Chelsea Green Publishing

The Hand-Sculpted House

Pages:384 pages
Book Art:8 pages of illustrations
Size: 8 x 10 inch
Publisher:Chelsea Green Publishing
Paperback: 9781890132347
Pub. Date June 01, 2002

The Hand-Sculpted House

A Practical and Philosophical Guide to Building a Cob Cottage

By Ianto Evans, Michael G. Smith and Linda Smiley
Illustrated by Deanne Bednar

Categories:
Building & Energy

Availability: In Stock

Paperback

Available Date:
June 01, 2002

$35.00

Are you ready for the Cob Cottage? This is a building method so old and so simple that it has been all but forgotten in the rush to synthetics. A cob cottage,cobb, however, might be the ultimate expression of ecological design, a structure so attuned to its surroundings that its creators refer to it as "an ecstatic house."

The authors build a house the way others create a natural garden. They use the oldest, most available materials imaginable--earth, clay, sand, straw, and water--and blend them to redefine the future (and past) of building. Cob (the word comes from an Old English root, meaning "lump") is a mixture of non-toxic, recyclable, and often free materials. Building with cob requires no forms, no cement, and no machinery of any kind. Builders actually sculpt their structures by hand.

Building with earth is nothing new to America; the oldest structures on the continent were built with adobe bricks. Adobe, however, has been geographically limited to the Southwest. The limits of cob are defined only by the builder's imagination.
Cob offers answers regarding our role in Nature, family and society, about why we feel the ways that we do, about what's missing in our lives. Cob comes as a revelation, a key to a saner world.

Cob has been a traditional building process for millennia in Europe, even in rainy and windy climates like the British Isles, where many cob buildings still serve as family homes after hundreds of years. The technique is newly arrived to the Americas, and, as with so many social trends, the early adopters are in the Pacific Northwest.

Cob houses (or cottages, since they are always efficiently small by American construction standards) are not only compatible with their surroundings, they ARE their surroundings, literally rising up from the earth. They are full of light, energy-efficient, and cozy, with curved walls and built-in, whimsical touches. They are delightful. They are ecstatic.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ianto Evans

Ianto Evans is an applied ecologist, landscape architect, inventor, and teacher with building experience on six continents. Cob is traditional in his homeland, Wales. In addition to teaching ecological building, Ianto has consulted with USAID, the World Bank, the Peace Corps, and several national governments.

Michael G. Smith

Michael G. Smith teaches practical workshops and consults on cob construction, natural building, and permaculture. He is the author of The Cobber's Companion: How to Build Your Own Earthen Home and co-editor of The Art of Natural Building: Design, Construction, Resources.

Linda Smiley

Linda Smiley teaches workshops on cob, sculpting sacred spaces, intuitive design, and natural plasters and finishes. With a background as a recreational therapist, she specializes in helping people use natural building as a tool for personal transformation and healing.

EXCERPT

Building a Cob Cottage Step-by-Step excerpted from Part II: Building the Cob Cottage

EVERY COB BUILDING IS UNIQUE, but most require the same basic steps. The order of some of these steps is critical; others can be rearranged as desired. For a first-time builder, it can be very useful to map out the sequence of all construction tasks. Following is a sample sequence to help you think through your project to completion before you begin. The next ten chapters walk through each of these steps in great detail.

