The Hand-Sculpted House: A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob Cottage

The Hand-Sculpted House: A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob CottageAuthor(s): Ianto Evans, Michael G. Smith, and Linda Smiley

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Company

Paperback: 346 pages

ISBN: 1890132349

ISBN-13: 978-1890132347

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The Hand-Sculpted House A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob Cottage by Ianto Evans, Michael G. Smith, and Linda Smiley This is the long awaited full strength cob building book! Lots of detailed information, color photos and great descriptions on how to build every aspect of a cob house. Recommended!

Publishers description: Are you ready for the Cob Cottage? This is a building method so old and so simple that it has been all but forgotten in the rush to synthetics. A Cob Cottage, however, might be the ultimate expression of ecological design, a structure so attuned to its surroundings that its creators refer to it as “an ecstatic house.”

The authors build a house the way others create a natural garden. They use the oldest, most available materials imaginable — earth, clay, sand, straw, and water — and blend them to redefine the future (and past) of building. Cob (the word comes from an Old English root, meaning “lump”) is a mixture of non-toxic, recyclable, and often free materials. Building with cob requires no forms, no cement, and no machinery of any kind. Builders actually sculpt their structures by hand. Building with earth is nothing new to America; the oldest structures on the continent were built with adobe bricks. Adobe, however, has been geographically limited to the Southwest. The limits of cob are defined only by the builder’s imagination.

Cob has been a traditional building process for millennia in Europe, even in rainy and windy climates like the British Isles, where many cob buildings still serve as family homes after hundreds of years. The technique is newly arrived to the Americas, and, as with so many social trends, the early adopters are in the Pacific Northwest.

Cob houses (or cottages, since they are always efficiently small by American construction standards) are not only compatible with their surroundings, they ARE their surroundings, literally rising up from the earth. They are full of light, energy-efficient, and cozy, with curved walls and built-in, whimsical touches. They are delightful. They are ecstatic.

The Hand-Sculpted House is theoretical and philosophical, but intensely practical as well. You will get all the how-to information to undertake a cob building project. As the modern world rediscovers the importance of living in sustainable harmony with the environment, this book is a bible of radical simplicity.

About the Authors
Ianto Evans is an applied ecologist, landscape architect, inventor, and teacher with building experience on six continents. Cob is traditional in his homeland, Wales. In addition to teaching ecological building, Ianto has consulted with USAID, the World Bank, the Peace Corps, and several national governments. Michael G. Smith teaches practical workshops and consults on cob construction, natural building, and permaculture. He is the author of The Cobber’s Companion: How to Build Your Own Earthen Home and co-editor of The Art of Natural Building: Design, Construction, Resources. Linda Smiley teaches workshops on cob, sculpting sacred spaces, intuitive design, and natural plasters and finishes. With a background as a recreational therapist, she specializes in helping people use natural building as a tool for personal transformation and healing.

The Cobber’s Companion: How to Build Your Own Earthen Home

The Cobber's Companion: How to Build Your Own Earthen HomeAuthor(s): Michael G. Smith

Publisher: The Cob Cottage Company

Paperback: 136 pages

ISBN-10: 0966373804

ISBN-13: 978-0966373806

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Rather than taking a recipe-book approach, The Cobber’s Companion explains the theory of cob construction so that you can design your own beautiful, inexpensive, earth-friendly home and make informed decisions at every step of the building process, from foundation to roof. Also includes natural plasters and earthen floors. 120 information packed pages include over 100 illustrations and many references. This book provides step-by-step guidelines for building a simple cob building; from finding, selecting, and testing materials to wall building, foundations, windows, doors, roofs, floors, plasters and finishes. This is as a basic text designed to help readers regardless of their experience understand the materials well enough to answer their own questions and make good design decisions.

The Cob Builders Handbook: You Can Hand-Sculpt Your Own Home

The Cob Builders Handbook: You Can Hand-Sculpt Your Own HomeAuthor(s): Becky Bee

Publisher: Chelsea Green

Paperback: 176 pages

ISBN: 0965908208

ISBN-13: 978-0965908207

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Cob (an old English word for lump) is old-fashioned concrete, made out of a mixture of clay, sand, and straw. Becky Bee’s manual is a friendly guide to making your own earth structure, with chapters on design, foundations, floors, windows and doors, finishes, and of course, making glorious cob.

“I believe that building with cob is a way to recreate community and experience the joy of working together while taking back the right to build our own homes and look after our Mother Earth.”

She loves doing something that makes sense in a world where lots of things don’t.


Charmaine Taylor from Humboldt Bay, California , 03/29/98, rating=10:
Lets you explore your artistic side while building! From advice on ‘snuggling’ foundation rocks together to practical explanation of creating the right mix..Becky really shows she knows how to work with earth. I began a cob bench after falling in love with photos of hers. I don’t know any other way to sculpt, have fun, get dirty, and still create something useful. People might not build a whole house, but a meditation room, or garden shed, even animal house would be doable. Local cobbers I know respect her skills highly, I’d love to see more finished home and project photos. Anyone can do this, it’s fun and gets you in touch with dirt! Paperback, 173 pages Publication date: March 1998

Appropriate Plasters For Cob & Stone Walls

Appropriate Plasters For Cob And Stone WallsAuthor(s): Devon, England Earth Building Association

Free download from: Devon, England Earth Building Association
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Appropriate Plasters For Cob & Stone Walls … This pamphlet produced by the Devon, England Earth Building Association (where many hundreds of cob cottages exist, and are occupied) covers use of lime renders and washes for protection and repair of cob and stone.

Gives mixes, directions preparation methods, resources in the UK. Imported, 8 pages, xerographic.

The photo is of a cob house with thatched roof in Devon, England. A limewash over the cob walls makes the walls white.

Living Spaces: Ecological Building and Design

Cover, Living Spaces: Ecological Building and DesignAuthor(s): L. Abraham and T. Fisher

ISBN: 3895089257
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Living Spaces: Ecological Building and Design adapted from Germany by L. Abraham. T., Fisher .

This dense, spectacular, full color edition covers everything including stone, clay, cob, timberframe, brick and other natural techniques. Discusses sustainability, the basics of design, materials, solar, thermal, acoustical, moisture, cost effectiveness, repair, energy efficiency, and so much more.

(Natural pigments from plants, water systems, recycling old doors, windows, modern electrical products, materials in bedding, insulation composting, fuel, and facade design. Over 480 pages with unique photos of European and other houses throughout, bibliography, resources, index.

(I especially liked the reed matting and clay daub photos indicating how very old styles can be used today (pgs 93-95). Hardbound, oversize,