Going Bananas for Cordwood in Quebec

March 1st, 2014 by

Sebastien Demers built a beautiful two story cordwood home near Ste. Onesime, Quebec in 2009.   Here are some pictures and an explanation of “the build” from Sebastien himself.   The half round/half rectangle floor plan also has two interior gardens and a banana tree flourishes there and produced 30 pounds of bananas last year.

This is the front of the half round, the rectangle is in the back.

A whole bunch of bananas!  30 pounds!

The masonry heater, tile floor and indoor garden areas.

The post and beam framework cross-braced with roof applied and ready for cordwood infill.

 

http://cordwoodconstruction.files.wordpress.com/2014/02/sebastien-demers-12-build-a-model.jpg

 

Sebastien suggests building a 3D scale model first.  Note the two indoor garden plots.  Genius!

Sebastien built his own doors.   What a beautiful looking entrance.  Note the shelves on the outside for keeping keys or packages up off the snow.  This is Quebec remember:0)

The masonry heater supplies warmth for 24 hours at a time.

Sebastien offers advice on what to do when building your cordwood home:

1.  Read everything on the subject.

2.  Take a workshop.

3.  Build a practice building.

4.  Make a 3D scale model of your building.

Here are a few facts and figures from Sebastien:

Sebastien Demers Ste Onesime, Quebec.

“My best suggestions would be to take the time to do it, by : – reading; – visiting houses: – Workshops; – Experimenting, idealy with a test building; – Alot of planning and asking questions – Making a model of the house. It takes alot of time, but this time is so much worth it when it comes to the real construction!

And some details

  • I used 16″ logs, cedar.
  • Insulation is sawdust with a bit of lime.
  • Next to the kitchen, there is à root celar whitch is 3´ underground and it communicantes from the inside. It is 12′x12′
  • The house is a half circle (40′ in diameter) annexed to à 15′x40′ rectangle. All of it is on a flaoting slab, Heater by water.
  • The structure is made from beams that come from an old barn I recycled.
  • There is also à living roof.
  • Let me know if you need anymore details.
  • Almost forgot… There are 2 inside gardens in the circular part of the house. They are simply holes (about 10′x20′ x 3′deep) in whitch i did not pour concrete.
  • I have a banana tree that gave me 30 pounds of bananas, 2 years ago

As you can see a very beautiful and very functional cordwood home was built with patience, research and planning.

For additional information on Cordwood Construction and to read articles and visit the Online Bookstore go to  http://www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Or email me, Richard Flatau, at richardflatau@gmail.com

To read the most uptodate book on cordwood go to the Online Bookstore at www.cordwoodconstruction.org and you will find Cordwood Construction Best Practices in ebook, print and CD/DVD format.


 

 

 

Cordwood in California

November 24th, 2013 by

What good fortune to find an excellent timber framer who infills with cordwood.  Nick Kautzer is that framer/builder and is located in Tuolumne, CA.

Nick Kautzer is a fine craftsman and cordwood mason. He has a wonderful “eye” for detail and his buildings flow into their surroundings.
Nick’s website lists the following:  ”We specialize in timber framing, custom furniture, and stone masonry to cultivate timeless, naturally beautiful craftsmanship.  We  are dedicated to utilizing sustainable and locally sourced materials to create long-lasting quality products.”

 


Interior corner with framing, bottle ends and red cedar.
This is also from Nick’s website.  ”Hello, I am Nick Kautzer, designer and builder of timber framing, stone masonry, furniture, rock walls, patios and doors. I also create cordwood structures such as Cupolas, green houses and additions to existing structures. Custom designs for furniture to homes are always welcome. Talk to me about your ideas or share some pictures with me to explore the possibilities. My passion for building with natural materials stems back to my father who is a master of fine cabinetry.”

As you can see Nick is an artist with his framing, window placement and cordwood.

Cordwood when done properly, is such a visual feast.


The door sends a warm and inviting message.
If this appeals to you and you want to use Nick’s services, please contact him at:

 

Email: :kautzercraftsmanship@yahoo.com
http://www.kautzercraftsmanship.com


“If you have a project in mind that is not listed above you are welcome to contact me.  I am happy to collaborate on unique projects.”  -Nick
For more information on Cordwood Construction go to

http://www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood Construction Best Practices is the latest book on cordwood construction and has over 259 color photos, diagrams and drawings to lead an owner/builder from floor plans to occupancy.

