Earthwood Books & Media


This page has Rob Roy’s books listed first, including works written and edited by Rob Roy, and CDs, and DVDs filmed at Earthwood Building School. After these items, we list other related books by other authors, on subjects of interest to anyone whose goals are to build their own green shelter using natural materials or to live gracefully on the land in a self-reliant manner.

Why order books and videos direct from Earthwood? 

1. Rob Roy’s books are signed by the author. Big deal. But see next item.
2. Roy’s Cordwood, Earth-Sheltered, and Timber Framing books are the textbooks for our workshops. If you purchase them from Earthwood – we know, because they are signed – and then decide to take a workshop, you get a full deduction of the book cost from your registration.
3. You help support small business instead of big business … so that we can stay in business!

To order books through the mail, please see instructions at the very bottom of this page.



Cordwood Building: A Comprehensive Guide to the State of the Art – Fully revised 2nd Edition (October 2016) …  by Rob Roy

Cordwood masonry walls are low-cost, easy to build, aesthetically pleasing, and score high environmental points for making use of low-impact materials. This fully revised edition of the most widely read book on cordwood construction presents the latest innovations and from four decades of cordwood building and research.

New chapters cover the full depth and breadth of cordwood construction, including load-bearing and non-load-bearing walls, integrating electrical wiring, innovations on corner designs, new mortar options such as lime putty and cob, insulation options, and bottle-end designs. There is detailed treatment of code compliance, efficient house shapes, and design considerations.

Richly illustrated and augmented with fresh case studies ranging from Hawaii and the Adirondacks to Tasmania and Michigan, Cordwood Building remains the most comprehensive book available on cordwood masonry construction methods. 264 pages plus 8-page color section.




This book is about homes that are larger than “tiny,” but smaller than the national average. It’s a logical step for Shelter Publications after our two books on tiny homes.

Compared to the average American home, small homes are less expensive, use less resources, are more efficient to heat and cool, and cheaper to maintain and repair.

These are (but for a few) between 400–1200 square feet of floor area — less than half the size of the typical new American home. (By way of comparison, homes in our book, Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter, averaged 200–300 sq. ft.) The homes here — some 65 of them — vary from unique and artistic to simple and low-cost. Some are plain, ordinary buildings that provide owners shelter at a reasonable cost — and some are inspiring examples of design, carpentry, craftsmanship, imagination, creativity, and homemaking. By Lloyd Kahn   232 pages    9” x 1 2” 


Flatau book image

Continental Cordwood Conference Collected Papers, 2015 … edited by Rob Roy and  Richard Flatau.  CoCoCo/15, held July 10-12, 2015 at Earthwood Building School and the surrounding area, was a great success, bringing enthusiasts from Sweden, Canada, Guatemala and all over the United States. This brand-new collection of 25 papers was shared and discussed by presenters and attendees.  A list of topics includes case studies of large and small cordwood buildings, lessons learned by several experienced cordwood builders, bullnose corners, the architect-designed 10,000 SF Arcus Center for Social Justice in Michigan, a 7000 SF school in Guatemala, cordwood in Sweden and Nicaragua, cordwood flooring and siding, wood-to-mortar ratio, special design features and Stackwall Corners: Pros and Cons.. This volume is highly recommended as the very latest on cordwood masonry evolution. 126 pages, almost all in color.   Price reduced to:


The Coincidental Traveler: Adventure Travel for Budget-Minded Grown-ups  The Coincidental Traveler: Adventure Travel for Budget-Minded Grown-ups (Revised and Expanded Edition for 2015) … By Rob and Jaki Roy. In their first co-authored book, Rob and Jaki share strategies and philosophies that have enabled them to create unique existential travel experiences all over the globe. Five guest writers, all experienced travelers – and grown-ups – contribute related ideas and fascinating travel experiences. Learn how to “Take Advantage of Yourself,” cultivate coincidences, safely expand your comfort zone, travel inexpensively, and meet people – travelers and locals alike – wherever you go. Although written for people in their 50’s and up, younger travelers can also benefit from The Coincidental Traveler, kind of like the Mortgage Free! of travel. 90 photos, 27 sidebars and a comprehensive resource list illustrate and expand upon the points. 192 pages.


