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after some research we think about 3 parts clay, 1 part mortar sand, 3/4 part horse poop screened thru window screen, some flour "solution". our question is should we or can we add about 1/2 part or so of finely chopped straw we chopped some in our vitamix and it looks pretty good. can i work it in w/ the trowel so it won't "stick" out, etc ? thanks for advice
 
pollinator
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
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Midchael Carman : Short answer, you are duplicating the work done by the horse ! There should be a next to the final layer of Structural cob with longer chopped straw
to increase the durability - the actual ability of that layer to 'take a punch' - protect the surface of the bench from heavy objects - like an armload of wood that 'gets
away from you'.

Then the finish layer can concentrate on being water tight ! My understanding is using a smooth walled glass bottle to burnish with- vis Ernie Wisner- gives you a very
smooth finish with a micro-pore size and that translates to a more water proof top.

I would not attempt a finish coat on the sides of a Cob thermal mass bench as I want a free exchange of moisture in and out of the Cob at those locations.

For the good of the Craft ! Big AL
 
michael carman
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thank you allen. we did the next to last coat with straw already. but i forgot to ask about a final final coat of white glue and water mixture half and half brushed over the surface. we read about that but wondered about its "breathability". maybe like you are saying to leave the sides alone ?
 
allen lumley
pollinator
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Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
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Michael Carman : Better minds than mine understand The whole finish coat thing, I just play around with it ! I like :

1) Ianto Evans' ''The Hand-Sculpted House'', Reads like an excellent text book that goes you the information and a positive attitude ! 4 stars

2)Michael Smiths' ''The Cobbers Companion'' Like the arrival of a knowledgeable friend who shows up for the length of the job 5 Stars !
. . . . . . 8< . . . . . Has the most clay slip splashed on it

3) Kiko Denzer's ''Dig your hands in the dirt'' this copy always disappears a soon as I think about a project - But is always around for casual reading !?
. . . . . . 8< . . . . . I always get ideas to try 'next time' 4 stars


The Cob Bench can be referred to as a Energy Bank or Battery for storing (heat) Energy, it is also useful as a source of coolth during the summer months

When the houses overhang shades it from the suns direct rays !

It is also handy in that when the humidity is high it absorbs many times more moisture than the air can hold, releasing it when the humidity is low !

It is possible to build your Thermal mass bench with a keystone shaped profile - this makes getting your feet underneath you- for better leverage to
hoist your self to a standing position ! These tapered side walls are candidates for a Layer of structural cob, a blowtorch to burn of the stray bits of straw
and minimalminimal manipulation to promote the Benches ability to '' Breath "

For the Good of The Craft ! Big AL
 
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I can't imagine trying to screen horse manure through a window screen will work very well. You'll end up removing most of the straw! And that's the opposite of what you want.
Now, I've not done this, so bear that in mind.
 
michael carman
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erik, yes it was hard to screen it and i think you are right. i'll either get some more poop and not screen it or maybe use the vitamix to make nice small "chopped" straw. what do you think is best??
 
Erik Weaver
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michael carman wrote:erik, yes it was hard to screen it and i think you are right. i'll either get some more poop and not screen it or maybe use the vitamix to make nice small "chopped" straw. what do you think is best??



I'd probably be inclined to just get more manure, since you have a source for that. Let the horses do the chopping (chomping!) for you!
 
michael carman
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well it's almost done today. this has been very hard work, but worth it. even my wife loves the stove. thanks erik, allen and everyone.
 
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