Cordwood Construction Facebook Page

https://www.facebook.com/cordwoodconstruction

Cordwood in the Mountains: Idaho Base Camp

October 20th, 2013 by

I received a delightful email from Whitney about her cordwood project at Idaho Base Camp. Whitney said, “I’d like to invite you to check out our cordwood cottage progress here in the Big Lost mountain range 26 miles east of Sun Valley Idaho…”

https://www.facebook.com/IdahoBC

Here’s a video of our foundation being built :)
https://vimeo.com/66280973

Thanks for your constant inspiration on facebook!!

Idaho BaseCamp is an Environmental Eco-Retreat Center 26 miles outside of Sun Valley, Idaho, dedicated to education, creative expression and the development of a sustainable relationship with nature. Our aim is to expand the understanding and create a working consciousness for the environment, community and Self. .  Part of our master plan is to have several examples of sustainable building.  This cordwood cottage is our first permanent structure to go up on the land, where up to now, we have only had yurts.

We broke ground on this project on May 7, 2013 and since then have been learning the process along the way, and building from below the ground up with the help of MANY friends, the Cordwood Construction facebook page,  http://facebook.com/cordwoodconstruction and BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS.  This has proven to be an incredible community building process and are so grateful for everyone who has helped, from lending their truck to fill with shale, to cutting wood and hauling it to the site, laying logs and mortar, taping bottles together, framing windows and doors, and so much more.  http://www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Sawdust was donated by the local sawmill.  All of our wood came from Stanley, 60 miles away.  Our tongue and groove roof was recycled from a house in Ketchum.  The logs have all been bucked up on our very own land.  Our doors were recycled from the Sun Valley Center for the Arts.  The windows from a house in Ketchum.  The tin for the room came off of a house in Ketchum.  Our beams were recycled from a recreational Mud Run in Hailey Idaho.  Shale was gathered from the hillside across from Basecamp.  Plywood was recycled from a landscaping job site in Ketchum.  Even our concrete mix came from Idaho-a little town called Paul about 120 miles away.  Our hard foam insulation for the roof came from a poolhouse re-model in Ketchum.  The tires the make up the bottom half of our North wall were donated by the Sun Valley Auto Club.  All of the bottles came from local bars and restaurants in Ketchum and Hailey.

If you like this kind of posting on my blog, please go to my Facebook page http://facebook.com/cordwoodconstruction like and share.

This helps to get the word out about alternative building.  If you are interested in books, books, books (including ebooks) got http://www.cordwoodconstruction.org You might enjoy the latest book on cordwood “Cordwood Construction Best Practices” which will steer you in the right direction and help you make informed decisions.

The latest and most comprehensive book on All Things Cordwood

Or you can send me an email at  richardflatau@gmail.com

 

Idaho City Cordwood 22 acres

September 28th, 2013 by

Here is a 22 acre mountain parcel near Idaho City, Idaho that has two cordwood cabins, a yurt-sized, timber-framed cabin with built-ins, 2 tepees, a spacious and luxurious wall tent with wood stove and great southern mountain views. [Thanks to friend Geoff Jordan for telling me about this parcel.]<a I don’t really know anything about the property, so please don’t consider this an endorsement.   The reason I am showing it, is because of the visual attractiveness of the cordwood buildings.


There are many more pictures and information at the Real Estate link

http://silvercreekrealty.net/idx/mls-98532130-4629_highway_21_idaho_city_id_83631


For additional information about books and articles on cordwood construction go to  http://cordwoodconstruction.org/

Or email me at   richardflatau@gmail.com

Kinstone Chapel July 13-14, 2013; Cordwood walls continue their ascent

July 18th, 2013 by

Kinstone Chapel July 13-14, 2013; Cordwood walls continue their ascent

Kinstone Chapel

Kinstone Chapel

Another group of talented, interesting and wonderful folks attended the Cordwood Workshop at the Kinstone Chapel near Fountain City, Wisconsin on July 13-14, 2013 to continue the building of the chapel’s cordwood walls.  As you may know, this Chapel is being built using the symbols/motifs from the Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon.

Here are a slew of pictures of mixing mud, screening sawdust, building walls, tuck pointing, covering walls, conversing, concentrating, eating and generally having a grand ol’ time.

Mixing a good cordwood mud...chop, chop, chop went the hoe.

Mixing a good cordwood mud…chop, chop, chop went the hoe.

