Tag Archives: Chapter 9 – Cordwood

Cordwood Construction: Best Practices 2012

The book Cordwood Construction: Best Practices is hot off the presses. It is written by long time cordwood builder Richard Flatau and is reported to be the most up-to-date tome on cordwood building.
Here are a few of the details.

Cordwood Construction: Best Practices

A log home building method using renewable resources
and time honored techniques (2012)

Authored by Richard Flatau

List Price: $25.00
8.5″ x 11″ (21.59 x 27.94 cm)
Full Color on White paper
196 pages
Cordwood Construction Resources
ISBN-13: 978-0615592701 (Custom Universal)
ISBN-10: 0615592708
BISAC: House & Home / Do-It-Yourself / General

259 color photos, diagrams and formulas will take the novice or experienced builder from house plans to cordwood home occupancy. Sections include: mortar mixes, R-values, code compliance, types of wood, drying wood, shrinkage tables, foundations, how we became mortgage-free, post & beam framing, formulas for estimating materials, homeowners insurance, Cordwood Conferences 2005 & 2011 summary, Best Practices with cordwood construction, lime putty mortar, cob, paper enhanced mortars, Permachinking walls, building codes, color photo album, making stained glass bottle ends, how-to “mortar-up” a cordwood wall, tuck pointing, FAQ’s, maintenance, weight of a cordwood wall, cost analysis, Cordwood Education Center, White Earth Reservation cordwood home, a condensed version of Cordwood Cabin is included (which is architecturally drawn and state code approved and now serves as a classroom for the local public school), 196 pages, and much, much more…

Here are two reviews of the book, one by Richard Freudenberger, editor of Backhome Magazine and the other by Rob Roy, Director of Earthwood Building School.

Excellent Up-to-Date Cordwood Reference May 8, 2012
By R. Freudenberger

This book by veteran cordwood builder and instructor Richard Flatau turns out to be one of the most comprehensive references available on cordwood construction. Flatau has put a lot of effort into the “Best Practices” studies, and as a result we all have the benefit of other builders’ experiences, much gleaned from his involement in organizing some of the large Cordwood Conferences held in the U.S. and Canada. All the basics are here as well for novice builders–foundations, framing, wood choices, mortar mixes, special effects, utility interfaces, and increasingly important code compliance. The book is full of illustrations, tables, a few floor plans, and lots and lots of good color photos. The bottom line is that cordwood masonry is cost-effective, energy-efficient, fire-resistant, and very sustainable…and it’s a perfect do-it-yourself endeavor for the owner-builder.
Book Review by Richard Freudenberger Editor of Backhome Magazine

Cordwood Construction: Best Practices … Richard Flatau CoCoCo/05 organizer (and long-time cordwood writer and builder) Richard Flatau has just published this new compendium, his best yet. True to its title, the author details “best practices” methods about cordwood masonry and its relationship to foundations, electrical considerations, energy codes and so much more. By themselves, two recent case studies (the Cordwood Education Center in Wisconsin and the Whole Earth Reservation Cordwood Home in Minnesota) are worth the price of this beautifully illustrated and meticulously documented work. 196 large 8.5″ by 11″ pages, including 259 color pictures and diagrams.
Book Review by Rob Roy Director of Earthwood Building School

Clarke Snell holds forth on Cordwood and other alternative methods

Here are some photos of Clarke when he spoke to our Cordwood Workshop at Love’s Organic Farm in September of 2007 near Marshall, North Carolina. We then followed him to his Building Green Cottage site where he gave the class a tour and explanation of the various wall types (cordwood, cob, strawbale, earthen plaster, and a living roof) and delineated their pros and cons. It was a very interesting visit.

Clarke giving an explanation of the cob and cordwood wall
The synergy of the cob and cordwood wall. Sweet!
The cordwood wall with large overhang
Clarke explains how to build a living roof like a fine cabinet maker
Which log end "face" should go here :0)
Creative cordwood wall building
Learning to build the right way using a best practices approach

Star pupils building a wall with smiles

Flowers & cordwood with Tulip Poplar

Folks had a great time learning alternative building in North Carolina

Hope you enjoyed the pictures. We have more workshops coming up in Kentucky, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Please stay tuned to for further information.

