and the building so very attractive. jhdean Homer Alaska yak barn 6 homer alaska with logos                              Look at how the doors and the locks all tie into the framework!  This is assuredly a master craftsman at work.  https://jeffreyhdean.com/tour/workshop/cordwood/

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

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:   Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided instruction for thousands of cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop Video (2017),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

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

DVD label cover yellow.jpg

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

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg

Cordwood 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.

Exterior cordwood wall blue windows small pixels with logo.jpg

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.

DVD label cover yellow.jpg

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

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg

Cordwood 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.

DVD label cover yellow.jpg

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

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg

Cordwood home near Asheville, North Carolina

Maria & Toby built a beautiful cordwood home in the mountains near Asheville, NC.   Maria blogs about her life as a homesteader, homeschooler at www.dirtundermynails.com   It is an excellent blog, filled with hope and life and light.  I go there whenever I need a pick-me-up.   Their two children Kaia and Leif and wonderful and inquisitive.  Her blog goes from homeschooling to cordwood building, to chicken rearing, and on and on.

dirt under my nails NC 3

Toby & Maria’s cordwood creation with living roof.

Here are Maria’s words…“Hey there! Welcome to my blog. I’m a Nurse-Herbalist turned homesteader and homeschooling mom of two crazy-awesome kids. I love to knit, sew, play on aerial silks, and wear my pajamas all day long.”

Framing the home took some serious geometric cutting skills.  Fortunately Toby is a carpenter!

Framing the home took some serious geometric cutting skills. Fortunately Toby is a carpenter!

This is a double wall cordwood home with blown in Icyene foam.  It has a living roof and a cool second floor.   Heated with a Hearthstone soapstone stove, this beautiful dwelling provides a welcome family sanctuary.

All kinds of interesting motifs are mortared into the walls.

All kinds of interesting motifs are mortared into the walls.

Garlic and onions hanging from the rafters, no problem in a post and beam framed home.  Especially if the beams are left exposed.

Garlic and onions hanging from the rafters, no problem in a post and beam framed home. Especially if the beams are left exposed.

A triangle window is the backdrop for mother and child.

A triangle window is the backdrop for a loving mother and her dear child.

More wonderful shades of poor man's stained glass.

More wonderful shades of poor man’s stained glass.

Natural paving stones form a very functional and attractive patio.

Natural paving stones form a very functional and attractive patio.

The family and homestead were part of an excellent article about cordwood construction in the NY Times.

The family and homestead were part of an excellent article about cordwood construction in the NY Times.

   For more information on Maria’s blog (great tips and links on all things homesteading, homeschooling, family and herbal) go to www.dirtundermynails.com

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

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Here is a picture of the DVD label on the best selling Cordwood Construction video.  It has been getting rave reviews for its incredible detail, clear instruction and how it breaks the cordwood tasks into manageable sections.  There are 30 menu items from foundation, framing, electrical, plumbing, wall building, materials, special effects, bottle bricks, best practices, drone views of outstanding cordwood and so much more. Order yours today.

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

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Off Grid Cordwood Cabin

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.Schuth 6 with logoThe basic cabin is 20′ x 30′ with a 30′ x 10′ loft.  Just right for bringing family and friends for a visit.Schuth 10The upstairs bedroom is a wonderful place to sleep , surrounded by thick cordwood walls and large windows.Schuth 11The stairway takes friends to the loft.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe 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.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe 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

Cordwood Workshop DVD 3