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What else can you do with cob?  RSS feed

 
garden master
Posts: 1738
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
177
forest garden urban
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Own property in a city with already existing structures. Everyone who talks about cob seems to be discussing full on house builds. Are there smaller practical structures that it makes sense to use cob for? 

Not only is my mother gluten intolerant, but my sister and myself both have tomato allergies; so if an oven is suggested, it must be useful for more than pizza.  A wood fired bread oven, which only one person in the family is allergic to (and we have gluten free recipes) sounds cool. Now I have to go look up information to see how different that is from a pizza oven.  I've just reached the point this week where I've started trying to divert our family baker from cakes and brownies to less sugar based recipes.  Maybe the temptation of her own purpose built oven will help with that project... yes I just subjected everyone to my stream of consciousness brainstorming.

Anyone have any more creative ideas?
 
pollinator
Posts: 1896
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
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How are your fences? Even if you had to top the walls with stone, a cob wall could make for a nice opaque boundery.
 
Casie Becker
garden master
Posts: 1738
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
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forest garden urban
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I'm not sure about doing the whole yard in a cob fence. It's half an acre and right now we have a cooperative fence with the neighbors. However there are areas in the front where I would like a little more separation. My mind tends to take an idea and run with it. Looking at the recommendations of high foundation and wide eaves for houses, I can picture a low wall using regular garden blocks as the base to lift the cob a slight bit above the water that sheets across our yard in heavy rains, and the capping it with a wide flagstone to create a mixed material bench in the front between us and one neighbor.

I like this idea better than the bread oven (though that has now made it onto the long list of someday projects). We've just starting paying for art classes for my nieces who particularly likes working in clay. Maybe she could help us design some really cool shapes in the cob. We already have enough seating that our front yard is a defacto gathering site for friends, neighbors, and some organizations my mother is involved in. It would be nice to have some that I didn't have to move every time I mowed.

Expanding on that, my mother's garden in the back is raised beds. It would make her life a lot easier if she had benches built against the cinder block walls. I should probably start there. Now I have to go see what materials are readily accessible versus needing to bring it in.
 
Posts: 207
Location: Europe
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There are few things you cannot make of cob. (Bicycles, cars and air-planes come to mind.)

I have used Cob for:
- Plaster (after stripping the wall to the bricks)
- mortar for building brick walls
- water sealant (with linseed oil)
- finish (fine clay with pigments and either linseed oil or water glass applied a few times.)
- plants

You can make pizza without tomatoes! Nettle, onions, cheese and olive oil works for example.
 
Casie Becker
garden master
Posts: 1738
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
177
forest garden urban
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I actually like pizza made with pesto, but it's more of a production than using tomato sauce and that still leaves someone in the family who can't have the crust. The more items you replace to counter allergies, the less it feels like the original product. The nice thing though, is that when I started looking up bread oven designs, it's the same oven. Apparently with bread you just need to add moisture to the oven after heating and you leave the same oven dry when making pizza.
 
Posts: 430
Location: Bendigo , Australia
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I make Pizza with hommus, for the paste, potato based dough and other variations. Pesto of many forms are worth playing with
 
garden master
Posts: 4458
Location: Vilonia, Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
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chicken dog forest garden hugelkultur hunting purity
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Casie Becker wrote:Own property in a city with already existing structures. Everyone who talks about cob seems to be discussing full on house builds. Are there smaller practical structures that it makes sense to use cob for? 

Not only is my mother gluten intolerant, but my sister and myself both have tomato allergies; so if an oven is suggested, it must be useful for more than pizza.  A wood fired bread oven, which only one person in the family is allergic to (and we have gluten free recipes) sounds cool. Now I have to go look up information to see how different that is from a pizza oven.  I've just reached the point this week where I've started trying to divert our family baker from cakes and brownies to less sugar based recipes.  Maybe the temptation of her own purpose built oven will help with that project... yes I just subjected everyone to my stream of consciousness brainstorming.

Anyone have any more creative ideas?



A wood fired oven is built the same no matter what you are going to bake/ cook in it. Cob makes a great wood fired oven by the way.

Cob can be used for stay in place garden benches, garden entry gates/ arches, walls don't have to go all the way around an area, they can be used like screens would be used in a house, to separate say a contemplation area from the rest of the garden.

I've seen one garden that has a 6 foot wide by 7 foot tall cob feature with bottles used to make a focal window. (it was really sweet)
This same person had made "mushroom" seats in several areas of their garden, they had sealed these with linseed oil or tung oil, I can't remember which but the structures were 5 years old when I saw them.

Redhawk
 
Posts: 74
Location: San Diego, California
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There are many things good for building with cob!


Smaller buildings: Shed, workshop, outhouse.
Entertainment: Cob Fireplace, bench, RMH, kiln.

Animal structures: Doghouse, chicken coop, feed bin, tackroom. 

just make sure the cob is off the ground (stone/urbanite/concrete foundation) and is covered from rain exposure if you want ti to last more than a year or two.

 
pollinator
Posts: 207
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Cassie Becker wrote:

I've just reached the point this week where I've started trying to divert our family baker from cakes and brownies to less sugar based recipes.



I've adapted at least 6 muffin recipes to be baked in an 8x8" pan which makes them look more "cake like". I specifically look for recipes that call for a smaller percentage by volume of sugar vs other ingredients, and that have what I define as "redeeming features".  My fussier friends do complain about some of them being "not sweet enough," but most of them think they're wonderful. I coined the term "Muffin-Cakes" to give people a bit of a heads up that they weren't your typical desert (which I rarely eat as I don't tolerate high sugar concentrations.) If you're interested, I think I should start a separate thread and link you to it. Be warned they include things like pumpkin, whole wheat flour, home dried fruit like figs, and often dark chocolatate, but they still call for white or brown sugar - just as a lower ratio.

A combination rocket cob oven and bench on your front lawn to encourage neighbors to visit sounds like a great idea!  Accompany it with a tree guild for shade and to grow some of those ingredients you're going to bake with and you will surely not lack for company!
 
Casie Becker
garden master
Posts: 1738
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
177
forest garden urban
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We've got the tree guild in the front. I think I'm going to reserve all fire equipment for the back. We're still developing the trees back there but eventually that will become the main gathering space. It's the larger half of the lot and we're well on our way to getting trees established to give good shade. When that happens much of the portable seating will move back there.
 
Casie Becker
garden master
Posts: 1738
Location: Just northwest of Austin, TX
177
forest garden urban
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I promise, it will still be a community gathering space. We've got many of the neighborhood children trained to come in through the back and some of the adults to come in through the front with nothing more than a shout hello. Saves on trips to answer the front door.
 
pollinator
Posts: 198
Location: Stevensville, Montana; Zone 4b
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Artwork is a great use. I saw a picture of a cool Buddha made with cob and polished with tadelakt
 
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