Best Book On Cordwood Building

Are you interested in cordwood building but not sure where to start? Look no further than the best book on cordwood building, ‘Cordwood Building: The State of the Art’ by Rob Roy.

This comprehensive guide covers everything from selecting materials and tools to designing and constructing your own cordwood home. With over 40 years of experience in natural building, author Rob Roy is a trusted authority on the subject.

His writing style is approachable and easy to understand, making this book an excellent resource for both beginners and experienced builders alike. Whether you’re looking to build a small cabin or a full-sized home, ‘Cordwood Building: The State of the Art’ has all the information you need to get started on your project today.

The History And Benefits Of Cordwood Building

Cordwood building has a captivating history and offers numerous benefits. This technique of building with wood is believed to have originated in Europe during the 12th century, where it was used for constructing structures such as castles and forts.

Over time, cordwood buildings became popular among homesteaders because they were affordable, energy-efficient, and required minimal maintenance. One significant benefit of cordwood building is its insulation properties. The walls are made up of logs that can be up to 24 inches thick, which creates an excellent thermal mass that regulates indoor temperature by storing heat during the day and releasing it at night.

Moreover, this method uses dead or fallen trees instead of cutting down live ones, making it an environmentally friendly option. In summary, understanding the history and benefits of cordwood construction sets a strong foundation for anyone interested in this unique style of building. Moving on to the next section, we will discuss materials and tools needed for creating your own cordwood structure.

Materials And Tools Needed For Cordwood Building

I’m curious about the types of wood needed for cordwood building, what kind of mortar to use, and what safety gear is recommended.

I’m also wondering what kind of cutting equipment and protective coating is best, as well as what kind of grout, hand tools, power tools, and fasteners should be used.

Lastly, I want to know about the masonry equipment, trim pieces, sealants, caulking, insulation, and rebar needed for cordwood building.

Types Of Wood

If you are planning to build a cordwood home, selecting the right type of wood is crucial.

The ideal wood for cordwood building should be dense, dry and have low moisture content.

Some examples include cedar, pine, spruce, fir, and juniper.

Cedar is particularly popular due to its natural resistance to rot and insects which makes it perfect for outdoor use.

Pine is also an excellent option as it dries quickly and produces less shrinkage compared to other woods.

Additionally, choosing wood that has been sustainably harvested will ensure that your project is environmentally friendly while promoting responsible forestry practices.

By carefully selecting the right kind of wood for your cordwood building project, you can make sure that your structure will last for years to come.


Now that we have discussed the importance of selecting the right type of wood for cordwood building, let’s shift our focus to another crucial material: mortar.

Mortar is the binding agent that holds the pieces of cordwood together and provides structural stability.

The ideal mortar should be a mix of sand, clay, and sawdust or other fibrous materials. Some builders prefer using lime-based mortars as they offer better flexibility and allow for expansion and contraction without cracking.

It’s important to note that different types of mortar are suitable for different climates, so it’s essential to choose one that will perform well in your area.

With the right choice of mortar, you can ensure that your cordwood home will stand strong against the test of time.

Safety Gear

Now that we have covered the importance of selecting the right wood and mortar for cordwood building, let’s shift our focus to an equally important aspect: safety gear.

Building a cordwood home requires the use of various tools like chainsaws, axes, and chisels, which can pose potential dangers if not handled properly.

It’s crucial to wear appropriate safety gear such as gloves, eyewear, helmets, and steel-toed boots to protect yourself from injuries while working with these tools.

Neglecting safety measures can lead to serious accidents that could jeopardize your health or even result in fatalities.

To ensure a successful and safe cordwood building journey, make sure you prioritize wearing adequate safety gear at all times.

Designing Your Cordwood Home

Now that you have gathered all the materials and tools needed for cordwood building, it’s time to move on to the next step – designing your dream home.

Cordwood homes are unique in their design, as they offer a rustic charm that can’t be found in traditional houses. When designing your cordwood home, there are several factors you need to consider:

1. Size of the house: Cordwood homes come in different sizes – from small cabins to large estates. You need to decide how big or small you want your house to be based on your needs.

2. Style: There are various styles of cordwood homes, including round and square designs. Choose a style that will complement your personality and lifestyle.

3. Roofing: The type of roofing you choose will depend on where you live and the climate conditions in your area.

4. Insulation: Proper insulation is crucial when building a cordwood home as it helps regulate temperature and keeps energy costs down.

