Cordwood Homes

Cordwood homes and barns: Also known as stackwall, log end, stovewood or cordwood masonry. If you do the labor yourself, and use wood from your property, this is a very inexpensive and environmentally friendly way to own a home.

Alan Adolphson’s Cordwood Home in Hope, Maine

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The whole house is built with 14″ Aspen (poplar). All the walls are load bearing. Great Stuff foam was used for insulation. midcoast.com
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Looks like stone from afar. midcoast.com

True arches around many doors and windows. midcoast.com

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Do not place the split logs with a flat surface facing upward, they will collect rain. midcoast.com

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Although spacing the split wood close together is fine, it should not touch, as this could promote damp conditions leading to rot. midcoast.com

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Stone fireplace & oven to left – cordwood wall on right. midcoast.com

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midcoast.com

Amazing Cordwood Homes Around North America

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The Kruza House, built in 1884 in Shawano County, Wisconsin was ”built of stovewood laid in a bed of mortar.” lsvejda.wordpress.com

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Cordwood Lodge Bed & Breakfast in Bracebridge, Ontario. bedbreakfasthome.com

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Renyard Felt’s cordwood home near Adel, Georgia. The home is made of cypress and was built in the 70’s. Using dry wood and building with slow curing mortar is key to minimal cracking. cordwoodconstruction.org

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Camp Cordwood, Northern Michigan. With cordwood building, curves are easy. thenauhaus.com

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Mushwood on Chataugay Lake by Rob Roy. Image by Pseu flickr.com

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Cradlerock under construction, Ontario, Canada. cradlerockhomestead.com

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Cordwood Home by Rob Roy near Rochester, NY., image by Peter Turkow. Via Rob Roy’s FB page: facebook.com

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Carlson Home near Rochester, NY. by Rob Roy. Via Rob Roy’s FB page: facebook.com

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Local building codes often require a supporting structure, such as post and beam, then cordwood as an infill, even though the cordwood alone could support a substantial load. snras.blogspot.com

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Mark and Chelsea’s home in Kenai, Alaska. The walls are 14″ spruce with foam insulation in the center cavity between the two 3″ mortar beads. thenauhaus.com

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Mark and Chelsea’s home in Kenai, Alaska. thenauhaus.com

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Cordwood Lodge, Northern Wisconsin. daycreek.com

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Cordwood Lodge, Northern Wisconsin. daycreek.com

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Cordwood home in Upstate New York, off-grid. rainharvest.co

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Luke & Amy’s cordwood home of debarked cedar in Spartanburg, SC. Lots of overhang for South Carolina’s wet weather. Via: cordwoodconstruction.wordpress

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Cordwood House by Wayne Higgins (Stonewood) – Log cabin on left, shingle for the second floor, cordwood on right. daycreek.com

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Ravenwood is a double wall, LPM, foam insulated triangular home in upstate New York by Bruce Kilgore and Nancy Dow. daycreek.com

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Cordwood Garage in New London, MN. Photo by Greg Harp. pbase.com

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Cordwood Carriage House, New London, Minnesota. For a rectilinear house without a heavy post-and-beam frame, stackwall corners can be built of squared log-ends called quoins. The stacked corner functions as a post. facebook.com

img title=”cordwood construction” src=”https://www.niftyhomestead.com/wp-content/uploads/igm/b2/dan-gunderson-photo.jpg” alt=”cordwood construction” width=”700″ height=”482″ />
Bear Claw by Ojibwe tribal artist Bill Paulson, in the wall of the cordwood home on the White Earth Reservation in Naytahwaush, Minnesota. cordwoodconstruction.wordpress.com

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Cordwood home in Northern Wisconsin. daycreek.com

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Cordwood home. ourcedarcottage.blogspot

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Richard Flatau, West Canada. daycreek.com

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Lakewood Hollow, lakewoodhollow

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Stone, shingle and cordwood house. If you have stone on your property, start building with that. Collect logs and let them dry for about a year, then add a cordwood addition to your stone home. Image by Mark Angelini flickr.com

