Hey folks! I’m finally getting around to updating the blog with some of my activity from the year. Here are photos from the cob outdoor kitchen workshop Mark and I taught at the Vague Estates in Troy, NY this summer.

This little open air building was designed to shelter a wood-fired earthen bread/pizza oven, and utilize the abundant raw material found on site; including wood, stone, and clay.

We started the week-long workshop by completing a stone and rubble foundation for the cob walls. In a small gesture of regenerative building, the foundation material was harvested from trash dumps around the past neglected property. Clay subsoil was procured from an adjacent cemetery. Diseased or crowded trees were taken for the timber frame.

I’ve always based my oven designs on Kiko Denzer’s outstanding book, Build Your Own Earth Oven. Above you can see us applying insulation material over the inner shell of dense, heat-storing cob. The insulation was a mixture of sawdust, straw, vermiculite, and just enough dried pottery clay mixed in to stick.

Here’s Sandra compacting the sand form that defines the oven interior before we apply cob.

Layout lines for cutting the tenon on top of a round-wood post. And yours truly in the background.

Round wood carpentry is tricky, but doable. Looks great in a little building like this but would take a long time for a house!

Thank you Heather for the photos, Missy for the food, and the rest of the crew for a great week together!