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Building with Cob: A Step-by-step Guide (Sustainable Building)
 
 

Building with Cob: A Step-by-step Guide (Sustainable Building) [Kindle Edition]

Adam Weisman , Katy Bryce
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £25.00
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Review

In my work teaching natural building I often found myself using cookery metaphors. Clay plasters needs to be mixed to a consistency of cookie dough, clay slip needs to be like a runny yoghurt rather than milk, a good final cob should be like a loaf of bread... people relate to this much more than technical lists of mixes. It gives natural building a familiarity and a resonance that clicks with people, in the same way that Jamie Oliver on telly knocking a 2 minute chocolate mousse together does. The modern cook book is a very different thing from a Mrs Beaton first edition. Jamie Oliver, Nigella Lawson; the books produced by these celebrity chefs are awash with gorgeous pictures of delicious meals, groovy chefs at work, they make good food beautiful, everyday and relevant. Building with Cob is the latest addition to the cobbers library, and in many ways it has the feel of one of these cookbooks. The authors and the publisher are really to be congratulated on producing such a sumptuous book, lavishly illustrated with photos of cob that looks good enough to eat, and delicious curvy organic-looking houses. Cob has an indefinable quality that sets it apart as a building material. There is something about its monolithic undulating and gentle walls that touches people deeply. Having built a few cob structures, I feel deeply connected to this most ancient and yet most modern of building materials. I often tell apprentice cobbers on courses that they have a cobbing gene, and that once they become familiar with working with cob, they will find they know how to do it. It is instinctual. Adam Weisman and Katy Price travelled to Oregon in the US and trained in cob building with Linda Smiley and Ianto Evans of the Cob Cottage Company, authors, along with Michael G. Smith of the classic book The Hand Sculpted House . On their return to the UK they set about promoting the idea here, and through the company they set up, Cob in Cornwall, they have done just that. They have built a number of beautiful structures around the UK, some of which appear in this book. Like The Handsculpted House , this book is deeply passionate about cob and its potential, but it focuses less on the personal transformative qualities of working with it, and more on the practicalities of building with it. The book covers the history of earth building and the scale of its use around the world. They look at choosing a site, working out if you have suitable soils, and making mixes. Unlike the Handsculpted House which holds that the purest way of mixing cob is by foot on tarpaulins, this book takes a much more pragmatic approach. They take no strong position as to which is the best approach, although they do argue quite strongly that mixing cob in a cement mixer is a non starter (it tends to form balls and the straw doesn t get mixed in...). Every stage of the process is documented, from foundations through wall-raising to roofs, in a style that is easy to read, engaging and beautifully illustrated. They don t shy away from the fact that it is very hard work. Building with cob is an extremely rewarding and fun process. Make no bones about it, it is very physically demanding work, and you will be sure to sleep well at night after a day of cobbing. The best way to build with cob is with a team of people that you really enjoy being with, and who are not afraid to get dirty . --Rob Hopkins www.transitionculture.org

Product Description

Building with Cob shows how to apply this ancient technique in a wide variety of contemporary situations, covering everything from design and siting, mixing, building walls, fireplaces, ovens and floors, lime and other natural finishes, and gaining planning permission and building regulation approval.


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is an artful book! 29 Mar 2006
Format:Paperback
I picked up this book when I was trying to understand what "cob" was. Little did I realize at the time that I would not only learn the answer to my question, but that I would become fully engaged in the step-by-step process, skill, beauty, art, and even spirituality of these earth structures. The authors have created a book that stimulates all the senses while at the same time being extremely practical. Simply stated, the book is a glorious experience.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Building with Cob 28 Mar 2006
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Building with Cob is a stunningly beautiful book! Photos and text not only give the reader a very clear and detailed lesson in building with cob, they also tell such a wonderful story of the authors' obvious love for their craft and for our shared world. Brilliant!!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Green Building Magazine 15 Oct 2007
Format:Paperback
This book truly lives up to its cover credits and description of contents:-

"...the most practical and beautifully illustrated book on earth building ever published."

"An inspiring vision and practical guide..."

The step-by-step instructions for creating cob structures are easy to follow, practical and a pleasure to read.

A deep insight and wisdom flows through the words that is uplifting and inspiring. Reminding the reader that they, and the structures they build have a place in Nature.

Also that building with natural substances obeys certain rhythms and laws. Observing these leads to harmonious results and can be fun .

The effect of reading this book is similar to that of reading Christopher Alexander (Pattern Language/Timeless Way of Building).His influence is apparent, and present in some of the quotes.

The illustrations and photographs are clear and graphically excellent, adding visual detail to the text that complements the instructions perfectly. Making it easy for a complete beginner to understand and follow.

The section with information on natural finishes, detailing lime plasters, renders, washes, earthen plasters, and home made clay and casein paints, contains essential basic information, scientific facts, and questions and answers. Also very practical `how-to' instructions, text & ideas.

Finely thought out facts and legalities, including an interview with a specialist Architect are in the informative chapter which advises on constructing cob buildings which comply with modern building standards.

The guidance on restoring and repairing old cob structures details everything from how to make cob blocks, to typical problems you may find.

Useful and helpful at a time when many old buildings are being renovated.

The book is completed with very comprehensive list of resources and suppliers.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback
I recommend this book very highly to anyone living in or thinking of building a cob home - easily readable but packed full of detailed instructions. Takes you from choosing a site through the design and build of a new project - I've started dreaming about this even though I got the book for information on tackling cob repairs and re-rendering. Well worth getting even if you're planning to get cob work done by professionals - arm yourself with the knowledge to prevent damaging mistakes such as the use of modern renders and acrylic based paints. I'd say buy the book - at the very least it looks good on your bookshelf and gets you outside playing in the mud!
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cob really is exciting! 5 Nov 2007
Format:Paperback
This beautifully illustrated, supremely readable book is truly inspirational - but beware, it's so inspirational you may end up moving house just to find that well-drained site outside the city smokeless zone where you can pad about on your newly installed earthern floor and fire-up your bread oven. This book could change your life!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring book 16 Oct 2007
Format:Paperback
You don't have to be a budding cob builder to take delight in this book, with its clear textual and diagrammatic explanations. It explains to the uninitiated exactly what is involved in this ancient, yet still highly relevant, craft - leaving you feeling that you could do it too, if you were so minded. That is the gift of teachers who really believe in their subject.
The authors' obvious dedication to their chosen life-work is quite inspiring. So, regardless of the subject matter, it will encourage anyone who desires to be challenged to study their subject and put it into practice!
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book- Beautiful and Practical 4 Mar 2006
Format:Paperback
This book was hard for me to put down! I have been wanting to build my own eco house out of cob for years and this book has given me the confidence to have a go. The pictures and diagrams are not only clear but they are also beautiful. I highly reccommend this book.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book renovated my house! 6 Dec 2007
Format:Paperback
This is a beautiful book with practical text and wonderfully clear and consise illustrations. I've bought a lot of books on Cob Building and this one really helped me the most. It really is a step-by-step guide on how to build with Cob. The photographs are brilliant, you can see in an instant what the authors are trying to say.
I had a very old cob/mud cottage in Ireland and no idea how to re-build or repair the collapsing walls and this book showed me how. The builder borrowed my book so much, that I had to buy him a copy! We now call it 'The Bible'.
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