* Select your building site very carefully, for best exposure to winter sun and for good drainage. * Decide in advance roughly what spaces, shapes, and features you will need, both indoors and out, based on the scale of your own activities. Make many sketches and models. Keep the building as small as possible. If you need more than 400 square feet, consider phasing the project to complete the most essential sections first. * Work on a scale model of the building, including site features such as trees and slope. * Decide the wall plan in detail, especially where doors connect the indoors with outdoors. Design the roof at this point, including the roof and how it is supported. Make a full-sized mock-up of the building on the site. Spend time in it, and imagine what it would be like to live there. * Assemble on-site all building materials you will need for enclosure, including glass, lumber, rocks, hardware, pipes, wires, and so forth. Gather your tools, scaffolding, and water storage. * Check your soil, and assess by making test mixes and test blocks what needs to be added for the best cob mix. Measure your proportions and calculate the amounts of sand, clay soil, and straw you will need. Plan out and prepare mixing spaces close to the building. * Arrange delivery of sand, clay soil, and straw as needed. Store deliveries close to and uphill from the building, in locations that won't impede work. Make sure straw is stored under cover, off the ground. * Stake out your design and finished levels precisely on the site using many strong, firmly driven stakes. Adjust for the last time. * Clear and level as little as possible. Grade away from the building so that water runs away on all sides. Set aside excavated soil for gardening or making cob. * Dig drainage and foundation trenches, lay in drainpipe, insulation, plumbing, and wire connections; backfill trenches immediately with drain rock. * Build the foundation stemwall, setting in door frames or frame anchors and joists if floor will be suspended. Leave openings for utilities and water lines in and out. * Tamp the subfloor, lay several inches of drain rock, and, if you will be using an earthen or other mass floor, lay the floor base coat. * Frame the roof, either on permanent posts or on temporary posts that will be removed when the walls are complete. You may also wait until the cob is nearly finished before framing the roof. * Experiment with cob mixing techniques -- for speed, ease, enjoyment, and different numbers of workers. Concentrate on gradual improvements. Apply your mix, probably at first by fork, trodden, then using "Gaab cob" or cob loaves. Sew it all together solidly with your fingers or a "cobber's thumb." Try to raise all the cob walls at the same rate. * Make sure you build vertical or tapered walls; don't leave big bulges or hollows. * Pare each new part with a machete or handsaw before it gets too hard, leaving it ready to plaster as you build. * Set pipes, wires, outlets, junction boxes, and so on into the walls as you build. * Build in windows as you go. Bury "deadmen" in the walls, wooden anchors to which you can later attach door frames, shelving, countertops, and so on. * Sculpt built-in furniture, bookshelves, niches, and alcoves. * Let the walls dry and settle somewhat, then build loft or second-story beams, joists, and ledgers directly into the cob if the wall is loadbearing. * Locate roof deadmen one and a half to two feet down from the rafters. Complete the walls. * If the roof is on, you can now enclose and heat the building. If not, now is the time to build the roof. If the roof will be heavy, allow the cob to dry throughout first. * Do final ceiling work. * Finish interior built-in woodwork, counters, cabinets, interior door frames, and plumbing fixtures. * Apply interior plaster. * Lay a finish coat on floor. Seal an earthen floor with linseed oil and beeswax. * When interior plaster is dry, apply natural paint, lime wash, or alis. * Plaster the exterior, if desired. * Have a big party! Invite everyone who helped you build.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE

The Massive Small Compendium

The Massive Small Compendium

By Kelvin Campbell

The key to fixing our broken patterns of urban development does not lie in grand plans or giant projects; rather, it lies in the collective wisdom and energy of people harnessing the power of many small ideas and actions to make a big difference. We call this making “Massive Small” change.

In an increasingly complex and changing world where global problems are felt locally, the systems we use to plan, design, and build our urban neighborhoods are failing. For three generations, governments the world over have tried to order and control the evolution of cities through rigid, top-down action. Yet, master plans lie unfulfilled, housing is in crisis, the environment is under threat, and the urban poor have become poorer.

The system is not broken: it was built this way. And governments alone cannot solve these problems. But there is another way—the Massive Small way—a concept developed by Kelvin Campbell, the innovative founder of Urban Initiatives, an internationally recognized urban design practice based in London, and curator of Smart Urbanism [Massive Small], one of the largest LinkedIn communities in the field of online urbanism.

The Massive Small Compendium, the first truly comprehensive sourcebook to come out of this work, showcases cities as they really are—deeply complex, adaptive systems. As such, it offers an alternative to our current highly mechanistic model of urban development. With roots in the work of great urban theorists such as Jane Jacobs, Christopher Alexander, and E. F. Schumacher, The Massive Small Compendium integrates this thinking with Complexity Theory and a scientific understanding of sustainability and resilience in cities. It sets out the enabling protocols, conditions, and behaviors that deliver Massive Small change in our neighborhoods. It describes and illustrates the ideas, tools, and tactics being used to help engaged citizens, civic leaders, and urban professionals to work together to build viable urban society, and it will show how effective system change can be implemented.

Highly illustrated with stunning graphics and photographs of cityscapes and urban life, this essential toolkit for the future can be called the next Whole Earth Catalog for twenty-first century urban planning and development.

Available in: Hardcover

Read More

The Massive Small Compendium

Kelvin Campbell

Hardcover $75.00

Biodiesel

Biodiesel

By Greg Pahl

For anyone who is trying to keep up with the extremely rapid developments in the biodiesel industry, the second edition of Biodiesel: Growing a New Energy Economy is an invaluable aid. The breathtaking speed with which biodiesel has gained acceptance in the marketplace in the past few years has been exceeded only by the proliferation of biodiesel production facilities around the United States--and the world--only to confront new social and environmental challenges and criticisms.

The international survey of the biodiesel industry has been expanded from 40 to more than 80 countries, reflecting the spectacular growth of the industry around the world. This section also tracks the dramatic shifts in the fortunes of the industry that have taken place in some of these nations. The detailed chapters that cover the industry in the United States have also been substantially rewritten to keep abreast of its many new developments and explosive domestic growth.

