Exploring cob

At pointReturn I attempted two types of foundations. For the fully, heavily roofed kitchen I got a stone and cement foundation built, its stem wall extending above the rain water line -about a foot and a half. For the less rigorous bath space I have attempted a totally cement free ‘laid’ stone foundation. The foundation protects the foot of the building from damp. The walls are protected by extended eaves that act as a hat. You can see photos of these in a slideshow. [see box]

At this point, when the basics of cob have been explained, it is advisable the reader views the slideshow at this link. The pictures were taken over the four month period the kitchen took to build.The photos are elaborately captioned and tell the story well.

Windows were picked from a lot I had stashed away at my house at Muttukkadu. For the roof, I had salvaged over 10,000 traditional burnt clay tiles that people were discarding for concrete roofs. I sourced 7′ long granite posts from a local stone mason. These are set 2′ into the ground and take most of the load.

Building the walls is quite straightforward. On the day of the build, you spread the straw reinforcement and trampled and turned the soil. Lumps of this earth is blended into the rising wall. A short stubby stick is used to key in the fresh cob with the old. A rough verticality is maintained. The wall is seldom narrower than 18″. A bit more in fact, so that there is enough to shave off at the finishing stage.

3 thoughts on “Exploring cob

  1. Nice blog ! Currently I am building a house in my native village . Completed upto the basement level with stone masonry. Decided to continue with cob for super structure. The one mistake I have done is I have made a 7′ high door frame. And I have the design of having an open space in the middle of the house similar to the old “Agraharam” house and so I Have to raise the centre to 10′ and the walls are going to be around 8′. I have very little space left out in the outside ,so having longer eaves is not possible.

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