Some folks who build with cordwood are disappointed with the resulting “look” of their labor. In order to make a cordwood wall look good, it is imperative to learn how to make a random pattern.  While this may seem contradictory (we should probably say random no-pattern) it is important to place different size and shape pieces into the wall.  If you think of your logs as Goldilocks thought of her porridge (too cold, too hot, just right) but instead you piled your logs into stacks of small, medium and large pieces and you took a piece from each pile along each wall, you would end up with a random pattern.
Cordwood for Sale Comox BC9

Western Red Cedar in a 30-year-old cordwood home in British Columbia.  The mortar joints are approximately one inch and the cordwood has all been split into unique and interesting shapes. 5

(Above) lots of well-placed cordwood in a wall at Greg and Clare’s.  Random Pattern 1 using a round with the ears cut off.jpgAbove is a fine example of various shapes embedded in a mortar matrix. Ned Thilo mason from PA fire clay, lime, sand2Ned Thilo used a brick framework with a random display in the center.  He also used an off center crescent moon motif to create a work of art.
Kenai Chelsea 2As did Chelsea and Mark with their Alaskan sauna. Peter Debenham & Ann Lundquist 7 random pattern
Peter Debenham and Ann Linquist made beautiful cordwood music in Colorado. Peter Debenham 2Eric and Beth used rocks, bottles and a lightning bolt. Eric & Beth 29 pac man lightning bolt with logo.jpgHere deer antlers, bottles and marbles are used.   Random pattern Kinstone 2
Kimanna used bottles, logs and mermaids to make her memorable Mermaid Cottage in Colorado.
KimAnna mermaid cottage wall 2 with logo.jpgRandom pattern Kinstone workshop 2017BMaranda is rightly proud of the work she (and others) did on the star wall at Kinstone.
8. random pattern.jpgA sauna in Poland benefited from a very large, undulating piece of log and a red earthen mortar.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERARounds and splits with 8-inch cordwood. jhdean Homer Alaska yak barn 4 homer alaska with logos
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Paying attention to and having many different sizes and shapes is incredibly helpful in creating your own piece of wall art.  This process starts when you are splitting and stacking your wood for drying.
                        (Below) This is what we are trying to avoid.  The Polka Dot wall effect. Polka dot wall 2
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  
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 2005, 2011 and 2015 Cordwood Conferences and provided consultation for cordwood builders.  Cordwood Workshop DVD (2018),  Cordwood Construction Best Practices (print 2017) and Cordwood Conference Papers 2015 are the newest publications available from their Online Cordwood Bookstore.  The books & DVD are also available as ebooks for a quick and easy shipping free download.
This is the Cordwood Workshop Video label.
Cordwood Workshop DVD 3
These are the 30 menu sections from the Cordwood Workshop DVD.
DVD Menu 1


DVD menu 2

#17 Exploding Logs is worth the price of the DVD.  Learn how to make sure your logs don’t loosen in the walls.