Cordwood Log Cabins


Wooden cabins are really great, especially for spending your holiday. If you would like to build yourself such a cabin in order to have your own island of relaxation, then you should consider making some small changes in the basic wooden cabin structure. We are thinking about building the walls of the cabin out of stone. You can of course create just one stone wall, but 4 such walls should offer you a much stable structure. Also stone is a more resistant material than wood and your house would stay intact for a longer period. There are many ways in which you can make this dream come true and many beautiful designs for stone walled wooden cabins. Just take a look at the selection of pictures you will find here and choose the ones you like the most. After that you can start building your own small vacation home or ask some help from professional, providing them some inspirational material.

Cordwood Construction Best Practices by Richard Flatau (Richard Flatau built his mortgage-free cordwood home over thirty years ago in the woods of northern Wisconsin.)








Cordwood Construction Best Practices by Richard Flatau (Book)


75 Responses to “Cordwood Log Cabins”

  1. Karri Smith says:

    What a waste of good firewood. There are other sources you could use in making this home.

    • Anthony says:

      Karri, really? So you mean wood? Doesn’t really matter what shape or form it comes in does it?

      • Anthony says:

        Totally agree Anthony. So lets make 2×4 and 2×8’s use fiberglass or worse, foam insulation, plastic vapor barrier, Oh maybe some plastic or plastic like siding on the outside.
        I think its the same people who say DONT HUNT!! buy your meat in a grocery store!

        Small minds who don’t think ahead

    • Kevin says:

      Actually a way to conserve good firewood. The walls are insulated by having an air space that is filled with loose saw dust and the logs do not draw out the heat as easily as other materials such as stone. These buildings hold in heat way better than a log cabin. You save on fire wood by not having to burn as much.

    • Shoju says:

      What’s your house made of? In between the walls and floors…?
      When you figure out a better, cheaper, more accessible building material, let me know. I’d like to read YOUR article.

    • Ren says:

      It’s a design for a “log” cabin….what did you think it was made of?

    • wendy says:

      I have seen people do this recycling glass bottles or aluminum cans. Also old tires would work .

    • Shelby says:

      There are other sources to heat your home too! This cabin is awesome.

    • JoeSnow says:

      And burning the wood isn’t a waste? When you burn the wood you only get to use it once. Using it as a construction material means you get to use it every day.

    • Pia says:

      Party pooper! Technically, everything is a waste of something in some fashion or another. Are we not as a society wasting a WHOLE lot more resources by building our homes in conventional means everywhere with abandon? Is a regular log home also a waste of perfectly good firewood? Which mind you, is burned and while serves its purpose in doing so, is only temporary. Is it really that offensive to you that that same wood go toward another purpose regarding sustainable shelter? Sheesh.

    • Dude says:

      What an idiot to even say that. While you’re burning your wood on a fire pit, this house will last for years, where will your firewood be? Up in smoke ya clown.

    • Trevor Kj says:

      A waste of good firewood?? Stop using firewood to heat your home, use water instead. Haven’t you ever heard of hydroxy or HHO gas? That will be how your children will heat their homes, cook their foods, glaze their ceramics, run through cars, and fly their helium series airships. Look at it as an alternative, a water solution for our water planet. Research the works of Michael Faraday in 1832 with his ideas about electrochemistry and the electrolysis of water, and later re-discovered by William Rhoades with “oxyhydrogen” jewelry making, and most importantly I hope you will look into the group of scientists known as the Prometheus 7.

      • Greg Baugher says:

        Hydroxy gas is just a medium to carry or store the energy (as is wood or gasoline/oil or elevated water in a dam, etc). It is not the source of the energy, which ultimately is from the sun. So how do you think future Earth-dwellers will get all this hydroxy gas they will consume? Electrolysis is the process that takes electrical energy and splits water molecules up into hydrogen and oxygen, thus making hydroxy gas, but where will we get the electricity in the future? Solar? Burning biofuels (wood, switchgrass, etc.) to run a turbine generator? These are the real questions for the future.

    • Sherri Ann says:

      Yeah – let’s just add more processing costs to the wood to make lumber. Would that make you feel like the wood was put to better a use?

    • melody says:

      Cedar is the wood of choice for cordwood structures, and cedar doesn’t make good firewood. It makes excellent walls, however.

      • Maery says:

        Just what I was thinking on reading these comments. I haven’t read the whole article, I’m wondering if the cementing material is cement or clay.