An expanded section on small-scale, local biodiesel production has been added to better represent this small but growing part of the industry. Another new section has been added to more fully explore the increasingly controversial issues of deforestation and food versus fuel, as well as GMO crops. The second edition concludes with updated views on where the industry is headed in the years to come from some of its key players.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

Biodiesel

Greg Pahl, Bill McKibben

Paperback $19.95

Lean Logic / Surviving the Future Set (2-Book Bundle)

Lean Logic / Surviving the Future Set (2-Book Bundle)

By David Fleming and Shaun Chamberlin

Two inspiring books for one price.

When British economist David Fleming died unexpectedly in 2010, he left behind his great unpublished work, a masterpiece more than thirty years in the making. In it, Fleming examined the consequences of an economy that destroys the very foundations—ecological, economic, and cultural—upon which it is built. Knowing that collapse is the only possible outcome, he asked, and envisioned, “What will follow?”

In partnership with Fleming’s estate and his close friend and collaborator Shaun Chamberlin, Chelsea Green Publishing is publishing Fleming’s posthumous work—Lean Logic: A Dictionary for the Future and How to Survive It, with a foreword by Jonathon Porritt. Characteristic of Fleming’s wit, whimsy, and rebellion, he chose an all but bygone form—a written dictionary—to express his views of a future beyond industrial capitalism.

A dictionary unlike any other, Lean Logic leads readers through Fleming’s exploration of fields as diverse as culture, history, science, art, logic, ethics, myth, economics, and anthropology, comprised of more than 400 essay-entries covering topics such as Boredom, Community, Debt, Growth, Harmless Lunatics, Land, Lean Thinking, Nanotechnology, Play, Religion, Spirit, Trust, and Utopia.

The beauty of the linked dictionary format is that it allows Fleming to draw attention to connections that might otherwise be overlooked (each definition contains pointers to related entries) without detracting from his in-depth exploration of each topic. This also allows readers to follow a narrative that reflects their own inquisitive journeys.

And since Fleming’s death in 2010, Chamberlin found growing demand among fans of his work for a paperback version, to concisely present his rare insights and uniquely enjoyable writing style in a more conventional read-it-front-to-back format, perfect for readers discovering Fleming for the first time.

So, alongside Lean Logic, Chelsea Green is publishing Surviving the Future: Culture, Carnival and Capital in the Aftermath of the Market Economy, edited by Chamberlin, with a foreword by Rob Hopkins. The book’s subtitle hints at Fleming’s compelling alternative, and there is no doubt that his far-sightedness has become even more apparent over recent years. He foresaw the schisms and convulsions shaking the economies of Europe, and was among the first in the world to reveal the ongoing pressure on oil supply and predict the subsequent growth in “unconventional” oil and gas, with all its consequences.

Fleming acknowledges, with honesty, the challenges we face. But rather than inducing despair, Lean Logic and Surviving the Future inspire optimism in the creativity and intelligence of humans to nurse our ecology back to health; to rediscover the importance of place and play, of reciprocity and resilience, and of community and culture. Ironically, the post-growth society Fleming envisioned can only come to pass after his death.

As Fleming writes in his introduction to Lean Logic, “The shocks of descent converging into our culture’s ‘climacteric’ will leave nothing in our lives unchanged. We cannot now avoid it, but it can be managed, mitigated, made survivable, recognised as our species’ toughest, but greatest, opportunity… We need to build the sequel, to draw on inspiration which has lain dormant, like the seed beneath the snow.”

This bundled set offer is only available from Chelsea Green.

Available in: Quantity pack

Read More

Lean Logic / Surviving the Future Set (2-Book Bundle)

David Fleming, Shaun Chamberlin

Quantity pack $60.00

The Permaculture Guide to Reed Beds

The Permaculture Guide to Reed Beds

By Féidhlim Harty

The Permaculture Guide to Reed Beds is a comprehensive overview of reed bed systems and treatment wetlands for household effluent treatment. Going from system selection and design to construction, planting and maintenance; this guide offers the reader a complete how-to manual for getting your own reed bed system up and running.

Reed beds are an efficient, effective, low-energy filter system for protecting local groundwater and streams from septic tank effluent and greywater. This thorough book explains the background to wastewater treatment and water quality and describes how reed beds work to get wastewater clean again.

Reed beds and treatment wetlands are well-established elements within permaculture design, and many of the permaculture principles are readily applied to them. This guide goes a step further than simply explaining how to design and build reed beds by providing greater insight into permaculture as a design tool and exploring how to maximize the yields, beneficial relationships, and sustainability of the reed bed and indeed the whole sewage treatment process within your site.

Complete with an overview of planning guidelines for the UK and Ireland, The Permaculture Guide to Reed Beds is an invaluable resource for homeowners who want to build their own system. It is also an essential reference manual for permaculture designers, architects, engineers, landscape designers, planners and others with an interest in this area. Easy to follow and clearly set out, with beautiful line drawings to illustrate the text, this is a book you'll find both useful and inspiring.

Available in: Paperback

Read More

The Permaculture Guide to Reed Beds

Féidhlim Harty

Paperback $14.95