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Kiko Denzer on Art

[Cob] Weatherproofing a cob bench

Robert Alcock ralcock at
Thu Dec 18 04:21:00 CST 2008

> Hi there,
> I finished building a cob bench in Ithaca, New York this summer and wasn't quite sure how to weather proof it after applying a clay plaster. It looked great and I knew it was something of a gamble but I had to leave town and figured I'd just let it's exposure be an experiment. There's no roof over the bench and it's not realistic to build one. The rain this fall eroded patches of the plaster and I intend to spruce it up come springtime. Currently, I have a tarp over it. 
> What are my options to keep this bench safe in the elements if a roof is not an option? I've seen uncovered cob benches elsewhere. Is a lime plaster my best bet or are there other options?
> Thanks much,
> Dirk Trachy
> Ithaca Freeskool
Don't know if this is at all relevant to you, but for me the simplest 
way to waterproof a simple cob bench (ok, actually, a straw bale on top 
of some stones, plastered with cob!) was to integrate the "roof" with 
the "seat" by simply fixing a piece of varnished wood on top of the 
bench with a slight overhang around the edge. It's not in a very exposed 
position and seems to work fine (for the last 12 months). Added bonus is 
that the wooden seat isn't cold to sit on, like an unheated cob bench is 
in most temperate climates.

(In fact the bench is so useful for putting stuff on - it's just outside 
our cabin's front door - that there's rarely room to sit down without 
moving said stuff...)

You could adapt this for more complex bench shapes, I guess.