Meet Rob and Jaki Roy of West Chazy, New York
Rob and Jaki built their first cordwood home, Log End Cottage, in 1975. Soon after, Rob wrote his first book, called How to Build Log End Houses, which, he says, "is thankfully no longer in print." The couple built their second home, Log End Cave, in 1977, resulting in another book, Underground Houses: How to Build a Low-Cost Home which was revised in 1994 under the title Complete Book of Underground Houses (Sterling, 1994). The Roys built a cordwood sauna in 1979, which is still in use. Rob's book, The Sauna (Chelsea Green, 1996) is still doing well. Earthwood, Rob and Jaki's 2-story round (38'8" diameter) cordwood earth-shelter was built in 1981-2 and is the home of Earthwood Building School. Complete Book of Cordwood Masonry Houses: The Earthwood Method (Sterling) came out in 1992.
Rob, sometimes alone, but usually with Jaki or son Rohan, has conducted cordwood masonry workshops in Texas, Colorado, Wisconsin, Washington, Virginia, British Columbia, Chile and at their campus in West Chazy, NY. He has written articles about cordwood in Mother Earth News, BackHome, Joiner's Quarterly, Fine Homebuilding and others. His latest two books are Mortgage Free!: Radical Strategies for Home Ownership (Chelsea Green, 1997) and Stone Circles: A Modern Builder's Guide to the Megalithic Revival (Chelsea Green, October, 1999).
Rob and Jaki hosted the first Continental Cordwood Conference at Earthwood Building School in 1994. The Collected Papers of the conference are still available from Earthwood. In August of 1999, Pompanuck Farm Institute hosted CoCoCo/99 and Rob was keynote speaker and, again, editor for the Collected Papers (CoCoCo/99 Collected Papers), available from Earthwood.
Jaki is a registered nurse and continues to instruct at Earthwood hands-on sessions while keeping the building school running smoothly from behind the scenes. She also sends out most of the books by mail order. See the Earthwood website at: www.cordwoodmasonry.com
Earthwood Building School
Rob and Jaki Roy have been operating Earthwood since 1980. Their school serves as a clearinghouse for all current resources about cordwood masonry: books, videos and classes. In 2000, they'll be conducting Cordwood Masonry workshops in West Columbia, Texas (May 19-21) and Steuben, Wisconsin (June 20-22 and June 24 & 25), as well as at their cordwood campus in West Chazy, New York (May 27 & 28, July 17-21, and September 2 & 3). They're doing Underground Housing workshops at Earthwood on May 29 and September 4. For complete information, go to the Earthwood Website.
The Earthwood website does not list all of the 40+ titles which the Roy's have on their current book list. For a "one-shot" copy of their current list -- and a workshop brochure -- send a dollar to cover costs to Earthwood, 366 Murtagh Hill Road, West Chazy, NY 12992. Or order anything from their website, and they enclose the current information along with your order.
Editor's Note: I've attended Rob and Jaki's workshop and I suggest that anyone that would like to get hands-on experience should attend. Besides the hands-on experience that I received, Rob's cordwood lectures are extremely detailed and include various slide presentations showing the various forms of cordwood architecture. It was during Rob's presentation that I learned of Hutchnden House built by Bunny and Bear Fraser. Our house is modeled after their home in Coe Hill, Ontario.