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Joseph Davenport

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since Sep 03, 2012
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Recent posts by Joseph Davenport

Hey Carly,

I live in the Willamette Valley in Oregon and the humidity here is pretty high year-round. Cob does very well here, despite living in a rainforest. I think cob would do just fine in Florida. You should check out www.barefootbuilder.com. They have built cob in Florida with success from what I understand.

450 sq ft is a fairly large home to build out of cob in a season without a significant amount of labor from a group of people. I would suggest checking out some books on cob building and get a good idea of the time involved in building one of these homes.

Building with cob is an incredible experience, and the homes that are created are magnificent to live in! Check out your local area for people who are doing these kinds of things there in Florida. They will have a much better idea of what works well and a better knowledge of local building codes and enforcement.

Best of luck!
7 years ago
cob
So I have no actual building experience, but I have been to a cob workshop and rocket stove workshop as well as reading a good deal on the subject so I'll give you my knowledge on the first three questions...

1). Cob shrinks when it dries and this can create draft/structural issues if you put it inside the cob. You can refer to Becky Bee's Cob Builder's Handbook for this one (pole structure) I know for sure. I don't have the book handy but there is no issue with having poles to support the roof or house frame but you want to "cup" them with the cob, inside or outside the building, as opposed to inside the wall for structural reasons.

2) I don't believe it makes a difference what you build the second story out of, but cob would be easier. You don't have to worry about joining two different building mediums with deadmen or any other system if you build out of just cob because it is monolithic. No source for this one, just knowledge garnered from studying putting different materials together. The cob is more than sturdy enough to build two stories with. I've stayed in a couple two story buildings built with just cob.

3) It is suggested that you taper cob walls. The formula I got from the builder I worked with was taper 2 inches for every three feet of wall height. Walls should be about 9 inches at the top so measure the height of the wall and it's a simple math equation. I believe this info is in Becky Bee's book as well, and the Hand Sculpted House if I remember correctly.

Hope that helps a bit, and hopefully we can get some more experienced responses. I'm really interested in this as well! Good luck with the build!
8 years ago
cob
So a couple of things I am wondering about... With keyline, swales, terraces etc., with as much rainfall as we have is there any risk of putting "too" much water in the soil and having slides or other issues with erosion due to lack of proper channeling and storage in say ponds? Also with so much water in the soil could this not be detrimental to plants which can not tolerate a great deal of water or wet feet for prolonged periods? On that last note could hugel beds be a solution for the drought in summer but keeping plants from getting too water logged the rest of the year, and are there any changes in the hugel design, i.e. digging the carbon material into the ground v. building it on the existing soil surface, that would be better equipped to deal with our climate?

I am relatively new to all of this so forgive me if these questions seem simple. I would just like to better understand how to apply permaculture in practice here in the Willamette Valley. Thanks for the responses!
8 years ago
I wasn't planning on starting this fall. Next spring would be the earliest I would attempt anything. Living in the Willamette Valley it sounds like my chances of getting away without both sides open is nil. I suppose I will have to see if the siding is, hopefully, NOT part of the structural support and remove it for the straw/clay or find an alternative insulation I think will work well. Thanks for all the replies!
8 years ago
cob
Kate, thanks for the links. It would appear that the guys at Dancing Rabbit went ahead and put insulation in without removing the siding. I wonder if running a fan and a dehumidifier inside during drying would help not having both sides open?

Jami, I thought about straw with plaster over top, but from what I understand this would lower the insulation value and there is the issue of fire. I may be wrong but I believe the clay mixed with the straw keeps it from being combustible. I'm also afraid that wool would be rather expensive, and both wool and straw would invite rodents.

Also, what is the detriment in not having both sides open? It is an issue of mold in the plywood if it doesn't dry fast enough, or does having a permanent siding impede moisture passage through once dry and risk structural failure?

Just trying to understand options and repercussions. Thanks for the input guys!
8 years ago
cob
My friend has a shed on his property built in the sixties. It is in fantastic shape with the inside a standard stick-frame design. it has no insulation but has plywood siding on the outside covered with cedar plank siding. I am wondering, if I infill with straw/clay for insulation will I need to take off the siding and plywood for the straw/clay to dry properly, or if I could just infill and (temp/airflow/humidity levels permitting) it would dry fine on its own? I would like to turn this into a small house for my family, and am wondering what the labor/costs would be involved.
8 years ago
cob
So I have been reading a lot about permaculture over the past few years and managing water with keyline/swales/hugel etc. I live in the Willamette Valley where we get a rather ridiculous amount of rain most of the year and then a few months of drought. Maybe I have just been missing it in the books I have been reading, but I have not seen much discussion of water management in a climate like ours, mostly desert/dry climate discussions. If anyone knows of a source (or a thread I missed here on the forums) or any suggestions/discussions I would much appreciate it.
8 years ago
Kirk (or anyone else who knows),

My wife and I are planning on building a cob home, and I find the task of putting on a roof to be the most daunting. I agree that a gable roof, especially here in Oregon, is my best bet but I have a few questions:

1) What is a good distance b/w rafters and what is an appropriate diameter on the rafters? (If anyone knows of a good book on basic roof construction I would love to know).

2) How far can the beams/rafters span unsupported?

3) Is it necessary to have a deadman for every rafter if you use a shoulder beam?

4) What did you use for sheathing and does it double as the ceiling?

5) How far should the rafters overhang the walls?

6) Does the ridge beam have to be on level or can it be higher on one side (have a lofted side and save on building materials on the other with lower walls), and would this create any additional issues if possible?

Never built before and want to make sure I don't make any more, or serious, mistakes than I already will. Thanks for your patience.



8 years ago
cob