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COB BUILDERS CHECKLIST

SELECT SITE

develop access
design house
gather materials and tools
get water to site
set up temporary shelter for while you build
plan drainage and floor levels
create drainage
do septic
make cob tests

FOUNDATION

dig for foundation to solid ground, below frost level— remember foundation for buttresses and fireplace (optional)
plan for foundation insulation (optional)
lay pipes for water and electric wires and for fire vent (slanting to outside of house & overhanging wall)
build door threshold
set up, square, plumb, and brace door frame
put keying system on outside of door frame
build foundation and door threshold

WALLS—FIRST TWO FEET

put pipes in for water and electric wires if you haven't already put them in foundation
set up electric
start cobbing
build in stove and/or fireplace as you go and bury woodstove pipe in wall (optional)
start cantilevering for benches (top of seat height usually 14" from floor)
put in low vent to admit air on cool side of house
build in branches for future additions
if you're having wooden upright supports for floor-to-ceiling shelving, put them up and brace
incorporate wood into walls for (optional)
     lower cupboard shelving
     lower ladder rungs
     bench support poles (inside & out)
     opening for firewood box
install electric outlets (optional)
angle backs of benches so they're comfy
roughly level floor(s) as you gather cob mix material
establish wall taper angle as you build
build window seats

WALLS—TWO TO FOUR FEET

key in window sills and windows on sun-facing wall
bury shelf supports or create cantilevered cob shelves
sculpt in niches
leave ledges to support counter-tops or bury counters into walls; if necessary, add posts for counter supports
put in openable windows (keyed to cob)
bury scaffolding supports 3-1/2 to 4 feet up walls (inside and out) and brace them
keep incorporating branches for future additions
continue wall taper

WALLS—FOUR FEET AND UP

put in lintels or arches over windows
sculpt art into walls or fatten wall for future carving art (optional)
add more niches and shelves
sculpt/install lighting fixtures
incorporate wood for
     cupboard supports
     hanging artwork
     branches for closet racks, hat & coat hooks
     hooks for hanging kitchen stuff (pot racks)
     curtain rod supports at tops of windows
build in wooden support poles for porch roofs, awnings, firewood shed, etc.
if you're making a loft, leave ledges and bury support beam in the wall
put an openable vent on highest wall

ROOF

bury rafters and keys for rafters
put up roof beams and rafters—attach keys
put up ceiling or leave a place in cob to slide ceiling sheathing onto
insert screened tubes in cob between rafters to ventilate insulation space
insulate roof well
install roofing
hang gutters (this is very important!)
put in stove pipe, chimney, flashing, skylights

PLASTERING

if you're using lime, mix up putty and let it sit at least two weeks
make and analyze some plaster experiments
carve and shape walls
wet walls
plaster (multiple layers if desired)
embed tiles vertically along "wet" counters and for decoration on sills, etc.
paint walls or lime wash (optional)
preserve exposed wood

FINISHING TOUCHES

hang doors and windows
hook up plumbing fixtures
do electrical finishing work
wood shelves, counters, shutters, lids, curtain rods, cupboard doors

FLOOR

if you've put off doing drainage, do it now!
do some floor material experiments
roughly level floor if you haven't already
build step edges at elevation changes
tamp
for an earthen floor, level guide nails; lay floor; dry; lay next layer; dry; oil, and/or wax

MOVE IN & BEAUTIFY

create landscape elements porches outdoor walls paths
trellises
benches
outdoor fire
gardens

 


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