Build Your Own Earth Oven, 3rd Edition

Build Your Own Earth Oven, 3rd Edition: A Low-Cost Wood-Fired Mud Oven; Simple Sourdough Bread; Perfect Loaves

Build Your Own Earth Oven, 3rd EditionAuthor(s): Kiko Denzer

Publisher: Hand Print Press; 3 Rev Exp edition (April 2007)

Paperback: 132 pages

ISBN-10: 096798467X

ISBN-13: 978-0967984674

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Learn how easy and practical an outdoor baking oven is to build and use. The design is a two layer retained heat oven, and can be built with onsite materials such as earth and sand, and uses a brick base-floor, or even an earthen floor. These ovens burn a small amount of wood, get very hot, and allow you to bake breads and meals slowly after the coals have been raked out.

Kiko sculpts his ovens with wonderful animal and nature shapes.

Imagine a huge Phoenix bird, its belly the oven, the flue its throat, with smoke escaping from the upturned beak! Children can help build these ovens, and play with earth at the same time. Complete instructions, 100 pages, 8.5×7, line drawings, and wonderful COLOR oven photographs of frog, squirrel, and Phoenix bird oven-bench, plus B&W of a snail and other fanciful ovens.

How to Make Low-Cost Building Blocks: Stabilized Soil Block Technology

How to Make Low-Cost Building Blocks: Stabilized Soil Block Technology

How to Make Low-Cost Building Blocks: Stabilized Soil Block TechnologyAuthor(s): Malcolm Davis

Publisher: Practical Action (December 1993)

Paperback: 36 pages

ISBN-10: 1853390860

ISBN-13: 978-1853390869

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With the right soil, correctly prepared and compressed, it is possible to halve the amount of cement used for block-making. This manual shows how to make and use strong blocks from soil, from the initial planning to the end product.

Soil testing instruction basic description for making Cinva Ram bricks, 36 pages, simple instructions, written for third world or non-English speaking readers, covers soil testing for clay, how to mix and prepare soils, well illustrated, softcover.

Adobe Construction Methods Using Adobe Brick or Rammed Earth (Monolithic Construction) for Homes

Author(s): LW Neubauer

Publisher: UC California Agricultural Sciences Dept ,1964

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35 page booklet

A very thorough primer for Adobe! Explains how to make and build with adobe bricks. Soil selection, stabilization and waterproofing with cement, emulsified asphalt, lime are detailed.

Describes how to build and mortar walls, place lintels, windows, doors, and build roofs. Shows diagrams of construction details from foundation to roof, with correct measurements given. Covers finishing, painting, limewashing, fireplaces and chimneys,. Even describes other tamped earth methods such as English Cob, rammed earth, poured adobe; with photos and diagrams of formworks used. Black and white photos throughout, produced by UC California Agricultural Sciences Dept ,1964.

Earthen Floors

Earthen Floors

Earthen FloorsAuthor(s): Bill Steen and Athena Swentzel Steen

Publisher: Canelo Project


Order From: Canelo Project
HC1 Box 324
Canelo/Elgin, AZ 85611

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Natural earth floors are fast becoming the finish of choice for people building with adobe, strawbale and cob. Comfortable to walk on, forgiving of dropped pottery and simple to maintain. Earthen floors are inexpensive, don’t off-gas like man-made products and are easily repaired. This illustrated booklet covers all aspects of earthen floors: base preparations for various climates, earthen mixtures; installation; non-chemical sealants; and upper story applications. 30 page booklet.

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 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.

Back to Earth: Adobe Building in Saudi Arabia

Back to Earth: Adobe Building in Saudi Arabia

Back to Earth: Adobe Building in Saudi ArabiaAuthor(s):
William Facey

Publisher: I B Tauris & Co Ltd

Hardcover: 216 pages

ISBN: 1900404133

ISBN-13: 978-1900404136

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Until 1986, when it was acquired by H.R.H. Prince Sultan bin Salman Al Sa’ud, the old farmhouse at al-‘Udhaibat was a tumble-down, neglected mud-brick ruin, no different from many other such buildings which have survived in Saudi Arabia from before modernisation. It was unmaintained and – as all buildings of sun-dried mud will, if left – was quietly subsiding into oblivion. Al-‘Udhaibat is situated just north of the metropolitan sprawl of modern Riyadh, in a location of special resonance for Saudi Arabians. For it lies in the great Wadi Hanifah, just south of al-Dir’iyyah, the old, ruined mud-built capital of the First Saudi State and hub of the 18th-century Islamic reform movement. How the attempt to restore this modest farmhouse, once owned by the late King Faisal, developed into a complex project with important implications for rural housing and the place of traditional materials in modern building, is the story told in this book. Al-‘Udhaibat remains a test-bed, its performance under constant scrutiny, and a source of inspiration for the new generation of Saudi architects. Topics covered in this lavishly illustrated book, aimed alike at architects, planners and general readers, include: The role of vernacular style in modern architecture; The environmental and historical setting of al-‘Udhaibat; Traditional techniques of adobe building in Najd; Issues in adobe restoration and re-building; The re-building process in detail; The reclamation and re-conditioning of the farmland; The future of adobe in the modern world. Prince Sultan bin Salman Al Sa’ud is a grandson of the late King ‘Abd al-‘Aziz and a nephew of the late King Faisal. He is perhaps best known to the general public for becoming, in 1985, the first Arab astronaut. He is today, however, equally prominent as an opinion-former, and his commitment to Islamic values and his concern for architecture and the environment are well-known. He is currently the President of the High Commission for Tourism in the Kingdom.