Some people are all smiles and giggles when they are cordwooding!

 

Some people are all smiles and giggles when they are cordwooding!

Even certified organic farmer's get a kick out of tuck pointing.

 

Even certified organic farmer’s get a kick out of tuck pointing.

Folks got serious about building a best practices cordwood wall.

 

Folks got serious about building a best practices cordwood wall.

A time for learning...

A time for learning…

Screening the sawdust to weed out the big pieces.  This will be for insulation and the mortar mix.

 

Screening the sawdust to weed out the big pieces. This will be for insulation and the mortar mix.

 

A time for demonstrating...

 

A time for demonstrating…

 

A good perspective of a cordwood wall under construction.

 

A good perspective of a cordwood wall under construction.

Some folks take to mortar mixing like ducks to water!

 

Some folks take to mortar mixing like ducks to water!

"It's getting to the point..."

 

“It’s getting to the point…”

A thousand designs are rolling around in that pretty little head:0)

 

A thousand designs are rolling around in that pretty, curly little head:0)

Discussions over excellent meals lead to plan improvements.

 

Discussions over excellent meals lead to plan improvements.

 

John brought his solar telescope so we could see sun spots and his evening telescope so we could view Saturn and the craters on the moon.  Amazing!  Thank you John.

 

John brought his solar telescope so we could see sun spots and his evening telescope so we could view Saturn and the craters on the moon. Amazing! Thank you John.

Mixing mortar, adding the right amount of water is critical.

 

Mixing mortar, adding the right amount of water is critical.

 

Every one has a choice of a dust mask or a bandana  when mixing lime insulation and mortaring, most choose the bandana.  I feel like the Lone Ranger when I wear mind:0)

 

Every one has a choice of a dust mask or a bandana when mixing lime insulation and mortaring, most choose the bandana. I feel like the Lone Ranger when I wear mine:0)

 

We even had snacks on site!  Here Cook 'Par Excellence' Dorothy receives a hug from instructoress Becky for a delicious piece of Mona's fresh baked bread with Joerg's home harvested honey!  Ummm Good!

 

We even had snacks on site! Here Cook ‘Par Excellence’ Dorothy receives a hug from ‘instructoress’ Becky for a delicious piece of Mona’s fresh baked bread with Joerg’s home harvested honey! Ummm Good!

 

This is the bottle and log end wall that will surround the entrance way to the Chapel.  Our two cordwood wood mason's are very pleased with their work (and so are we!)

 

This is the bottle and log end wall that will surround the entrance way door to the Chapel. Our two cordwood wood mason’s are very pleased with their work (and so are we!)

 

A dragonfly...takes a bit of forethought. A dragonfly…takes a bit of forethought.Brother Fire is one of the design motifs.

 

Brother Fire is one of the design motifs.

 

Covering the walls at day's end is a very important practice to ensure a slow set and cure of the mortar.

 

Covering the walls at day’s end is a very important practice to ensure a slow set and cure of the mortar.

For information on natural building workshop and permaculture design courses go to http://kinstonecircle.com/

For information on Cordwood Construction books, workshops, consultations and literature go to http://cordwoodconstruction.org/

Or contact Richard Flatau, author of Cordwood Construction Best Practices at richardflatau@gmail.com or Flato@aol.com

Cordwood Flooring: Walk on…

June 21st, 2013 by

Cordwood Flooring
My neighbor Steve called up the other day and asked if I’d like to come over to see his new floor. Steve is a contractor by trade, he does beautiful work, so I jumped at the chance. When I walked in the door my mouth fell open. He had built a cordwood floor! It was beautiful, warm and artistic. The colors were tan and brown and the floor was polished to a shine.

Steve is a master craftsman.

Steve the craftsman proudly stands on his cordwood floor.

I asked Steve how he built this floor. He said he had bought some old hardwood barn beams at an auction and decided to use them for flooring. First he cut hundreds of 5/8″ “log end” slices on a bandsaw. Then he placed the slices onto a plywood subfloor. He kept them in place by using Construction Adhesive. Then he used regular flooring grout, mixed with sawdust in an 80/20 ratio (80% grout/20% sawdust). After the grout had set, he came back with a heavy duty floor sander, smoothed the whole floor and blasted the grout off the faces of the log end slices.

The Russian Masonry heater starts in the basement and works its way upward. It keeps the house warm with one firing a day.

