Cob work site pictures

by ziggy on April 24, 2008 -- 0 comments -- Follow

As I just mentioned, the digging and filling of the rubble trench is now completed.

Here’s a shot of the completed trench, pre-gravel. This photo was taken facing north. Take note of the drainage trench in the northwest corner. All of the topsoil is piled along the fence line on the east side.


Instead of simply piling all of the clay that was dug up from the trench in a big pile, I amassed as many five gallon buckets as I could to shovel the clay directly into them. In addition to buying a bunch (secondhand), I borrowed over 40 from other Dancing Rabbit members, making for a total of over 80 buckets full of clay. When it’s time to start cobbing, the clay will have to be slaked (soaked in water). So, putting the clay directly into these buckets has at least eliminated one step. (This won’t be enough clay for the whole building, though, so I’ll have to cart some from elsewhere in the village.)


The trench is about 18″ deep all around, and 18″ wide. No one has ever dug a trench this shallow before, so it’s a bit of an experiment to see if it’s truly necessary to go any deeper in this particular region. (Hopefully not. Generally, the ground does not freeze very deep here, I think.)


With the help of many hands, moving the gravel into the trench was no problem. We started with about an inch or two at the bottom, then laid down a 4″ perforated drain tile. On top of that tile, we piled more gravel up to about 2″ short of the top of the trench, tamping it at least twice during the process.

Oftentimes, I describe the shape of my cob house design to resemble a scotch tape dispenser. Here’s a view looking south to demonstrate that.


Next comes finding some urbanite, and building the foundation. I have at least one or two leads, but no guarantees on any actual material yet. Several of my inquiries into piles of urbanite have proved unfruitful thus far. Keeping my fingers crossed.

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  • mark

    how far did you dig the drain trench of the northwest corner? great photos!

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