My Project

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My Project

Postby desertfae » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:03 pm

On the suggestion of Chiggerbit, I'm going to post my project here. I'd like to know if others have any project like this in mind, and if so, what your project consists of.

My project involves buying land (a minimum of 10 acres), partially wooded, to build a cob/straw bail house on.
For those of you that don't know what a cob house is, it's a mixture of clay, sand, and straw, just like adobe. The difference is, with adobe you use it after drying, kind of like bricks. Cob you use still wet. You take it, and smush it together to form a wall. Conventional housing standards don't apply to cob either, corners can be rounded, squiggly, or whatever. It depends on your creativity.

Image

Cob houses can be ugly & small:

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Or pretty & big:

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They can be gaudy & weird:

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Or intricate & artsy:

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In short, cob houses are all about creativity and what YOU like. You are only limited by your imagination.
There is much more to my project than this, but I thought that this would be a good start for now. I'll be posting more later on :)
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Postby chiggerbit » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:21 pm

This subject really interests me. I built my house near the road, due to me being on my own and not being mechanically-inclined, so needing to have the least amount of problems in getting out in the winter. But my favorite part of the property is the back half, which is beautiful. I've given thought to building a little shed or cabin back there, and would like to know more about this project of yours, desertfae. And welcome to the forum!
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Postby Maddy » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:38 pm

This is an awesome topic. I looked into those myself at one point, but don't have the money for land or anything else for that matter. It always intrigues me! I'd love to follow this and learn more.
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Postby Maddy » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:42 pm

Also straw-bale is fascinating and very similar.

Image

Image

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Postby LilyPatToo » Wed Dec 02, 2009 1:58 pm

What a wonderful thread! desertfae, I wish you all the luck in the world in your homebuilding project. You deserve a retreat after all you've been through in the past few years (and with the coming trial). I've found that there's something tremendously healing in building a Safe Place with your own hands. Years ago I tore down a rotting old garden shed in my backyard, taught myself rough carpentry from books and classes, and built a new 8'X12' shed to code. It was better than therapy!

Wish I could have made it of cob, seeing the photos above, but I went with lumber because I could haul it myself in small loads (I was in my 50's then).

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Postby desertfae » Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:26 pm

Maddy wrote:Also straw-bale is fascinating and very similar.


Image


This house you have here is strawbale and cob. Strawbale for insulation, and cob on the outside of the straw, which is exactly what I'll be doing. Because winters around here get cold I need good insulation.
The property I want to get will hopefully have lots of straw on it already where I can just bale it up and use it for both the strawbale and the cob mixture, making it free :)
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Postby Maddy » Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:42 pm

:D I am so jealous! That's exactly what I wanted to do! You go girl!
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Postby desertfae » Wed Dec 02, 2009 3:50 pm

chiggerbit wrote:This subject really interests me. I built my house near the road, due to me being on my own and not being mechanically-inclined, so needing to have the least amount of problems in getting out in the winter. But my favorite part of the property is the back half, which is beautiful. I've given thought to building a little shed or cabin back there, and would like to know more about this project of yours, desertfae. And welcome to the forum!


We are trying to decide if we want to make the cob the 'old school' way, or get a concrete mixer and mix it in there. The old school way is smushing it with your feet.. seems like it would be fun lol, but it seems like we'll get a lot more done faster with the mixer lol. Maybe we'll do both.
The easy way to learn this is to make an outside cob oven or something where you can play with it
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Postby desertfae » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:03 pm

Maddy wrote:This is an awesome topic. I looked into those myself at one point, but don't have the money for land or anything else for that matter. It always intrigues me! I'd love to follow this and learn more.


Hey Maddy, I'm not sure where "The Borderlands" is, but I'm good at finding cheap land.
As I wrote in another thread, this does not have to be an expensive project. Depending on the land you get, if you get it partially wooded, some lumber companies will come cut the trees and make the lumber for you if they get a percentage of the lumber for free. If you have straw growing on your land, you can use that free too. Where I live, the clay dirt is all around, making it free, and the sand is at the river, again free. My biggest expense will be wiring and plumbing.
We are going to go with well water (free), and solar (as money allows but will eventually be 100% solar (free), and my only bill when it's all said and done will be my cable bill lol.
Oh, and because we don't want to spend a fortune on a septic system being installed, we're getting these:
http://www.biolet.com/
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Postby desertfae » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:10 pm

desertfae wrote:Oh, and because we don't want to spend a fortune on a septic system being installed, we're getting these:
http://www.biolet.com/


Here's a video about these:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nTrYDxT8Pi4
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Postby desertfae » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:34 pm

Here are some neat ideas for cob building in this video. Look at how creative some of these are:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0KDp00n4fs

Dirty Jobs-building a cob house:

http://www.veoh.com/collection/s630345/ ... 43a8FZm3WT
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Postby desertfae » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:59 pm

Ok, this is cool:

Image

This is what's called a "truth window" to prove that there is straw inside the wall. If you look close at the first picture, you'll see the truth window in it:


Image
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Postby chiggerbit » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:39 pm

This stuff is waterproof, right? I mean, an Iowa monsson can't dissolve it?
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Postby desertfae » Wed Dec 02, 2009 7:48 pm

chiggerbit wrote:This stuff is waterproof, right? I mean, an Iowa monsson can't dissolve it?

Cob is extremely durable, but for rain/snow etc, you'll want to have a thin layer of something waterproof on the outside. Most people use a thin coat of plaster but as you see here, there are other things you can use as well.

Found Here: http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/QandA/cob/plastering.htm

Q: I am currently researching plaster and rendering materials for cob walls specific to heavy use, public spaces. The surfaces have to be strong enough for kids to climb on and durable enough to endure the spilling of hot beverages, food, etc...I have been hearing about Sodium Silicate, commonly known as waterglass, to seal for water, etc. Have you had any experience with waterglass? I also have questions about Casein for durability, and a good source of recipes.

A: Finding durable finishes for cob has been an ongoing quest. Kiko Denzer has had good results with waterglass to protect cob and earthen plasters from the weather. I have never tried it myself, and don't know what it does in terms of enhancing hardness. See Kiko's article in issue 14 of the CobWeb (available from Cob Cottage Co., 541-942-2005). I have had pretty good results with lime-sand plasters, although they can take quite a while to get fully hard. Another thing I've seen work great is a clay plaster with several coats of linseed oil applied afterwards. It is extremely hard and water-resistant, like an adobe floor. This is probably my best recommendation for your situation. Casein does increase the durability of soft earthen plasters and clay paints. I don't know how it would hold up to a lot of wear and tear and moisture. Good luck!
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Postby chiggerbit » Wed Dec 02, 2009 8:25 pm

I have been hearing about Sodium Silicate, commonly known as waterglass


Waterglass, waterglass, now where have I heard that before???? :lol:

(See our slaked lime thread--it's also used for fire prevention, apparently.)

http://www.rigorousintuition.ca/board/v ... hp?t=17376
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