After taking a workshop, Charles Yeager, built himself a gorgeous timber-framed cordwood sauna on Cooper Lake, near Ishpeming, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. [Note: Charles will be leading two workshops near AuTrain, Michigan in September of 2022.  [Registration information will be uploaded soon.]

Here are the details, as Charles explained them. “I took a timber frame class at the North House Folk School in Minnesota several years ago. The course provided the plans for the sauna that I built.”

The timbers are made from red, white and jack pine. The cordwood is Northern White Cedar except for 5 hollow pieces of white pine that I used for windows.

Note that the timbers are attached to a piece of treated wood as a base plate.

The stackwall corners are placed up against the timber frame to create the 12″ cordwood walls.  Editors note: we would suggest screwing the stackwall corners to the interior posts for the stability of the quoins.

Cordwood on the outside walls is 12 inches long. The walls of the sauna room have 6″ cordwood on the outside. Inside of that, I had framed in walls with insulation, Tyvek, Aluminum foil and tongue and grove cedar.

The door is a double door that creates a very attractive star, moon and tree motif.  Bottle logs were made by cutting off the necks and putting the two remaining parts of the bottles together using aluminum flashing and duct tape. The interior walls of the changing room, the walls of the sauna room and the ceiling are tongue and groove white cedar. Windows were recycled and I made the window boxes. I put in a Nippa outside feed stove (see picture).  This keeps the inside of the sauna relatively clean of wood debris.

I grew up in Wisconsin, but have been living here in the UP for 29 years. I’d like to build a cordwood shelter surrounding the wood-fired brick bread oven that I hope to build someday. Let me know if you need any additional pictures or information. Thanks, Charlie Yeager”

There’s nothing quite like sauna (sow-na) on a cold, winters night.

Thank you Charlie for the most excellent pictures and description of your cordwood masterpiece.  Very nicely done.

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.Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixelsIf you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at  

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 thousands of 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 picture of the Cordwood Workshop Video cover, featuring the Cordwood Education Center.

For more information on Cordwood Construction, click on the picture or visit   Below is the 30 item Video menu. 

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