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Kids Cob Camp and Building with COB 101


July 1 - July 5 Contact

~ Soil Tests & Cob Brick Tests

~ Mixing and Building with Cob

~ Earthen and Lime Plasters

~ Waterproof, Tadelakt Plaster

~ Earthen (Adobe) Floor

~ Kids Cob Camp

Soil Tests
While there are volumes written about soil tests, nothing beats getting your hands in the mud to get the feel of it.  To check quality and quantity of clay, we will conduct the snake test, a cut test, and a shake test.  You will ‘Learn by Doing,’ and go home with confidence after mixing a number of recipe’s.

Brick Tests
After determining the possible ratios through a variety of  mixes, we will make test bricks for our final cob recipe’ on the first day. The bricks will be dry by our last day together, allowing for a final examination and to perform the compression test.

Building Cob Walls
During this part of the workshop we will learn how to build cob walls, and ‘learn by doing’ as we:

– Choose materials and mix cob
– Build cob with forms and free form
– Trim & shape walls using a cob saw

Based on our soil tests, we will choose materials, clay soil, sand and straw, and mix cob using the tarp mixing method.  You will ‘Learn by Doing,’ and discover by feel what is right amount of time to mix the recipe’ dry, when to add water and how much, what is the correct texture to call it finished, and how much is enough or too much straw.

Natural (Earthen) Plaster
Working with natural plasters is perhaps the most rewarding aspect of creating an earthen structure; the dessert after the main course of building with cob. By mixing and applying plaster, we will explore and compare a variety of recipes to create the perfect finish for your cob home walls. Here is the point where your home transforms from a mud hut to a cob cottage.

Often referred to as the rough coat or scratch coat, this is the stage of the building process that creates a protective layer for your cob building. Indigenous peoples in developing countries have experimented with a wide variety of additives to make plaster harder and more water resistant. We will contrast and compare several options.

Lime Plaster
We will consider the advantages and challenges of using lime, and ‘learn by doing’ as we:

– Learn the recipe and slake lime putty

​- Mix lime putty and mason’s sand to make lime plaster

​- Apply lime plaster to a cob wall over a scratch coat

Lime plasters have been used to protect cob walls in almost every part of the world for thousands of years. Structures that are still in existence in Europe, that have been continuously inhabited for over 500 years, attest to the incredibly sustainable qualities of using lime plasters with cob.

Tadelakt Plaster

Finishing a sculpted, combination garden tub and hot tub, we will be learning about and applying a 5,000 year old Moroccan method of plastering to waterproof cob.

Consider the brilliant plaster finishes of the Turkish baths and you will get the image of the Tadelakt finish. More of an art than a process, we will have ample time to apply this advanced technique.

While cob masters often debate the need to attend a workshop to build cob walls, they almost unanimously agree that these plasters are best learned through hands on instruction.

Earthen Floor
We will be pouring a natural earthen floor, sometimes called adobe, on the last day of the workshop.  We will learn by doing as we prepare materials, choose appropriate insulation, prep the sub floor, set up the frame, and see the final step to building with earth.

As much as is

          reasonably possible..
​We  try to prepare you to go home and be able to build your own home out of cob after attending a five day workshop with us.

In addition to all the hands-on cob listed here, we will also discuss roofing components and foundations in detail.

Kids Cob Camp  We have a fabulous program for children 3 to 11 which includes a wide variety of age appropriate activities, including the kids working on their own cob project, and unrelated to cob, super fun stuff as well. It is truly a cob camp for kids that they will never forget!  Registration for the kids program includes the costs of the facilitator, materials for crafts, etc., and of course meals, snacks and camping.​

– We will start each day with breakfast, & begin building at 8:00. We will break for lunch at 12:00, & work will end at 5:00.
– We suggest out of town guests, as well as local folks, to arrive the night before to set up camp.
– We will eat three meals a day together every day for each day of the workshop.​​

– Call Diane Jennings at 606-256-8954 for more information.


July 1
July 5
Event Category:


Disputanta Cob
Central KY, Berea, KY United States


Diane Jennings