The New Tiny Cob Woodshed Project

by ziggy on August 17, 2010 -- 3 comments -- Follow


Tiny dry-stacked woodshed foundation

As if there wasn’t enough to do this year (between house changes and a mud room addition, and building a temporary kitchen and of course the full four seasons kitchen, and a whole mess of other stuff), April and I have decided to build a small cob woodshed. Cob woodshed? Isn’t that overkill? Well, sure… but with all of that extra cob we have lying around from the bed demolition, it’s the perfect use for it!

I’m actually pretty excited about this building. It’s cob building on a very small scale — what’s not to love? Everything is downsized – the foundation, the wall thickness, the beefiness of wood needed for a roof – it’s kinda like building a playhouse. I’ve been fantasizing about building some small cob structures since visiting Cob Cottage Company last fall. This is the perfect opportunity.

Cob woodshed design

The woodshed (which will actually be more of a woodshed/storage shed) is small, with a footprint of something like 8’x7′ (but with rounded corners and a rounded front, of course). It will have a roughly average sized doorway with perhaps a window or two at the most, and with high and low ventilation built into the walls to keep air moving around inside to prevent mold growth. I’ll use leftover EPDM liner from the house construction to make a small living roof for the structure, but this time I’ll be more careful to design in some rainwater catchment. I typically dislike shed roofs, but that’s what I’m thinking for this woodshed — it doesn’t make sense to do anything more complicated than that.

The exterior will have some shallow shelves built in on one side for storage and hooks hanging from the rafters for hanging tools and garden veggies for curing.

The interior will have two complete sides done up in deep shelves (26″ deep – big enough to slide in two square milk crates). We’ll store our wood in these crates. (With such a tiny house and tiny woodstove, we don’t need huge amounts of wood storage space.) The third wall will have some kind of shelving for storage… of some kind. I don’t know what yet. Perhaps beekeeping equipment, perhaps buckets… we’ll decide that later. Ideally, the roof will have some hooks for hanging various items as well.

Off the front of the building will be a small porch roof, perhaps shingled, or maybe something like a trellis with grapes growing overhead. This will serve as a laundry shade for handwashing clothes in the summer. We’ve got a great double wash basin and ringer, but what we’re missing is a good place to set it up in the shade. This should be just the spot.

So really, the woodshed is more of a multi-purpose building. It’s nice to think about being as functional as possible while really stacking the design functions in there, too.

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  • I’m especially interested in this project as I will be building a similar sized cob out-building this fall to house goats. I plan an 8’x8′ structure with rounded corners and about 6′ tall. I haven’t decided what type of roof to add yet. This will be my first cob building, so I’m curious as to how thick the walls need to be for this sized structure. From your pic it looks like they are about a foot. Any tips you can offer would be greatly appreciated. And good luck with your project too, I’ve really been enjoying your posts!

  • Yep, the walls are a foot or less thick. They really don’t need to be very thick (I want to taper the walls as they go up to be about 6″ wide at the top). Since it’s not meant to be heated or lived in or anything, it doesn’t need much in way of wall thickness.

    For a goat structure I know you don’t need much beyond protection from the wind and drafts. (Where are you located, by the way?) I would do something really simple… cob is definitely overkill for an ordinary goat barn (as it is for this woodshed, hah), but things to consider are: are you going to store feed or equipment in there? What kind of floor will it have? Does it need to be ventilated? Mostly importantly, it needs to protect the goats from a draft, which I imagine it would quite easy, heh. Shade is good, too.

  • I agree that cob is overkill for the goats, but I thought it would be a great first cob building to practice on since mistakes won’t matter as much as with a livable structure. I live in central Illinois only a few hours from your location, just outside of Dorsey, IL.

    Goats are excellent climbers, so I hadn’t planned on adding any internal storage, there are already enough outbuildings for storing feed. I plan to leave the floor as tamped dirt since the goats don’t require more than that and it is relatively easy to clean. The door will be open most of the time, so ventilation shouldn’t be a problem. The building basically needs to protect the goats from the rain, cold, and predators (we have a lot of coyotes and bobcats). I know an 8’x8′ building isn’t very big, but it’ll hold a small herd of goats without being too big of a starting project.

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