Chelsea Green Publishing

Independent Builder

Pages:528 pages
Book Art:Black and white photos and line drawings throughout
Size: 7.5 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9780930031855
Pub. Date October 01, 1996

Independent Builder

Designing & Building a House Your Own Way, 2nd Edition

Building & Energy

Availability: In Stock


Available Date:
October 01, 1996


This is a comprehensive manual of design and building methods for owner-builders as well as professional builders and their clients. In addition to presenting specific building techniques, the book explains the design principles and planning processes that underlie all good building, so that readers can develop their own exceptional designs, independently.

Independent Builder develops subjects not covered thoroughly in other books, but critical to success:

  • Designing small houses that seem big
  • Understanding innovation
  • Estimating and controlling costs
  • Incorporating ergonomics and accessibility
  • Doing drawings and scale models
  • Making contracts that work


"I am planning to build an owner-built house next summer, and have read upwards of 50 books on the subject. The Independent Builder is by far the best. It shared wisdom in addition to information."--Mark Harrison of Jaffrey, New Hampshire

"Clark takes a pragmatic approach, combining the best new technologies with more traditional, time-tested methods (the main criteria being whether the construction is cost-effective and can stand the test of time). This tome is chock-full of information [for] even the most ardent do-it-yourselfer."--Library Journal

"Cream of the crop of building books."--Tim Rinehart, Woodcrafters Supply

"Most people contemplate at some point the question of what makes a great place to live. This book will give you the conceptual tools to understand why some houses are merely buildings, while others are really 'homes' -- comfortable, convivial, stimulating to the mind and senses. Like Eliot Coleman, Sam is more interested in ideas than in trendy (often costly) products. An excellent overall design is always a more durable and flexible solution than any particular choice of component. Surprisingly, it's not as hard as most people think to build a house. I say that as someone who has been part of an owner-builder project, from start to finish, and who found Sam's logical and artful book a crucial companion. From drafting layouts to finishing window trim, with this book in hand you can build a house. You can also run a contracting business using Sam's collaborative models. What a pleasure, an editor, to have been involved in producing a book that has given me so much help as a homesteader."--Jim Schley


Sam Clark

Sam Clark is a builder who has worked with owner-builders since the late 1960's. His book Designing and Building Your Own House Your Own Way helped thousands of people manage their building projects. He is also the author of The Motion-Minded Kitchen, and co-author (with Margaret Wylde and Adrian Baron-Robbins) of Building For a Lifetime. Sam works with Iron Bridge Woodworkers and with The Buildings Group (accessible design and facilities planning), both based in Plainfield, Vermont. He also has his own design company


Sam Clark Design Website


Sam Clark: First Steps to Building Your Own Home

Building Your Own Affordable and Energy-Efficient Home: The Kitchen

Building Your Own Affordable and Energy-Efficient Home: Episode 1

Building Your Own Affordable and Energy-Efficient Home: Overview

Sam Clark: Saving Costs When Building Your Own Home


The Log Book

The Log Book

By Will Rolls

Using a wood-burning stove effectively is both an art and a science. In this friendly, comprehensive guide, chartered forester and woodfuel expert Will Rolls talks the reader through the theory and practice of getting the best results from their stove. From finding the fuel and seasoning it to lighting the stove and operating it cleanly, this book describes the best techniques for looking after your log stove.

The Log Book covers log suppliers, avoiding too much smoke and ash, checking fuel quality, and picking the best wood for your fire. This second edition includes:

  • Flu temperature gauges;
  • Tips on cleaning the glass
  • How atmospheric conditions can affect draft, especially when lighting
  • Why a cold stove is harder to light
  • Heat fans
  • Why some stoves require leaving the door ajar when first lighting
  • Stacking logs next to stoves

Advice for single-vent burners

Available in: Paperback

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The Log Book

Will Rolls

Paperback $12.95

The Slate Roof Bible

The Slate Roof Bible

By Joseph C. Jenkins

Joseph Jenkins climbed on his first slate roof in 1968, authored the first edition of The Slate Roof Bible in 1997, and published the second edition in 2003. Both editions received national awards. Now, a dozen years later, Jenkins is still very active in the slate roofing industry. The third edition of the book reflects more than a decade of additional experience being passed on to the reader by the man who is arguably the foremost expert on slate roofs in the United States today.

The third edition, hardbound, completely updates and expands the material in the second edition, with more emphasis on the craft of slate roof installation. Expanded sections include slate siding, eyebrow dormers, turrets, soldering, flashings, international slate, American slate history, slating styles, installation and repair tips, and trade secrets. Dozens of new color photographs have been added, as well as step-by-step illustrations and line drawings.

This book is sure to become a classic. It belongs on the shelf of every architect, roofer, slate roof owner, architectural consultant, history buff, and anyone in the roofing industry.

Available in: Hardcover

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The Slate Roof Bible

Joseph C. Jenkins

Hardcover $49.00

The Natural Building Companion

The Natural Building Companion

By Jacob Deva Racusin and Ace McArleton

Natural buildings not only bring satisfaction to their makers and joy to their occupants, they also leave the gentlest footprint on the environment. In this complete reference to natural building philosophy, design, and technique, Jacob Deva Racusin and Ace McArleton walk builders through planning and construction, offering step-by-step instructions on:

  • siting and site analysis
  • choosing materials
  • integrating basic structural considerations into a design
  • strategies for heating/cooling efficiency and moisture management
  • planning for acoustics
  • developing an integrative design
  • navigating budgeting, code compliance, and project management
  • creating the foundation, wall system, roof, and floors
  • selecting and making plasters and paints
  • evaluating options for mechanical and utility systems
  • protecting against fire and insects
  • integrating structures within landscape, climate, and human communities

...and more

Applicable to building in climates that are cold and wet, hot and dry, or somewhere in-between, The Natural Building Companion provides the tools necessary to understand basic principles of building science, including structural and thermal engineering, and hydrodynamics. This guide offers thorough, up-to-date, and advanced installation details and performance characteristics of straw-bale, straw-clay, woodchip-clay, and cellulose wall systems, as well as earthen and stone wall systems and a variety of framing, roofing, flooring, mechanical system, and finishing options. This fully-illustrated volume informs professionals making the transition from conventional building, homeowners embarking on their own construction, or green builders who want comprehensive guidance on natural-building options. A State-of-the-Art Resource for Natural Builders The Natural Building Companion is a part of The Yestermorrow Design/Build Library and includes an instructional DVD.

Available in: Paperback, eBook

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The Natural Building Companion

Jacob Deva Racusin, Ace McArleton

Paperback $59.95

Energy: Use Less-Save More

Energy: Use Less-Save More

By Jon Clift and Amanda Cuthbert

100 energy saving tips for everything in your home or business!

Did you know . . .

  • Heating and cooling account for about 56% of the energy use in a typical home
  • Energy-efficient light bulbs last about 12 times longer than ordinary bulbs, and consume about 1/5 of the energy
  • If we all turned off our TVs and other gadgets that are kept on stand-by, we could shut down a couple of power stations in the United States, with huge reductions in CO2 emissions
  • Our energy use is projected to increase 17% from 1995-2015
  • Our homes produce even more CO2 emissions than our cars

This book gives you 100 energy-saving tips for the home—from simple things like switching off unnecessary lights and having a shower instead of a bath, to more drastic measures such as installing a condensing boiler. If each one of us acts on just a few of these suggestions, we can save money—and help slow down climate change.



Available in: eBook

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Energy: Use Less-Save More

Amanda Cuthbert, Jon Clift

eBook $7.95