One of the big advantages with building in cob as compared to other methods is the extreme flexibility. It is almost impossible to mess up. There is always a possibility to correct afterwards. For example, when the wall becomes to thick at some point, you can simply saw the excess down again. You do not even loose your material, because you can soften it with some water or simply add it to the next portion you mix.
However, there is a good reason to develop some routine and to work in a more organized fashion not to do futile work. It is nice that you do not loose you cob material when you take parts down again. But anyway, pounding the mix, forming the balls and working them onto the wall is hard work. You do not want to do this over and over again.
I have developed some routine by now. The first routine concerns mixing and forming the portions. All in order to build a straight wall from the start.
In the beginning I formed the portions as balls. But it turned out to be a lot of extra work for the hands. And it is not easy to get even portions. They turned out to be very different in size. Now I form them as flat discs, also called breads.
It reminds a bit of a bakery, does’nt it? Biscuits left and breads to the right.
And here is how I make them.
Once the mixture is homogenous and the proper amount of straw is added, I collect everything one final time in the center of the tarp.
And now I pound it one final time and as evenly as possible like a flat pancake.
Then I loosen it by pulling the tarp over one time and only in one direction. Now it becomes very easy to pick portions of equal size. I just need to close to edges of the portions to form some bread-like shapes.
Ready. Now its time for a break.
Home made rye bread with ramson pesto.
The other part of the process that deserves some degree of organization is the work on the wall itself. Instead of pushing the rod higgledy piggledy from all sides into the newly places bread, it is advisable to first tag it by firmly and deeply pushing the rod in all directions through the layer of cob underneath.
So far so good. I stopped counting the days. The only thing I know is that I need a day off. 8)
And above all, I do not know how many holes I pushed in the growing wall. Must be in the 10th of thousands by now as judged by the wear out seen on my first pushing rod, which needs a replacement.