Today is the fifteenth of January. Was a rather cold morning in the woods today with icicles hanging off the wood store eves. Work has been at a stand still since coppicing due to the cold meaning cob just will not set and making it is a rather unpleasant job. So I have been finding other things to do. Clearing ditches, cutting planks and trying to sort out the constant firewood problem (a clear lack of it) Did have a couple warmer days when I could mix cob so I lit the fire and had at.
Cob in the den woods is measured out in trugs (Tesco flexy garden baskets for gardeners). It is 3 parts clay, 1 part sand, the scrapings from the fire (bit of crushed charcoal and wood ash) and either 1 trug full of sawdust from the chainsaw or a large pile of chopped grass. This is normally mixed with a spade on a small built up planking section. This is a slow and back breaking job and it not overly fun. I have wanted to try mixing the cob by foot for a while now and with the slight break of above freezing weather I decided to give it a go. Put 6 buckets of clay, two buckets of sand and 3 buckets of sawdust onto a tarp, mixed in a little water. Took off my boots and socks and went for a freezing cold muddy jump around. After 10 minutes of stopping and loosing toes into the mix I had a good slightly wet cob to put between the roundwood logs for the cordwood wall.
I used a garden trowel and a masonry trowel to put the cob up onto the wall and then slotted the logs on top. It was quick and easy work and I found it rather enjoyable. The wall steadily grew and over all I was quite chuffed with how it went. As you will be able to see there are one or two gaps. These will get filled in at a later date when I have a thicker cob mix.
I also then added a little more water to a box full of the mix and got a more mortar like mixture. With this and some freshly split stones I created a couple capping layers to the chimney and start the tapering in. The chimney now it has been cobbed, capped and starting to taper has a good draw already and I am exceptionally happy with. I have moved more rocks down to the woods. Enough when split to probably bring the chimney up enough 10 layers. This will give it plenty of taper and plenty of draw.
Next plans are to do the slabbing of the rest of the birch logs for the top siding and put that up on the front of the cabin. Once that is done I will cut the timbers needed for the new workshop since this can only be done in winter for coppicing. With those done I will set about putting the rest of the batons on the roof and then hacking away and putting shingles up on the roof till it is slowly done. Lets hope for good weather to help the progress along.
Thanks for reading. Any questions ask below 🙂