Timberframe, Cordwood & Glass, the Saga of a well-built sauna.  by Monika Erpelo Novak

Monika, Kris & Nick with Cordwood Master Builder Charles Yeager.  

Link to Monika, Kris & Nick  Glamping in SW Michigan https://www.instagram.com/craneslandingthreerivers/

Link to Charles Yeager Cordwood Master Instructor  yeagerc@charter.net

Star Hill Timber frame link:  https://www.starhilltimberworks.com/

 Here are the details from the pen of Cordwood Owner/Organizer, Monika Erpelo Novak.  
“During the first two weekends in June, we hosted two cordwood workshops in Three Rivers, Michigan to work on a timber-framed 10’x16’ sauna. Before the workshops, we had poured a concrete slab foundation, built and raised the sauna frame, installed a metal roof, laid two courses of concrete blocks, moved in the sauna stove, built window boxes, and collected hundreds of glass bottles, jars, blocks, and insulators. In the course of the workshops, the students worked on:
  • debarking logs
  • treating wood with borax
  • filing down log ends
  • making glass “bricks” from wine bottles cut in half, whole beer bottles taped together, glass blocks, and various combinations of glass jars and insulators
  • installing furring strips along the frame to help with mortar adhesion
  • pounding nails into the furring strips to give the mortar additional anchors to grab on to
  • mixing mortar
  • making insulation
  • building up a cordwood wall
  • tuck-pointing
  • installing window boxes
  • making and installing a header for the large front window
  • placing refractory mortar and stonework around the sauna stove

The right mortar recipe is critical to a successful build.

“It was such a pleasure to get to know and work with all of the workshop participants.
We made so much progress and got cordwood up on every wall! We hope to finish the rest of the sauna by the end of the summer, so that we start enjoying it when the cold weather hits.”
Master Cordwood Teacher Charles Yeager. 

Monika shows how to make a design and then manifest it in the wall! 

The sauna stove uses a type of refractory mortar to hold the stove and the stones firmly without cracking. 


The pieces above the window are cordwood slices.  They are glued and screwed to the stabilizing board. 

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.Cordwood Construction Best Practices Front_Cover_-_CC_Best_Practices small pixels

If you have questions that aren’t answered on the website you can email me at richardflatau@gmail.com

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 instruction for thousands of cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop Video (2017),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their online cordwood bookstore.   www.cordwoodconstruction.org

Below is the Cordwood Workshop Video cover, featuring the Cordwood Education Center.

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

DVD Menu 1A 400 pixels

DVD menu 2A 400 pixels.jpg