That's my #1 goal: create more cobbers; produce less climate changers!
For those that haven't had the time to send me your thoughts and questions, here's an email that I hope resolves most of what you've been wondering.
This is a compilation of what I've fielded so far, in hopes that it includes the questions on your list:
Q: Why do you call it Fast Cob/what's so fast about your cob?
A: Fast Cob! is noticeably and measurably faster than the cob technique I learned in 1996 and that is still widely used throughout North America. Some folks have mechanized cob (with mortar mixers, bobcats, etc), but I haven't got a sense of what they are capable of yet. I do know, through my own measurements and comparisons, that Fast Cob! is 10x faster to mix than regular cob and up to 30x faster to put on a wall...you can see for yourself here.
Q: What can I build with Fast Cob!
A: Virtually anything that has a roof and a foundation. If you don't care about longevity, then anything at all, that you don't want to move. Cob is not portable, so trailers or movable ovens aren't recommended, but homes, offices, studios, ovens, sheds, outbuildings, garages, storage boxes, fences, retaining walls, steps, stairs,..., you dream it and we can cob it.
Q: How much does it cost to build a cob building?
A: It depends on the size and complexity (as every building technique does), but generally speaking, it's half the price of conventional (timber-frame) building (roughly $200/sq.ft.). If you do everything yourself, it can cost in the hundreds. More realistic DIY cost would be $10-20/sq.ft. A detailed break-down of the costs of building a 400 sq.ft. home with Fast Cob! can be found here.
Q: How fast can I build something?
A: My first building is a 9' in diameter utility shed with a sleeping loft. With the old method, we guessed that it would be built in 6 days by 6 people. Wrong. Add another 2 days with 8 people and we still didn't finish. Add another 6 days with 10 people and we still didn't finish.
Then, with Fast Cob!, I finished the loft by myself over two weekends.
Now, I've enhanced our Fast Cob! technique to the point that I can build a 400 sq ft, 1 bedroom cabin in a month, including the foundation and metal roof, working 6-day weeks, 7 hours/day. I can easily build 5 cu.ft. of upper wall in an hour; with Super-Fast Cob! that doubles but is only possible at the base of walls. Our 400 sq.ft cabin example has 80 linear feet of 1 foot thick exterior wall that ranges from 7' to 12' high. That's 560 cu.ft for the lower 7' portion, plus another 100 cu.ft. of cob plus windows and doors. So 660 cu.ft of cob will be built in 660/5 = 132 hours or 19 7hr-person-days.
Compare this to years - yes, years - with regular cob and any other natural building technique that I'm aware of.
Obviously people new to Fast Cob! will initially take longer to build a structure, but I know younger, stronger folks will easily outpace my numbers.
A: I limit the number of participants to 6. Before I started instructing, we hosted groups of 10 and 8 and both times I felt like some people left with fewer skills than they would have with less people present.
These workshops are designed to ensure you have the maximum exposure to everything you need to be able to walk away and start building on your own. If you have special needs or simply want to focus on a particular aspect of building, just let me know and I'll make sure you are matched with the workshop that will support those needs and focus best.
Before the advent of Fast Cob!, I hosted workshops so I could build. Now that I can and do build on my own - thanks to Fast Cob! - I host workshops to spread the ease and joy of Natural Building. These workshops are geared first and foremost to give you the skills you need to start building on your own.
A: Absolutely, YES. Women and families are especially encouraged to apply. Fast Cob! is safe and fun for all ages, genders, and orientations. Last year, our ages ranged from 9 to 68, while previous years saw 4, 6, and 8 year olds having the time of their lives. No matter what your age, you're welcome at our workshops...
Q: I have a special diet; can you accommodate me?
A: Absolutely. We regularly host participants that range from gluten-free to allergic to specific foods. Just let us know when you apply so we can be sure to create a menu that is delicious and nutritious for you.
Q: Do I need to bring a bike to the workshop?
A: No, but bringing one makes it easier to get from the ferry to the workshop site, and it also enables you to come along for our evening Tour de Cob. If biking simply doesn't work for you, I can offer a ride on the back of our tandem and certainly carry your things in our bike trailer.
Q: Are there many tools needed to get started?
A: No. The entire kit can be found or purchased used (at garage sales, thrift stores and the like) and purchased new would cost a few hundred. We're talking about a wheelbarrow, garden hose, sprayer nozzle, 10-20 tarps (one larger can be cut into many smaller), shovel, level, used hand saw, garden spade, rubber boots and maybe some knee pads.
I will send you a complete list of what to bring and expect after you apply and confirm your spot in one of our workshops.
Q: When are your workshops?
A: All of our workshops start on Saturday afternoon (with a Welcome Dinner) and end the following Saturday morning (with a Farewell Breakfast). The specific dates of this year's workshops are:
- June 25-July 2, 2016 *** Covering all the Basics: Mixes, Bricks, Design, Fun! ***
- July/August, 2016 *** Kiddie Kob! Family Fun making Cob, Jam, and Art ***
- August 13-20, 2016 *** Focusing on Finishing: Plasters, Paints, and Floors ***
- September 10-17, 2016 *** Learning to Live Off-the-Grid ***
A: Not anymore. Camping is included in the workshop fee, but we also offer a Guest (Cob) House and a Guest (Prospector) Tent for those wanting a real bed to sleep on during the workshop. Just let us know when you apply so we can reserve it just for you.
A: Midnight Tonight! After that our regular rate applies for any spots that haven't been filled.
If you've been wanting to build your dream but don't want to go into debt or harm our planet any further, here's your chance to make that change!
Simply go to cob.lasqueti.ca/workshops and fill in the form at the bottom. I'll be in touch soon to help you on your way...
And really, don't delay. The workshops are filling up and I wouldn't want you to miss out.
P.S. If you want to read how Fast Cob! prevents Climate Change, just click here.
To compare Fast Cob! with conventional building in terms of pollution and waste creation, just click here.
If you want read about the health benefits and how to sculpt beauty into your own home, just click here.
If you want to join us at one of our 2016 workshops, just click here!