Many of the oldest buildings in the world are made out of mud. They last centuries not because mud is super durable, but because it is super repairable. Join us as we do a little TLC for this cob fireplace we built a few years before and gets a lot of hard love from the kids who attend this farm school. Be sure to join us for more fun Natural Building at unclemud.com and as always thank you for supporting our free exclusive content at patreon.com/unclemud
Our fearless Mud Sister Elaine has made a helpful video showing the entire process of making cob by foot stomping. Check it out. Then join us for more Natural Building at unclemud.com or support our work and get free exclusive content at patreon.com/unclemud
One of the best parts of teaching at the Permies.com Rocket Mass Heater Jamboree in 2017 was meeting the Amazing Attilio. Here he interviews me about the design/build in process of the WorkshopRocket, an early version of the CottageRocket.
In 2018 our friend Attilio joined us on the first part of our outdoor kitchen build in Nine Mile Jamaica. I wanted to share his snapshot of the gentle village life we miss so much when we aren't there. Bless Up Nine Mile!
The video we did of Sarah's tree house got a lovely treatment from Derek “Deek” Diedricksen at RelaxShacks.com. Real editing and production. Ohh Ahh.
I just like how that fire looks.
The Casserole Door is an Uncle Mud original that probably other people have come up with also. A $1 thrift store glass baking dish lid that replaces an expensive and time consuming fiddly bit of work to make a batch rocket door. Sculpt a slanted cob lip to set the lid in, let it dry, and you have a closed fire chamber with a bit of a flame view.
With the fire really jumping we can talk more about what makes this heater special.
In which we have the Double Shoebox Cookstove put back together and we fire it.
The cook surface of the Wofati Double Shoebox was pretty caked with creosote from being fired repeatedly without sufficient airflow so Kirk Mobert gave it a bit of elbow grease.
In October of 2018 I got to work with Kirk Mobert on a rebuild of the Peter Van Den Berg designed Double Shoebox Rocket Stove. The rebuild gave us a chance to clean out and inspect the innards, as well as tweak the design, removing the radiant bell that was taking too much heat out of the exhaust and installing a better manifold and chimney. Click here for part 2.
Behind an old door rebuilt from a cast off frame and scrap metal is a simple but beautiful bathroom built from natural materials from the site and industrial scrap. Click here for part 1 of the Uncle Mud Tour of the Steen Compound.
In the fall of 2018 Mrs. Mud and I had the beautiful experience of attending a plastering workshop at the Steen Compound south of Tucson, AZ, USA where this First Family of Natural Building shares the plastering arts with students from all over the world. The buildings of the Canelo Project are works of art that teach and inspire. Part 2
In 2013 we decided to build a cob rocket mass heater of our own. We made the 8" core out of autoclaved concrete--not the best material for the interior of a super hot woodstove that can burn out metal, but we had the parts and wanted to see how it would work. Fast forward six plus years. The heater has performed very well but it was needing some repairs and our renters needed a batch heater that could be fired before and after work instead of the J tube that needed constant attention so we decided to dissect it and report on how it was holding up before replacing it. Click here for Part 2
We've been seeing pictures on the Internet of this crazy house outside San Antonio Texas so when we were down there for the mother Earth News Fair we stopped by for a tour. The idea for came to Brittany during a stint as a park ranger at a local historic site. "These beautiful old buildings were built by the people who lived in them, from materials on site. Why can't we do that?" So while she was working her husband John and their friend Simon Gonzales proceeded to build the "Cob Barndominium". Click here for Part 2
We've been testing different heaters on this mass bench and this is a very nice setup if you want a Rocket Heater and don't want to feed the fire every few minutes.
There's a special moment when we get to fire up a heater and see how it runs. Go here for the full review.
In February 2020 Chris Strathy The Capable Carpenter invited Uncle Mud to visit the treehouse he was building for Fen in North Carolina. It was just barely warm enough to teach a quick cob class and grab a tour of Chris's mobile shop for more of his amazing work check out his Youtube.
The hardware store up the hill from me in my home town is called Hill Hardware, um, I guess because it is at the top of the hill. It is a four minute drive that is almost totally uninteresting. I will never take it for granted again. This is just a little bit of what it takes to get to the hardware store if you live in Nine Mile Jamaica.
Chris Strathy has my dream job. My other dream job. If I wasn't Uncle Mud I would totally want his job. He gets to hang out in cool places, with cool people, building cool stuff and making videos that actually have decent editing and special effects. Then there's the beard. Serious beard envy here. But the the thing that makes me most jealous of of Chris Strathy is this mobile shop. I don't actually need a mobile shop like this. It would probably fill up with junk to where I couldn't use it just like my workshop at the house, but I want to need a shop like this. I would feel capable too if I could be this organized. Check him out thecapablecarpenter.com
On a gorgeous fall day the Mud Family is racing "The Big Freeze" to get a truck load of cob mixed and stored inside for a big job next week. Our faithful electric mixer has given up on us so we have called in the troops and rented a big gas powered mortar mixer. Lets see how this works.
So we've been burning this heater for about four years now but finally got around to hooking it up to a thermal mass and giving it a good firing and a review. Sky Huddleston has done a good job balancing the needs of mass production with the fine tuning that lets rocket heaters burn so clean. You COULD build your own rocket heater out of mud and scrap metal and it MIGHT work as well but it would probably not be code approved as a woodstove and UL Listed in the United States like this one or give you the choice to burn pellets or wood scraps. This is a really good heater for the money. Check them out at rocketheater.com and they will give you $100 off if you tell them Uncle Mud sent you.