So last week we completed all of our carpentry projects for this stage of the house, and we are finally back to cobbing. Our last project with wood was the framework for a small roof over the spot for our outdoor bed. The weather is mild here most of the year, and we love to sleep outside as much as possible. It can rain quite a bit in our area, with our average yearly precipitation nearing 50 inches, and with this roof we’ll be able to sleep outdoors during many rainy nights.
We looked through our neighbor’s brush piles until we found a nice beefy cedar to use for our post. For the pieces on which the rafters are resting, I wanted some curvy lengths of roundwood that would allow the roof line to have a more organic shape (an angular roof just wouldn’t match a house with no corners…). So we spent a while walking through the woods looking for a tree with all the right bends and twists.
In contrast to tulip poplar’s telephone pole-esque habit of quickly shooting straight up to the sky, sourwood takes a different approach, creeping sideways through the understory in an attempt to maximize patches of sunlight. The sourwood trees in our woods are full of curves, and we found just the right tree for our roof line.
For the rafters we used mainly tulip poplar. On one end they’re notched where they rest on the sourwood, and the other ends are attached to the house, screwed into the last floor joist, and also attached to plenty of “deadmen” that will further anchor them into the wall as they all get buried in cob.
For now we have a tarp stapled to the rafters, mainly to give our eyes an idea of what the roof will eventually look like. Later on we’ll lay some decking over the rafters, and from there I’m not totally set on what our final layer of roofing will be. I’ve been thinking lately about using tin cans, or aluminum cans, cutting them open, flattening them, and then laying ‘em like shingles, but I need to do a little research first. Does anyone have any experience with this kind of thing? I’d love to hear about it!