DIY Cob Oven :: step arg


So yesterday we built the base for the cob oven and today we started constructing the actual oven (I promise I’ll share pictures as soon as we’re finished). Let me just say, I hate the mood it has put me in. I am just generally PO’ed right now.

I’ll put in perspective… I am really good with clay and clay like materials. I took sculpting and pottery wheel classes for ten years and I have been teaching pottery wheel classes to middle school students 4-8 times a month for nine years now. I know my clay.

And yet this stupid cob oven leaves me dumbfounded. So much so that I’m doubting that it isn’t two words. Or at least hyphenated. If we hadn’t already put about $90 into this project, I would probably tip it over and call it even. But now I’ve invested too much time and money to give up.

I think if I had been able to find a tutorial, or something online, OR even taken a workshop on cob building, I would have been more successful in getting the right consistency of “cob”. It would have even been helpful for people who have done this using the “fire clay” powder in place of actual clay (we grow sand here.. no clay in the soil for a mile) had clarified the ratio. I tried the 2:1 ratio of sand to clay and it just didn’t feel right. Is a 2:1 ratio going by weight or volume? Because it turns out they are very different. 50 pounds of clay is twice the volume of 50 pounds of sand.

Maybe it will be better in the morning and I’ll feel good enough about the whole project to put on the second layer. Arg!

I’m off to pet baby rabbits to make myself feel better. Cuteness refill needed.

3 thoughts on “DIY Cob Oven :: step arg

  1. Oh no! I was looking online the other night for cob building workshops. You should give these guys a call and just ask them some questions. Or maybe email them? I really want to go intern with them next summer. I haven’t contacted them yet. Also, they have a ton of books, which means spending money, but, anyway.

  2. Hang in there! I don’t know if it helps, but I took out a book from my library called “Build Your Own Earth Oven,” but I haven’t been brave enough to attempt one of my own. Looking forward to seeing the results of your very awesome DIY project!

  3. I may have been freaking out a little… When I checked on it last night it was starting to dry up a bit and look better. I think I just got the mixture for the first layer a little too wet. I was thinking of how wet clay should be and not how wet man-made “fire clay” should be.

    But when you’re standing there feeling victorious for finishing that first layer and then it starts melting off… its a little discouraging. That coupled with the fact that it’s taking like 4x the amount of materials I had initially read. (I’ll have to take a hands-on workshop before trying this again!)

    But I’m going to head out there this morning and try my best to get that second layer on.

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