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Roger Brown

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since Mar 06, 2012
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NW Arkansas
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Recent posts by Roger Brown

I have read The Handsculpted House. But never heard of the The Cobbers Companion. But i think i know who Michael Smith is. I am sure it is good as well. I just wonder about whether the utilities would put power on a pole if i want to live in a small motor home while I work on the house. And then just let me hook up from there and never appear again!
9 years ago
cob
I hope you are right John.

And, I will call the county inspector and ask. Just wondering about other's experience, good or bad.
9 years ago
cob
Try this, excellent resource and guide and springboard into other research!



Ianto Evans
9 years ago
cob
I too live in NWA, in Newton County. We have lots of clay and lots of rocks. But, what I have noticed is that there are in fact, veins of clay, like the other poster said. So, I think it depends on your land. It might be worth trying to find out some more detail on the geology of your land and area. There may be some clay beneath you that you must dig a little bit to get to. Furthermore, I drive past a construction site every day where they have scraped the ground of some great orange clay and piled it up so they could level the land and build a store. I am curious what they will do with this huge mound of clay soil. Would they sell it to me? Or better yet, deliver it to my property to get rid of it? Just ideas.

I don't think the sifting is a problem because you don't have to get the clay entirely free of rocks. If fact, from asking this question and researching, I think that some rocks are acceptable as well as the river sand or river gravel we have around here. I made test cob bricks that held up great using 1/4 inch and less river gravel/sand. And, there are methods for getting out the large rocks. For instance, scooping a load of rocks and clay and moving them to a hillside and dumping on the ground. Then as you move the soil around, the rocks should tumble downhill on their own due to gravity. I have seen this before. Again, just thoughts.
9 years ago
cob
I am going to build a cob home within the next couple of years. Not sure where yet. Maybe Arkansas.
But, I am concerned about putting the work into it and then having a problem with the building inspector.
Now, where I live right now in Arkansas, it is very rural and I likely would not have a problem because
nobody might ever come out to inspect. But, the last thing I want to happen is bureaucratic problems
after the home is complete. So, my question is: What are others doing and where are they doing it? Does
anyone have any experience near populated areas and/or in rural areas dealing with the building codes?
Any success in changing the code to include cob? Using engineers to sign off on project? Any input, info
is appreciated.
9 years ago
cob
I have noticed that solar panels are dirt cheap right now. And, I also heard that the current administration is pushing to put stiff tariffs on imports of solar panels from overseas (China)
because of overseas companies basically "dumping" panels into the U.S. markets. Does anyone have opinions on whether it would be a good idea to purchase enough panels now to
serve a cob home I want to build in 1-2 years and store them until I need them? How do you calculate how many panels I would need anyway? Thanks for any input from those more
insightful about solar than I.
10 years ago
Hi, again. It's nice to see the response here. Drew I would like to see what you are doing with the tool shed sometime. I'm in Newton County, not too far. Have you started the build yet?

I was reading Ianto's book and they indicate that the random shape of river gravel, sand is the perfect thing for cob. So, I went down to the end of my drive where the creek runs and
gathered some gravel and screened it to 1/4 inch I think and got some of this great orange, almost pure clay along my driveway and made some cob. It turned out really well I think.
It is just a slab about 18"x6"x6" sitting on a large stone. Worked perfect. So, now I'm going to start to test different recipes. This one was about a third clay and I just sprinkled in straw
until it got hard to mix. It actually feels sandier, grittier than I expected. I am going to make a bench also. And, I need to find some cheap or free fire bricks to make a rocket mass heater
test unit. I will update again and hope to hear from any others in NWA area. It would be good to know people to pool resources.
10 years ago
cob
I live in NW Arkansas. Anyone who has been here knows there are rocks everywhere. But, we have this beautiful orange clay here that I am thinking would be great for cob building, which I intend to do. My first question is how many rocks in your mixture is acceptable? It is easy to get the large rocks out. But, what about the smaller (1 inch to 1/8th inch diameter) rocks? How small is small enough to leave in the mixture? Does it strengthen or weaken the mixture if you leave more rocks or gravel size pieces in the mixture? etc.....any comments?

Thanks!

10 years ago
cob