Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Winterizing the Cob House at Eno

As I approached the field, I couldn't quite decipher the hairy blob sitting alone in the middle of it. An animal? A big ball of cob? An enormous ball of snow holding out from our wintry weekend earlier this month?

The stove pipe exits the NE corner of the building which is, ironically, where the icicles form. That awkward hole will be re-filled with cob and plaster someday.

I had some fun with the interior plastering last month. Here's the branch:

.... and here's the trunk. It went from being an abstract shape (that Elizabeth thought looked too much like cartoon side-burns) to a possible bird swooping in, to a snake head, to a tree.

Sinking bricks into the finished floor:

Floating pieces of slate atop the bricks:

A magical pad for the wood stove! Hovering, like a shaman might do.

Some finish trim at the top edge of the window to close up the 1/4" gap (that had been left to allow the house to settle without stressing the glass):

And here's the "double-boiler-with-a-lid" setup that we devised to heat our linseed oil for the final floor durability treatment. I've applied one layer of oil to the floor - three more coats tomorrow, each getting more and more thinned out with mineral spirits.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New Window

 I've been working on the shed quite a bit lately (and with more decadent materials that I ever anticipated using!), in order to make it into a very usable computing/drawing space and a pottery studio, in addition to accommodating tool storage. I was building my office alcove the other day, made mostly from unwanted Ikea furniture and an old bookcase, and decided that I needed another window. This wasn't because there was too little light, or that there is a particularly nice view in any direction, but because I had a vision of a window sitting in a specific spot, and it looked very charming in my mind. It was both intimidating and exhilarating to bash through the wall and form an opening. This is certainly not the most artistic set of photos, but it gives you the idea...

 I used a circular saw to cut through the plywood and create the initial rectangular void - the black that you see is the layer of tar paper that I put up prior to the cob.

The beginnings of a new window, after having started to scrape/bang/knock bits of cob with a claw hammer:

This is after I pulled the tar paper off, and you can see the vertical 1X2 (to which the metal fencing was secured) and the underbelly of the cob.

It was amazing how sturdy that 2" layer of cob was! I wish I had a video of how difficult it was to get through even with all of my strength and a hammer at the end of my arm. Having the metal grid embedded inside made it into a super-material.

I already had a piece of glass picked out for the window, and it required that I widen the opening in both directions a couple inches, and so I had to use a keyhole saw to do this (this is as big as I could get with the circular saw before the studs got in the way).

Here is the main frame for the window.

And here it has been installed, with a second perimeter of trim, too. After this, I installed the glass, and a finish perimeter of interior trim to hold the glass in place, but before that point I had to run the camera back to my sister so that she could properly document my nephew's yearly visit to see Santa Claus. More photos soon of the finished window!