Cordwood construction is truly a vernacular building method of the Upper Midwest. Utilized by early pioneer builders who were simply responding to conditions on the frontier, the majority of American cordwood structures are located in Wisconsin, though several are located in Iowa, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, and as far west as Montana. Many existing cordwood structures are barns built in the 1920s and 1930s during the Great Depression. These structures were built utilizing regionally available and affordable materials because high quality heavy timber and stone were too costly and not readily available. Homes were also built using this technique and were called “Depression Housing.”
Cordwood construction is a technique that utilizes whole or split wood, usually 6” to 24” inches long or more, layered width wise in a bed of mortar. The walls produced are textured with exposed log ends.
The technique has seen a renaissance in the past 30 to 40 years with cordwood homes popping up across the US and Canada because they are inexpensive to build, easy for the do-it-yourself homebuilder, energy efficient, and a natural construction method.
For more information about cordwood construction visit http://www.brightgreenresearch.org/materialconcepts/cordwood.html