Finally he sealed the floor with a commercial grade sealer. Steve says that if he had it to do over again, he would first seal the log end slices before attaching them to the sub-floor. He figures this would cut down on the amount of sealer he used. The hardwood sawdust would probably change to softwood sawdust next time to slow the set and cure of the grout.

Each log has a unique pattern. Steve talks about the growth rings in the wood and how tight they are, meaning that the wood grew slowly over many years.

All in all his floor is durable, stunning to look at and adds quite a nice touch to the Russian Masonry Stove Heater in the middle of the house. Steve and Sharon have a wonderful homestead complete with horses, chickens, cows, dogs, cats and children.

For information on how to do cordwood walls why not take a peek at:

Cordwood Construction Website http://www.cordwoodconstruction.org

While you are there, check out the Photos, News, Workshops, Links, Articles and the Cordwood Eye Candy.

If you have a question:  richardflatau@gmail.com

German newspaper [Deutsche Zeitung] reviews Cordwood Construction

May 3rd, 2013 by

Over the past month I had the privilege to be interviewed by a Romanian newspaper woman (Nina May) about Cordwood Construction for the German newspaper Deutsche Zeitung.  The article covers existing cordwood in Europe and North America and its potential uses in Romania and Germany.   Nina was very perceptive about building techniques and was interested in translating the current cordwood craze in North America to her countrymen and women.     Here is the article in German and the fascinating translation is below.

Deutsche Zeitung article 4.21.2013

 

An eco-house firewood?

Aesthetically, solid, flexible and incredibly cheap – a nearly forgotten Civil Engineering conquered new territory

By Nina May    Sunday 21 April 2013   Who has not dreamed of in any phase of life, to build with their own hands a house somewhere in the countryside? Ideally, a spacious and comfortable family home, with rural charm and personal touch, warm in winter and cool in summer. Or at least a romantic summer residence on the lake or forest, a rustic mountain hut on a flower meadow … No? Then at least a tiny writers retreat in the far corner of his parents’ garden. Of course the dream house should also be as original! How about some grass and vegetation on the roof? Or with colored glass portholes?  And ecological materials are more and more coming: wood, clay, straw. In addition, it should be easy to implement, best known as Do-It-Yourself. For anyone who has been to engage in leisure the nerve to supervise a squad worker, or the money, a professional construction company? If you loaded with all of these criteria, surfing through the Internet, you quickly end up … in America! In fact, in Merrill, Wisconsin, Richard Flatau, teaches a construction technique which is called Cordwood. Both in Sweden and in North America in the 19th Century in parallel and developed without mutual influences method of construction is there for the “Habitat” exhibition in Vancouver in 1975 of a real boom because Cordwood houses not only meet all the criteria above, they are also aesthetically pleasing, have excellent thermal insulation properties, are relatively earthquake-proof, fire-resistant and suitable for all climates. than 1,000 magnificent Cordwood houses are to be developed in North America since then. Richard Flatau, builder and manager of some Cordwood building appropriate workshops, collects and documents all experience the same number of pages. Cordwood first attempts to find more recently in Europe: Sweden, Finland, England, France, Poland, Hungary, Russia. Most are even smaller huts with a few square meters – tentative steps on new terrain. Cordwood to Romania is not yet penetrated. About the idea of introducing this construction here, Richard Flatau, enthusiastically. principles for a solid home in America there are more than 100 years Cordwood homes that are still in perfect condition. Richard and Becky Flatau but only for 33 years living in their Cordwood home. The building has cost them two summers (1979/80) and $ 15,000 – a third of the price of a comparable conventional house, said Richard. Although known in the U.S. as “Poor Man’s Architecture”, it shows on its website a lot of examples for larger villas. Up to two stories can be built with Cordwood said Richard, if you follow a few basic rules irrefutable without a Cordwood house can quickly become a nightmare.  He explains in his 2012 book “Cordwood Construction Best Practices”.

Cordwood what does it really mean? To Germans “cordwood” betrays the concept already the most important basic substance: Firewood! Peeled firewood – one basic rule – because the bark would attract moisture and insects! Whole tree slices and split logs of ideally 40 inches long, possibly in different sizes, such as high masonry bricks, the ends protrude inside and outside of the wall. Under no circumstances should you remove them or plastered with conventional materials because the breathable fibers of logs act like straws that exude the moisture out of the house, said Richard.