Richard Flatau

http://www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Cordwood online bookstore

Cordwood in Kenai, Alaska

This is Mark & Chelsea in front of their cordwood home in Kenai, Alaska.  The walls are 14″ spruce with foam insulation in the center cavity between the two 3″ mortar beads.

Here are more photos of their two story home.  They used a log wizard to craft the beams, posts and rafter.

Alaska provides ample solar time to work during the summer, but in the winter it can be a challenge.

Interior cordwood

Riding the wheelbarrow up to the second floor.

A final picture.   Nice job Chelsea and Mark.

Inspiration for future cold weather cordwooders.

Happy Trails,

Richard Flatau

Cordwood Construction Resources

Flato@aol.com

http://www.daycreek.com/flatau

http://www.daycreek.com/dc/html/dcrflatau3.htm

Cordwood Hobbit Style House with round door and living roof in Wisconsin

Dan and Jessi P. built every hairy footed hobbit-fanciers dream home.  A 16 sided cordwood home (in Wisconsin,) complete with post and beam framework, living roof, masonry stove/heater/bake oven, stained concrete floor and a round, green hobbit door.

The work is artistic, attractive and very nicely done.  The bottle end  and cordwood walls are artistic, attractive and very well done.   The nasturiums on the floor add a touch of whimsy.

Here is a quote from Jessi’s blog.

“We’re proceeding apace with the walls, which look so lovely when they’re done – from a distance they look like stone. Labor intensive and messy, but beautiful. We also have the framework for the round green door done. So we’re looking hobbity!”

Jessi ends her emails with the following quote:

Not all who wander are lost.   J.R.R.Tolkien

Here is another quote from Jessi.

Subject: Cordwood House

Hi Richard – glad you like the looks of our place! All told, if you count the tree cutting/peeling summer, it took us about 5 years, but the actual cordwood stuff we squeezed into about two and half months – we started in October and laid up the last bit of wall the second week in December two years ago with the aid of much tarping and space heaters . It’s sixteen sided on a floating slab. The logs are 18 inches with loose fill insulation in the cavity. They are a mix of hemlock, spruce, and red pine which we took for the most part off the property. Our masonry heater was done by Gimme Shelter Construction over by you and then faced by a local mason, Wayne Kostka. Don was partially right in his comment – even on the coldest days this winter we were comfy with two fires a day, and it has stayed cool enough this summer that we haven’t bothered to move the window air con over from our old house. The roof is 6-8 inches of dirt over an Enkadrain drainage layer. Sedum we put in last fall has spread nicely and we put in another couple pounds of cuttings this summer, so in a few years when we’ve worn out the weeds it should be a nice low maintenance roof. All the rain we’ve had this year has given it a good test

To Jessi & Dan:

Kudos, congrats and thank you for sharing your wonderful cordwood home.

Richard Flatau

Cordwood Construction Building School

flato@aol.com

715-212-2870                715-536-3195

http://www.daycreek.com/dc/html/dcrflatau3.htm

Cordwood Education Center on the cover of Backhome Magazine Jan/Feb 2010

There is a fine photo of a team of Percheron’s pulling a sleigh on February 14, 2009 in northern Wisconsin on the cover of Backhome Magazine (which is published in Hendersonville, NC.)
www.backhomemagazine.com

The Cordwood Education Center in Merrill, WI
The Cordwood Education Center in Merrill, WI

There is a 3 page article entitled Community Constructed Cordwood which details the volunteer labor used to build and then donate this 850 sq. ft. building to the local school system. The cordwood building is constructed using Best Practices and Energy Star Guidelines.  There is more information at

http://www.daycreek.com/dc/html/cordwood_education_center.html

To read the complete article go to:     http://www.daycreek.com/dc/pdf/Backhome_104.pdf

A recycled bottle end (stained glass) wall at the Cordwood Center.
A recycled bottle end (stained glass) wall at the Cordwood Center.

Richard Flatau

Cordwood Construction Resources

Merrill, WI

flato@aol.com

www.daycreek.com/flatau

Cordwood Bookstore link
http://www.daycreek.com/dc/html/dcrflatau3.htm

White Earth Reservation Cordwood home

Built by Bill Paulson
Cordwood Bear Paw for Native American owner

In the spring of 2008 the Midwest Minnesota Community Development Corporation made contact, to inquire as to the possibility of building a cordwood home on the White Earth Reservation in NW Minnesota (50 miles east of Fargo, ND). The original idea was to build a daycare and early childhood center and a home, but, for various reasons the home came first.

