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Cordwood experience needed - burnt/charred log ends?  RSS feed

 
Hector Raimaker
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So, I'll be building a Simon Dale-esque roundwood framed structure this summer and fall. I've pretty much decided on a cordwood infill for the walls, as the land has a good supply of black spruce, which is also going to be the framing. The spruce will be kiln-dried, up to 10" in diameter. I have no grid power on this land but I happen to have a solar wood drying kiln which I will run at maximum speed, given the sheer volume of wood I'm going to need to dry.

The question is, do you think if I charred the outward-facing ends of my cordwood (as per this thread http://www.permies.com/t/22394/timber/charring-effective-treatment-ground-preservation) it would adversely affect the wall in any way? The only thing I can think of is that it might affect the ability of the wood to evenly distribute moisture throughout - not sure of the moisture permeability of charred or case-hardened wood, but my gut tells me it must be different. The interior and exterior ends of the logs would expand and contract differentially, if you get my drift, and though that will happen anyway given the varying moisture levels between the inside and the outside, maybe it's not a good idea to emphasize that effect.

My reason for attempting this is that it's on the Atlantic and it's a very exposed spot. I wouldn't mind building something which will last for a long, long time, and Nova Scotia coastline can eat a building up in short order. I'm not sure how it will look exactly but I feel if I can char or blacken the wood and mix a color-corresponding mortar somehow it will be a uniquely beautiful structure.

Anyone out there with some wisdom they'd like to share?

Thanks all,

Hector

P.S. - this is my first post and I'd just like to say this is a really, really great forum which I'm glad to be a part of.
 
Kate Nudd
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Hector,Hi
Great idea!
My limited experience with cordwood ( I've read lots of info on it, attended a cordwood conference and helped build on a house north of Winnipeg) would say try it.
Here's another forum with numerous experienced cordwood builders on it
www.daycreek.com
Also,there is an engineer in Manitoba, Kris Dick, who has/is doing extensive research at the University of Manitoba on alternative building techniques...especially cordwood...maybe he'll have some info for you.
Will you use earthen or cement mortar? I recall amazing red colored clays/earth in Nova Scotia that would look super with charred wood ends.
All the best with your build.
Kate
 
Hector Raimaker
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Hi Kate, thanks for your opinion. I'll get in touch with that engineer when I get closer to finalizing my plans, appreciate that. I'm expecting to have to pony up for an engineer's stamp on my drawings, so it would be nice to give the work to a specialist, probably much cheaper in the long run.

Kate Nudd wrote:
Will you use earthen or cement mortar? I recall amazing red colored clays/earth in Nova Scotia that would look super with charred wood ends.


I know! There's clay on our neighbours land, but none on ours. I'd like to work out a deal with them because we're very isolated and have limited access so hauling mortar materials won't be fun; much rather dig out some of that high-quality clay instead. But frankly, I doubt I'll be able to get the building inspector to agree to all that - the design of the place is already pushing some envelopes as it is. If it comes to it I might just stick on a superficial layer of clay over some scored mortar, just for kicks.

Cheers!



 
Miles Flansburg
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Howdy Hector, welcome to permies! Once you get it built please let us know how it turns out. I would also like to hear more about your solar wood kiln.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Hector,

I commented on the charring methods I've worked in, and also correspond with Rob about the history of cord wood architecture. In cases like yours, historically, the wall on the outside would be clad in wood or plastered over with cobb. It has not been till the last few centuries that more and more of the cord wood structures are exposed on both sides. Did you follow some of the links I provided to see what they do in Japan?

Regards,

jay
 
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