A Cordwood house therefore always offers rustic look. then he reveals two basic rule: soft wood has to be, because hard wood swells when it rains too much, and can burst the walls. Suitable cedar, spruce, poplar, pine or fir. As dry as possible, because otherwise arise during subsequent drying cavities, which can, however, easily repaired. As a mortar, he recommends five variants of strictly natural clay-straw-sand (Cob) or lime-sand (lime putty) mixtures on newsprint borax, lime sand, cement-lime-sand sawdust and cement newsprint sand compositions , all touching in a certain ratio with water.

Swede Olle Hagmann, who has built a writers cabin in the woods, has tried all the variants themselves. He had very few cracks in the sawdust mixture and absolutely no paper with the cement composition. His house 3×3 meters of spruce and aspen cost him 500 euros. ”Until now it is tight, no mold, no mice,” says Olle. ”If we had not already a sauna, I would build one from Cordwood, because the technique is particularly suitable for this, especially when clad the interior of the fire with clay,” says the retired professor, who wants to be necessarily informed once in Romania the first Cordwood experiment running! Although suitable for humid climate, river and lake regions Cordwood houses, have direct contact with water – Principle Three – to be avoided, warned Richard. This means a slightly higher plinth of stone or concrete and an overhanging roof, which should be before the walls of the walls. The best is erected a wooden pier construction and then backed up between the posts. So round constructions can be realized as easily as square. For earthquake zones Richard recommends additional cross braces. For the future installation of windows wood frame must be supported as a wildcard.

Cool in summer, warm in winter The excellent thermal insulation properties, which were detected by the University of Manitoba (thermal resistance of a 40 cm wall: R = 24), Richard explained by the high thermal mass the logs to prevent temperature fluctuations. But also the technology that helps Bricklaying: The logs are only connected at the ends with a dab of mortar. Into the cavity between sawdust comes to insulation. therefore A Cordwood wall contains much less mortar than it visually gives the impression. How thick or thin plotting the mortar layer is a question of the desired look. To protect against insects and fungi can mix the sawdust in the insulation space with slaked lime or treat the wood logs with borax. With old wood to build, was not a problem, says Richard. Never, however, already infested wood may be used. Olle Hagman has opened another technique in his research in Sweden and Norway (1870-1930), in rectangular pieces of wood – such as brick walled with a clay-straw mixture – the operation of sawmills were. Cordwood walls that are even fireproof, shows an experiment at the University of New Brunswick. Five hours held the test wall was a fire, the wood charred only at the ends.

A personal piece of art you can let off steam yourself artistically in the Cordwood same technique in several ways. Firstly, by the shape and arrangement of the logs. In a project for the head of the bear clan in Ojibwa Indian Reservation Bill Paulson realized a stylized bear paw as a personal trademark. But are also attractive walled with glass bottles in all shapes and colors that provide charming lighting effects. shells, beads or stones can be pushed into the mortar, or applications of clay attached. If you like it very rustic, gnarled trunks can use for the base construction. A Cordwood wall can easily be adapted to uneven interfaces. Shelves or niches if you include long timbers that protrude inward or outward from the wall. ”A Cordwood house provides a lot of decisions before,” says Richard Flatau. Although, as he says, not much can go wrong, it takes a little courage. So, who dares? ——————————————–

“Cordwood Construction Best Practices” by Richard Flatau, as an e-book at www.daycreek.com/dc/html/paypal_flatau.htm available. More info under www.cordwoodconstruction.org and www.daycreek.com

Cordwood Home near Asheville, North Carolina

February 20th, 2013 by

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.

Toby & Maria's beautiful cordwood home west of Asheville, NC.

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.”

The post and beam framework.


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.

Beautiful bottle end and log placement.


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.


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

More wonderful shades of poor man’s stained glass.

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.


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

For more info on how to build your cordwood home or how to register to take a workshop or host a workshop:0) go to www.cordwoodconstruction.org

To read the latest about Cordwood Construction Best Practices


Cordwood Construction Best Practices
http://www.daycreek.com/dc/html/paypal_flatau.htm
For more information on how you can build your own cordwood cabin, cottage or home, go to www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Experience Cordwood Living in Quebec, Canada

