Minnesota is home to not only strong Viking ancestors, Lake Wobegone, and the Spam Museum (the canned meat), but also to several beautiful cordwood homes, cabins, cottages, and saunas.   Here is a cordwood sauna being built near Tower, Minnesota by Paul Harney.   Paul has so many friends of Finnish descent that they have nicknamed him Harney-Maki and encouraged him to love the sauna. These pictures are all courtesy of Paul Harney. 

The sauna is all cedar cut from the property.  

The large posts and beams are awesome.  The bottom of the sauna uses pressure treated exterior grade plywood. 

The building is post and beam framed with the roof installed before the cordwood. This ensures a place to keep materials dry and it allows mortaring to be completed in inclement weather.

Paul has a well-organized work station for his mortaring.  Bags of cement and lime are under cover, there is a screen for sawdust, scaffolding is at the ready and the cement mixer is close at hand.

Attractive cordwood log placement.

After mortaring for the day, Paul would tightly cover his day’s work (for seven days).  This helped the mortar to slowly set and cure.

He used a 1″ putty knife, then the convex side of a spoon, and finally a paintbrush.  He did a very nice job of tuck pointing and his walls look clean and finished.

Should you wish to learn how to build a cordwood cottage, cabin, or home, please visit www.cordwoodconstruction.org   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 richardflatau@gmail.com  

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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 (2018),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices 2020 (print), and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online Cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Click on the picture if you would like to order this “best of the best” DVD (menu below).