Cob Studio

A Modern Day Stoning

Jul
21

Although the sun had long past it's zenith in the sky, it's heat was still emanating strongly from the stones strewn out upon the ground. Where once stood a luscious forest of green pine trees and all the bushes and shrubs of the northern wilderness, now lies a barren wasteland of sand and stone. Not a single creature treads upon this part of the earth. Not even the birds dare fly above it. The weeds and shrubs which mark it's borders are cursed to look upon this wasteland every day.

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Rubble Foundation Complete!

Jul
18

3 weeks, and 13.5 cubic yards later, we finally put in the last bit of stone for our rubble trench. By the Gods am I glad that's over! I went into it with high hopes of getting it done quickly. I built up a machine-like mentality figuring it's a no-brainer type of work. Fill buckets with stone, pour into trench, tamp and repeat. Unfortunately it didn't go that way.

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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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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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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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Drywell install

Jul
04

So far, throughout the construction I approached each job with a 'this is going to be tough' attitude. And then it ends up being not so bad at all. The drywell tube installation was no exception.

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Herculean feat

Jul
04

Finally done with all the digging! By the Gods am I happy that's over!

This past weekend we finally finished all the digging for the Sioux Studio foundation and dry well...one shovel at a time. The foundation was roughly 42 linear feet, 20" wide and 5' deep, and the dry well was 34" diameter at 7' deep. All dug by hand. Now there's a way to work off all that fat you stored up during winter.

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The Sioux Cob Studio

Jul
01

Time to get down to the nitty-gritty and get some good experience in building with cob.

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