cord wood??

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by johnson, Apr 23, 2006.

  1. johnson

    johnson Well-Known Member

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    any body here building a cordwood home? whats the going price on your mortar mix where you are? if you live in a cordwood home whats your heating and cooling like?
     
  2. fricknfarm

    fricknfarm Well-Known Member

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    these always intrigued me til they had an article in Countryside magazine from owner builders that was pretty negative. I think the mag has a website, maybe you should take a look to see if the article is online.
     

  3. johnson

    johnson Well-Known Member

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    i've got several countrysides with those articles. i'm just looking for some real time info.
     
  4. fricknfarm

    fricknfarm Well-Known Member

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    I've been thinking of building an experimental small building. About 12X12 to use for hay/grain storage. I figure that would be a good way to test things without too much expense and if it did have a few quirks it'd be a good place to work out problems. i know the idea goes back to the early Mother Earth days. I even bought a book on how to do..don't know what happened to the book, several homes and moves ago.
     
  5. esther

    esther Well-Known Member

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    I have toyed with this idea for a couple of months for a storage building, too.
    I found a website that has the basics:
    http://maxpages.com/cordwood
    There is a lot of good information on the site.
    I hope this helps.
     
  6. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    I'm paying about $8.50 a bag for portland cement. I've thought about cordwood, but insects and humidity keep scaring me off. I've got some books on cordwood, and don't think you'd actually be buying mortar mix. Everything I've read includes portland, lime, sand, and sawdust... in the mix for cordwood walls.
     
  7. Tabitha

    Tabitha greenheart

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    there are always folks who are really satisfied and some who wind up with problems. we know a family that lives in one and I have not heard anything negative besides that it is very work intensiv and they did the upstairs conventional because of that. Al Fritsch of ASPI (Appalachian Science in the Public Interest) built one long time ago and when we went to visit and learn he was very happy with it and had no complaints. He recommended it heartily. not all wood is the same and will react the same and, you may not believe it, but it makes a difference when it was cut. Cut on a bad day you are only asking for trouble. spruce and fir cut on a certain day will not lose its needles.(I can prove it, I have a christmas wreath several years old with the needles sticking tight). I figure if this rule works, the other rules concerning wood will work also.
     
  8. free-2-b-me

    free-2-b-me Well-Known Member

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    A few years ago my husband and I went up to Platsburg NY to the open house that Rob Roy was having at his cordwood house . I was in such awe of these buildings . Their house is beautiful !!!! Their house is round . In the center of the house was the mason wood stove - it was mamoth . They are such gracious hosts . They hold workshops throughout the year .
    Based on what I saw and have ever read about the cordwood it is great . As far as heating and cooling - their house is in the earth on the north side . Rob said that they fire up the stove once a day and that heats the house for 24 hours . Theirs is a 2 story . I would imagine that it is plenty cool in the summer months being earth on the north.
     