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Cordwood Barn, Oconto County, Wisconsin. rootsweb.ancestry.com

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Cordwood Barn, Oconto County, Wisconsin. rootsweb.ancestry.com

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Stone Creek Camp, Flat Head Lake, Montana. stonecreekmontana.com Architects: anderssonwise.com

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Stone Creek Camp, Flat Head Lake, Montana. Architects: anderssonwise.com

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Stone Creek Camp, Flat Head Lake, Montana. Architects: anderssonwise.com

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Stone Creek Camp, Flat Head Lake, Montana. stonecreekmontana.com Architects: anderssonwise.com

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Cordwood home in Quebec, Canada. Love the old pipes, as well as the wall.
For more info: troglodium.com

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Luke and Amy’s cordwood home in Spartanburg, South Carolina. cordwoodconstruction.org

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Inside cordwood walls.

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Mermaid Cordwood Cottage in Del Norte, Colorado. Via: cordwoodconstruction

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Feather by Ojibwe tribal artist Bill Paulson, in the wall of the cordwood home on the White Earth Reservation in Naytahwaush, Minnesota.. Image: Robert Zahorski. cordwoodconstruction.wordpress.com

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Grant Nicholson’s arched door on his double wall, slip form, cast quions cordwood home in Owen Sound, Ontario. facebook.com

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Glass bottles frame the window. Cordwood walls on top of a stone foundation. Image by Scot DeGraf flickr.com

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Indoor tile mosaic ‘stream’, interior cordwood wall, and hand-hewn beams from self-harvested timber at Rainbow Valley Farm. flickr.com

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Cordwood wall by architect Lara Freitas of San Paolo, Brazil.

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Cordwood Home (without mortar) of Armin Blasbichler, Tyrol, Italy.
arminblasbichler.com

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Cordwood Home of Armin Blasbichler. Cordwood and clocks are sandwiched between glass. arminblasbichler.com

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Cordwood in the bathroom.
blueforest.com

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Mecikalski Store, built in 1900, in Jennings, Wisconsin. Eighteen-inch lengths of cedar logs were used.

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Cordwood Barn. gallery.pasty.com

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Stackwell cornered barn, Canada. cordwoodmasonry.com

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George J. Sauvala barn, 1929. Between Houghton and Chassel Michigan. Image: Wayne Higgins. daycreek.com

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Cordwood Barn.

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Stovewood Chicken Coop, Michigan, built in the 1930s. © Bob Kisken fadingad.com

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For a cob mortar mix: 5 gallons clay soaked in water, 5 gallons sawdust, 5 gallons dry manure, 5 gallons sand, 2-1/3 c. flour glue/EM, 1/3 c. psyllium powder, and 1 tsp. EM ceramic powder and 1-2 gallons of water. home-n-stead.com & daycreek.com

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Sage Mountain Center, Montana. Love the mix of rectangular wood with the logs. sagemountain.org

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Sage Mountain Center, Montana. Love the mix of rectangular/square wood with the logs. sagemountain.org

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Cobwood construction, the inner wall space will be filled with an insulating material. daycreek.com

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Cordwood workshop in Grand Marais. See more pictures and info here: bennetthouseproject.blogspot

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Spray foam as insulation at White Earth Reservation, Minnesota. minnesota.publicradio.org

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More about cordwood on wikipedia – en.wikipedia.org. Image by Greg Webster.

There are remains of cordwood buildings in Greece and Siberia that date back a thousand years.

Before You Build With Cordwood

As with all building methods, planning is necessary. Logs need to be dried to prevent expansion, shrinking and cracking. Trees should be cut and debarked, then allowed to dry for 1-2 years, before they are cut into lengths. Or, if you want your wood to dry faster, split it. The wood will dry faster, and it will crack and check less when in the wall. Before placing in the wall, spray or soak the cordwood in Borax. The Borax acts as an insecticide, a wood preservative and a fungicide. Use four cups of Borax (borate) mixed in a gallon of hot water. This can be sprayed on, or the logs can be dipped in the solution. You want your mortar to be ‘soft’ or a little flexible, not straight concrete or brick mud, because the logs continually shrink and swell.

