Cordwood Construction

Cordwood sheds and cabins; sometimes known as Stackwall, Stovewood, Firewood or Cordwood Masonry.

How Cordwood Construction Works

cordwood building
Short lengths of debarked trees (cordwood) are laid with a mixture of mortar and insulating materials – such as sawdust or spray foam – in between the mortar. The longer the length of the logs, the better the insulation qualities. 12 inches to 18 inches is most common and wood species will also determine insulating value. On average, a 12 inch wide wall will have a 20-25 R value. Cabin by Rob Roy. Image by Pseu flickr.com

cordwood building
A two to three foot overhang (eave) is often recommended when cob or lime putty mortar is used in place of a cement mortar. Typically the logs are not coated with a moisture barrier, but are allowed to breath naturally. By Tony Wrench at Green Hamlet in Pupki, Poland. thatroundhouse

Amazing Cordwood Construction Around The World: Cordwood Sheds

Whimsical Thatched Potting Shed with Rabbit Hutch on Side

Cordwood Shed with a thatched roof. roofthatch.com

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Gail and Mark Dupar’s cordwood shed on Decatur Island in Washington’s San Juans. Image: John Granen, Kathleen Brenzel, drummondhouseplans.com

cordwood construction
Piet Hein Eek for Hans Liberg, pietheineek.nl

cordwood construction
Piet Hein Eek for Hans Liberg, pietheineek.nl

cordwood building
By Netonia Yalta, the Cordwood Queen of the Queen Charlotte Islands, BC, daycreek.com

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Stoneview at Earthwood Building School. cordwoodmasonry.com

cordwood construction
Cordwood half timber on the Appalachian Trail. Image by Philip Shirk picasaweb.google.com

cordwood construction
Cordwood Pole Shed at Treehaven. daycreek.com

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Irish Cottage Shed in a garden show. daycreek.com

cordwood shed
Cordwood shed at Georgeson Botanical Garden, Alaska.

cordwood construction
Cordwood shed by Dana. daycreek.com

cordwood construction
Cordwood Shed by Tom Huber at Paul Smith’s College, NY. daycreek.com

cordwood construction
Cordwood Shed by Tom Huber – CEM Cellulose Enhanced Mortar was used for this project. daycreek.com

cordwood building
Cordwood shed by Homegrown in Kentucky. homegrownhideaways.org

Amazing Cordwood Construction Around The World: Cordwood Workshops

cordwood building
Straw bale and cordwood workshop in eastern France with (a gorgeous) living roof by Thierry Dronet. Image by Catherine Wanek shelterpub.com

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Cordwood workshop in Ontario built by John Ötvös in 1973. greenerbuilding.ca

cordwood building
Cordwood workshop in Ontario built by John Ötvös in 1973. greenerbuilding.ca

Amazing Cordwood Construction Around The World: Cordwood Saunas

cordwood construction
Cordwood masonary sauna. West Chazy, NY. cordwoodmasonry.com

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Cordwood sauna by Organica, Poland. organica.net.pl

cordwood construction
Cordwood masonary sauna. West Chazy, NY. cordwoodmasonry.com

cordwood shed

Sauna by Rena Upitas, Ontario, renaupitis.com

cordwood building
Cordwood shed by Camaria. daycreek.com

cordwood building
Maple Sugar Shack Shed built at a Richard & Becky Flatau workshop. daycreek.com

cordwood shed
Green Roof by Wildwood Landscapes www.wildroof.co.uk

cordwood shed
Cordwood Shed. Pellizzano, Val di Sole, Trentino, Italy. Photo: Marvin 345. Via: Avantgardens.org

Amazing Cordwood Construction Around The World: Cordwood Cabins and Houses

cordwood building
Hobbit House with living roof by Rena Upitas, Ontario. renaupitis.com

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John Meilahn’s cabin, Copper Harbor, Michigan. facebook.com

cordwood construction
Sojourn Cabin sojourningboston.blogspot.com

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Cordwood Cabin by Rob Roy from his ‘The Sauna, A Complete Guide’: books.google.com