  9. MrPG

    MrPG Well-Known Member

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  10. glory bee

    glory bee Member

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    To answer your one question, we are in the process of building our 1 1/2 story cordwood home in PA. We have pretty humid summers. Ours is on a full basement. Top story is engineered room trusses, so just first floor is cordwood. My ds mixed most of the mortar in a wheelbarrow and I laid most of the walls with a friend coming to help maybe a day or two once in a while. Took us about 2 1/2 months working 4 0r 5 hrs. about 4 to 5 days a week. VERY time consuming collecting, barking and spitting, and drying the wood. The better the wood is dried, the less shrinking when mortared into walls. We have yet to go through a winter with it heated, so can't give advice on whether we will be caulking much or not. Maybe, toherwise very happy so far with how cool it is on a hot summer day when we open the door and go in. Upstairs is warm, as it has conventional stick construction and isn't insulated yet, but downstairs with 16 inch thick walls it is DEFINITELY not going to need artificially cooled in summer. I expect it to help much with our winter heating bills too! As far as bug infestation...I sprayed with a special one time solution you can buy from Permachink. It goes a long way, and is used in conventional log construction for bugs, fungus etc. Keep the logs at least 3 ft. off ground for termites, moisture, etc. Use common sense, read all you can. Daycreek site is EXCELLENT as is Rob Roy's books and advice (as someone already mentioned). There is an update to the negative article in new Countryside. The guys who wrote in have MUCH experience. Only use softwood if at all possibloe. It may shrink some, but hardwood may swell....this is much more of a problem, as the walls could break...softwood like pines, spruce, larch, are often being cut out of peoples yards and fields at this time of year and we found people quite happy to have us haul it off. If you have access to cedar GREAT, we didn't. Wall cost with only a little purcahsed wood for us for a 30 x 32 ft. structure, with purchased sawdust, hydrated lime, sand and portland cement was around $500 total for outside walls. Now, as far as the cost of the rest of the structure, that is pretty variable depending on how much sweat equity you are willing or able to put into it , as well as ability or wanting to scrounge a bit :) We have done a bit of all of that. I am very happy so far, but it definitely involves a major time commitment. It isn't har, though, IF you do your research, first. Do a practice buiolding like a shed if you aren't sure. Plan to let your wood dry after it is cut, for sure, aminimum of a yeqr or two, depending on all the circumstances, and read, read read.
     
  11. johnson

    johnson Well-Known Member

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    thanks glory that was the kind of info i was looking for. thanks to all others also. and any advice would be appericated
     
  12. cordwoodguy

    cordwoodguy Active Member

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    JOHNSON........AS FOR THE MORTAR QUESTION,GENERALLY YOU MAKE YOUR OWN.I HAVE ABOUT 66 + MIXES LISTED ON MY MAIN BOARD.
    BUT IN ANSWER TO SOME OF THE FOLLOW UP POSTS.


    [1]"FRICKENHAM" MADE MENTION OF A POST IN BACKWOODS MAGAZINE.
    I FOUND THAT IDIOT WAS POSTING HIS FAILURE IN BUILDING CORDWOOD ON BOARDS ALL OVER THE NET.I READ HIS ARTICLE AND FOUND THAT HE DOESN`T TAKE ANY BLAME FOR HIS INABILITY OR INEXPERIENCE AS A BUILDER.DAH!
    (a)HE DIDN`T FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS FROM THE BOOK.
    (b)HIS HOUSE DESIGN WAS POOR,I CAN SEE WATER INFILTRATING THE WALL.
    (c)HE DIDN`T SEASON HIS LOGS PROPERLY
    (d)THEN HE SEALED IT WITH PLASTIC AND A RUBBERIZED PAINT.SO IT SHOWS HE HAS NO IDEA ABOUT BREATHABILITY OF A HOME.

    BUT I WAS SHOCKED BY HIS POST,ESPECIALLY WHEN HE WAS 90%
    AT FAULT.HE FAILED THE SYSTEM MORE THAN THE SYSTEM FAILED HIM.

    [2]"ESTHER".....THANKS FOR THE LINK TO MY CORDWOOD NEWBEE PAGE.THIS IS THE BEST READ FOR ANYONE INTERESTED IN BUILDING WITH CORDWOOD.AFTER READING IT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO EVEN JUDGE THE
    AUTHORS WORK AND SPOT MANY OF THEIR MISTAKES.[THE RECORD IS 9
    FAULTS SPOTTED BY A NEWBEE WHO ONLY READ THE PAGE.]