R-value depends on the species of wood, thickness, and insulation you chose. Cedar has an R-value of 1.5 per inch; cut to 18″ the R-value would be approximately R-27. The mortar will need to be insulated to bring the R-value up to par with the wood. In Canada, Cliff Stockey builds double wall homes (not shown): two cordwood walls with a vapor barrier and insulation in between. Cliff states that a 24″ (8″ cordwood + 8″ insulation + 8″ cordwood) double wall has an R value of 40+. Although this sounds like double the work, it is not, as you only need to point the outside and most inside wall. daycreek.com

Wood Types For Building A Cordwood Home

Softwoods are best. Cedar has a good R-value (1.5 per inch) and is naturally decay resistant. Hardwoods have a tendency to swell and crack mortar joints. The best softwoods: white cedar, white pine, cottonwood, poplar, red cedar, spruce or larch followed by hemlock and poplar. 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 Building Resources

Earthwood Building School’s full length how-to videos. cordwoodmasonry.com
Best Practices with Cordwood Construction By Richard Flatau thenauhaus.com
Yahoo cordwood forum: groups.yahoo.com
Info on spray foam and double walls: daycreek.com
More photos: daycreek.com
Table of Insulation R Values – inspectapedia.com

The Best Book About Cordwood Building

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.

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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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16 comments

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1
hillie waning vos

my qeutions is what will you do to the insect the wille find your woodenhouse?

Greats Hillie from Holland Slagharen

2

I really enjoyed your site. I've always wanted to build a cordwood house. some day I'm going too.

3

Thanks for sharing lovely images, and great inspiration for own ideas.

4

I am moving to Alaska and have 5 acres there. Thank you for these images, because I probably will be making a home from some of these designs; my land has a lot of wood on it. Thanks again and Happy Holidays! 🙂

5

I have a book from the seventies of Cordwood Homes out of Canada. One home is huge. It is a dream of mine to build it here in Maine.

6

This is a great resource. I have always wanted to build my own cabin and this have given me lots of great ideas. Thanks for putting this together.

7

I live in Arkansas and my wife and I love this style of home. The only set back is home owners insurance. We have called in state and out of state but have had no luck in finding home owner insurance that would cover this style of structure. Can anyone help us?

8
Gerard Attoun

I am a freelance writer wanting to do a story on cordwood homes. I live in Joplin, Missouri, so need a cordwood homebuilder within driving distance: Missouri, Arkansas, Oklahoma or Kansas. Preferably a home under construction. Please email me if you or someone you know is building such a home.

9

Any direction would be helpful, I have much flex in my design and would like a large round lodge and 7 to 8 cabins on property.

All the Best, David

10

OMG Love It...so wanna do this for a cabin in the woods....

11

I have a book published by the University of Manitoba called 'Stackwall: How to Build It' which expands on the info in the redaer's digest Pub, Canadian edition 'Back to basics'. Harrowsmith Magazine during the 80's also had an article about using conventional wallcovering on the INSIDE of cordwood which included vapour barrier and more insulation with sheetrock covering. This made eventual shrinkage and air infiltration 'moot' as the inside insualtion and vapour barrier eliminated this problem.

12

I have an abundance of red pine available to me for my cordwood house. I was wondering why it was'nt on the list of usable softwoods in the inspirationgreen.com/cordwood article

13

A most beautiful site, thank you for being here on the web! My project is to fill in the walls of the open-air carport here on the farm, I have white pine or spruce available, but I am wondering about mortar with 'give' - is it better to use an air-entrained mix with latex added?

14

Hi

Great site and very interesting as another ecofriendly affordable building method.

Do you mind me copying some of your pictures and present them on a non- commercial building site?

Only to make sure not to commit a breach of copyright issues

Thanks

ciao

Andreas

15

Hi Andreas, IG does not own rights to these images.

You must contact the rights holder whom is linked to directly below the image.

16

This way of building looks great. Has anyone used it successfully in Scotland? if so, we would like to make contact with them.

Thanks.