Saturday, March 20, 2010

Blogging about building!

We're finally doing it! Blogging our building progress. Late last summer Cory and I bought just under 6 acres of wooded land. The land already had an old logging road into a cleared area. We were able to buy the land debt free. This summer we will be building a 16x16 cordwood house, also debt free! For those of you who don't know what cordwood is, visit or Also we currently live in a 18ft in diameter round cordwood house with a half loft. It's my profile picture. We plan on doing everything we possibly can ourselves and with the help of friends and family. As soon as we knew what we wanted to build, we got right down to work. We will be using mostly balsam fir and some cedar for the cordwood. Last fall we cut down some of the trees we will need to build. It sure is a lot of work cutting down all those trees, liming them and then transporting them to the land.

The next step was to remove all the bark from the trees. We bought an attachment for the chainsaw called a log wizard. This attachment was invaluable to us. If we didn't have the attachment we couldn't peel logs till spring.

We are done peeling all the balsam trees. Next we began cutting our logs to length. We chose to do 12 inch walls with stackwall corners in this small house. In the future when we build a bigger house we may do a post and beam structure with a cordwood infill. To prepare the corner pieces we needed to mill them using our alaskan mill. The corners will be built out of 4x4s.

There are some cedars that still need to be peeled so I got to work on that. I used a draw knife that we borrowed from a guy in our area. People in the community have been so generous to us. I still have blisters from this day of peeling! You'll also notice that we have no snow left. Which is amazing for our location and the time of year. It's practically unheard of. We are keeping our fingers crossed that we don't get that April dump of snow. It sure isn't to bad working outside right now. No bugs, not too hot, and no long underwear!
Also right now we are working on getting all this cut wood stacked. Our plan is to stack it just like firewood but only one row deep. This is to maximize the sunny southern exposure and enhance the drying process. So far we have about 43' long x4.5 high pile. We figure it's close to two walls not including mortar and windows. Our walls are going to be 10' tall, 8' of that being downstairs and a 2' knee wall in the loft to add more headroom.
This past winter we got a lead on some free tamarack logs for our floor joists. Since we don't have a trailer, this is how they were transported. Not recommended. And Cory and a friend loaded these bad boys by hand!! Luckily my grandma is going to borrow us a trailer for the summer and we plan on putting a winch on it. Then we can go back and get more of these free logs!

More to come!


  1. Heather, I'm so excited for you! Please keep the posts coming.

  2. Pretty cool! I look forward to hearing more about it and seeing what the finished project looks like! How amazing.I really appreciate when people venture out on there own to do their own thing, what they believe husband and I try to live by this ourselves...

  3. Wow! You're finally at it, good for you! Looks like it's moving along very quickly and you'll have all the cordwood drying this summer. Floor joists, so I take it no slab?

    Let us know if you'd like to take a break this fall here in New Mexico

  4. Awesome you two!! Nick and I should get up there to help you!

  5. Thanks everybody. Keep following our progress. Sam the floor joist are for the loft. We still plan on the floating slab.