    [3]"TEXICAN"............WORRIED ABOUT INSECTS AND HUMIDITY.WELL IF PEOPLE FOLLOW MY METHOD OF FELLING,SEASONING AND TREATMENTS.
    THERE IS NO PROBLEMS.THE BORAX TREATMENT WILL KILL ALL MICRO ORGANISMS,INSECTS ETC.LOGS DEAL WITH HUMIDITY VERY WELL AND
    THERE WOULD BE NO PROBLEMS IF BUILT BY MY SYSTEM RATHER THAN THE EXISTING BOOKS.
    HERE IS A LINK TO SOME OF MY REVIEWS OF CORDWOOD BOOKS...ITS A MUST READ AND I DON`T HOLD BACK.WHERE AS THE AUTHORS HAVE SOME TABOOS AND LEAVE CERTAIN ISSUES OUT.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cordwood2


    CORDWOODGUY

    PS:HERE IS ANOTHER SHAMELESS PLUG TO MY CORDWOOD BOARD THAT HAS OVER 1100 MEMBERS.MY BOARD IS THE NEWEST BUT THE LARGEST.PLUS I HAVE 43 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE TO PULL FROM WHERE AS MY COMPETITION
    HAS EITHER NO EXPERIENCE TO BUILDING THEIR FIRST.[HOWEVER,IT HASN`T STOPPED THEM FROM GIVING ADVICE FOR MANY YEARS WITHOUT EXPERIENCE.LOL!]

    MY MAIN BOARD`S URL.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cordwood
     
  13. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    central idaho republic
    I was just reading Cordwoodguys webpage and have a couple things to add

    As a builder, a portable sawmill owner, and a builder of log structures and particulary of full scribed logs i can add some things about wood drying.

    I have found it really doesnt matter greatly when the logs are cut for the most part to aid in peeling, there are exceptions, those being in the spring as the saps are running the bark is heavier and will peel in large strip s if started, can be peeled with a screw driver as the only tool... durning the summer months as it gets hotter and less frequentl rains, there will be places on the tree that bark may be a littel sticky but if you peel it as soon as it is cut and not wait a day or two then you shouldnt have a problem. if you wait until fall and it has been dry for very long, bark has a tendacy to break off and not in long strips but it still comes easier than peeling a log that has set for a few months and dryed the bark on...... winter cut logs will dry out and have the bark stick if you miss the small window of spring days that they start to thaw and are ready [which is usually when a person is busy doing other things]

    drying the logs..... buy a unit of cull 2x4' or 2x6's these are used for stickers between layers of logs..... stat with 2x on the ground so the newly peeled logs are not touching the ground and have air circulation, layer of logs and cut a few wedges to keep the logs from rolling..... sticker the logs every 2 feet and put the first and last sticker as close to the end of the logs as possible [aides in preventing alot of checking on both logs and lumber] keep the pile of logs about 4x4 feet wide x high and cover with black plastic and keep airflow available..... if you want to speed up the de-humidifcation process, you can add a fan in a small homebuilt solar drykiln as described other wise you need to control extreme temperatures inside... 1 inch lumber drysa faster than 2 inch and that drys faster than than 4 inch and 4 inch will dry faster than logs, but if you have a fan on the unit it may dry down to usuable moisture content within 3-4 weeks depending upon the size of your small round logs and maybe a little faster if you are in an optimum humidity level and temperant zone [cant dry much if the humidity level outside exceeds the level of the logs onside] air circualtion will take moisture awayand the aid of the sun heating the logs under cover will release moisture.

    While i have not built one of the cordwood houses, my BIL lived in one for a winter that someone else built using both round and split logs and put some neat looking patterns into the wall with the split blocks..... in the right setting a house like that fits nicely..... just like any other setting it needs to have the right structure built on it to fit [ok i am an artist a little too] and the house needs to suit the family living there..... A custom house doesnt fit everyone, some people just need a tract house [sheetrock and paint]. The one feature i like of a cordwood house is the need for onl peeling the bark off and drying, as opposed to peeling a house log twice to get it looking the right way [debark, dry it, and drawknife peel finish] as far as the labor goes it appears that a cordwood masonary building isnt any different than any other custom built structure, the time is in selcting the piece that fits in the next space as opposed to the tract house that the sheetrock and paint [now vynal siding] cover up the mistakes of the blow and go builders.

    Blu3duk the free radical

    William
    Central Idaho
     
  14. cordwoodguy

    cordwoodguy Active Member

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  15. desertdreamer

    desertdreamer Well-Known Member

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