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Intro to Earthen Building Workshop

April 12, 2021 - April 16, 2021


Dates: April 12 – April 16, 2021 (YES. We are still having the workshop as scheduled.)

Location: Keystone Heights, Florida

Come and join us in Florida for our next Introduction to Earthen Building Workshop! We will be constructing a 6 foot tall rammed earth column, building a cob bench, and applying earth plaster to the cob cottage. A perfect class for beginners and experts alike! What makes this workshop unique is the opportunity to get hands-on experience with cob, rammed earth, and earthen plaster! You will get the knowledge to build earthen building projects scaling from smaller things, such as cob ovens and benches, up to large projects like homes and buildings. You will also get the opportunity to experience a completed cob building, which was built on-site from previous workshop students.

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

Hands-On Work Topics:

– How to make cob (with the traditional tarp method and with a mortar mixer!)

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

– Building with rammed earth (we will be building a rammed earth 6 foot tall column)

– How to build foundations (learn hands-on how to build concrete foundations for earthen walls)

– Earthen Plaster (learn to mix and apply earthen plaster and lime plaster)

– Basic carpentry skills (learn how to build rammed earth forms)

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 earthen 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 earthen construction 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 earthen 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 Keystone Heights, Florida.

Each day will begin at 9:00 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 12:00 to 1:30 PM, and we will complete each day at around 4:00 PM. They will be full-packed days! Worth your every penny!

The workshop will be taught by Alex Sumerall, an east coast Earth Building Mason 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 earthen building techniques. Alex has a background in business and advertising, and has been practicing earthen 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.

Earn A Certificate of Earthen Building!

Upon completion of this workshop, you will be awarded with a certificate of earthen building. This certificate is earned by all of our 5-day workshop students. It will be printed and signed by Alex for you to take home with you at the end of the week.

Free Bonus!

Everyone who signs up for the workshop will receive a printed copy of Alex’s book, “Build a Cob House: A Step-By-Step Guide”, and the downloadable PDF version, FREE! We only make printed copies for workshop students, so this is your chance to get one. We will be using the book as a lesson guide throughout the workshop too so you can follow along with your book in hand.

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. Hotels are available in the neighboring towns of Stark and Waldo, per Google maps, and possibly in Keystone Heights.

Camping is FREE and is available throughout the property. There are plenty of great locations to set up a tent here. Multiple camp areas are available with oak trees shading the majority of the property. Trees can be used appropriately for hammocks & camp gear. Campers will have access to a clean bathroom and private outdoor shower.

A modernized, yet simple, building contains a flushable toilet with a private outdoor shower that’s tucked away. It is spacious with room to keep things up and dry.
Our location has electricity & water. Electric outlets are minimal, with the ability to charge phones & power tools, in a single location. The water is well water and is drinkable, yet you may wish to bring your own.


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, cooking over the fire, or utilizing the grill. There is no official kitchen on site, but there is a small operational microwave, and a few pieces of kitchen camp gear available for use. Coolers are welcome and encouraged.

Local Places to Eat: McHenry’s (food & pub), Keystone Inn (country buffet, known for chicken) Hardee’s, McDonald’s, Subway, Johnny’s BBQ

Recreation & Surroundings

Bring a camp chair for some quality R&R. Build a community camp fire, while reflecting on the day. Enjoy the grassy area to throw a ball, walking trails through the woods, blackberry bushes, slightly traveled road that’s great for a leisurely walk, and the open field in the distance to spot deer, crane, & rabbits in the early mornings.

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. Previous workshop parents have brought playpens, pop up tents, outside toys, and so forth. Children are welcome to explore through “hands-on” learning. It’s okay if they play in the dirt.


Price: $499

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: https://www.thiscobhouse.com/introduction-cob-workshop-keystone-heights-florida/

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.


April 12, 2021
April 16, 2021
Event Category:


Unnamed Venue
Keystone Heights, FL United States


Alex Sumerall
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