        • Maery says:

          Another thought.. some climates are plagued by termites more than Wisconsin. I’m fairly sure cedar is not favored by termites, so would be a good choice there too. Soft wood scrap twigs and logs would be a terrible choice.

    • Timothy says:

      What, do you live in a tent?

    • micah says:

      Kerri, you are an idiot

    • bob says:

      do you ever stop to check and see how dumb you sound. you burn it, it’s gone. If you build a house, you get 20, 40 even 50 years use out of it.

    • peabo says:

      LOL, Kari, really? There are still houses standing today that are in excess of 500 year old with the type of construction. What a great use of our limited recourses.

    • Daniel Florev says:

      Congrats, Karri! You just went full retard.

    • Clint says:

      Karri you are pretty clueless, how did you make it this far in life?

    • Jeff says:

      Not the sharpest tool in the shed…….

    • Beaver says:

      Karri did you eat paint chips?

    • sharon bell says:

      I completely understand what you mean; that wood could probably last 3 months as firewood. However, as a house it will probably only last a hundred or so years.

      How shameful and tragic. what am horrible idea.

  2. Paula says:

    That’s awesome! Looks like a ton of work but def makes for a beautiful building (home). A work of art!

  3. derek says:

    This is awesome

  4. Chad Cripe says:

    That was a really thoughtful response, Karri, one obviously motivated by sheer ignorance. If you were to do any looking into this, you might be surprised. But, I’m not one to cast pearls before swine.

  5. Bambi says:

    A waste of good firewood? That’s a hilariously laughable criticism!

    Houses are normally built of wood, and it can be much more expensive than using cord wood, that’s for sure. Cord wood would have to be easier to use than huge logs if you want a log home. You wouldn’t likely need any heavy duty equipment to build it either, like you would for a traditional log cabin.

    And whatever wood doesn’t work for the building can be stacked for the fireplace. 🙂

  6. Bob says:

    So build one out of other sources and show us. Or at least tell us.

  7. Greta says:

    The waste is using all the good wood for firewood. Great Job! If I was 20 years younger I would dig out the chain saw and start cleaning up the land. We have more than enough trash wood for the fireplace. A lot of this I can do by myself! I am excited for you. Love the extra light from the glass bottles.

  8. Tony S says:

    Yea like processed wooden studs with vinyl siding or even a full on log cabin!

  9. joesmile says:

    What a waste of good comment space…

  10. Andrew Woodcock says:

    I think that’s a great use of good building wood. Why does it have to be a waste when you’re using wood for building instead of burning? Doesn’t seem wasted at all in my opinion.

  11. Jenn Parker says:

    Burning the firewood is the real waste….

  12. Tim Hief says:

    Great idea. In order to use 2×4’s and such you need to cut old growth trees, this method can make harvesting otherwise unusable material highly cost effective. I imagine the home on the picture only required about six or so cords of wood. At about $200/cord, you’ve got 50% of the home materials delivered for $1200. I like this idea. I see that they are using glass bottles too so the home gets some light in the process.

  13. Kacklelackle says:

    What a great idea and what a great use of the wood. Last a lot longer this way than buring it up in the fireplace.

  14. Hmmmm says:

    Is this a fire hazard? and what if they get carpenter ants or termites?

    • builder T says:

      Cedar is bug proof, and rot proof

    • Rick says:

      I live in a cordwood house it was built with mostly beetle killed pine. No heat value for firewood and if not used in my house would have simply rotted away and gone forever. Cordwood houses last for centuries, regular stick frame houses might last 150 years at the most and eventually end up getting burned without any heat recovery. Bugs don’t seem to bother cordwood, I think it is because it is dry and only end grain is exposed. Wood peckers seem to like it though.

  15. love it says:

    wow karri…..i just shake my head at your ridiculousness. truly an assinine comment. with that said… i love this cabin! a work of art! beautiful cabin!

  16. Angela says:

    Hey guys-
    Just because someone says it, doesn’t make it true. Name calling, sarcasm, and criticism doesn’t help anyone. Positive info and encouragement does.

  17. Alun says:

    Am I the only one who detected a possibility of sarcasm in Karri’s post..?

  18. Marissa says:

    Y’all got trolled. Seriously.

  19. Mjpare says:

    i have a question… As logs dry they split lengthwise, how do you keep the cold out? Do you go back and fill in the splits as they occur with some kind of sealer? That seems like a lot of work although this is really nice and I would love to see it in person.

