why rising earth?

The title of this blog draws from my time as an apprentice at the Cob Cottage Company in costal Oregon. If you spend time with natural building folk, you'll eventually find yourself around a fire, sing silly songs about cob and natural building. Folks usually refer to these oftentimes improvised tunes as "cobsongs". I often sang..."There is a house in old coquille, they call the rising earth, it's been the work of many hands, and you know what that's worth..."

Monday, April 9, 2018


Here's a photo of the cord wood arch I built last year at the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC. I just received some recent photos of the arch, and I'm excited to share them.

Cord wood construction is practical in the way it uses a cheap, abundant material, in a simple masonry wall. It's easy to learn to do, doesn't require any high level technical skill or equipment more expensive than a chainsaw. It does have it's drawbacks though, as wood and mortar are not natural partners, as they expand and contract very differently with changes in moisture. There are techniques to learn that help mitigate these challenges. Rob Roy has written a number of excellent books on cord wood building, as well as other topics including post and beam framing, and underground houses. He also hosts workshops at his Earthwood Building School in far northern New York.

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