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Painting Cloam

 
Ernie Schmidt
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Location: Olympia, Washington
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Cloam is a mixture of 1 part clay, 1 part cow manure and 1/2 part wood ash. It is used specifically to cover skep bee hives. I am hoping Cloam is similar enough to Cob for me to apply painting methods for Cob to Cloam. So the questions here are me asking how one would do it for Cob and that I would apply it to Cloam.
1. How does one waterproof Cob?
2. Is there a good primer to apply to Cob so that normal Latex paints will adhere to it?
Ernie
 
Ernie Schmidt
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Location: Olympia, Washington
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Well I'm embarrassed. After explaining to my wife about this post, she patiently explained to me that our extensive personal library has the book, Building With Cob . Upon which I briefly referred to the index showing me everything I needed to know, (and more) about my questions. So I figure I can answer my own questions here. However, feel free to offer any advice you might have on the matter. Oh yea, I did tell my wife how awesome she is.
 
Kris Johnson
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Location: Pahrump NV
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Ernie Schmidt wrote:Cloam is a mixture of 1 part clay, 1 part cow manure and 1/2 part wood ash.


What is it you're making/building with this mix? I'm guessing that your plan is to plaster this over the skep beehive? If that is the case I would let your prescribed measurements slake for a period of 7 days as this mix alone will probably have descent water sheding ability. It wont be "water proof" but it should serve its purpose of acting as a protective/insulative layer and will probably need periodic repair as I'm guessing that's what whoever invented this application traditionally did.

1. How does one waterproof Cob?


You really don't. You do things to keep water from ever touching it. Most plasters are sacrificial and will at some point will probably need repair. The closest I have ever come across to waterproofing ANY earthen construct is tadelakt.

2. Is there a good primer to apply to Cob so that normal Latex paints will adhere to it?
Ernie


NO! DO NOT APPLY LATEX TO ANY EARTHEN ANYTHING! It will surely spell disaster for your cloam plaster, plus I don't think it would be healthy for the bee colony?

Good luck! Let us know how it turns out!
 
Kris Johnson
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Location: Pahrump NV
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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beehive A lot of good info (if its correct) about various bee hives. The section on the woven basket skep gives me worry though, if one uses the skep for honey harvesting, the harvest sounds pretty detrimental to the bees

http://modernfarmer.com/2013/05/how-to-build-a-bee-skep/ Looks like a good traditional bee skep making tutorial. Traditionally it looks like the skeps were put under open sheds or house awnings or the such in order to keep water off the skep. Perhaps in your region (the PNW?) it would be better to build a covered area to put the bee skep under. However in more arid regions they made skeps out of unfired clay, fiber, dung mixtures.

Any how the look of the bee skep is really cool.
 
Kris Johnson
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Location: Pahrump NV
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Oh 2 other things!

The wiki page said this
As of 1998, most US states prohibited the use of skeps because they can not be inspected for disease and parasites
so....?

And can we get this post in the bee keeping section? Is there one? Lets make one!
 
Kris Johnson
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Yeah the bee keeping forum is a really good place for this thread.
 
Ernie Schmidt
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I am a beekeeper with my feet in a board range of beekeeping from keeping feral colonies to honey production. I build all my own equipment- Top Bars, Warres, Langstroths and experimental hives. I have been studying and researching skep keeping for years and have decided to attempt to run a few skep hives in my apiary.

I am considering running several skeps this spring and conducting scientific research and study, then publishing a paper on the project. I am doing this to fulfill one of the requirements for earning my Master Beekeeper Certification that I am currently working on. I am in the process of applying for a Scientific Waiver to research keeping bees in a skep.
I have already built my first one. The only reason I asked about painting on cob or cloam is my wife thought that painting pretty pictures on the skeps would be interesting. You are right, Kris, about letting the mixture set for awhile. That original recipe for skep cloam set up like a board on the hive.

I am a keeper that always has several bee projects going at once so any updates and announcements on this particular project maybe few and far between until all my “i’s” are dotted and my “t’s” are crossed. I promise to post any progress on Permies first.
 
Kris Johnson
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You are right about letting the mixture set for awhile. That original recipe for skep cloam set up like a board on the hive.


COOL!!!

Will you do any durability/water resistance testing to this plaster?

You sound very experienced in bee keeping, cant wait to hear more on the project!
 
Ernie Schmidt
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I am going to stay as true as I can to historical methods until I master them before tweaking anything. If all goes well some of my projects within the Skep project will be the possibility of developing frames. The Sun Hive design already has a form of a frame and I am aware of a keeper that was developing a square skep designed hive to hold frames.
I read a brief description, which, I think was talking of coating a dry cloamed skep with a lime/water solution to improve water resistance. Regardless of any "water proofing testing" of the skeps, I do plan on placing them in boles as they did in the old days. Where I deviate from history on that is my design is going to be more of a bee hut style set up. A very short version of those long wooden bee hut like structures in the 1979 video series- "Heather Skep Apiary".
 
I agree. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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