Cordwood Chapel at Kinstone Permaculture Academy

Reader Contribution by Richard Flatau

In 2012 we were asked to help build a Cordwood Chapel at the Kinstone Permaculture Academy near Fountain City, Wisconsin (SW Wisconsin). We were grateful for the opportunity to work with a wonderful group of people who were in the process of establishing an infrastructure that would help fulfill the goal of spreading the news about permaculture, natural building and all manner of things.

Over the last two years, we have held workshops to teach people about cordwood construction, while getting some serious work done on the 12′ chapel walls. Kinstone is alive with activity and is host to many and varied classes (plant identification, permaculture certification, bee keeping, gardening, harvesting, cordwood, straw/clay, and so on). Check out Kinstone Academy’s workshop calendar.

Cordwood Construction Pictures

Here are some pictures of the building and some of the amazing folks who lent a hand.

Two cordwood wall builders are happy with their patterning.

After a hard days work the crew is having a good time posing.

The framework is double 8″ x 8″ cedar posts.   

The river wall depicts the nearby Mississippi with recycled colored bottles. 

Sawdust mixed with lime is packed into the insulation cavity to create an R-24 value (as tested by the engineering department at the University of Manitoba). The cordwood infill is all Northern White Cedar.

The roof is set for thatching.  It has a ring collar that ties all the rafters together. 

The thatch was applied by Master Thatcher William Cahill of

The inside of the Chapel.  There are nature motifs throughout (sun, stars, moon, plants, trees, flowers, wind, river, etc.)  The motifs are based on the poem of St. Francis of Assisi, The Canticle of Brother Sun and Sister Moon. 

The Chapel rests comfortably under a blanket of snow. 

This summer (2014) we are holding three Cordwood and one Cobwood Workshops at Kinstone.  We will be building a sauna and a cobwood kiosk (cobwood is cordwood log ends with cob (sand, clay, straw) mortar).   The complete list of workshops is available at Cordwood Workshops 2014.

We are also hosting a three day workshop in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho.  

For books, articles, photos and information go to Richard Flatau’s cordwood website: