Continental Cordwood Conference 2011 Summary
University of Manitoba
June 11-12, 2011
Winnipeg & Cordwood (a match made on the prairie)
This was the first sight we encountered as we crossed the border into Manitoba. Hundreds of wind turbines turning in the 70 mph "breeze."
The Conference started with a three day cordwood workshop from June 8-10 at the Alternative Village at U of M. The Alternative Village was founded by the engineering department to establish a vehicle for research on renewable energy and alternative building materials.
A building framework was erected by the engineering graduate students. It was approximately 12' x 16' but because it contains many purposely engineered, whimsical irregular angles that is certainly not the actual square footage.
The workshop crew.
Dr. Kris Dick, Cliff Shockey and Richard & Becky Flatau served as instructors. 17 students came from the graduate engineering program and from around the world: Sweden, Iran, Honduras and from many parts of Canada. We called one group the Fab Five (Olle that is slang for The Fabulous Five) who bonded and worked closely with one another to offer support and inspiration. One gentleman changed his whole building design during the workshop.
Tuck pointing with a smile.
The building (which will be used as an Entrance Kiosk to the Alternative Village) is to be a model of research for cordwood. The strategy was to build and demonstrate as many different cordwood styles, mortars and types of wall as possible.
• Hemp hurds (the waste produce of industrial hemp)
• Traditional sawdust mortar & sawdust insulation
• Cellulose mortar & cellulose insulation
• Double wall with hemp hurd mortar
• Cob and cordwood on the west section
Bottle ends were placed in the walls, along with stones, dimensional lumber and a metal bottle-end with the initials of each participant hand-stamped. Three days of building, discussion and conversation produced a cohesive team that enjoyed working and learning together.
A metal bottle end, given and stamped by Randy.
The Cordwood Conference was coupled with the engineering department's annual Design Day Conference and in keeping with that tradition, the Saturday portion of the conference was an amalgamation of topics: strawbale, hempcrete, recycling, green roof, green energy and cordwood. Each registrant had an opportunity to sample three of the six formats. We then moved to the Alternative Village to see first hand the research that was taking place. Cordwood demonstrations were conducted with double wall and single wall mortars. We were also able to see the original U of M stackwall building from the mid-70's.
Using the strawbale building for power points.
On Saturday evening one of the grad students (Moe) brought his band, AfterParty, to the atrium at the engineering building to play for the group while we ate from the whole hog that had been roasted for the event. A silent auction followed and one of the items was a 35 year old log end from the first Stackwall building on campus. One of Jack Henstridge's books was offered as well along with many other fine items.
On Sunday we got down to the business of cordwood presentations from the Cordwood Conference Papers 2011. There was a video on slipforming with doublewall cordwood, presentations on cordwood in Sweden, special effects, Paper Enhanced Mortar, double wall + balewall, community constructed cordwood, a cordwood cottage garden shed, engineering perspectives, and lessons learned. A special power point tribute was shown about the life of Jack Henstridge (the Godfather of Cordwood), in whose memory the conference was held.
The presentations were portions of the 130 page Cordwood Conference Papers 2011 which were given to each conference attendee. The Papers are the latest information in the ever evolving field of cordwood.
All things that have a beginning, have an ending, and the ending to this Conference was very magical, because we were able to visit two cordwood/stackwall + balewall homes. Since we personally could only visit one home, we went to Clint and Cindy Cannon's double wall and balewall hybrid home. It was absolutely gorgeous. It brought the conference to a most harmonious conclusion since we journeyed during the five days, metaphorically, from cordwood construction theory, to hands-on building practice, to discussion/debate/analysis of the various wall & mortar types; we witnessed impressive cordwood power point presentations and finally we arrived at the gestalt of being able to see the whole process in a beautifully constructed cordwood home.
In my humble opinion the marriage of double wall with balewall makes perfect sense on the cold, windy Canadian prairie. The conference was enlightening, engaging, exciting and well worth the expenditure of time and effort. I liken it to a positive camp experience where the friends made are forever in one's heart.
Clint Cannon & Cliff Shockey.
Becky receives a Master Roofer award from the Green Roofers.
Richard Flatau & Cliff Shockey + log ends.
Dr Kris (burgundy shirt) leads the way.
The Fab Five!
Hope you enjoyed the summary. There is lots more to tell.
Cordwood Conference Papers and info