Charles Yeager taught a series of weekend cordwood workshops in order to build this timber-framed cordwood sauna.  This beautiful sauna was built at a camp on the Black River south of Ishpeming, Michigan. 

The tarps are used to shade the cordwood walls and participants.  They also provide shelter from the elements for the materials and the masons.

The Tom Huber Cordwood Scholarships were used to help the participants attend the workshops.  The scholarships were funded to honor the memory of this wonderful Master Cordwood Builder.  {More information on the Tom Huber Scholarships at the end of this post.]

The timber frame was built and erected by Star Hill Timberworks. Check out this link to see more.

The blue painter’s tape is to help keep the posts and beams clean of mortar.

Love the blue wavy glass in the top center of the wall!  

Loads of wonderful artistic elements in this sauna. The glass blocks, the stained-glass-like bottles, the hollowed-out cedar logs, and the shelves all make for a delightful visual experience. 

There is also a wall of rocks for the sauna stove to back up against. 

Mixing mortar in 2′ x 3′ plastic mortar pans. 

Comments about the Workshops and the Tom Huber Scholarship from workshop leader Charles Yeager

“Every August in Marquette County “The Ore to Shore” Mountain Bike race is held. In 2021, I rode my fat tire bike in the race. About halfway through the 28-mile, soft rock race, I passed Frida Warra and Debbie Leaf on a tandem mountain bike. A couple of weeks earlier, Frida, her husband Ron and I hosted two cordwood construction workshops at their property. I hollered at Frida “Hey there” as I passed by. She said “Stop” and I hopped off my bike for a quick hug and off I went. I finished the race and I was happy with that – 65 years old, replaced knee and I hadn’t been on my bike in two weeks because of the cordwood workshop followed up by a 10-day canoe trip on Isle Royale. After I peddled past Frida and Deb, Deb asked Frida, “Who was that?” Frida told Debbie all about me and the fantastic cordwood sauna that was built at their camp (cottage or cabin). Deb thought about the possibilities of a sauna at her property on the Black River, a few miles south of Ishpeming Michigan. She figured if she could just get me to stop over for coffee I might say “Yes, I’ll help you with the cordwood portion of your sauna.” In early January, 2022 Debbie called me to ask me over for coffee to talk about the possibilities of a cordwood sauna at her property. We discussed the size, the location, the framework, and the dates. She had me hooked. In August, Jon Anderson from Star Hill Timberworks held a workshop at Deb’s property to build the sauna framework

Two weekends in September and one weekend in October, we hosted three different cordwood construction workshops. Two participants were awarded scholarships from the family and friends of Tom Huber to honor his life. We were able to honor Tom’s memory, and his passion, knowledge, and commitment to cordwood construction thanks to donations received in his memory. The scholarship allowed two students to gain practical experience in the best practices and building techniques for cordwood construction. Tom was an avid cordwood builder and built a cordwood home in Watervliet, MI & Potsdam, NY. He worked as a professor at Paul Smiths College in the Adirondacks.

Participants in the cordwood construction workshops stated in their evaluations: “You guys do a great job at giving informative and helpful instruction.” “I liked the opportunity to try out different things: making bottle logs, building with cordwood, building with stone. Great hands-on experience.” “It was a good hands-on learning experience. I appreciated your willingness to answer all of my questions.” We had participants from North Carolina to California. However, for me, the best thing to come from these workshops was the commitment of Deb to offer future workshops of many types at Black River Retreat and Folk School.”

Interested in a workshop for next year?  Check out this link to Cordwood Workshops.

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 book cover 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,  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.”