August 8, 2003
You Stack 17 Feet and What Do You Get?
You get a lot of cordwood! This was a first for this cordwood builder17 feet of continuous cordwood from floor to ceiling. It all started last week with the Oneida crew helping with the construction of the first floor wall. By the end of last week, the wall was up to about 8' and the rest of the wall (including the window) was completed by Wednesday of this week.
Now you might be asking yourself (as did I), how do you get an 8" wide cordwood wall to stay stable all the way up to the top of such a tall wall? For starters, the cordwood wall is tied into the cedar posts about every 18" or so with lag bolts. Then, for added support, a 2 x 10 board was attached to the horizontal beams in back of the inside cordwood wall. This board also has lag bolts that tie the board to the cordwood wall. Does this make sense? Here's a photograph of the wall with the board and lag bolts drawn in to make this clearer:
I'm quite confident that this will keep the wall secure and once the adjoining walls are completed, all the walls will be tied together.
As you can see by the above photograph, this is the second adobe window to be completed. Since this window is up on the second floor, I decided that the terra cotta tile wouldn't be necessary along the bottom. Therefore the window well is completely plastered on all four sides. As with all new walls, the final color of the wall will be a lot lighter in color, but it will be a good 6 weeks before the wall is completely dry.
The most time consuming part about building cordobe windows is installing the metal lath around the window frame. Since I've got another eleven windows to do, plus a few doors, I will more than likely invest in an air-nailer. I've done the first two with screws, but it's a lot of work and it's hard on my carpal tunnel. I figure it takes a good 200 screws or more to secure the metal lath to the frame. The key to getting one layer of mud to stick to the wall is having the metal lath secure so there is no movement in the lath whatsoever.
The first cordobe wall is drying out rather nicely. The adobe window is almost dry, while the cordwood wall is taking its sweet time. This is due to the 8"-thick mortar that runs the entire width of the wall. The whole wall will probably be dry in another 3 to 4 weeks. Here's a photograph of the window well, complete with the tile at the base:
Renewable Energy Fair
A quick reminder... This weekend is the Illinois Renewable Energy Fair in Oregon, Illinois. If you get a chance to swing by, I'll be giving a cordwood workshop on Sunday morning at 9:30 a.m. Here's a link to their website.
That's about it for this week. Next week, I'll be taking a week off from cordwooding and finishing up the tankless water heater installation. The propane tank was delivered on Wednesday and if all goes as planned, the system should be in operation in a week or two.
Wild Bergamot, also known as Eastern Beebalm is quite prevalent in SE Minnesota. It is used extensively by Native Americans for medicinal purposes. This particular plant in back of the house lives up to its name.