The origin of cordwood masonry is unknown.
But it may have happened like this:
In the dawn of time, man was cold. He had no fur of his own and spent much of his time shivering. Then, fire was discovered. Fire would keep man warm and happy. But fire was hungry. Fire would perish without being properly fed. Man found that fire needed to consume firewood. Luckily, there was plenty of firewood just lying around in the forest. So man gathered the wood and stacked it handily near the fire. Suddenly, man realized that the stack of wood also protected him from the wind, rain, and cold. This happy development was the first cordwood wall.
Here are some facts on cordwood masonry.
Cordwood masonry, also called stackwall in Canada
, is a wall building technique used to build homes, barns, saunas
, or just about anything that uses walls above ground. This technique is quite similar to brick or stone masonry
. However, log ends(also known as firewood or cordwood) are used instead of bricks. The cordwood is stacked(sometimes in a double wall) to the desired height and the cracks between logs are filled with some type of mortar
. The widths of the walls are equal to the length of the cordwood. Typical wall widths vary from 8 inches to 24 inches. Many species of tree
s can be used in cordwood masonry. Most builders
that are found near the building site.
Here are some advantages of cordwood construction.
Cordwood construction is long lasting.
There are examples of cordwood buildings estimated at 1,000 years old that are still standing in Siberia and Greece. A building constructed with this technique can easily be expected to last 100 years.
A cordwood structure has a very high insulative value.
Wood is a good insulator. The wider the cordwood wall, the more insulation you will have. The inner wall and mortar also provides a great deal of thermal mass. A well known cordwood builder, Rob Roy states that a 16" cordwood wall has an approximate R value of 20.
Cordwood masonry is cost effective.
If your homesite has trees, then you have building materials. And since cordwood masonry does not depend on dimensional standards, you can use almost any width log. Most of your cost will go to mortar materials and gas for your chainsaw.
Cordwood walls do not take a lot of skill to build.
Alternative House Building by Mike McClintock