Cordwood Construction Basics

Reader Contribution by Richard Flatau
1 / 4
2 / 4
3 / 4
4 / 4

Cordwood is a building technique that is richly embodied in sweat equity and labor intensiveness. The actual physical process of building is not seriously strenuous (the log ends are only 16″ long), but it does take time and will-power to complete all the walls. The materials for cordwood walls are found in the forest and not in the building supply store, so it is not something one can order and have delivered on Monday. It requires planning, perseverance and patience.

To start this cordwood blog I would like to offer some basic thoughts about cordwood and then provide some serious cordwood eye candy meant to interest and inspire. Getting into specifics and FAQ’s and such will take place down the road. If you have any questions, please be my guest.

What is Cordwood Building?

Suffice it to say that cordwood is a natural building style of choices and decisions, based on ones personal philosophy and pocketbook. The first choice comes in the form of “Should I do this or not?” The best way to answer this “mother of all cordwood questions,” is to read the available cordwood literature, visit cordwood homes, build a practice building or take a workshop. Once a person has committed to becoming a cordwood owner/builder, the fun begins.

As the reader already knows, the basic wall material for cordwood is composed of logs.  The fundamental method of laying up a wall is shown in the line drawing by the Grandfather of Cordwood, Jack Henstridge (whose articles were the first on cordwood to appear in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS in the 70’s).  Here are links to those early articles should you be interested:

Build a Low-Cost Economical House

The Return of the Cordwood House

As we progress to current times, here is an example of the first page of myCordwood eNewsletter for 2014.  You will notice that the times they are a’changing…

 Here are a few examples of “well done” cordwood homes using best practices.


This is only the opening volley, there will be much more to follow. Please stay tuned.

For information on how you can build your own cordwood shed, cottage or home go to While there, visit the eNewletter, the Articles, the Blog (What’s New?) and if you are so inclined the Online Bookstore.