Photo Gallery

Highlights from the July 2012 Natural Cottage Project Workshop in Oxford, Michigan


THE TIMBER FRAME   We raised the timber frame with help from everyone.   After the main frame was up, the carpentry gang continued raising the rafters.


ROUND MEETS SQUARE   We used round log joists, sawn flat on top to support the loft flooring, to contrast with our otherwise square frame.   All the wood we used in the cottage was cottonwood from nearby forests.
A STONE FOUNDATION We mortared together stones from the site and capped them with a cob bond beam – an idea suggested by one of our work-traders! The foundation is supported by a drained gravel trench to protect the cottage from frost-heave


PREPARING THE THATCH   We stacked the bundles of reed in protective piles to await their turn to go up onto the roof.


FRAMING FOR BALES   As the bales began to be placed around the north wall, we fastened the window bucks in place on the south and east walls.


MAKING COB   We mixed sand, clay, and straw with a little water, mashing it all together with our feet until it became a good stiff cob mix for building the garden wall.


MAKING A CUTOM-SIZED BALE   We used bale needles and twine to make specialized sizes and shapes.   A lot of bales had to be custom-made to fit around the windows and in the gables.




A VIEW DOWN THE RAFTERS    We used peeled saplings from the woods for our purlins and extended them past the rafters to make the protective gable overhang.   The thatchers prepare at the base of the roof.
THE FIRST REEDS  We laid bundles of thatch onto the roof, held in place by thin sapling sways we found in the woods.
CLAY ON CLAY   We smeared the clay plaster base coat onto the bales after we had coated all the walls with a thin, sticky clay slip. The slip helps the plaster to bond to the bales more easily.
MUD MEISTER!   Some of us had a lot of fun with the clay.
DEANNE TEACHES THATCHING   We sewed the reed bundles to the roof, slipping the thatching needle through the reeds to wire the sways to the purlins.
PLACING REED BUNDLES   We made the gable overhang by angling the reeds to the side.
MAKING A COB ARCH   We used a temporary wooden form to shape the arch in our cob garden wall.
PIZZA PARTY!!!  We had two build-your-own-pizza dinners to celebrate our accomplishments.
CROWNING THE ARCH   We were lucky to have an artistic participant from Quebec, who sculpted this delicate fleur-de-lis at the top of the cob archway.
THATCHING IN THE LOFT  Sending the thatching needles and wire around the purlins and back to the thatchers outside.



One Response to Photo Gallery

  1. Lois Robbins says:

    Great photos! I’d love to see one of the finished product here.
    Impressive command of the technology and termnology!
    A very gutsy thing to do.

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