  20. ile says:

    How about moisture? Aren’t the logs going to take in moisture much easier when turned that way?

  21. C W H says:

    The comment section turned into a bashing of one commentor. I get it you all are smarter. Now about the cabin. It’s great, a work of art and a show of the human spirit.

  22. Travis says:

    Nicely executed Karri, almost too good for a troll.

  23. John says:

    I’d love to see plans for the small cabin.

  24. Deb says:

    Having grown up in the country and rather off the land I can tell you that it is a necessity to cut/thin timber growth as well as drag out the felled timber. We used that as firewood for the home that we built with various sources of heat, cooking etc due to its remote location. Smaller builds with whatever materials available make sense. No wood here in Hawaii where I now live due to its rareness plus the termite problem. a Utilizing solar/pv panels is a big thing here. Its all good so long as we all are smart when using our available resources.

  25. Tim says:

    What a great idea! A lot easier to put together than a traditional log home and the details in the photos really make it something to look at. What about building permits? Are these structures more difficult to permit?

  26. Jeff says:

    I plan on building a cabin using this method. I have done a ton of research on it. It is amazingly inexpensive to build.
    The Mortar is a blend of portland cement, sand and lime. The mix can vary depending on your wall. Load bearing or not. Some also mix sawdust into the mortar.

    The walls can be built as thick as you want. A 12″ thick wall can have as much as 25R value insulating capabilities. Imagine what a 16″ or 20″ would be? Just match it to your climate. No need for fiberglass insulation, plywood, Tyvek, or vinyl siding.

    They recommend a 24″ overhang on the eaves to prevent water from hitting the walls as well as a 24″ high footer wall to keep ground water from splashing up on the wall.

  27. Carol says:

    we recently cleared 30 trees to make way for a shop and garage on our 10 acre property. the company that downed the trees limbed and cut the trees into 14 foot lengths so that should we choose to have them milled, they were ready for such. the trees are drying. ideas such as this make me happy, and am thinking to cull the trees to lengths to make such a building that could be a guest house on our property. our new shop and garage will be warmed with wood, our home uses pellets now after 18 years of wood. a guest house would allow us to warm with some felled wood, as well as solar. while knowing it was well insulated. I love the idea of cord homes.

  28. Kim says:

    My Grandfather’s barn is built like that. It isn’t a new concept at all. His barn is well over a 100 years old.It will be standing for a 100 more if no one knocks it down.

  29. Robin Boulton says:

    there was a large cordwood home built in my community at least thirty years ago. I notice they stuccoed the whole outside now. It is still in use and looks good.

  30. bob says:

    oops I was a bit hasty Karri is transparent to everyone, it would seem.

  31. miykael says:

    strawbale of earth if you prefer… but ani think the cord wood looks beautiful.

  32. Lisa McCall says:

    I love cordwood homes!

  33. Darren says:

    That statement does not make sense what a waste of good firewood well when it’s burnt it’s gone so how can this be a waste don’t you know what log cabins are built out of idiot!!!

  34. Arlene says:

    The wood should be seasoned for a year or two before building. At that point most cracking has already occured. When gaps or cracks do appear you just patch them.

  35. Mark Wolford says:

    Karri has to be a Troll… Don’t think a normal person could say something so ignorant!

  36. Toby says:

    I would think Hempcrete would work in the cordwood design instead of mortar. I like these alternative building material ideas. Compressed Earth Blocks are another material.

  37. Erin says:

    This is Gold.

  38. Ray says:

    Can someone tell me what the red stuff is to keep it together?

  39. Jeff says:

    Not the sharpest tool in the shed…….

  40. Sherwood Botsford says:

    I looked into this some decades ago. It seems like an awful lot more work than building out of logs. It’s win is that you can use firewood grade wood.

    But to have to go over every round a year later with a bead of caulk. Yikes.

    I suspect that using a chip based COB would insulate better, and go up a bunch faster.

  41. DEBORAH KLATT says:

    I would scar the ends to keep the bugs out.I think this is a great way to pressure the wood,one day there will not be any trees to burn to heat your homes.I live in the tropics where there is a lot of wild fires,so building a home like this a lot of glass would be great as the sun shines in through the glass will make an awesome morning or evening shadows.

  42. Laurie says:

    We only use red cedar and we didn’t burn it for firewood we always had plenty of black locust to burn as firewood

  43. dimm says:

    Very interesting technology, I plan to start building such a house this spring

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