rob roy

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since Feb 22, 2013
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Recent posts by rob roy

In Memory of Mike
Friend Mike helped a lot of people to avoid a life of economic serfdom, whether they built one of his earth-sheltered homes, or not. We kept up with each other over the years and visited each other in New York and Idaho. I sold a lot of his $50 and Up and Earth-Sheltered Solar Greenhouse books, for which I wrote the Foreword, ending with: “I’ve always prided myself on sharing information on low-cost green building techniques in my books, but Mike outflanks me every which way from a Mexican Sunday: the guy builds cheap, dirt cheap, and I say this with begrudging admiration. After too long a remission, the happy hippie hobbit surfaces once again to improve the nick of time.”
Mike will continue to resurface every time someone picks up one of his books. Incidentally, while all his books are well-written, his best and most entertaining literature is the wonderful One Mexican Sunday.
Jaki and I will miss you, buddy!
Rob Roy
2 years ago
Hi J.T.:
Last time I looked, it was still May, although we had July-like weather today. Jaki and I look forward to seeing you at the Cordwood Worksweek, July 15-19. We'll make sure all the cobwebs have been cleared out of La Casita. To all others: We still have room for this workshop, although the guesthouses are all booked. There is room for a single person in the Earthwood house on a B&B arrangement. Get info at www.cordwoodmasonry.com . Click on Workshops for descriptions, and Registration to register. Or call us at 518-493-7744. Rob (and Jaki) Roy, Earthwood Building School.
5 years ago
Paul Wheaton and Adrien of Permies.com suggested I start a new topic about our cordwood workshops this year. This is my first "new topic" so please bear with me while I try to put on some pictures to flesh out the text. Adrien suggests a new posting for each workshop, so that is what I am going to try to do. In the meantime, I can tell you that we have cordwood workshops very soon in Marcellus, Michigan (just 20 miles south of Kalamazoo) May 10-12. Also, cordwood and earth-sheltering workshops at Earthwood, West Chazy, NY May 24-27, July 15-19, and August 30-Sept. 2. Finally, we have a 5-day Comprehensive Workshop (Timber Framing and Cordwood Masonry) at Mondovi, Wisconsin (near Eau Claire) June 25-29. You can get all the Info (descriptions, tuitions, etc) at www.cordwoodmasonry.com Once there, click on Workshops for descriptions and Registration to register. More coming - including pictures - later today, I hope.
5 years ago
Thanks for the kind words about our Open House tour, Allen. It may interest Permies followers in the NE that we are doing another free Open House on Saturday, May 4th, 10 am to 4 pm. It is at Earthwood Building School, 366 Murtagh Hill Road, West Chazy, NY. You can see earth-sheltered housing and living roofs, about a dozen different cordwood buildings, a strawbale guesthouse, the masonry stove, bicycle-powered water system, off-grid solar system and an astronomically aligned stone circle. Directions are at the Newsletter page of www.cordwoodmasonry.com This will be the last Open House until October.
5 years ago
Hi Alice-Lynn:
Building a small practice building, like a cordwood playhouse for the kids, is a great idea. Make an inexpensive mistake there instead of a very expensive one on the main structure. It sounds like you are at the very beginnings of your researches, and, before you build, it would be a good idea to obtain either a book or a DVD on the subject, or both. Then, if all goes well, and you like cordwood, consider attending a workshop where you can learn to do it much more quickly and with a higher quality: balance, pointing, etc. Our Earthwood website is just one of several out there where you can get on the trail. Go to www.cordwoodmasonry.com Then click on Books and Media. Or Workshops.
Good luck!
5 years ago
Dear Alice -Lynn:
You say," I'm a little concerned about thermal bridging. If extra insulation is added on the outside, then it loses it's charm, but if it's added on the inside then there goes the thermal mass... Unless I'm missing something. I probably need to just buy the book. =] Also the bulk of the trees on the land are oak, birch, and white pine, and I vaguely remember reading somewhere that those are bad for cordwood building."
The log-ends themselves have characteristic of both insulation and thermal mass. There is very little thermal bridging. In the north, we like to use northern white cedar because of its high R-value of about R1 per inch of thickness on end grain. But other woods work well, too, such as white pine, spruce and quaking aspen. The mortared portion of the wall does not ahve any thermal bridging because of the insulated mortar space between the inner and outer mortar joints. Of the woods you list, the white pine is your best choice. And, Yes, that is a fine cordwood home that you give the URL for.
5 years ago
Cj: I am unclear as to whether you are asking for pics of Earthwood or of Yone' Ward's house. At any rate, I don't know how to put pictures on these posts. But our Earthwood website, www.cordwoodmasonry.com , has several photo album pages that might be of interest to you, including pics of the various buildings at Earthwood Building School. See also our Earthwood Building School Facebook page, which my wife, Jaki, maintains with more current stuff.
5 years ago
Frances and CJ: Under Green Building, I have posted replies on the following topics during the past 2 or 3 days: Cordwood - Green Buiding, Earth Sheltered Houses Questions for Rob, R-values, Building One's Own Home, and Poplar. I assume that it is best to answer questions in their specific topics, so that is what I have done. I am new at this website! But if you want to see hundreds of cordwood questions and my replies, go to http://greenhomebuilding.com/QandA/cordwoodQandA.htm . At Green Home Building, I have done a long-running Q and A on cordwood masonry.
5 years ago
Hi Jay: Thank you for the very interesting post! As for the part that portland cement (or concrete containing portland) plays in the discussion of cordwood masonry, it is, once again very important to differentiate between horizontal log construction and cordwood masonry on end-grain. They are like apples and oranges. Moisture can certainly be trapped between chinking and horizontal logs, as you point out, but not so in a properly built cordwood wall, and certainly not in any of dozens of cordwood buildings I have been involved with over the past 37 years. My mantra to keep it that way is: (1) Use sound (not punky) wood in the first place. (2) No log-ends touching each other (wicks moisture). (3) Use a good overhang. (4) Debark the log-ends. and (5) Keep the cordwood masonry clear of the ground.
5 years ago