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Cordwood Construction (Cordwood house built by Chief Atahm Students)

ordwood House, Chief Atahm School project, circa 2003

Cordwood structures are built by stacking piles of wood on top of each other and cementing them together with a mortar mixture. Logs pieces, 12 – 16 inches, are used for construction. The log ends must be dry and peeled. Once the foundation is built, the construction can begin. The logs ends are worked with one at a time. The first set of logs are laid on the foundation and cemented down with mortar mixture. The mixture is made from lime, sawdust, cement, and water. It is mixed to a consistency which will be wet enough to work with, but dry quickly once it is put on. When the first course of logs is down, the next layer is added. Each time the log ends are cemented together with the mortar mixture. The layers are continued until the desired height is reached. Openings are left for windows and doors. Glass jars can be added into the construction as decoration and to give added light.

Cordwood is a relatively inexpensive way to build, but is very labor intensive. It is sustainable because recycled wood can be used. It is energy efficient – warm in winter and cool in summer – because of the thick walls.

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