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Cordwood house-build, part one

We began to build our house four years ago, 2006 …

That’s mortar mixed by me under the very heavy cornerstone that I’m attempting to keep in alignment as it’s lowered from the ridgebeam of our timberframe.  It’s being lowered by hand via chainfall, then a come-along, which is attached to steel clothesline threaded through 2 boards. Grant is beside me on the ladder, working the come-along.  Everything about this house is THAT custom-ed (see cordwood walls beyond the ladder cladding a stick-frame wall….).

We lived in a trailer with my 10-year-old Dominie from April until February,  then moved into the house while insulation and vapor barrier was still in progress.

Until shortly before Christmas this past year (2010) there has never been a time when the table-saw was not in the centre of our living space, with shelves of other tools & their accoutrements lining the walls. At one point, there were 2 compressors, a chop-saw, the table-saw, and two 4×8 improvised work tables there, skill saws, jig saws, hand saws, hammer nailers, power drills – that first summer it was loud enough that all the critters left for a whole 2 seasons.

If you’ve never experienced the thunder of end-of-the-workday compressor farts, you haven’t lived.

When we broke ground in June 2006, Grant was working part-time with the regional Government and the rest of the time occupied with the accurate envisioning and revising of all the engineering details related to the house.

Grant (long blonde hair) helping with the slab pour (in-floor heating tubes inside, in a spiral pattern)
cutting up cedar rails into 8.5" pieces for our house. Neighbor Roy's fine tractor

My job (and Stephan’s, below) was largely to make piles and move piles, and to fetch & return materials from hardware stores.  Here are some piles made, dismantled and made again somewhere else…

Stephan was 15 when he lived with us that summer. He became an expert in cordwood prep.


I'm fond of this one - pile of guardrail ends, 4th generation
- some refinement - a 'stickered' pile of barnboard that we're using for the gables and the dormers, as well as inside trim
....but I believe this one is my favourite pile so far - the cordwood pile, 5th generation

It’s amazing to think of all the piles of things that we gathered together, here,

Our empty lot, March 2006

to make this with:

Grant this past September (2010), on the south side of the house. looks like it's been there for ages.

2 thoughts on “Cordwood house-build, part one

  1. Well it has been awhile since I’ve been out to visit but the latest photos show me that all has persevered and now looks so wonderfully organic just like the folks who occupy it…

  2. Simply amazing what focused and talented individuals can make happen…

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