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Olle Hagman built this writer’s cabin in Sweden as a get away from his teaching job. He wrote two articles for the Cordwood Conference Papers 2011: A Social History of Cordwood Houses in Sweden and Norwegian Cordwood Wall Technique. For more information and more pictures see: cordwoodconstruction

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Backside of above cabin. Ole Hagman has documented 150 cordwood homes that have been built in Sweden since the 1850s. Ole built this cabin while he was learning and researching cordwood. cordwoodconstruction

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Ecocentro IPEC, Brazil, ecocentro.org. Photo: Felipe Gil flickr.com

Cordwood Construction Around the World: Cordwood Everything

cordwood building
Garden shed/chicken coop by Netonia Yalta in British Columbia, Canada. facebook.com

cordwood construction
Woodland classroom with fireplace wall by Ben Law. Cordwood masonry is easy, economical, aesthetically striking, energy-efficient and environmentally sound. permaculturemagazineeditorial.blogspot.com

cordwood construction
Special Effects at Mushwood by Rob Roy. daycreek.com

cordwood building

cordwood building
Solar Springs Lodge permacultureglobal.com

cordwood building
Cordwood siding depicting a spinning wheel by Bob Gormley, Starwood Store, Backus, MN. Bob painted the back plywood with a durable exterior grade paint. He then marked the 1.5 inch thick cordwood discs in place, then drilled 2 or 3 small holes in the plywood. Then he would hold the disc back in place and have someone screw it from the inside. daycreek.com

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Cordwood wall in British Columbia. daycreek.com

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Mermaid Cordwood Cottage in Del Norte, Colorado. cordwoodconstruction

How To Do Cordwood Construction

Mortar Mix Possibilities For Cordwood Construction

  • Lime putty mortar—lime makes the mix plastic—dates back to 400 BC: Pure lime and sand; or 9 parts sand; 3 soaked sawdust; 2 Portland; and 3 hydrated lime –
  • Papercrete (paper enhanced mortar)
  • Cob mix (1 part clay, 4 parts sand mixed with straw and more…)

Insulation For Cordwood Construction

  • Sawdust has an insulative value of about R-3 per inch (add hydrated lime as a preservative).
  • Vermiculite and Perlite are also good insulators.

Wood Types for Cordwood Construction

  • Softwoods are best. Cedar has a good R-value (1.5 per inch) and is naturally decay resistant. The best softwoods: white cedar, white pine, cottonwood, poplar, red cedar, spruce or larch followed by hemlock and poplar.
  • Hardwoods have a tendency to swell and crack mortar joints. If all you have is hardwood, you must split the wood and let it dry for only months instead of years, otherwise it will expand in the wall.
  • For a 32′ x 36′ one story structure, you need approx 5 cords of cedar wood.

Cordwood Construction Resources

Cordwood Construction Workshops

The Best Cordwood Construction Books

Cordwood Building: The State of the Art, Rob Roy (Editor)
Collects the wisdom of more than 25 of the world’s best practitioners, detailing the long history of the method, and demonstrating how to build a cordwood home using the latest and most up-to-date techniques, with a special focus on building code issues. Author/editor Rob Roy has been building, researching, and teaching about cordwood masonry for 25 years: and, with his wife, started Earthwood Building School in 1981. Information about what species of wood are best, how to select, prepare and store the wood.

Complete Book Of Cordwood Masonry Housebuilding: The Earthwood Method by Rob Roy

Cordwood Construction Best Practices by Richard Flatau

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Author: keiren

Keiren is an artist who lives in New York City. A lover of animals, nature, science & green building.

