Mo Tipton's Reviews > The Cob Builders Handbook: You Can Hand-Sculpt Your Own Home

The Cob Builders Handbook by Becky Bee
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's review
May 24, 09

bookshelves: sustainable-homesteading
Read in May, 2009

Becky Bee is quite the friendly and encouraging teacher, and she aims to make anyone and everyone feel capable of building their own cob house. The book provides a good overview of the cob building process, and the checklists are very helpful, but you would definitely need to do further reading (or attend a workshop) before attempting to build.

Each chapter focuses on a single aspect of construction, such as the roof or foundation, and while Bee offers a great deal of helpful pointers, they're not necessarily organized in such a way that it's clear how to proceed from A to B. Rather, each section is composed of random paragraphs, some in a Q&A format, that read roughly like: "A foundation (or roof or floor...) is really important. You might want to try such and such when you're building a foundation, and whatever you do, don't forget to do x, y and z. Happy building!"

If you're someone like myself who needs things laid out in a clear progression of steps with illustrations/photographs, this book will be little more than inspiring, offering helpful advice here and there, but leaving you with more questions than answers. I'd recommend reading The Hand-Sculpted House and Building Green for more concrete information.

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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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message 1: by Kathy (new)

Kathy I have this book, if you need to borrow it.

message 2: by Mo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mo Tipton I might take you up on that, actually. The library has a similar book, so if I'm cob-obsessed after I read that one and need more fuel for the fire, I'll let you know. Thanks for the offer :)

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks for the review.. I think you just saved me from buying this one. I already have the Hand sculpted House, which did seem sufficient to me, though they could include a few sample plans just to give the non-designers some ideas, but that aside it was complete near as I could tell.

message 4: by Mo (new) - rated it 2 stars

Mo Tipton Yeah, if you already have The Hand-Sculpted House, I'd definitely save your money on this one. If you haven't already, you should also check out Building Green . The authors combine a variety of alternative building methods in one small house, and they go over everything--their mistakes as well as their successes--in great detail with clear photographs every step of the way. I'm planning on adding the new addition to my reference library when it comes out in August.

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