Once you have considered these factors, it’s time to start planning the layout of your home!

Now that you have designed your cordwood home, it’s time to learn about some building techniques and tips that will help bring your vision to life.

Building a cordwood home requires a certain level of skill and patience; however, with proper guidance, anyone can do it! In this section, we will cover some essential techniques such as mortar mixing ratios and laying patterns for optimal results. Additionally, we’ll share tips on how best to maintain the beauty of your finished product once completed by discussing topics like waterproofing methods and pest control measures.

With these guidelines at hand, you’re sure to build an amazing cordwood home that not only looks great but also stands strong against anything nature might throw its way!

Building Techniques And Tips

Building Techniques and Tips:

When it comes to cordwood building, there are a few important techniques and tips that can make all the difference in creating a sturdy and beautiful home. One of the most crucial aspects is properly preparing your materials before construction begins. This means ensuring that your logs or blocks are relatively uniform in size and shape, as well as completely dry (with no residual moisture content). It’s also important to use high-quality mortar or other binding agents, such as lime putty or cob plaster. These will help ensure that your walls stay strong over time, even with exposure to harsh weather conditions.

Another key technique to keep in mind is proper insulation. Cordwood homes naturally have excellent thermal mass properties due to their thick walls, but you’ll still want to add additional insulation between layers of wood for maximum efficiency. A variety of materials can be used for this purpose, including straw bales, cellulose fiber, fiberglass batts, or even recycled denim jeans! When designing your home layout, consider incorporating passive solar principles by orienting windows towards the south-facing side of the structure and using appropriate overhangs or shading devices.

With these fundamental techniques mastered, you’re ready to start building your own beautiful cordwood home! But remember – while these structures are durable and long-lasting when built correctly, they do require periodic maintenance and repair. In the next section we’ll cover some basic tips for keeping your cordwood home looking great for years to come.

Maintaining And Repairing Your Cordwood Home

Let’s talk about all the ways to maintain and repair our cordwood home.

Some of the tasks we need to consider include cleaning, sealing, caulking, weatherproofing, mortaring, mending cracks, staining, re-stacking, replacing wood, insulating, capping, ventilating, securing, covering, and painting.

We’ve got a lot to cover, so let’s get started!


If you want to ensure that your cordwood home lasts for years to come, cleaning is an essential task that cannot be ignored.

No one wants a dirty and unkempt home, especially not one made of wood.

Regularly sweeping or vacuuming the floors will help prevent dirt buildup and keep pests at bay.

Additionally, wiping down the walls with a damp cloth may remove any dust that has accumulated over time.

Don’t forget about maintaining the exterior either- power washing once in a while can prevent mold growth and prolong the life of your cordwood structure.

Remember, keeping your home clean isn’t just about aesthetics; it’s also crucial for its longevity.


Now that we’ve talked about the importance of cleaning your cordwood home, let’s move on to another crucial aspect of maintaining and repairing it- sealing.

Sealing is an effective way to prevent moisture from seeping into the wood and causing damage over time.

One option is to use a high-quality sealant or stain specifically designed for log homes. This will not only protect against moisture but also UV rays and insects.

Another important area to focus on is sealing any gaps between logs using chinking or caulking.

Not only does this improve energy efficiency by preventing drafts, but it also helps keep pests out.

By regularly sealing your cordwood home, you can ensure its longevity and keep it looking beautiful for years to come.

Cordwood Building Case Studies

If you’re looking for inspiration and proof of the beauty that can be achieved through cordwood building, look no further than these incredible case studies.

These homes are nothing short of breathtaking, with their unique designs and natural materials evoking a sense of warmth and comfort. Here are just a few examples to give you an idea:

1. The Hobbit House – This magical home was built using round logs interspersed with cob (a mixture of clay, sand, and straw) in between.

2. The Island Cottage – Built on an island off the coast of Maine, this cozy cottage features walls made from locally-sourced cedar cordwood and an eye-catching living roof covered in mosses and lichens.

3. The Cordwood Castle – Fit for royalty, this impressive structure boasts thick 16-inch walls made from spruce trees harvested from nearby forests.

4. The Forest Home – Nestled deep within the woods of British Columbia, this charming cabin combines cordwood walls with timber framing for a stunning effect.

These are just a few examples among many possibilities when it comes to designing your own cordwood home.