 Earth Sheltered Houses Earth-Sheltered Houses: How to Build an Affordable Underground Home … by Rob Roy. This large book combines information that appeared in two of my earlier out-of-print books with a wealth of new material, including case studies and lots of new images. Everything you need to know about the earth-sheltering details and the earth roof for both the Log End Cave and Earthwood designs are in this single volume. The light-weight living roof appears for the first time. A Bibliography and comprehensive Sources list update earth-sheltering for the 21st century. This is the textbook for our Earthwood Techniques workshops. 256 pages plus 8-page color section.


The Sauna  The Sauna … by Rob Roy. I’ve added two chapters to this revision (Siting and Design and Building a Conventional Sauna), and, now, over 90% of the 160+ pictures are in color. (None in the former edition.) Here’s what Chelsea Green Publishers says about the new edition:
The Sauna, now revised and expanded, contains everything you ever wanted to know about the famous Finnish bath. Rob Roy shares his infectious enthusiasm for the sauna and provides a complete, detailed guide to sauna building, along with resources for equipment and supplies. The Sauna is replete with history, tradition, health benefits, and instructions for proper use and maintenance, as well as step-by-step instructions for building a variety of cordwood masonry saunas and, new to this edition, conventionally framed saunas. The beautiful color photographs will inspire you to create your own sauna haven.” 240 pages, 163 illustrations, most in color.


Stoneview: How to Build an Eco-Friendly Little Guesthouse   Stoneview: How to Build an Eco-Friendly Little Guesthouse … by Rob Roy. Stoneview is an octagonal cordwood masonry timber-framed guesthouse with a living roof, located at Earthwood. It cost $5000 to build, complete, about $16/SF for its 320 SF of area. Over 130 clear line drawings and step-by-step images detail all the information needed to build Stoneview from start to finish, and a full-color section shows off the beautiful design features of this charming “green” cabin. All design considerations are covered, as well as a thorough discussion of octagon geometry. Chapters are devoted to site prep, forming and pouring the slab, timber framing, the light-weight living roof, and the cordwood masonry walls. Instructions for the interior slate & concrete floor are included, as well as a basic plumbing system featuring Joe Jenkins’ “humanure” composting system. Stoneview concludes with a performance evaluation of the building and a complete costing analysis. You don’t need any of my other books to build Stoneview. And the building, which could also serve as a studio, office, or workshop, is appropriate for any climate. 244 pages, four in full color.


Timber Framing for the Rest of Us  Timber Framing for the Rest of Us … by Rob Roy. Many natural building methods rely upon the use of post and beam frame structures that are then in-filled with straw, cob, cordwood, or more conventional wall materials. But traditional timber framing employs the use of finely crafted joints and wooden pegs, requiring a high degree of craftsmanship and training, as well as much time and expense. However, there is another way …
This book describes the timber framing methods used by most contractors, farmers, and owner-builders, methods that use modern metal fasteners, special screws, and common sense building principles to accomplish the same goal in much less time. And while there are many good books on traditional timber framing, this is the first to describe in depth these more common fastening methods. The book tells how to build strong and beautiful structural frames from heavy timbers, including: crucial design and structural considerations; procuring timbers; foundations; roofs; infilling considerations and an illustrative description of the common fasteners. A detailed case study of a timber frame project from start to finish completes this practical guide, along with a useful appendix of span tables and a bibliography. Highly illustrated, this book enables ‘the rest of us’ to build a strong timber frame. 176 pages. Well illustrated.


 Continental Cordwood Conference Collected Papers, 2011 Continental Cordwood Conference Collected Papers, 2011 … edited by Rob Roy, Richard Flatau, Dr. Kris Dick and Alan Stankevitz. This new collection of 23 papers (3 by Rob Roy) covers everything new in cordwood since 2005, including insight and direction into best practices, energy efficiency and innovations in the field. The papers feature cordwood building in Sweden, Norway, Alaska, Manitoba, Ontario and the US. There are articles on double stackwall, balewall, foam insulation, special effects, engineering perspectives, cast quoins, slipform construction, improved mortar mixes, cordwood on the reservation, school buildings, cordwood special effects, sheds and chicken coops, and more. 129 pages, 212 color photos, 26 diagrams.


