Tag Archives: permaculture

Roofs 4 Cordwood Homes

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Truss room in the attic

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

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

Roof common gable or common rafter roof.jpg

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

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

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

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

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

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

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

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

DVD menu 2

 

 

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Cordwood Cabin North Bay, Ontario

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

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

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

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

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com  

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

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

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

 

These are the 30 menu sections from the Video.

DVD Menu 1

DVD menu 2

 

 

Cordwood Window Boxes: How to build

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

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

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

8. These tips  work for all natural building styles.

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

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

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

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

DVD label cover yellow.jpg

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

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg

 

Cordwood Books & Videos

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

Cordwood Shed Plans with frame.jpg

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

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices 1200 x 1600

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

DVD label cover yellow.jpg

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

House Plan with border

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

Cliff Shockey Cover 2007

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

CoCoCo15 Papers.jpg

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

CCC11 with frame.jpg

CoCoCo 2005 cover.jpg

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

Cordwood Building 2016.jpg

Timber framing made easy with mechanical fasteners.

Timber Framing

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

Cordwood and the Code cover bleed to edge.jpg

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

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

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

DVD label cover yellow.jpg

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

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg

 

Cordwood in Colorado at Aspen Valley Ranch

Ryan Ross of Woodland Park, Colorado was kind enough to share these photos.  Ryan wrote, “We have our own portable sawmill and cut all the timber-frame material right here on the ranch…the walls are 8″ thick because we use this as an art studio/educational space. We got a little carried away with ideas and tried to incorporate as many interesting things in the walls as we could.”Ryan Ross Aspen Valley Ranch 1Aspen Valley Ranch runs programs for philanthropy and conservation of the environment, which includes natural building.  They have erected cordwood cabins on the property  for use by the students. Ryan Ross Aspen Valley Ranch 2This is the link for accessing their website.  http://www.ppcf.org/our-projects/aspen-valley-ranch/Ryan Ross Aspen Valley Ranch 3The tree branch in the tree with glass is simply wonderful.Ryan Ross Aspen Valley Ranch 4

Ryan Ross Aspen Valley Ranch 5Note how the roof gable is filled with branches. Ryan Ross Aspen Valley Ranch 6The view is spectacular.Ryan Ross Aspen Valley Ranch 7Students need tables, a chair and an inspirational view.Ryan Ross Aspen Valley Ranch 8Beautiful bottle end/bottle brick work complete with recycled door!Ryan Ross Aspen Valley Ranch 9The round bubble window provides a porthole-like-view of the mountains.Ryan Ross Woodland Park, COTeaching the students how to build using cordwood construction was a meaningful and rewarding experience. Ryan Ross Woodland Park, CO3

Tuck pointing the top of the cordwood wall.

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 Patio Floor in Slovakia

Continue reading

Cordwood in New Zealand

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

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

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

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

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

DVD label cover yellow.jpg

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

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg

Cordwood Cottage in Tlaxcala, Mexico

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

Mario Alberto Bastida Vargas 9.jpg

The stone and masonry work is very attractive.

Mario Alberto Bastida Vargas 6.JPG

The adobe block bricks are used for the bathroom.

Mario Alberto Bastida Vargas 10 logo.jpg

The interior is comfortable and inviting.

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

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

Mario in Mexico 5.jpg

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

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

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

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

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

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

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

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

DVD label cover yellow.jpg

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

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg

 

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

Rubble Trench: The Basics

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

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

Rubble Trench Drawing RCF small pixels.jpg

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

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

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

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

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

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

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