Mini Cordwood House Planning: Gathering Materials


The last post I did was about observing and interacting with your environment and I talked a lot about finding free resources on our land to do various projects.  The greatest project so far is going to be salvaging materials to build a cordwood house.  Here’s the story of the house:

Our big, and only, project for this year will be our cordwood house.  The tiny house is just a little to tiny for us, and the kids need their own rooms.  We decided that rather than start our dream house, we would build a small cordwood house instead.  That way we not only get into a bigger house a little quicker, we also get some practice building with cordwood before we build our dream home.

Here are some links about cordwood houses:

Mother Earth News

The House That Worked Out

Cordwood Construction

Cordwood Masonry

Northern Woodlands

Dirt Cheap Builder

Cordwood Construction WordPress

Dream Green Homes

Off Grid Quest

Starting from the bottom up, we begin with a rubble trench foundation.  We have clay soil and ledge everywhere, so a simple foundation will be great.  The gravel to fill the rubble trench can be collected as we dig up clay to build the walls with.  The clay has to be sifted anyway, may as well use the small rocks we sift out as free gravel.

The next layer will be a masonry foundation.  We hope to gather river rock from the area where the stream runs through the back of our lot to build the masonry part.  The cordwood needs to start where it is above ground enough so the melting snow won’t rot the logs or wash the clay away.

The frame of the house will be built of mostly hemlock that we cut from our lot.  It should be a gorgeous roundwood frame that we have a “raise the roof” party to get it in place.

The walls will be made of cordwood off the lot.  The clay and sand for the cob mixture is also harvested from the land. We will also use recycled glass bottles to create “stained glass” windows.

Windows, doors, and roofing we can buy from a local building resale store, cheap.  They also carry paint, nails, handles, knobs, bath tubs, sinks and anything else we may need for a house.  Cement with be something we also have to buy.  For the most part, we can use our own, free, available materials.

We will also be wathcing for yard sales and online swaps and even the newspaper for cheap materials.  And bartering may just be something we can use as well, especially for building help.  The less we spend on this house, the better!

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