November 28th, 2012 by
Sandy & Angelika Clidaras built their cordwood dream home near Montreal, Quebec in the early 2000′s and wrote about it in a blog and authored articles in the Cordwood Conference Papers 2005 and 2011.  Sandy even came and spoke at the 2005 Conference in Merrril, WI.  He has helped many wannabe cordwood builders with advice and assistance.  A wonderful vacation is  a phone call away.  Sandy was super helpful in giving directions on using closed cell foam for insulation for the White Earth Cordwood Home.
The Cordstead near Montreal, Quebec, Canada is offering an experience in cordwood living.
He and his lovely wife have now opened up their home and cordwood buildings as a form of  ”see what it’s like to live in a  cordwood setting.”    Here is how Sandy explains it:
The Cordstead overlooks a pretty lake and has many fine views of the surrounding area.
“We’ve been very busy with our final detailing of the Cordstead (our retirement Cordwood Dream Home) and now have the last phase of our Cordwood building ” Littlestead” completed.
Enjoy your breakfast in the beautiful dining area and see what a round cordwood home “feels” like.
With Littlestead complete, we have the opportunity to offer folks who are considering to build with Cordwood
the possibility to experience a short term stay in a Cordwood home environment. This may be an important experience to help future Cordwoodies decide if the Cordwood building journey is suited for them.The Cordstead is located near Montreal, Quebec, Canada
For those interested in this experience more details are available on our site
Take the paddle boat out for a ride or have a lovely breakfast on the lakeside lawn.
“The Cordstead”
Sandman
Thank you Sandy for sharing your wonderful homestead.
For more information on Cordwood Building including Sandy’s method of using blown-in foam for maximum r-value and the online cordwood bookstore, go to:
Cordwood Construction Best Practices

Cordwood Home in Spartanburg, South Carolina

September 13th, 2012 by

Luke and Amy Metzger have built a wonderful cordwood home in Spartanburg, SC.  They have a basement, a post and beam framework, an open ceiling and a loft area,  beautiful porches and more.  They offer the “wood-be” cordwood builder some great and timely tips.  I will use quotes from Luke’s emails to share his (and Amy’s) knowledge and wisdom.

Nice shade, porches, beautiful cordwood walls, post and beam framework.

The following are Luke’s words. “The house although only 4 years old is holding up well.  We used red cedar that was debarked and seasoned for 1-1/2 to 2 years. Only the largest of logs shrink in the winter…but only 1/32″ max…we heat with a wood stove. And when the spring returns the logs expand back. We have front and back covered porches and the gables have a 2′ overhang. This really protects the cordwood and was a really good decision with the rain and humidity of the south.”

The post and beam framework. The roof went on before the cordwood infill.

“What we did was complete the entire structure first.  This was was done for two reasons.  First, the building inspectors had never seen cordwood masonry and they wanted to ensure that the structure and the integrity of the house would be sufficient on its own….the cordwood would simply be an infill.  Of course the infill with the logs and mortar gave increased strength, but they were concerned none the less.  Second, since it was just me and Amy doing the building, it took us alot longer than conventional construction.  So by getting the structure up in the dry, we had a nice place to dry store the cordwood and it allowed us not to worry about rain as we worked on each infill section.”

Luke used a special method of inserting his floor joists so there would be no deflection.

“One other design detail was the basement:  I did not want the weight of the cordwood walls to sit on a joist system. I was afraid that the joists (cross grain) would move with humidity which might cause additional cracks in the lime morter over time.  So as you can see in the pics, I created pockets between the cinder blocks on the last course for the joists sit down in.  Therefore a 2×10 sill plate was anchored directly to the foundation falls….hence the entire weight of the cordwood falls directly on foundation and not on the joists.  The wall were 10″ thick.”

The cordwood was dried and then stacked under the roof and between the posts. Very smart because it keeps your wood and materials dry and under shelter.
Coming down the steps from the second floor gives one a birds eye view of the cordwood walls. The section to the top left is cordwood siding!

“The cordwood coming down the stairs on the gable ends were 1″ thick slices glued and screwed to the wall (cordwood siding).  We painted the wall with a sand and paint mixture to match the color of the lime mortar first. ”

They heat with wood and love the natural feel of their lovely home.
It doesn’t snow all that often in South Carolina, but when it does, it sure looks grand.

All pictures are courtesy of Luke and Amy Metzger.  Thank you for sharing your wonderful story of having a goal, planning for that goal and reaching it with a most excellent result.  Congratulations.

To find out more about Best Practices with cordwood construction go to: www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Happy Stacking,

Richard Flatau

If you have any questions, please contact me at Flato@aol.com or richardflatau@gmail.com    or call 715-212-2870