Friday, September 13, 2013


It has been hot here. Very hot. Too hot to work on the building. By 11AM  heat stroke is a very real possibility and there is no choice but for work to stop. There is a lesson here - next time start at a different time of year, and build the roof first to provide shade for the builders and cover for the walls.

In the meantime while waiting for the heat to break attention has turned to construction of window and door frames that need to be integrated with the lower part of the walls. Three window frames for the south facing wall have been built as well as a frame for the door.

Here a door frame with a fin being attached. When the frame is installed the fin will be embedded in the cob walls helping to provide stability for the frame.

The door frame and three window frames. The two smaller windows do not have their fins yet. One 24x48 window will face southeast, with a 32x60 and a 24x48 facing south. I hope that is enough solar gain but not too much to overheat the building. The windows will be shaded during the summer season of course.

This is one of several anchor blocks that will be embedded into the cob wall. This one will have one of the door hinges screwed into it when the door is installed. Also pictured is my favorite tool, the Japanese pull saw. Most of the cuts for the frames were done using this very precise hand saw.

A couple years ago I built these instruments and used the same hand saw to cut out the bodies. Little did I know that many of the cutting and gluing techniques of guitar building would be directly applicable to natural building.

On the next building I would like to build window and door frames made from 4x4's for improved rigidity and surface area. I would use dado joints to connect the pieces and perhaps a bracket for extra reinforcement.

The next building? Yes, I'm already thinking forward about another building, a cob / strawbale hybrid, cob / stone / strawbale, compressed earth block, a tiny house on a trailer or even an earthship structure. I don't know if it would be built at this site or somewhere else, like an ecovillage. I'm watching for ecovillage opportunities - if you know of any please do get in touch. I'm would be very interested participating in a ecovillage.