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18 comments

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2

Ok guys sorry for the raw comments. In my oiinpon depending on where you live the best cord wood to use for your structure would surely be what is native around you and available free or for the work of getting it. If you live in Florida cypress wood is best or long leaf yellow heart pine. If you are from the north locust is best. if you are from the west say northern california redwood. All of these woods resist rot and fungus naturally. If you have to use soft woods you can treat it with non toxic anti freeze,borax and boric acid mixture and saturate the wood with it once a year and prevent fungus and dry rot and as a bonus it will kill termites as well. To make the solution you will use one gallon of nontoxic RV antifreeze, one pound of borax (20 mule team type) and one pound of boric acid. I have found that walmart has this roach pruf stuff for killing roaches(99% pure boric acid)for 3 bucks a bottle, powder form. In a bucket mix it all together till disolved and spray on wood till it runs off I usually go over the area twice..This stuff works..Do the research for your self if you like..Big Al

3

Shortly after my husband & I were married & visiting his ma in the northwoods (WI) he took me to a cordwood house. I've loved it then, & love it now.

Thinking it would be great for lower area of the barn I'm hoping to build.

I assume weaving some conduit into the walls while building would add electricity

4

I live in georgia and I am intersteded in building a cob house!

The thing that wories me is legalalty of building one.

do you know what pirmits needed?

Thank You

Zane Clark

5

Been loving cordwood const. for over 30 yrs.

6

Mis saludos y cordiales felicitaciones, a quienes propician este tipo de construcción, que a mi parecer son originales, ecologicas, limpias, acogedoras, económicas y respetuosas con el planeta.Quisiera me sugieriesen algunos libros que hayan sido escritos en castellano o algun material en el que me pueda ilustrar más sobre este tipo de construccion.

Atentamente

Osmar Escobar

7

Mis saludos y cordiales felicitaciones, a quienes propician este tipo de construcción, que a mi parecer son originales, ecologicas, limpias, acogedoras, económicas y respetuosas con el planeta.Quisiera me sugieriesen algunos libros que hayan sido escritos en castellano o algun material en el que me pueda ilustrar más sobre este tipo de construccion.

Atentamente

Osmar Escobar

8

what did you use for fountation and mortor?

9

Where do I find building plans for any of these cabins and sheds pictured here?

10
Cordwood Sheds and Cabins

Cordwood sheds are the most cost effective and classy single storey structures for wooden homes or cabins. These cordwood sheds depict traditional as well as modern looks and are used for hobbies, storage or a workshop.

ttp://http://www.poulter.com.au/sheds/default.aspx

11

..for inspiration and showing possibilities, respect for sharing. All the best! 😎

12

hi

We made a dinning hall out of cord wood, Please take a look.

youtube.com/watch?v=Trtei2DZ7CA

13
Sher Caldwell-DeVore

I love this page!

14

Just a note to thank you for the inspiration.

Have lived in Fairbanks for 40+ years so using wood in creative ways is dear to my 74 year old heart. Thanks for your work, creativity and imagination appreciation.

15

Hello, My Husband and I have been discussing building a house using Cob and low-impact materials and techniques. We have been doing quite a bit of research online however we have failed to find any information that pertains to our uniqe environment and climate structure. We live deep in the Alaskan interior, about 20 miles north of Denali National Park. We only have about 5 months out of the year that we would be able to avoid freezing(32F or below) and most of the year temps are well below 0 degrees(F). We were wondering if a cob structure would be able to avoid cracking or altogether crumbling in prolonged subarctic extremes and if you by chance could put us in touch with anyone who has built with cob in alaska or similar lattitudes(63 N or higher). Any information or general advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you

16

Hi there Aidee,

I think cob might give you a difficult time up there.

Here is a forum that has many cob experts to answer your questions: permies.com/forums/f-76/cob

Cordwood or strawbale might be a better choice.

Check out the Permies site.

Best! Good Luck!

17

I built a log cabin in the 70's and helped a friend build a cordwood home in the mid 80's. Rob Roys Logend Homes book was one we bought back then. Nice to see he is still active. Website looks good. So many really beautiful structures. Gotta do another one before I get too old.

18

Permission to Post here, Hi! I'm Nerry from Berkwil Construction Inc. for Contractor, Interior Design, Construction Service and Supply Just Our website at http://www.facebook.com/berkwilconstruction/ Or if you want to contact us Just dial 455-1621. Thank you & God bless 🙂