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Anyone ever heard of this? Can this be done? What's this called?  RSS feed

 
Michael Kalbow
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So, I got a question. It occurs to me that if I wanted to build a "log cabin" on some property I'm looking to buy, using the timber that is on site, I'm not sure I have enough decently sized trees. There is tons of smaller diameter trees. I was wondering if anyone has ever built with roundwood cut to short lengths and laid like you might do a bottle wall or a can wall on an earthship house. Maybe cutting the roundwood to one foot lengths and then mortaring it in place. Possibly putting a traditional roof on top. I'm really looking forward to your comments. If I've had an idea that already exists, could someone please tell me what it is called?
 
Dillon Nichols
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Hi Michael,

Yup, people do this! Basically as you describe, like a bottle/can wall using cob, with wood rounds as filler. It's called cordwood, apparently also known as stackwall, log end, stovewood, or cordwood-masonry. It can look really nice.

I've wondered a bit about longevity, given that you are exposing the more vulnerable end-grain of the wood... but around here you'd want high foundation walls and big overhangs to protect the cob portion anyhow, so maybe nothing to worry about.

Here are some examples. I love the mushroom-shaped one! http://www.inspirationgreen.com/cordwood-homes.html
 
Michael Kalbow
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What is cob?
 
Dillon Nichols
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...per google: 'Cob, cobb or clom (in Wales) is a natural building material made from subsoil, water, and some kind of fibrous organic material such as straw. The contents of subsoil naturally varies and if it does not contain the right mixture is can be modified with sand or clay.'

Some of the examples in the link from my previous post used cob as the mortar/filler in cordwood walls; there are a variety of materials and techniques shown.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Michael,

There is a great deal of information on this subject all over the internet if the correct search terms are used. "kubbhus" architecture has been around for almost as long as the saw has to cut the wood. "Stack wood," "kubbhus," and/or "cord wood" architecture is a very distinct form from many cultures. The many types of "clay mortar" formulas (a.k.a. cobb) are also regionally diverse as well.

Here are some form Permies.com that discuss it...

http://www.permies.com/forums/posts/list/43346#341453

http://www.permies.com/forums/posts/list/31087#241697

http://www.permies.com/t/42357/natural-building/cordwood-structure-bamboo

http://www.permies.com/forums/posts/list/22297#182690

http://www.permies.com/t/29381/natural-building/pro-tips-wattle-daub-upcoming

Good luck,

j

 
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