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The Beauty of Cordwood Building

8/21/2009 4:05:00 PM

Tags: cordwood, green building, natural building

A few years ago, we had a “most beautiful chicken coop” contest. The winner? A cordwood chicken coop.

Cordwood construction is sometimes also called “stackwood construction.” A cordwood building consists of short, round pieces of wood (think firewood) held together with mortar.

While the look of cordwood construction can take some getting used to, personally, I find it very appealing. These buildings are especially attractive when multicolored glass is incorporated into the structure by placing glass bottles in the walls.

But there are plenty of other reasons to consider cordwood for all types of building projects, large and small. The method of construction is reasonably simple, and the materials are readily available — two good reasons cordwood has been popular with DIY builders for many years. And there are ecological reasons to consider cordwood construction, too. You can probably get the wood locally, so it doesn’t need to be shipped long distances, and the thick wooden walls of a cordwood building provide great insulation.

Here’s a fun video tour of a cordwood cabin. Take a look, and also check out the additional resources below.

Cordwood Articles from the Mother Earth News Archive: 

Other Cordwood Resources: 

Megan E. Phelps is a freelance writer based in Kansas. She enjoys reading and writing about all things related to sustainable living including homesteading skills, green building and renewable energy. You can find her on .

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11/18/2009 9:16:32 AM
If you are in Europe in July 2010 there's an opportunity to learn how to build a cordwood roundhouse with a reciprocal living green roof. The workshop is lead by Tony Wrench, the leading European cordwood builder. You can find out about this workshop on You can see more cordwood houses on the natural homes map at Regards, Oliver

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