Many wonderful and talented folks worked on the framing, roofing, cordwood-ing and making bottle ends for this much-anticipated structure.  The sauna rests upon a frost-protected grade beam (with a rubble trench for drainage).  The grade beam is 12″ wide and 24″ deep.  The final twelve inches of grade beam allows the cordwood to be set “up off-grade” 12″ to protect it from rain and snow.  

The cordwood infill is 8″ inches thick and is northern white cedar.  Several dozen students learned to frame the sauna, stack the cordwood and finish the inside with pine boards and a brick floor. 

This is the third cordwood structure at Kinstone.

The workshop crew that finished to the “top plates” was focused and not to be denied.  I said, “I don’t think we can finish this by the end of the workshop.”  They took that as a challenge and worked diligently to prove me wrong.  I am so happy they did.  It was a group of fine folk who bonded with each other and the cordwood.  Here are some heartwarming photos to show the detailsKinstone 28
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Kinstone 5Deer antler for a towel hook. Kinstone 13Cordwood makes people happy:0)Kinstone 11Big Rich is setting the window box into place. Kinstone 14Working on each side of the wall. Kinstone 4Almost to the top and time for lunch.Kinstone 6 The Michigan Girls (two lovely young ladies from central Michigan) invented a new technique (named by the class, “The Michigan Girls Top Plate Technique”) for finishing the wall “up to” a top plate.  We finished by 4:00 PM on Sunday!  Note the tree motif in the center of the wall.Kinstone 7 Ed McAllen stopped by to pay a visit.  Ed has a gorgeous cordwood home in Galesville, Wisconsin.

A changing room and a sauna stove make this structure double as a guest cottage.  


Alan Stankevitz dropped by to talk about PEM (paper enhanced mortar) and take pictures and video of the workshop.  It was great to see Alan and he took some of these pictures with his drone camera.Kinstone 21


Kinstone Circle from the air (drone view).  

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Putting in the shelf brackets, made out of half rounds of cedar. 

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  

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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 2019,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices 2020 (print), Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 and Cordwood House Plans 2021 ($15) with 16 different floor plans, are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.”


To learn how to build your own Mortgage-Free cordwood home visit