July 2011

Cob Testing (part 2)

Jul
15

The results for our cob test blocks are in, and we have a winner. As predicted when making the blocks, block #3 has the better mix.

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Versatile Clay

Jul
15

Clay is such a great construction material. And using it to make cob walls is not it's only use. So we have decided to use it in two other areas in our construction. Why not, right? I mean, we are trying to build this structure with natural and recycled materials. Materials that we might have access to on our own land.... when we get it. So let's put all that extra clay to good use, and see how far it will take us.

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Fun in the Sun!

Jul
11

So we got as far as we could with the rubble foundation, and are waiting for our next order of rock. With all the hard work we've done, this seemed like the perfect time to let loose. And yesterday was a perfect day to spend at the beach.

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Stoned on Cob

Jul
11

Ok, so we are getting close to finishing up the gravel foundation. When we hit grade level, we'll be ready to get working on the stone portion of the wall. The idea here is to keep the cob above grade level to minimize water exposure. Cob can get wet, but should never be allowed to get saturated. Generally, the cob should be started at about knee level. I suppose in dry parts of the world you can get away with starting it a bit lower. But I really like the look of the stone. It adds a nice contrast to a cob wall. There are a few different options of building this part of the wall.

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Tent Living

Jul
08

Tent living is not for everyone. Sometimes I don't think it's even for me. But as far as I'm concerned, it is our only option at the moment. Patricia's sister has offered us her basement, which during this past winter we did live in. Four solid walls, a roof and a nice cozy fireplace was just perfect. But eventually the weather warmed up enough to get started working outside.

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Sad Little Garden

Jul
07

The construction of the Sioux Studio has been taking up a lot of our time, and the vegetable garden is paying for it. It's producing, but not as prolific as it should be. It's hard for me to get out there to weed, water and get some general maintenance done. Not to mention keeping records of it's progress. On days when it's really hot, I usually stop work on the construction and get some things done with the garden. I was finally able to make a trellis for my bean plants the other day. Something they were desperately needing.

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French Drain

Jul
07

So what can I say about the french drain? There's not much to it. The foundation dug, I had to make sure the bottom was sloped so that water would drain into the dry well. A shower went through the area which helped locate the high spots. I cut them down and laid in the french drain. I cut a piece of french drain to connect the foundation to the drywell, and attached it all with a tee. Attaching the joints were a little tough, but with a bit of force they were in. Now it's time for the gravel.

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Cob testing

Jul
04

So we've done some testing for the correct mix for the clay and sand. And I think we've found a winner.

It's recommended not to use beach sand for cob. Why? Well, the only thing I could find on it was because of the salt and organic matter. Other than that, it seems to be ok to use. For our testing, we found a huge mound of sand off the side of the highway. I suppose it's beach sand, but it's from a fresh water lake. So I shouldn't have to worry about the salt. There were some bits of organic matter, but I simply just pulled them out.

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