Anishinaabeg Cordwood Crew 09
Anishinaabeg Cordwood Crew

After many, many months of consultation and conversation, we were on our way to Naytahwaush to begin construction on September 22, 2009. The General Contractor, Robert Zahorski of Clearwater Building and Design was ready with the foundation (radiant in floor heat in a sand bed, using off peak electric hours—3 cents a KW); post and beam cedar frame, 12/12 pitch roof with 2 large bedrooms and a half bath and storage (shingled), a well, a mortar mixer, mortaring supplies and power!) What a great guy to juggle all these parts of the project.
The Native American Group Leader Bill, had been working to gather a cordwood masonry crew. Bill is a very talented individual with a skill set that defies description. Needless to say, he and Robert became our confidants and close friends. We are grateful for time we shared with them and the crew. The staff at MMCDC was most excellent in providing everything needed to make this a success.

1700 sq. ft. cordwood home in Naytahwaush, MN
1700 sq. ft. cordwood home in Naytahwaush, MN

There is a link that explains more about the home and the project.   http://www.daycreek.com/dc/asp/forum2002/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=2&TopicID=2058&PagePosition=1 The plan is to build 5 more next summer.   There was an interview about the cordwood home on Minnesota Public radio.  That link is at the bottom of the first link.    Give a look-back at the daycreek link (above) as the building progresses.  There is a bottle end medicine wheel built into the wall and a feather in addition to the bear paw.

Richard & Becky Flatau
Cordwood Construction Resources LLC
W4837 Schulz Spur Dr
Merrill, WI 54452

flato@aol.com
www.daycreek.com/flatau
715-212-2870
715-536-3195

<a title="Cordwood bookstore"

http://www.daycreek.com/dc/html/dcrflatau3.htm

Cordwood Maintenance

This posting concerns Cordwood Maintenance, specifically about log loosening.  Air infltration is not a good thing to have in a cordwood home (or any home for that matter), but sometimes a log loosens in the wall.  There is a most excellent remedy for log loosening out there in ‘log home land.’   Permachink (and Log Jam) are water based, acrylic co-polymers that are easily applied to the mortar and wood.  They are elastic and  move with the log ends as the seasons change.  Orignally designed to be used for chinking on horizontal log cabins, Permachink and log Jam work wonders to eliminate air infiltration in a cordwood home.  See www.permachink.com and www.sashco.com for further information on their products.

This posting is taken from the most wonderful blogsite My Amazing House by Maria & Toby  http://tobiascrawley.net/house/ There is a co-joined blog site about all things herbal and home by Maria called Dirt Under My Nails http://dirtundermynails.com/ Both are very good reads.   Positive, earth affirming and energetic.

Here is their latest post.

Winterizing
September 9th, 2009
This weekend we got started on the project we’ve been dreading for the last year… winterizing the house. With a cordwood house, there is a lot of shrinking in the wood that goes on the first year. So, after the first winter, you need to go back and seal the nooks and crannies that have opened up. We weren’t looking forward to this large amount of detail work.

Well, I’m happy to say that it’s not nearly as bad as we thought it would be!

We purchased some Permachink (a sealant often used on log homes) from a dealer not too far from us. It comes in huge tubes that you squeeze onto the wall. Toby would squeeze the ‘caulk’ around each log end and I would go behind him and smooth it out. The color is an exact match to the white of our walls… unfortunately, the lower part of the exterior walls has some red mud splash back from the rain… so the caulk really stands out here. I figure I’ll get Kaia to go splash in puddles near the house next time it rains and that caulk should be nice and dirty in no time

permachink on left, none on right

Smoothing it out

We were able to do almost 2 sections (out of eight) this past weekend (with many interruptions!) So, we will hopefully be able to finish this in a few weekends. Then, it’s on to the chicken coop!

Thank you Maria & Toby.

Richard Flatau
Cordwood Construction Resources, LLC
W4837 Schulz Spur Dr
Merrill, WI 54452

flato@aol.com
www.daycreek.com/flatau
715-212-2870

Cordwood Bookstore
http://www.daycreek.com/dc/html/dcrflatau3.htm

Cordwood Workshop

Taking a cordwood workshop is one of the best ways to learn the ins & outs of cordwood masonry construction. Valuable information is passed on, questions and answer sessions are important to cement down cordwood concepts and the hands on portion becomes the bread and butter of how to build a cordwood building.

