Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â
Pictured above are photographs of the house I helped build and grow up in as a boy in Waterport, NY. It tookÂ 2-3 years of nights & weekends and was finished in 1988.
CordwoodÂ (a.k.aÂ Stackwood) Construction
One of my personal favorites because of my own life experience, cordwood construction is fast becoming a popular form of sustainable construction in the US and abroad. A cost-efficient (can be built mortgage-free) and sustainable building method utilizing log ends (usually 12-24â€ in length) laid transversely in a mortar matrix consisting of sand, Portland cement, hydrated lime, and soaked sawdust.Â Cordwood construction takes advantage of a dual layer wall system similar to a double paned window. The cavity between the inside and outside mortar walls is insulated with a mix of sawdust and a small amount of lime (rodent repellent) that keeps the home cool in the summer and holds in the heat in the winter. Cordwood homes started to peak in the mid 19th century in Wisconsin where farmers realized the cost and insulative benefits of this construction method. Cordwood structures built over 100-150 years ago show their durability by remaining intact and (in many cases) still being lived in throughout the United States and Europe.Â
If you would like to learn more about this incredible building method I would advise visiting THESE sites on cordwood:Â
1) www.cordwoodmasonry.com â€“ (established in the late 70â€™s, Rob Roy offers years of expertise in his plethora of workshops)
2) www.daycreek.com â€“ (Alan Stankevitz runs the best online forum for cordwood & sustainability I have seen to date and is EXTREMELY active on answering questions, mostly on cordwood construction. See some of the structures I helped build under â€˜Meet The Masonsâ€™ â€“ Peter & Dave Turkow)
3) http://infolightandliving.com/Â - Homesteading, wellness teaching, renewable energy systems are just some of the things this couple from Colorado are into. Of course the picturesÂ of thier two story, 12 sided cordwood home are amazing to say the least. Check it out!Â
4) Pine Tree Eco-Hostel in Ithaca, NY - A very cool project doneÂ for an Architechural Thesis by Erica Bush.5) The Thermal Efficiency of Cordwood Walls - A fantatic article (with great diagrams as well) posted on Daycreek.com with permissions from Mother Earth News
YouTube Videos on Cordwood Construction:
Cordwood Building Workshop - Good video that shows the basics and how children can be involved in the process.
Building a Roundhouse with Woodhenge and Cobwood - A fast pic-by-pic video showing the construction of a community-built cordwood structure, beautiful!
Any of Rob Roy's books can be ordered here.
Richard Flatau - An accomplished author & builder and tireless contributor to daycreek.com. Richard JUST released his newest book: "Cordwood Construction Best Practices". I bought it the first day it came out and have already read through it 5 times. A well written book with detailed COLOR pictures on almost EVERY page! Richard has included all the news tips & tricks sent in from people around the world. To buy this book and/or other books and home plans of Richards click here.Â
Here are some pics of the 12' x 14' cordwood guesthouse built in Elba, NY. All of the cordwood was from dead standing trees on my property and the oak rafters & door frame was locally milled 5 miles away. I collected materials over the course of a few months of looking on craislists & just plain asking people...all 3 windows were free, the door handbuilt with scrap & reclaimed lumber, all tiles were free samples I got from an interior designer, empty wine bottles were always being brought over by friends, window framing & ouside rafters were milled from trees on my property as well. I did have to buy some items including; the excavation & foundation work ($1,400), Portland cement, type S hydrated lime, sand, metal fasteners, caulk, screws, roofing membrane & filtration mat and screended topsoil. Overall the guesthouse cost me about $3,400 out of pocket but could have cost about 7-10K if not scrounging for my materials. I know I could have spent much less as well but some things I just didn't want to cheap out on. The shelter has been about 10 degrees cooler this summer and can't wait to fire up the fireplace this winter.Â