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DayCreek Journal

August 2 , 2005

227 CoCoCo Nuts

The 2005 Continental Cordwood Conference

How often do you get to meet Richard Flatau, Jack Henstridge, Rob Roy, Cliff Shockey and Dr. Kris Dick all in one place? What an incredible event and opportunity! Words cannot express what a wonderful feeling it was to have so many people assembled under one roof to talk about cordwood/stackwall construction. And it could not have happened without the coordination and efforts of both Richard and Becky Flatau. The devotion of time and organization to pull off such an event is phenomenal and Richard and Becky deserve a ton of credit for all of their hard work. I'm sure they will be the first to tell you that they couldn't have done it alone and all of their family, friends and neighbors who helped deserve credit too. Thank you for such a wonderful event!

It was also such a thrill to meet all of the people who Jo and I have corresponded with over the years via the Internet. What a great group of people. I really do believe that there is some sort of synergy between all cordwood builders. We all have our own personalities of course, but a lot of commonalities too. Jack Henstridge's touching speech regarding the kinship between us all really helped to put things in perspective. With so many kind hearted souls devoted to the building of cordwood/stackwall homes, the future looks very bright indeed.

Pictured from left to right: Dr. Kris Dick, Jack Henstridge, Jaki Roy, Sandy Clidaras, Rob Roy and Richard Flatau

Saturday's conference was held at the Merrill High School Auditorium and what a great facility it was for the CoCoCo. The seating, stage and audio/visual systems were fantastic. There wasn't a bad seat in the house. The CoCoCo opened with a short movie: The New American Gothic—A new look at an old painting, followed by opening remarks by both Richard and Becky Flatau. The keynote address was given by Rob Roy and Dr. Kris Dick gave a detailed presentation on his new findings regarding the R-value of a cordwood wall. (His complete paper will be available in the CD version of the 2005 CoCoCo papers as well as the new booklet: Cordwood and the Code. These documents are now available for sale on right here.)

Following Dr. Kris Dick it was time to hear from Cliff and Sylvie. Cliff Shockey and Sylvie Francoeur gave an excellent presentation on how to use recycled products in and around your house—it truly is amazing what you can get for practically nothing and sometimes nothing. Their beautiful double-wall stackwall house in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan is a testament as to what you can do with recycled materials.

After Cliff and Sylvie it was time for smiling Jack. Jack Henstridge was instrumental back in the late 60's and early 70's for putting cordwood on the map with the help of the original Mother Earth News. (You can read his original articles from TMEN right here by going to the Cordicles section of The two things that I love most about Jack is his wit and common sense. Sometimes we tend to get bogged down in the technical aspects of building a cordwood house and Jack is always there to reel us back to the reality of how simple it really is to build a cordwood wall.

Joe Nagan sets us straight on building codes.

Richard Flatau showed us the art of making a wall look like a cordwood wall when you don't have the time or the space to put in full-length cordwood wall. The 3-D cordwood siding effect that the Gormley's did on their "Starwood" store is simply breathtaking.

Along with the featured speaker presentations was a slide show of different cordwood homes found throughout North America. What a treat to see so many varieties of homes. Cordwood homes are really just likes snow flakes—no two are alike.

The final presentation on Saturday was given by Joe Nagan. Joe is not a code official, but he works hand-in-hand with them in the state of Wisconsin. His presentation "Cordwood and the Code" brought to light the ever changing rules and regulations that must be followed in order to obtain building, plumbing, electrical and occupancy permits. It was a real eye opener to be sure. I was quite proud of the positive comments that Joe gave Richard and myself regarding our new booklet: Cordwood and The Code. Richard and I worked very hard to put together a document that we feel will help all of those faced with the task of obtaining a building permit for their cordwood/stackwall house.

Later that evening it was time for the social at the Sport's Club. It was great to spend time with so many friends talking about our favorite subject: cordwood. And best of all, there was a silent auction and I had a chance to bid on nothing other that another Caroma toilet for our upstairs bathroom. (What a steal at $150!) Besides the toilet there were plenty of items up for bid: a trip for two to the U.P. of Michigan, a hand-carved carrousel done by Wayne Higgins, hand-made baskets and many, many other great items.

Let's build some walls! Sunday morning we were muddin' mad dogs.

Sunday's events started out with various demonstrations of cordwood masonry techniques: Single wall by Jack Henstridge and Richard Flatau, Double wall by Cliff Shockey, PEM (Paper Enhanced Mortar) by James Juczak and myself) and Lime Mortar by Rob and Jaki Roy. It was sad that we had to knock down all the walls afterwards. Jim and I worked our tails off!

After the demonstrations it was back to the high school for focus group presentations: Bottle-Ends, Cordwood on a basement, Electrical and Cordwood, Timber framing, Radiant In-Floor Heating, Log Prep and Foam Insulation, Pole Sheds and Practice Buildings and Stackwall/Cordwood in Canada.

Rob Roy (left) and Jack Henstridge (right) take a break from the hot sun during the home tours.

Sunday ended with a tour of cordwood homes in the area and a lot of hugs and good-byes until we meet again.

All and all, it was quite an event and one I will never forget. I'd like to end by thanking everyone who attended. Words cannot describe the energy level found at the conference—it was the best!

To end this journal, I'd like to share with you the short animation that opened the conference and as requested, I have included links to download the funny commercials that were included throughout the presentations. They are quite LARGE, so you have been forewarned.

Click on the above image to see the movie. (Requires Flash media player.)


Commercial Description Size
I Am Canadian 5.1 MB
John West Salmon 1.4 MB
Antiboredom Campaign 2.8 MB
Herding Cats 10.3 MB
DeWalt Drill 1 MB