Cordwood masonry

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Gresford, May 3, 2006.

  1. Gresford

    Gresford Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone considered cordwood masonry as a viable method to build a home. I have heard that this method is cost effective, energy efficient, and easy to build. I have also heard that it can be catastrophic if it is not done correctly.

    Any thoughts or experiences?
     
  2. cordwoodguy

    cordwoodguy Active Member

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    GRESFORD..........CORDWOOD IS A VERY USER FRIENDLY SYSTEM WITH A LOT OF BUILT IN FAIL SAFES.I CAN`T SEE ANY CATASTROPHIC SITUATIONS ARISING FROM BUILDING CORDWOOD.THAT SAID,I DON`T RECOMMEND BUILDING THE ROOF FIRST AS SOME AUTHORS DO.PLUS I DON`T LIKE THE DOUBLE WALL SYSTEM. COULD YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN FURTHER.
    [ HOWEVER,CONVENTIONAL LOG BUILDING CAN BE CATASTROPHIC IF DONE IMPROPERLY.WALLS CAN BLOW OUT AND SETTLE AND CRUSH ALL WINDOWS AND DOORS.]
    BUT THERE IS A LOT OF MISINFORMATION AND MYTHS IN THE CORDWOOD BOOKS.FOLLOWING THE BOOKS METHODS CAN CAUSE YOU A LOT OF PROBLEMS.
    [1]THE AUTHORS DON`T RECOMMEND TREATING THE WOOD.[YET ALL NORTH AMERICAN SAPWOOD WILL ROT.EVEN REDWOOD AND CEDAR THAT THE AUTHORS THINK IS IMMORTAL.UNTREATED WOOD WILL POSSIBLY DRAW INSECTS]
    [2]THE AUTHORS RECOMMEND SAWDUST AND LIME INSULATION THAT BECOMES CEMENTINOUS AND WHEN THE LOGS SHRINK,THEY PULL AWAY FROM THEM LEAVING GAPS IN THE WALL.
    [3]THE AUTHORS HAVE ALL BUILT ON THE GROUND.THUS EXPOSING THEIR UNTREATED WOOD TO SPLASHING RAIN AND MELTING SNOW.[NOT A GOOD THING TO DO WITH UNTREATED LOGS.]
    [4]THERE ARE A LOT MORE AUTHOR INSPIRED BUILDING FAULTS TO MENTION
    AS WELL.
    NOTE:CHECK OUT MY CORDWOOD NEWBEE PAGE AT THE FOLLOWING URL.
    THERE YOU WILL LEARN THE BASICS OF THE SYSTEM THAT THE AUTHORS SEEM TO IGNORE.
    http://maxpages.com/cordwood


    CORDWOODGUY
     

  3. northstarpermie

    northstarpermie Well-Known Member

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    Northern Minnesota
    www.daycreek.com has a ton of info on cordwood masonary. There are people from all types of regions, experiences, & building techniques on that forum. Very helpful & friendly as well. Helped us out tremendously. I highly recommend building a small shed first or help someone else to get hands on experience.

    We are currently building a small shed. All three reasons you asked about are why we are going to use cordwood. We have all the materials used on our land already, so it's cost effictive. It can be energy efficient if done right. Easy to build once you have the hang of it, but is labor intensive.
     
  4. texican

    texican Well-Known Member

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    I've considered it. Yes, I've considered it. Went so far as to cut a couple cords of cypress in 18" lengths. I've paused and hesitated (I check out the daycreek site regularly), mainly over the insect issue. I have enough critters (Can you say "fire ants") wanting to come in my brick house now... with thousands of little joints between the mortar and wood, and the millions of cracks in the wood, figured I'd be swimming in poison trying to keep the bad critter out... That and the humidity hereabouts is about 110%, and everything wooden swells (my doors gain half an inch in width in the summer...

    Since I still I have the wood, might saw it in half, and do some interior walls... in my new home, which is going to be sheathed in 16"+ stone walls...
     
