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Essential Cordwood Building (PDF)
The Complete Step-by-Step Guide
Cordwood construction — log-ends set in insulated mortar — is a versatile, economical, low-impact, and beautiful building method. Its durability and performance has been proven in beautiful, centuries-old buildings in North America and Europe.
Yet until now, there has been no trusted, practical guide to cordwood construction using the material in a wide variety of construction projects.
Distilling decades of experience and best practices, Essential Cordwood Building is the first fully illustrated, step-by-step guide to cordwood building. Ideal for the DIYer and professional designer and builder alike, it covers:
- Wood species selection, log-end length, and seasoning
- Cement, lime putty, and cob mortar options
- Wall cavity insulation options
- Budgeting and estimating
- Highly illustrated, step-by-step building techniques
- Window and door frame installation
- Pointing and chinking, finishing, and plastering
- Special designs and decorative features
- Code references, compliance, building science, and best practices
- Troubleshooting and maintenance
Rob Roy is widely recognized as a world leading authority on cordwood construction. He is Director of Earthwood Building School in West Chazy, New York, which teaches owner-builders how to build with cordwood masonry. Rob and his wife Jaki have built four cordwood homes and numerous outbuildings, and have conducted workshops all over North America and around the world. Rob has authored and edited 15 books including Cordwood Building, second edition (2016), Timber Framing for the Rest of Us, Earth-Sheltered Houses, and Stoneview.
"Rob Roy is the world’s foremost expert on cordwood construction and his new book is the best and most comprehensive guide to the subject ever produced."
Lloyd Kahn, author of Shelter, Tiny Homes, and Small Homes
"Rob Roy has influenced a whole regeneration with his cordwood building techniques, liberated countless people from the slavery of a large mortgage, and enabled ordinary people to build all kinds of structures from workshops to comfortable homes in low impact, ecological ways. Here he has gathered the latest methods with the essence of these cordwood techniques. Full of information and stories. A great read."
Maddy Harland, Editor, Co-Founder of Permaculture Magazine and author of Fertile Edges: regenerating land, culture and hope
"Cordwood building has always been my favorite, and it is obviously Rob Roy’s too. Here is a mine of information, laid out well, covering all aspects of cordwood building. He looks at the overall considerations, then gets down in the detail, always practical, and writes simply, with lightness and humor, from his long experience. There is more than enough here to get you started down a long, creative, satisfying path as a self-builder."
Tony Wrench lives with his partner Faith in a cobwood roundhouse he designed and they built together 20 years ago in West Wales, UK. He runs occasional natural building courses and is the author of Building a Low Impact Roundhouse
"Rob Roy’s Essential Cordwood Building certainly contains all of the information that a newcomer would need to delve confidently into a wide variety of cordwood projects. Rob has been the go-to expert on cordwood construction at www.greenhomebuilding.com for well over a decade and has always answered reader’s questions with authority, wit and patience. I could trust nobody more implicitly than Rob to teach the attributes of what has to be one of the most effective, economical, ecological, energy efficient and beautiful approaches to natural building. In one simple operation you can build walls that provide both insulation and thermal mass, requiring no further interior or exterior finish work; there is no other method where this is true."
Kelly Hart, founder of www.greenhomebuilding.com
"In Essential Cordwood Building, Rob Roy has distilled the critical information required to think and plan your way through the design and construction of a cordwood structure, and presented it in a very accessible format. His tone is familiar and personal, and draws upon a deep wealth of experience in his craft — there may well be no better resource on cordwood construction than Rob Roy! The book is well-organized and thorough in its detail, proving to be a truly valuable resource to anyone considering working with cordwood."
Jacob Deva Racusin, Co-Owner, New Frameworks Natural Design/Build
"With Essential Cordwood Building, Rob Roy has succeeded, as only he can, in combining an articulate step by step methodology with an enduring lesson in personal economics. If you want the single biggest investment of your life to be a get-it-done-with-and-move-on experience — free of those mortgage entanglements and full of log-and-mortar security — you’d do well to follow the path that Rob Roy’s has so clearly marked, and build your own cordwood home."
Richard Freudenberger, Energy and Resource Manager at Living Web Farms and former publisher, BackHome Magazine
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