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Cob Building Workshop

May 6, 2019 - May 10, 2019


Dates: May 6 – May 12, 2019

Location: Athens, Tennessee


Come and join us in the beautiful foothills of Athens, Tennessee for our 2019 Cob Building Workshop! We will be constructing a cob house in this workshop. A perfect project for beginners and experts alike! You will get the knowledge to be able to build cob projects scaling from smaller things, such as cob ovens and benches, up to large projects like homes and buildings.

This workshop is a great experience to learn how to build with cob and to get a broad learning overview of natural building techniques. You will get a solid foundation in cob building fundamentals. We will be constructing a fully functional cob house and studying Natural Building together each day. After this workshop, you will have the basic know-how and confidence to design and build your own simple cob constructions or cob building.


Hands-On Work Topics:

– How to make cob (with the traditional tarp method and mixing large batches with a backhoe!)

– Selecting and testing soils for cob (learn several ways to test your soil composition)

– Building cob walls (learn my four steps to efficient cob wall building)

– Creating window and door frames (how to build and attach frames to cob walls)

– Rammed Earth Demonstration (building rammed earth forms and compaction process)


Classroom and Discussion Topics:

– Site selection and design (includes Passive Solar design principles)

– Materials and tools (covers traditional and modern cob building toolset and materials)

– Rubble trench foundations (Plus general foundation building)

– Drainage principles (Important: water can be cob’s worst enemy)

– Basic Electrical and Plumbing integration for cob homes

– Installing windows and doors

– Roofing and Bond Beams

– Natural plasters and finishes (Vapor Permeable / “Breathable” finishes)

– Overview of Natural Building materials


This workshop is a unique experience for people to learn about building cob homes and to get an overview of Natural Building. Not only are there plenty of hands-on lessons to learn from, but we will also have ample discussion and informal classroom time. Most cob workshops don’t cover this many topics. But here, you will learn all the core lessons needed to start building from this one workshop!

Plus – there will be many hours of discussions about building cob homes and natural building throughout the workshop. Its a great way to get your questions answered and brainstorm your building ideas!

The workshop will be held at a private property in Athens, Tennessee.

Each day will begin at 8:00 AM, and the days will include hands-on building, classroom sessions, discussions, and learning activities related to cob and natural building topics. We will break for lunch between 12:30 to 1:30 PM, and we will complete each day at around 5:00 PM. They will be full-packed days! Worth your every penny!

The workshop will be taught by Alex Sumerall, an east coast Natural Builder who has a focus on creating earthen structures that are healthy, aesthetically pleasing, and functional for modern life. He is the owner of This Cob House, LLC, which is dedicated to teaching people about cob and natural building techniques. Alex has a background in business and advertising, and has been practicing Natural Building since 2011. He graduated from the Aprovecho School of Natural Building in 2013 in Cottage Grove, Oregon, and continues to teach, present, consult, and construct.


Listen to the great things that our workshop participants are saying!


“The cob workshop was a life-changing experience. I learned a lot about natural building, not only from Alex’s instruction, experience and demonstrations, but from interacting with people from different backgrounds who were a great source of collective knowledge. The hands-on experience was priceless!” Tony Romo, Texas


“The Cob Building Workshop was a great investment of my time! It was well organized, extremely inspiring, and FUN! Alex was able to explain construction basics to neophytes like me, yet he could also answer the complex questions asked by the more experienced workshop attendees. I can’t wait until the next workshop!”

Marybeth Babos, Tennessee



There are two options for lodging: free camping on site, or making reservations at one of the local hotels or AirBnB. There are plenty of lodging options available in the neighboring towns, just a short drive from the workshop site.

Camping is FREE and is available on the property. There are plenty of great locations to set up a tent here. Multiple camp areas are available. Campers will have access to composting toilets and private outdoor showers.

We have water available on-site, but there is little electricity available since this is an off-grid property. We recommend bringing a small solar charger for any cell phones or devices if you are camping on-site.



Meals will not be included in this workshop so participants will need to provide their own food. There are several local restaurants and grocery stores nearby the workshop site.

Each is responsible for their own meal preparation, unless decisions are made to share or combine. An hour for lunch is provided, allowing adequate time for a quick nap, a trip into town, fast food, or cooking over a fire. There is no official kitchen on site. Coolers are welcome and encouraged.


Family & Groups

Ask about discounts. We encourage group & family activities because it enhances learning among your support group. Email me at alex@thiscobhouse.com for custom group/family invoice.

Children/young people of any age are welcome to join in and learn. Please be aware that some areas are under construction, as is the purpose of this workshop. Children are welcome to explore through “hands-on” learning. It’s okay if they play in the dirt.



Regular Price: $499

Early-Bird Discount Price: $399 (Register and Pay Before April 8th)

Additional Discounts: 10% for family and friends participating together.

Teens accompanying a parent/guardian are half price. Children under 13 accompanying a parent/guardian are free.

Click here to register: http://www.thiscobhouse.com/cob-building-workshop-athens-tennessee/

If you have any other questions about the workshop, please feel free to email me at alex@thiscobhouse.com

If you have a large party of people registering, they can all register separately, or contact me for a custom invoice.


May 6, 2019
May 10, 2019
Event Category:


Unnamed Venue
Athens, TN United States


Alex Sumerall
View Organizer Website