  5. cordwoodguy

    cordwoodguy Active Member

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    NORTHSTARPERMIE...............WELL SINCE ALAN OF UP DACREEK IS STILL WORKING ON HIS VERY FIRST AND ONLY LOG STRUCTURE BE SUSPECT OF HIS INFORMATION.HE HAS NOTHING TO SAY THATS TOTALLY INDEPENDENT OF THE BOOKS HE READ.HE TELLS PEOPLE TO BUILD AS THE BOOKS DO SINCE HE HAS NO REAL EXPERIENCE. PLUS HE BUILT WITH PAPERCRETE WHICH ISN`T TRIED AND TESTED YET.ALAN FOLLOWS THE AUTHORS MISTAKES AND QUOTES THEIR MISINFORMATION ALL THE TIME.
    [1]HE GIVES WRONG INFORMATION ON FELLING,PEELING AND TREATMENTS
    [2]TALKS ABOUT WOOD LIKE IT DOESN`T ROT.WHEREAS ALL NORTH AMERICAN WOOD ROTS.
    [3]HE EVEN BUILT HIS ON THE GROUND
    [4]HE TALKS ABOUT BEING A GREEN BOARD BUT SOME OF THE MEET THE MASONS USED HIGHLY TOXIC BUILDING MATERIALS.I TRIED TO GET ALAN TO
    POST A WARNING AND MY POSTS WERE STOPPED AND I WAS BOOTED OFF THE BOARD.EVEN PAPERCRETE OR PULP PLANT SLURRY CONTAINS HUNDREDS OF TOXIC CHEMICALS.
    [5]THE FACT THAT HE PROMOTES THE AUTHORS BOOKS MAKES HIS CREDABILITY TAINTED.EVEN HIS LIST OF WHAT HE CALLS ALL THE KNOWN CORDWOOD BOOKS IS INCOMPLETE.MAYBE THERE IS PAYOLA INVOLVED.
    [6]HE RIDICULED MY SEASONING METHODS ONCE AND SAID YOU ONLY NEEDED A COUPLE OF WEEKS.LOL! PLUS HE WAS SPEWING OUT MORE INFO FOR YEARS BEFORE HE DID ANY MUDDING.UNFORTUNATELY NEWBEES SEEM TO LIKE BOGUS INFO LIKE SEASONING LOGS FOR A FEW WEEKS RATHER THAN LISTEN TO SOMEONE WITH 43 YEARS EXPERIENCE SAYS 2-3 YEARS.
    [7]ALAN LETS EVERYONE POST INFO AND TIPS BUT TO ME THATS KAOTIC.
    I TEACH ON MY BOARD AND RECOMMEND PEOPLE READ TO LEARN BEFORE THEY OFFER UP ADVICE.NORMALLY I`M CHALLENGED BY PEOPLE WHO KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ABOUT THE SUBJECT.IF I LET THESE PEOPLE GIVE ADVICE THEN THEY WILL RUIN PEOPLES EFFORTS TO BUILD PROPERLY.ALL TYPES OF BUILDING EXPERIENCES,WELL ONLY THE QUALIFIED SHOULD SPEAK OUT.
    [8]THERE WAS A GUY ON UP DACREEK WHO IS/WAS A MODERATOR ON ANOTHER BOARD.HE ACTUALLY RECOMMENDED BUILDING WITH PCB`S, CCA`S, CREOSOTE.THATS TOXIC AND ALAN LET THAT GO ON HIS GREEN BOARD.LOL!THATS WHAT I MEAN BY A TON OF CRAP AND LETTING PEOPLE BE HEARD THAT SHOULD BE SILENCED.

    READ MY REVIEWS OF THE CORDWOOD BOOKS,THIS IS FROM WHAT ALAN QUOTES.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/cordwood2


    SO A TON OF CRAP INFORMATION IS STILL A TON OF CRAP!
    MIND YOU,IN TIME ALAN WILL LEARN FROM BUILDING AND BE ABLE TO SPEAK FOR HIMSELF.WHICH IS BETTER THAN QUOTING MISINFORMATION FROM BOOKS.WISDOM COMES WITH EXPERIENCE!BUT RIGHT NOW I REFER TO HIS BOARD AS ABOVE AS UP DACREEK.[IN REFERENCE TO BEING UP THE CREEK WITHOUT A PADDLE IF YOU FOLLOW THE ADVICE.]SHOULD HE VIEW A LOT OF OLDER CORDWOOD HOMES HE WOULD SEE WHERE THE AUTHORS HAVE FAILED.

    DROP BYE MY CORDWOOD NEWBEE PAGE AND ONCE YOU READ IT YOU ARE CAPABLE OF EXAMINING THE WORK OF THE SO CALLED EXPERTS AND EVEN INSTRUCT ON UP DACREEK.
    http://maxpages.com/cordwood

    YOU MENTION THE ENERGY EFFICIENCY ,WELL RIGHT NOW NONE OF THE AUTHORS HAS EVER BUILT A 24" CORDWOOD WALL AS I RECOMMEND.
    THE AUTHORS HAVE CLAIMED ENERGY EFFICIENCY WHEN THEY BUILT 9"-12" WALLS WITH AN R=4 TO AN R=6.WOW!THAT WOULDN`T MEET CODE ANYWHERE IN NORTH AMERICA.MY 24" WALL WILL.


    CORDWOODGUY

    PS: I WAS LICENSED TO TEACH CORDWOOD BACK IN 1979 AND TO GET THE LICENSE I WAS GRILLED BY AN ARCHITECT AND AN ENGINEER.WITHOUT THEIR APPROVAL I WOULDN`T HAVE BEEN LICENSED.I ACTUALLY TRASHED A CORDWOOD BOOK THE ENGINEER WAS FAMILIAR WITH.I PROINTED OUT ALL THE MISTAKES IN THE BOOK.HE AS AN ENGINEER REALIZED I WAS RIGHT.
     