“Back to Earth is the story of a Saudi prince’s concern for the environment and his desire to preserve and give new life to the dying skills of adobe building in Saudi Arabia. To set an example, he has restored, in traditional techniques, a farmhouse outside Riyadh. The end result is stunning. … The most interesting section of the book is the description of the restoration. … The various processes are all documented with good photographs and drawings.” – Venetia Porter, Times Literary Supplement, 24 April 1998.

About the Author

William Facey is a historian of Arabia. He is also a museum consultant and a director of the London Centre of Arab Studies.
Adobe: Build It Yourself, Revised Edition

Adobe: Build It Yourself, Revised Edition

Adobe: Build It Yourself, Revised Edition

Author(s): Paul Graham McHenry

Publisher: Univ of Arizona Pr

Paperback: 158 pages

ISBN: 0816509484

ISBN-13: 978-0816509485

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This book explores the depths of adobe and enables the reader to build their own home intelligently and realistically. With an emphasis on adobe construction, McHenry discusses the planning of every aspect of one’s home from the financing to the foundation, the floors to the fireplaces. The prospective builder must be prepared for a long period of frustration, doubt, worry, and plain hard work, but the helpful ideas found on the pages of this book will encourage readers to build despite the challenges. McHenry describes this process as a tremendous puzzle, for which one must create and arrange all the pieces, and then live with the result.

McHenry begins with a brief history of adobe and then moves on to the planning of the home, emphasizing the influence of individual ideas. The intention of this book is to help bridge the gap between architects, builders, craftsmen, and the unskilled but determined individual who wants to build their own home. This book outlines the technical aspects of adobe construction with several pictures and figures to simplify production.

The creation of a home, from the earliest design concepts to successful completion, is one of the most rewarding experiences one can ever have. McHenry’s Adobe offers a realistic and straightforward guide to “doing it yourself.” His advice regarding adobe is useful for professionals and amateurs alike.



Building With Earth: A Guide to Flexible-Form Earthbag Construction

Building With Earth: A Guide to Flexible-Form Earthbag Construction

Building With Earth: A Guide to Flexible-Form Earthbag ConstructionAuthor(s): Paulina Wojciechowska

Publisher: Chelsea Green Publishing Company; 1st edition (June 1, 2001)

Paperback: 176 pages

ISBN-10: 1890132810

ISBN-13: 978-1890132811

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While developers around the globe are looking toward the industrialized United States in hopes of promoting American-style tract houses, shopping malls, and skyscrapers, our country’s pioneering natural builders are looking in the other direction — hearkening back to ancient traditions to create beautiful, affordable, and resilient dwellings of earth.

Building with Earth is the first comprehensive guide to describe the re-emergence of earthen architecture in North America, where adventurous builders are combining timeless forms such as arches, vaults, and domes with modern materials and techniques. Using cheap recycled or salvaged polypropylene tubing or textile grain sacks, even relatively inexperienced builders can construct an essentially tree-free building, from foundation to curved roof.

With ordinary barbed wire between courses for tensile strength, and with beautifully textured earth- and lime-based finish plasters for weather protection, “earthbag” buildings are being used for retreats, studios, and full-time homes in a wide variety of climates and conditions. This book will tell and show readers how to plan and build their own earthen “Superadobe” building.

As do other books on natural building, this takes you back to the future: In rediscovering the origins of traditional architecture, readers are introduced to cutting-edge earth-based techniques now being researched for their potential in building durable dwellings for residence on the moon!

Paulina Wojciechowska was born in Poland and spent her formative years in Afghanistan and India, fascinated by the region’s age-old architecture created by artisan builders. Eventually she entered architecture school at Kingston University in Great Britain. After working in London architectural firms, she traveled to the United States and Mexico to study and work with the “natural,” “alternative” and indigenous building methods and low-cost housing. She apprenticed with master “Superadobe” builder Nader Kahlili at the California Institute of Earth Architecture (Cal-Earth) as well as with straw-bale building pioneers Athena and Bill Steen at the Canelo Project.

She is the founder of the nonprofit trust Earth, Hands & Houses, which supports building projects that empower indigenous people around the world to build their own shelter from materials that are naturally available to them. Wojciechowska lives in Byfleet, England.

paper : 8″ x 10″ : 200 pages 100 b&w photos : 180 illustrations charts and tables : bibliography : index

Rammed earth walls for buildings

Rammed earth walls for buildings

Rammed earth walls for buildings
Author: Morris Cotgrave Betts

Author(s): USDA Farmers’ Bulletin

Publisher: USDA

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Rammed Earth Walls for Buildings- 1926 :Farmers’ Bulletin #1500, USDA, 26 page 5″x7″

This is the great 1926 edition with photos, drawings and complete low tech construction information on rammed earth. The US Government produced this booklet as part of a series, to show farmers and poor rural folks how to build a house from earth (pise’ de terre). Praises rammed earth over cob for ease of construction. The building information, tools and formworks description needed for manual wall building are ideal for anyone wanting to learn this method. 26 pages, xerographic, b&w photos of houses and tools, formworks, plus sketches throughout. A very thorough little guide!

Booklet is B&W only.