One way to put a large piece of cordwood in the wall and make sure it won’t loosen is to “explode it” by splitting it and then putting it back together with a mortar bead. The very dry wood (8%) in the photo is Aspen.   Novitch workshop 18We were lucky to have such wonderful folk at our cordwood sauna workshop in Merrill, Wisconsin.  Folks came from New York, Idaho, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin to partake in a two-day hands-on seminar.Novitch 19 The framing was finished ahead of time for the workshop.  It is very important to cross-brace all the supporting posts. Novitch sauna 1A grade beam saves on excavation cost and material.   The posts are anchor wedged to the grade beam and lag bolted to the post for stability.  Note that the top beams are secured with 3/8’s inch iron brackets. Novitch sauna 4

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Lag bolts being attached with a smile. Novitch sauna 2The sauna was framed using large portable sawmilled posts and beams, with all the wood coming from onsite.Novitch workshop 19 These pieces of cordwood have been dried to 12% moisture content or lower.  The cracks on the faces let you know they are well seasoned and ready for cordwooding. Novitch workshop 20Using a random rubble log placement makes for a unique and interesting wall. Novitch workshop 21The large piece of the top right (above) is a 5 piece exploded round (aspen) which was put back together with one-inch mortar joints. Novitch workshop 23An outstanding group of workshop attendees who brought their own unique personalities and skills to the table.  We enjoyed each and every one. Novitch workshop 24The beginning of the Ojibwe Medicine Wheel starts with a piece of large, heavy-duty cardboard.   It is attached at a predetermined height.  The drywall screws at the top help the designers to know where to place the bottles. More photos will follow as the walls rise.

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin or home, please visit   While you are there, click on the pictures, read the brief articles, check out the latest workshops and newsletter and if you are interested click on the Online Bookstore to see all the cordwood literature available in print and ebook format.

If you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at  

Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels

Readers have requested a brief bio, so here goes:

“Richard & Becky Flatau built their mortgage-free cordwood home in 1979 in Merrill, Wisconsin. Since then, they have written books, conducted workshops, facilitated the 2005,  2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Construction: Best Practices DVD,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.”

Here is a jpeg of the new Cordwood Construction DVD cover available at