Now that we’ve seen what’s possible let’s move onto some frequently asked questions about cordwood building.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cordwood Building

After learning about the various cordwood building case studies, you may be interested in finding a comprehensive guide to help you with your own project. Look no further than ‘Cordwood Building: A Comprehensive Guide to the State of the Art’ by Rob Roy.

This book has been hailed as one of the best resources for anyone looking to build their own cordwood home or structure. Not only does this book provide detailed instructions on all aspects of cordwood building, from selecting materials to laying walls and adding finishing touches, but it also includes beautiful photographs and illustrations that will inspire you throughout the process.

Whether you’re a seasoned builder or just starting out, ‘Cordwood Building’ is sure to become an invaluable resource for your journey into this unique form of construction.

If you still have questions after reading through ‘Cordwood Building,’ don’t worry – there are plenty of resources available online and through local workshops and organizations.

Here are some frequently asked questions about cordwood building that may help answer any lingering concerns:

1) What types of wood are best for cordwood building?

2) How do I prepare my site before beginning construction?

3) Do I need special tools to build with cordwood?

4) Can I build a multi-story cordwood home?

5) How can I ensure my finished structure is energy-efficient?

By continuing to learn and ask questions, you’ll be well on your way to creating your very own stunning cordwood masterpiece.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take To Build A Cordwood Home?

How long does it take to build a cordwood home?

Well, the answer depends on several factors such as the size of the house, the skill level of the builders, and the availability of materials.

It could take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years to complete a cordwood building project.

However, with proper planning and efficient construction techniques, one can significantly reduce the time required for building.

And if you’re looking to learn more about this eco-friendly construction method, there are plenty of resources available online or at your local library that can help you get started.

Can Cordwood Homes Be Built In Areas With High Humidity Or Rainfall?

Building a cordwood home is like planting a garden – it requires the right conditions to thrive. But can these unique homes withstand areas with high humidity or rainfall?

The answer is yes, as long as proper precautions are taken during construction and maintenance. It’s important to use well-seasoned wood and insulation techniques that prevent moisture from seeping in. Additionally, adequate ventilation and drainage systems should be implemented to ensure the longevity of your cordwood abode.

So if you’re considering building one in a damp climate, fear not! With the right knowledge and techniques, your cordwood home can weather any storm.

What Are The Costs Associated With Building A Cordwood Home?

What are the costs associated with building a cordwood home?

The cost of constructing a cordwood house can vary depending on factors such as location, size, and materials used.

It is generally considered to be an affordable alternative to traditional construction methods due to its use of locally-sourced and sustainable materials.

However, it’s important to note that labor costs may be higher since this type of construction requires specialized skills.

Additionally, insulation and moisture barriers must be carefully installed to prevent issues with humidity or rainfall in areas where they are common.

Overall, while there may be some upfront expenses involved with building a cordwood home, many homeowners find that the long-term savings in energy costs and environmental impact make it well worth the investment.

Can Cordwood Homes Be Built With Multiple Stories?

Wow, cordwood homes are so versatile that you can even build them with multiple stories! But of course, this raises the question – how exactly do you go about doing that? Can it be done safely and efficiently?

The answer is yes, with careful planning and construction techniques. It’s important to consult with professionals or refer to reliable resources such as books on cordwood building for guidance.

So don’t limit yourself to a single-story home if you dream of having more space – consider the beauty and uniqueness of a multi-level cordwood house.

How Does Cordwood Building Compare To Traditional Stick-Built Homes In Terms Of Energy Efficiency?

If you’re considering building a home with cordwood, one factor to consider is energy efficiency. Compared to traditional stick-built homes, cordwood buildings can be very efficient in terms of heating and cooling.

The thick walls made of stacked wood logs provide excellent insulation, helping to keep the interior temperature comfortable without relying on excessive energy use from HVAC systems.

Additionally, because cordwood is a renewable resource that can be locally sourced in many areas, it’s an eco-friendly choice for those looking to reduce their carbon footprint.


So, what is the best book on cordwood building?

Well, there are several great options out there. One of the most highly recommended is ‘Cordwood Building: The State of the Art’ by Rob Roy. This comprehensive guide covers everything from materials and tools to design considerations and construction techniques.

But regardless of which book you choose, one thing is clear: cordwood building offers a unique and sustainable alternative to traditional stick-built homes.

With its natural insulation properties and beautiful aesthetic, it’s no wonder that more and more people are turning to this eco-friendly method of construction.

So whether you’re looking for a DIY project or simply interested in learning more about this innovative technique, be sure to check out some of these informative resources today!

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