  6. Gresford

    Gresford Well-Known Member

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    Northstar, how long do you anticipate it will take you?
     
  7. northstarpermie

    northstarpermie Well-Known Member

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    Cordwoodguy~Thanks for the advice. I saw what you had written on another thread as well. I recommend daycreek because I have met some pretty knowledgeable people on there, as well as some not so knowledgeable. (Not everyone believes everything they read) I also have met people in my same climate who have done the double wall we want to do on our place. One is in Siscatchuwan(didn't spell correctly) in Canada. They built it over 20 years ago with a greenhouse attached which is what we want to do as well. 1/2 of it is going to be in the dirt with a sod roof. We are still drawing, looking, thinking, redoing some parts, & tweaking as we learn more. I'm no expert, but will read & take any info we can get to help us. Some info has been great & some...not so great. I did read some of your newbie section & it's very informative. Thank you for having it. I have already sent it to a few others to look at as well.
     
  8. northstarpermie

    northstarpermie Well-Known Member

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    Gresford~
    I will be happy if we get it done by the time the weather stops cooperating. Which is October up here. :rolleyes: We're not in a hurry & taking our time. Looks like Sept it will be done. It's just a single wall shed, 12" thick. We don't plan on heating it, just something to store stuff in & gain some experience. Honestly we don't know how big or small we want it yet. It's a pretty laid back project around here this year, but it will get done. I'm not an expert, but have learned a lot in books, forums, some classes, & a lot of talking to people with houses that have been up for 15 to 20 years & have built a couple of them. There are 4 up here where I live & they are in great shape. Actually 2 of them are all stone.

    I'm thinking, our house is going to take a couple of years to do. We want our wood to sit for one year before we use it & are thinking of just putting in on the inside wall for looks. That is still up in the air.

    Are you thinking about building one, did you build one, or are you just wondering what everyone is has done?
     
  9. Gresford

    Gresford Well-Known Member

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    Northstar, I'm considering a bunch of options. I'm just in the thinking process and I would love to see or hear about an actual project that someone with little experience building these structures (like yourself). There is something about cordwood that appeals to me so I'm just trying to learn as much as I can about it. I am also considering straw bale, earth shelter, log cabin, etc.

    What books did you find most helpful? Is daycreek the only forum that you visit on this topic? The only classs that I know of is in my neck of the woods. It's given by the Earthwood school and run by Rob Roy. Are there others that you are aware of?

    I would be interested in knowing your progress: problems you encounter, processes that are easier than you thought, stability, and timing.

    (Are you also building a cordwood home?)
     
  10. cordwoodguy

    cordwoodguy Active Member

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    GRESFORD...........I`M BUILDING ANOTHER BOARD WHERE I LIST ALL THE
    PRO`S AND CONS OF ALL THE ALTERNATIVE BUILDING SYSTEMS.THIS WILL BE HELPFUL IN POINTING PEOPLE IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION. I`VE INVITED EXPERTS FROM VARIOUS DISCIPLINES TO POST THE PROS AND CONS OPF THE SYSTEM.
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/alternative_building

    MY CORDWOOD NEWBEE PAGE IS THE BEST READ ON CORDWOOD.
    http://maxpages.com/cordwood
     
  11. buspete

    buspete Well-Known Member

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    Cordwood:

    I'm trying to read your website and find it really hard on the eyes. All caps and no spaces between items in the numbered lists make for really difficult reading.
     
  12. cchapman84

    cchapman84 Well-Known Member

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    The one thing I would make sure of is excellent drainage around the house, and if at all possible, build it up so that the cordwood sits about 1' off the ground. We looked into buying a cordwood house that was built in the '80s a couple years ago. The lawn sloped right down to the front of the house, and it was built almost directly on the ground (railroad tie foundation). Well, thanks to some advice I received here about doing a jack-knife test (where you take a jack-knife and try to put it into the ends of the logs to see if they're solid), we decided not to buy it. You didn't even need a jack-knife, DH stuck his finger right into the wood as far as he could without even trying!!! So, drainage is key!

    ~Cameron in VT
     
  13. ellebeaux

    ellebeaux Well-Known Member

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    I second that! It's not user-friendly at all...
     
  14. cordwoodguy

    cordwoodguy Active Member

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    BUSPETE....SORRY! I HAVE A VISUAL DISABILITY AND I WRITE IN UPPERCASE
    LETTERS SO I CAN READ IT.I USE A MAGNIFYING GLASS TO READ OTHER PEOPLES POSTS IN LOWER CASE.