Our Cob Recipe

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The ingredients:

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clay soil dug up from the site

Clay-rich Soil

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slaker

(soaked overnight, at least. Seen here in a tub under a plywood lid to keep mosquitoes out.)

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crushed sand

For a small batch, We use two buckets of sand. For wall-strength we use crushed sand,  so it holds together. For the plaster coat,  We will use beach sand for a nice polished look.

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straw

And straw.

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Plop the bucket of clay over the mound of sand, in a little crater you made with your foot. Kick the sand over the clay to “Corndog” it. (Watch the groin muscles! This can really hurt you the next day.) Then start stomping!

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The mix begins.

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Getting there…

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And cookie dough consistency is achieved!

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You know you’re there when it rolls up like a nice, smooth log (insert 4th-grade humor here).

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Sprinkle straw on the log and stomp it flat. Sprinkle more straw and roll and stomp until incorporated throughout. (It’s incorporated! Now It’s a Person, according to some…)

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Take a little break. Squish it onto the wall and stab it all over with a stick (Dibble) to “sew” layers together with the straw and leave a rough surface for future layers to key into.

Now, repeat 3,000 times or so. Voila! Cob haven!

First Batch of Cob

A cause for celebration! The first cob went on smoothly. After testing the clay around the property, we found the stuff dug out of the foundation was soft, light and a warm, Rosen color. By the driveway, where there was a bit of excavation, the clay was yellow, crumbly and hard on the feet. When the pile is gone, we’ll keep digging for a small pond. In the picture, it looks dark brown, but it will dry lighter. The final plaster layer will contain beach sand, too, so the final color will be close to a warm buff. We buried a little box of little treasures to mark the occasion.

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