Thursday, May 13, 2010


It's been threatening rain for 3 days straight now, but few drops have braved the descent. We have been working diligently, with tarps at the ready in case the sky opens up. Needless to say, the clouds have not made for the best lighting, without which I cannot capture the handsome cottage documentation that I desire. Here is my best:

The cascading windows again, with the columns built up between them. The most common question I get from visitors is "why the holes?" The "cobber's thumb" holes improve drying time and will later allow the earthen plaster to grab on the walls.

The new diamond window, as seen by the dogwood(?) that we transplanted during the initial excavation of the site.

Here is the simple device that aids in building the arch over the main entrance. It is essentially a bamboo/twine compass.

The point of connection between the twine and bamboo is the centerpoint of the imaginary circle, upon which the arch will be based. As we build the arch, we can pull the string around the fixed point, making sure that we are following the appropriate curve.

Building an arch with wet material and no form is a delicate process. We break up our normal-sized cob balls into small carrots. Each time a carrot is laid at the "beak" of the arch, it is braided back to the wall with overlapping cobs, forming a massive matrix of material.

In the race to the top of the walls, you can see that the arch has broken into the lead.

Putting in the first window header, which takes the load off the window and distributes it to the cob columns on either side of it.

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