The host & family with timber frame mallet
The host & family with timber frame mallet

The interaction between attendees is not to be overlooked. At our last workshop we had a doctor, lawyer, judge, police officer, vet, pianist, three general contractors, three teachers, a factory worker, a biker and a host of homemakers. The give and take was amazing. Friendships were formed and a cordwood blog group was organized to help keep in touch.
Here is a link to the workshop in Custer, WI. The project was the cordwood infill of a Colonial Hall & Parlor style timberframe which was modeled after the first timberframe home in the US. The cordwood infill was 17″ northern white cedar with a Lime Putty Mortar mix. Lime Putty Mortar uses only sand and Type S builders lime which has been hydrated for 5 days. Similar to how the good ol Roman’s built their buildings.
http://www.daycreek.com/dc/asp/forum2002/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=2&TopicID=2036&PagePosition=1
We will be teaching a cordwood workshop in Hendersonville, NC on Oct. 10-11, 2009 at the home of the editor of Backhome Magazine. The project will be the 18″ cordwood infilling of a post and beam frame greenhouse. The link to the registration form is athttp://daycreek.com/dc/pdf/Cordwood%20Workshop%20Asheville,%20NC%202009.pdf
Richard Flatau
Cordwood Construction Resources, LLC
W4837 Schulz Spur Dr
Merrill, WI 54452

flato@aol.com
www.daycreek.com/flatau
715-212-2870

Cordwood Information and books

 

http://www.daycreek.com/dc/html/dcrflatau3.htm

The Colonial Hall & Parlor Timber Frame using Tamarack & Pine
The Colonial Hall & Parlor Timber Frame using 18 ' Tamarack & Pine
The diverse and intelligent crew at the Custer, WI Cordwood Workshop in August 2009
The diverse and intelligent crew at the Custer, WI Cordwood Workshop in August 2009
Timber frame with stackwall corners using lime putty mortar & cedar
Timber frame with stackwall corners using lime putty mortar & cedar. Anne takes a break after a hard days cordwooding.

Cordwood Information and books

 

http://www.daycreek.com/dc/html/dcrflatau3.htm

Cordwood House Plans on www.daycreek.com

One of my favorite websites for information on Cordwood Construction is www.daycreek.com

Daycreek.com not only has cordwood photos, literature and articles on cordwood from major magazines, but it also has a Forum to share and  ask & answer questions.
Recently a couple from St. Cloud, Minnesota posted some drawings and pictures of a state of the art cordwood home they are building.
If you are interested, check it out at the following link.
http://www.daycreek.com/dc/asp/forum2002/display_topic_threads.asp?ForumID=2&TopicID=1997&PagePosition=1

Happy Trails,
Richard Flatau
Cordwood Construction Resources
W4837 Schulz Spur Dr
Merrill, WI 54452

flato@aol.com
www.daycreek.com/flatau
715-212-2870

Cordwood Information and books
 

http://www.daycreek.com/dc/html/dcrflatau3.htm

Cordwood Construction in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

My wife and I had the pleasure to spend four days in the Keweenaw Peninsula of Michigan.  This is the area near Houghton/Hancock and is on the way to Copper Harbor, Michigan.

Chain saw carving bench and cordwood wall
Chain saw carving bench and cordwood wall
Camp Cordwood near Lake Linden, MI
Camp Cordwood near Lake Linden, MI

We stayed at the home of long time cordwood builder Wayne Higgins.   He took us around to a number of fine cordwod buildings and introduced us to the owners.   We also undertook to help and learn on a cordwood building site that was using Lime Putty Mortar.   More information on Lime Putty Mortar’s use in cordwood construction in a future post.

Two story cordwood with large round pine logs
Two story cordwood with large round pine logs

My purpose in writing here is simply to publish a few pictures of the cordwood we saw as a kind of cordwood eye candy posting.

Bathroom bottle ends and shells
Bathroom bottle ends and shells

I hope you enjoyed the images.

Richard Flatau  Cordwood Construction Resources

Merrill, WI  54452           Flato@aol.com www.daycreek.com/flatau
Cordwood Information and books
 
http://www.daycreek.com/dc/html/dcrflatau3.htm