Cordwood and the Code: A Building Permit Guide   Cordwood and the Code: A Building Permit Guide … edited by Rob Roy, Richard Flatau, Alan Stankevitz and Dr. Kris Dick, PE. Here’s documentation for presenting a cordwood project to your building inspector. The questions code enforcement officer’s most frequently ask are answered in a professional manner. Topics include thermal monitoring (R-values) of a cordwood wall by Dr. Kris Dick, fire resistance of a cordwood wall, certified compression tests of cordwood mortar, cordwood in a seismic 3 zone, REScheck (energy) analysis, and a fine paper by Richard Flatau called Conversations with a Wisconsin Code Official. In fact, Wisconsin’s top code official has called this the best document of its kind that he has seen for any alternative building system. The 17-page Appendix includes a copy of Alan Stankevitz’s own successful building permit application. You can use the CD supplied with each book to download that application to your computer, and make changes for your own application. Share this document with your local building inspector. 54 pages.


The Complete Cordwood DVD with Rob and Jaki Roy   The Complete Cordwood DVD with Rob and Jaki Roy …  Our Cordwood Masonry Techniques VHS video was filmed at our workshops and serves as an excellent instructional video and refresher course for former cordwood students. Our Cordwood Homes VHS video was a tour of 8 cordwood homes around North America. With the switch to DVDs, these VHS videos are no longer available. However, this DVD combines all of the material of the original videos with lots of new footage, including the use of paper-enhanced mortar with Jim Juczak, the 16-sided post-and-beam frame (to build a round cordwood home under cover), and the use of cement retarders. An extensive captioned slideshow rounds out the DVD, showing examples of round, post-and-beam and stackwall buildings, as well as construction details and special features. This DVD runs well over 3 hours.


Stone Circles: A Modern Builder's Guide to the Megalithic Revival  Stone Circles: A Modern Builder’s Guide to the Megalithic Revival … by Rob Roy. Stone Circles tells of my life-long involvement with the great stones, including ancient and modern examples. Two chapters are devoted to circles we’ve built at Earthwood and at the Center for Symbolic Studies. Several chapters tell of stone circles built by the “Stone People” in the U.S., U.K., and Canada. There is a chapter on stone circle design, another on building small circles, and two chapters on building circles of large stones, by hand and with the aid of heavy equipment. Chapter 15 is a guide to about 30 modern stone circles around the globe, including the great Australian Standing Stones, featured on the cover. There is an extensive bibliography and source list. All told, this book runs almost 400 pages, with hundreds of illustrations, including 8 pages in color. Price reduced from publisher’s original $35: now


 Stone Circles: A Megalithic Workshop Stone Circles: A Megalithic Workshop with Rob Roy Indexed DVD version. During research for his Stone Circles book, Rob met circle builders on both sides of the pond. In August of 2000, Rob and his wife, Jaki, invited English stone builder, Ivan McBeth, to co-instruct a Megalithic Workshop. Sixteen participants attended, including five with previous stone circle experience. All aspects of building were covered during the four days, including design, sacred space-making, and construction with tools available 5000 years ago. Magic happened, both in the rational and transrational realms. Stone Circles: A Megalithic Workshop captures the spirit of those four days and clearly shows various techniques used to move stones in the one- to five-ton range. The climax of the video is the dramatic erection of “Welcome,” a megalith which greets guests to Earthwood. 60 minutes.


Stone Circles: A Megalithic Workshop  Stone Circles: A Megalithic Workshop with Rob Roy, VHS video version, Reduced to $9.

Same as DVD version above, but unindexed. See content description above.


 The Bicycle Powered Water System at Earthwood  The Bicycle Powered Water System at Earthwood … Rob Roy. For years, we’ve been asked for information about the bicycle-powered water system in use at Earthwood since 1982, so here it is. This paper has eight large 8.5” by 11” pages, one line diagram, 8 full color illustrations, and over 3000 words of explanatory text. $8 if ordered separately. Free with Tamara Dean’s The Human Powered Home book, listed in the next
section of books by other authors.


Cordwood Masonry Special Effects  Cordwood Masonry Special Effects CD We’re proud of this new Power Point CD. (You can play it on your computer whether you have Power Point or not.) The presentation has 106 color images of special design features, bottle-ends, cordwood textures and the like. A 5000-word commentary tells about the features and how to do them, including a section on various ways of making bottle-ends.  The image at left is just a sample.


Earthwood Step by Step  Earthwood Step by Step CD This CD, really a building manual, is a 110-page, 100-image, 7500-word Power Point. It can be shown on computers made since 1998 (including Windows 98, Second Edition) whether or not you have a Power Point program because a PP reader is included. You can view, project or print it. This CD will help anyone wanting to build an Earthwood-type home, one or two stories. It also covers the 16-sided post-and-beam frame. The CD should be used in combination with Rob’s book Earth Sheltered Houses and the Earthwood Plans (see below.) The image at left is a sample.


