Rethink Your Life!
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The Work of Art and The Art of Work
Kiko Denzer on Art

[Cob] building with shipping containers, straw bales, and cob

Robert Alcock ralcock at
Thu Jun 26 14:54:38 CDT 2008

Not to want to buck the trend, here, but I don't think this post is so 
off-topic... the poster is, after all, asking how to incorporate cob 
into a particular form of construction (with containers).
I would say that cob can likely be used to remodel the interior of a 
building with almost any material, including steel containers. You would 
need to paint the steel with an adhesion coat, something that will stick 
really well to steel and leave a rough surface. The cob would give a 
comfortable, organic interior with high thermal mass, which would be 
useful because I imagine containers would tend to be pretty uncomfortable.
Thermal expansion/contraction in the steel might present problems. My 
only experience with cob and steel has been setting a steel woodstove 
into a cob fireplace, and I have found that the cob cracks because of 
thermal expansion of the stove. So far the cracks aren't fatal, and we 
have achieved the intended result (linking the stove to the thermal mass 
of the house core).


> I agree with Tim...this is the weirdest off-topic post yet to show on  
> the cob list.  Come on, this is the COB-LIST, not the "container- 
> list" or "steel-list" or "strawbale-as-insulation-list"
> You should only post to this list if you want to discuss COB building!
> On Jun 25, 2008, at 11:56 PM, Tim Nam wrote:
>> Do you have access to free containers or something? I mean, why not  
>> just stick with the strawbale and cob?  Just asking.
>> I would use the containers for a basement, if at all.
>>  Tim Kijoo Nam
>> Corvallis, OR
>> tkn317071 at
>> "We are discussing no small matter, but how we ought to live." - 
>> Socrates
>> ----- Original Message ----
>> From: Selvoy Fillerup <selvoy at>
>> To: coblist at
>> Sent: Wednesday, June 25, 2008 6:12:21 PM
>> Subject: [Cob] building with shipping containers, straw bales, and cob
>> All:
>> I?d like to discuss the possibility of incorporating recycled  
>> shipping containers with natural materials (such as straw bales and  
>> cob) to create a natural/industrial blended home. I prefer the  
>> organic look and feel of natural materials and would like to use  
>> containers as a skeletal framework on which to build. Does anyone  
>> have experience with both methods of construction?