As an experience practitioner of all aspects of Cob Construction, Leslie Cornell has completed many projects from small cob wall repairs to complete rebuild and new build cob walls.
This particular project was a great one. In early 2000 Leslie Cornell and his team had the opportunity to restore this ancient granite and cob barn in St Austell, Cornwall which was part of a complex of agricultural buildings. Before its sympathetic restoration, the great storm in 1987 had sealed its fate.
There are many hundreds of buildings and boundary walls constructed with cob in Cornwall.
Our 2006/07 survey revealed several large clusters, indicating the prolific use of cob around the county. As well as these clusters of cob buildings, small groups and isolated one offs, were also unveiled.
This information was transposed to a geological map of Cornwall and tallied with the allochtonous substrate. Shuttering was used where door openings were required.
Cob is a mixture of subsoil, straw and water. When these elements are combined together they can be used in various ways for building.
To achieve a successful building medium, the soil must be free of large stones and must have clay content as this, once dried, will harden and give the wall its strength. Straw is as important as the stalks will bind the soil together.
Barley straw is the most commonly used binder in the production of cob in Cornwall and the South West of England.