 Earthwood  Earthwood Plans These architect-stamped plans are $210 and include my book, Earth Sheltered Houses, (see description above) which details the step-by-step construction of the Earthwood home. The plans now include a 10-page packet about how to incorporate a 16-sided timber frame in the external walls. This additional material is not stamped by the architect, but should make your local code enforcement officer happy. The frame is easily incorporated into the plans, as many have done throughout North America. If Jaki and I were to build Earthwood again, we would build under the protective cover of a roof supported by a 16-sided frame. See also next item for adding the Step-by-Step CD for just $20 more.


Earthwood  Earthwood Plans with Earthwood Step by Step CD This package includes the plans described in the previous item (with the Earth Sheltered Houses book) and also the Earthwood Step by Step CD, described two items above this one. The CD, which can be viewed on a computer whether you have Power Point or not, is like a step-by-step manual for building the Earthwood House. This package saves you $20 over the items ordered separately.


 Other related Books

The items above are all of the Earthwood Books and media presently offered. Please have a look through the following list of books by other authors, some of which may be of additional interest or serve as related information to our material above. We offer three different books on human waste disposal, covering different kinds of situations.


The Woodland Homestead image

How to Make Your Land More Productive and Live More Self-Sufficiently in the Woods … Brett McLeodPut your wooded land to work! This comprehensive manual shows you how to use your woodlands to produce everything from wine and mushrooms to firewood and livestock feed. You’ll learn how to take stock of your woods; use axes, bow saws, chainsaws, and other key tools; create pasture and silvopasture for livestock; prune and coppice trees to make fuel, fodder, and furniture; build living fencing and shelters for animals; grow fruit trees and berries in a woodland orchard; make syrup from birch, walnut, or boxelder trees; and much more. Whether your property is entirely or only partly wooded, this is the guide you need to
 make the best use of it. 

Brett McLeod is an Associate Professor of Forestry and Natural Resources at Paul Smith’s College in upstate New York. Inspired by other creative farmers and foresters, McLeod’s 25-acre draft-horse–powered mountain homestead serves as a living laboratory for self-sufficiency. McLeod is also a professional lumberjack competitor and a former producer of the Stihl Ironjack Series and Stihl Timbersports Series. He coaches the Paul Smith’s Woodsmen’s team and founded the Adirondack Woodsmen’s School and the Adirondack Rural Skills and Homesteading Festival. He lives in Vermontville, New York. Pages: 240 Size: 8 x 10 Color: Two-color; Illustrations throughout.

$ 19.95

Cordwood Construction: Best Practices

Cordwood Construction: Best Practices … Richard Flatau.  True to its title, the author details “best practices” methods about cordwood masonry and its relationship to foundations, electrical considerations, energy codes and so much more. By themselves, two recent case studies (the Cordwood Education Center in Wisconsin and the Whole Earth Reservation Cordwood Home in Minnesota) are worth the price of this beautifully illustrated and meticulously documented work. 196 large 8.5″ by 11″ pages, including 259 color pictures and diagrams.


Tiny Homes on the Move

Tiny Homes on the Move … Lloyd Kahn. This new addition to our list is all about house trucks, campers, road rigs, handmade trailers, houseboats, sailboats, and other small mobile living options. 9″ by 12″, 224 pages, 1,100 photos.


 Homework: Handbuilt Shelter Homework: Handbuilt Shelter … Lloyd Kahn Imaginative ways to put a roof over your head. From yurts to caves to tree houses to tents, thatched houses, glass houses, nomadic homes and riverboats … each handbuilt dwelling is one with its environment, using natural materials. A hard book to put down, this one is sumptuously illustrated with 1000 (mostly) color photos and 300 drawings. Large 9” by 12” paperback. A favorite at our book store. 256 pages.


 Builders of the Pacific Coast Builders of the Pacific Coast … Lloyd Kahn.  This beautiful  book features more handcrafted homes – from California to Alaska – using indigenous and recycled materials. Lots of amazing saunas! Even an oval cordwood cabin with wood shingles. (And keep an eye peeled for various cordwood sidings and floors.) Sun Ray Kelley’s magical work is prominently featured, but the other 47 builders are amazing, too. 1200 color photos.
Large 9” by 12” paperback. 256 pages.


