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Building with cob on my little homestead  RSS feed

 
Posts: 27
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I need some advice please, My wife and I plan to move to south central Mo. and build a home.I'm thinking of setting charred posts in the ground four to six feet apart nailing slats or lathes on each side. Then I will cob over the lathes and fill the inside with saw dust mixed with lime and borax. Probably have a rock trench with short cement dirt and rock wall foundation. Top it with a log beam roof, 2x lumber decking and pond liner with wood chips on top. All logs will be rather large so not worried about the load factor. In South central Missouri so need the insulation. I'm next to 60 years old so need something a little easier and quicker than cob.  
Would this be a viable way to build or do you see any problems in my plans?
Thanks you so much.

Also anyone close by interested in helping I may also be able to help you on yours.
 
gardener
Posts: 1948
Location: latitude 47 N.W. montana zone 6A
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Hi William;

I'm not a cob builder or any kind of professional builder , but I would like to suggest a few things for your build.

Your charred posts ,   IF they are available anywhere nearby, use  BLACK LOCUST posts !(no charring needed on them) Your great great grandchildren will still be enjoying the home you build if you support it with locust anywhere it touches the earth.  Other logs are fine for walls or roof.
The addition of lime and borax, is it a stabilizer / critter determent   for the sawdust?   In the past sawdust has been know to settle over time , it also is a favorite spot for rodents / insects  to live in. The addition of  diamatetious  earth to your mix might help ??

Your roof sounds sturdy enough, be sure to use a huge overhang to keep water splashing or snow piling up on your cob.  Are you doing a sod roof ?  

As with any building Drainage drainage drainage !  Your locust posts won't care but the cob will not like getting its feet wet ... :)

Good luck with your build !
EDIT) Almost Forgot...I suggest that you learn about Rocket mass heaters as a way to heat your new home.  They work ! See the forum here at Permies for more info!
 
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Location: Western central Illinois
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William, it sounds like you are thinking along the lines of a cordwood construction method using cob instead. I don't see why it wouldn't work so long as you can keep it dry. Black Locust or Osage Orange (hedge) would be excellent choices of in ground. Cordwood could be another option for you if you want to move away from cob. Rob Roy has several books on the subject, like this one, that are worth getting your hands on if you are unfamiliar with the method. Cottonwood would be a typically discarded wood that makes for a good cordwood wall as well as elm.

Thomas, if mixed correctly the lime acts as a binder of sorts and pest repellent. I have several books on timber framing and cord wood construction and coarse saw dust treated with lime is used as an insulation and thermal bridge breaker on the mortar/cob around the cordwood.
 
garden master
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Location: SW Missouri
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I have been having problems since I moved to MO with everything getting moldy/musty. I have health issues that react to the mold/musty stuff. Not sure I'd want sawdust in the walls, seems like it would grow them.

Not sure what would make better insulation that is all natural. Hoping the natural builder types will chime in and give better advice than me! But the sawdust is iffy in my world, might be in yours too, I don't know.
 
William Egan
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  Thomas, Yes I was thinking black locust or hedge (Osage orange) if I could find one straight enough, Charring would make it last at least 200 years, Don't think mankind will be around that much longer personalty. Lime hopefully will set the saw dust more solid so it won't settle and maybe detour bugs and mice as well as the borax, it will also keep any fungus, hopefully. Diatomateous  earth would'nt hurt a thing either. I want the whole house to breath like a living thing to help with the musty moldy nasty's that Missouri's climate is so good for. I agree with drainage and of course a good hat and boots for cob.I also plan to build a batch box burner, you've probably know about them, sort of a bigger version of the rocket mass heater, I like being warm.
  Pearl, I hope this answers your question also, I think it will let the moister pass in and out through the walls as needed.What is your living situation? Right now I live in an earth home an I have mold and I think my health issues stem from that. I personally think we will be building with cob in Gods new earth, nothing will die not even trees.I might add that I've been on a keto diet and am feeling much better, My wife and I have each lost about 30 lbs.
  Caleb,  I have had Rob Roy's book The Complete Guide to Cord Wood Masonry  for a good 25 years, good book . My son want to build cord wood so I want to try something different.
   Thank you all for your comments. I think I've seen almost all the youtube video's on cob, cordwood, cobwood, rammed earth, rocket stoves strawbale, ferro cement, and just about any other alternative building method that its hard for me to find new stuff, lol.
   I wish everyone well and Happy Thanksgiving, don't eat to much and be truly thankful for what God has provided. God Bless.
 
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