In a recent post for The Grow Network, I talk about my cob-building experience.
I share my mistakes and successes, plus remind everyone that:
1. Cob is Easy
It really is. Cob is a forgiving medium. All I did was dig up some clay-rich dirt and add grass cut down by a farmer across the road, then mash it together well with my feet and start building. When the stove dried there were some cracks but it wasn’t anything that we couldn’t fix with an additional slip of clay – and the stove is strong and not effected by the surface fractures.
2. Design is Important
You can’t reinvent the wheel or sacrifice good design to aesthetics. I liked the way the stove looked when I first built it… but physics disagreed with me. Once the chimney was raised it became a much better stove. I knew I shouldn’t make it so shallow but I got lazy in my desire for coffee and didn’t push through. The difference after my children worked on the stove is startling. It’s WAY better now.
3. Cob is Fun for the Whole Family
Playing in the mud with your children is a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. My children also learned enough from the experience that they went on to improve what we’d created. When they told me they were doing a re-build, I said “go for it!” though I doubted their ability to do a good job. They showed me up, though and I’m proud of them. I’m tempted to build a full oven out of cob now. Heck, maybe I’ll build a new office from cob! That would be awesome.
I enjoy writing for The Grow Network. It’s a different audience and Marjory Wildcraft is a lot of fun.
One of these days I’m going to build a real earth oven instead of just a little rocket stove. There’s a great book on the topic which I review here.
It will happen – just gotta get a new homestead.