 The Human Powered Home The Human Powered Home … Tamara Dean.  At last, here’s a thorough book on all kinds of human-powered devices, most of them pedal powered: blender, grain mill, juicer, water pumping, washing machine, sewing machine, and more. Since 1982, Jaki and I have pumped all our water at Earthwood with a bicycle married to a piston pump. How we do it is described in a separate booklet (above in Earthwood section), free with The Human Powered Home. Large 8″ by 10″ paperback. Well illustrated. 272 pages.


 Tiny Homes Simple Shelter Tiny Homes: Simple Shelter … by Lloyd Kahn.  Scaling Back in the 21st Century. Inspiring new book about small houses, campers, road rigs, handmade trailers, houseboats, cob, straw bale, round timber, and much more. Beautifully illustrated in color throughout. Large 9″ by 12″ paperback, 214 pages.


 UndergroundHouse The $50 and Up Underground House Book … Mike Oehler. This underground classic describes the construction of basic but comfortable survival shelter at absolutely the lowest possible cost using Mike’s “PSP” (post-shoring-polythene) method. Information not found in other books is combined with Mike’s entertaining wit and philosophy.


 Power From the Sun Power From the Sun … Dan Chiras.  As usual, friend Dan, one of our favorite authors, has backed his considerable experience in making power with a prodigious amount of homework. The only book which covers the topics of planning and installing a complete photovoltaic home power system as thoroughly as Dan’s is the expensive ($60) textbook Photovoltaics from Solar Energy International. And Dan’s is much more readable, so the info is easier to absorb. And it’s more up-to-date. Covers types of PV panels, site assessment, off-the-grid versus grid-tie, inverters, batteries, charge controllers, trackers, the whole ball of wax. 256 pages.


 The Humanure Handbook: 3rd Edition The Humanure Handbook: 3rd Edition … Joseph Jenkins.  There are over 7 billion defecating people on this plane, but few who know how to constructively handle the burgeoning mountain of human crap. Joe’s book will amuse, educate and possibly offend you, but it will certainly pertain to you – unless, of course, your bowels never move. We’ve installed Joe’s wonderfully simple, economic and ecologically sound crapper at our Stoneview guest house. The 3rd Edition is revised, improved and updated, with clear building diagrams and photographs. 42 tables and charts, 55 drawings, 23 photos, glossary, index, and a few bad jokes. 6″ by 9″ paperback. 256 pages.


Septic Systems Owners Manual The Septic System Owner’s Manual … Lloyd Kahn, Blair Allen and Julie Jones. This book takes a middle ground between the radically simple Jenkins system (Humanure, above) and Alth’s more conventional approach, below. Lots of great illustrations and humor make this important material easy to absorb. Pages 112-115 alone, showing 20 different systems for different situations, is worth the book’s price. And fixing septic system failure is also covered. 8″ by 9″. 164 pages.


 Wells and Septic Systems, 2nd edition Wells and Septic Systems, 2nd edition… Max Alth (revised by S. Blackwell Duncan). Perhaps the first considerations of your home building project should be the water and waste disposal systems. This book will prepare you to make intelligent and code-approved decisions. Too often, owner-builders leave this planning too late or do not give it the careful attention which it must have. 7-1/4″ by 9-1/4″ paperback. 262 pages.


The Humanure Handbook: 3rd EditionThe Septic System Owner's ManualWells and Septic Systems, 2nd edition All three waste disposal books above for $68! Can’t decide which of the three books described above (and seen at left) to get? Buy all three books above for just $68 and you’ll really know your s***. And pay for shipping on just one book, for a total savings of $10. (Sorry, this offer is only good in the U.S., due to high shipping rates elsewhere.)


Ordering Books by Mail

Most people use our secure PayPal (or credit card) options on this page, but, if you want to mail us a check or money order, that’s okay, too. Just include with your check a list of the books or CDs that you want, with the cost amount for each, and add $4 for each item for Media Mail shipping, a maximum of $14. For Priority Mail, add an additional $5 to the entire order. For Canadian orders, first class postage (best) is now US$14 for one book, US$20 for two, US$26 for three. For all other countries: US$18 per item, US$26 for two, US$34 for three. Please make check out to Earthwood and send to:

366 Murtagh Hill Road
West Chazy, NY 12992.