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My cob/earthship hybrid


Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
Hello Permies!!!

I thought I would post about my upcoming cob workshop (with Christina Ott from Barefoot Builder) in Hempstead Texas were I will be building a cob/earthship hybrid home, In actuality I will be mixing a couple of different natural building methods into one home with an external all season kitchen.  My bathrooms and shower rooms are also exterior of the main house. I did an design layout in sketch up and here is a picture of that below.

It will have a re-purposed urbanite stem wall and the back half of the home will be earthship tire bricks as that half will be bermed into the hill the property sets on, I have been talking with Bryan Roberts of Earthship Florida on the details of the EPDM seal between the tire bricks and the berm, also some details on the earthtube cooling, it will have sunken round wood log bulkhead to prevent the soil from the berm washing forward of its intended use.

I will be installing a true timber framed round wood roofing system, with post supports on the corners sunk into the ground 4' and coated with a creosote sealer. A flagstone interior floor and metal roof for rain water catchment. I am in the process of the possibility of a well being drilled and instead of a metal roof a living roof, this is Texas and it gets really hot and humid here so the more insulation I have the better the home stays cool inside. It also get nice and cold here so the home will also have a Rumford cob fireplace.

The kitchen will have a cob oven and a wood burning veggie grill. It will also have a compact rocket stove for water boiling and grain cooking.

The main home will have a cordwood half wall and a Yaupon wattle screen to separate the sleeping area from the living area.

If you want more information check out the links below.

Peace and Love
Bill Kearns

Joined: Feb 13, 2009
Posts: 157
Location: E Washington steppe
Nice Sketch-Up work Dude! 

Your workshop sounds very interesting .... including many of the features discussed regularly here in this forum.  Are you considering some in-progress videos of the workshop?  I hope you find time to post pics of your results so we who are very far away from Texas can see!


Permaculture is a gestalt ... a study of the whole. Not just how to produce more and better food, but how human life on the planet affects and is affected by the surrounding environment.
Bill Kearns http://columbiabasinpermaculture.com

Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
Sure thing i will be posting alot on my site and anywhere else I can get them up.
ronie dee

Joined: Mar 04, 2009
Posts: 594
Location: Cosby MO
Great stuff dude!  Keep up the great work and link us in yer site somewhere please..

Sometimes the answer is not to cross an old bridge, nor to burn it, but to build a better bridge.

Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
The links are under my name on the first post, I will see about putting them in as my signature.
ronie dee

Joined: Mar 04, 2009
Posts: 594
Location: Cosby MO
After many years of thinking that i was going to build my shelter like an earthship... I concluded that i would build it partly with tires and then stack wood. The tires will make an easy footing and the wood will be good insul..

I am wondering your reasons for deciding to build partly out  of tires and partly out of cord wood?

When i was thinking of building walls completely with tires , i was planning a round structure. But then when i decided to go with tire footing and cord wood walls i changed the shape some what.. Seeing your cool pics I am starting to think of a round place again..

I ran into a snag with the wood i was planning to use.. (black locust) Hard wood splits and gets slightly larger when it dries.  But i have that pretty much worked out..

Are you going to use soft wood?

Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
The reason I am doing it this way is because I will be berming soil up the back half of the cottage and needed something strong and proven to not break down against a lateral load. Earthship tire bricks have proven its self time and again to be perfect for this.  The cordwood will be an interior partition wall, not the main building system. I have added some pictures to show a better view of the tire section.

The tires are stacked in a crescent shape to provide the self buttressing aspect of this wall.

I am planning on resting a shoulder round pole beam directly on top of this wall.

You can see the full stone stem wall, which will have a rubble fill trench 24" in depth x 16" in width.

The berm will follow the profile of the tire wall and end into a round pole bulk head to prevent wash out.
ronie dee

Joined: Mar 04, 2009
Posts: 594
Location: Cosby MO
That is just amazing,, So many people want a 3000 sq ft house these days - then work themselves for years trying to maintain it.

I figure the life pod needs to be just big enough to be practically functional... Easy to heat easy to maintain.

Great design.

Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
Thank you, my original design was alot smaller, but factoring in having my girls come stay with me during the summers I decided to make it a bit bigger to accommodate them.
Jeffrey Lando

Joined: Jan 06, 2010
Posts: 31
Dude,  It looks really cool

I hope you share it with us when u do it ..
Neal McSpadden

Joined: May 04, 2009
Posts: 269
The cob oven seminar I attended was given by Christina Ott.  She's very knowledgeable about all things cob. 

Check out my Primal Prepper blog where I talk about permaculture, prepping, and the primal lifestyle... all the time!

Joined: Oct 23, 2011
Posts: 0
yes she is!!! shes a my mentor and I cherish her as a cobber and a human.

Joined: Mar 22, 2010
Posts: 31
As I understand you the tire portion will be on a rubble footing? 
How deep and wide, and how are you finding usable urbanite?  I've looked around for rubble to use as a footing and generally find a nightmare pile of huge chunks with rebar embedded in them?

Looked up Hempstead, so I would imagine termites are a big problem there even if not as bad as down here.  How are you working out the bermed part to prevent them?  I've become so discouraged with my battle with them it seems they will eat through anything.  I dug a big pit and in it found clumps of dirt feet down that were tunneled.  I want to turn the pit into a sunken outdoor kitchen but am thinking it will end up a 'cool' house for plants because the termites are unstoppable.  If there is anything wood, paper, cardboard they find it.  Had a box on the floor not against a wall and they were under it when I moved it.

Jami McBride

Joined: Aug 29, 2009
Posts: 1897
Location: PNW Oregon
Dude, very cool project 

About that Rumford cob fireplace - do you have design plans, how to or step by step?

I want a DIY Rumford fireplace, and I'd be pleased as a kitten in a knitting basket if I could make one using cob (((Bonus))))

If you'd rather start a new thread for it than take away from your dream hybird home that would be fine.
subject: My cob/earthship hybrid