Can You Make Survival Cement?

Have you ever heard of survival cement, or cob? If you’re stuck in the wilderness and need a strong, reliable structure, or find yourself in dire straights but have no building materials at hand, cob could be a true lifesaver. It’s an efficient way to use the resources around you to establish a safety for yourself, your family, or any others around you.

What Can You Use Cob For?

Well, you can use cob or survival cement for building a multitude of structures, ranging from primitive shelters to walls or even a house (and an oven inside the house, made from the same stuff) or just about anything you want to build.

Using well-made cob and a little bit of skill, you can actually make bricks from the respective mixture, and with bricks you can build an empire, right?

Step 1

The first element in the cob equation is mud. High quality mud is essential if you want to make the good stuff, and the best mud has a high concentration of clay. How to determine the good mud from the bad and the ugly you ask? Well, that’s relatively easy: if you make a ball from the potential dirt  which retains its initial shape, that’s the droid you’re looking for (yes, I am a big Star Wars fan). You’ve struck gold, and you can go fill a bucket (or more if you’re planning something big) with this mud.

Step 2

You must harvest/gather a respectable armload of straw or dry grasses and  cut them into lengths of six to twelve inches.

These steps may start to feel complicated, but once you see how much sturdier and safer a structure built from cement feels in place of a tent, the initial work will be more than worth it.

Step 3

Next, you must add water to your clay in order to hydrate it enough to a point/density where it will squish relatively easily through your fingers. Don’t hydrate it too much though; the ideal consistency is if you can mold it and it still hold its shape.

The stuff must not be so watery that it will run through your fingers. You just have to homogenize it pretty well. If you want to use the survival cement as a mortar for a stone-made construction, you should strive for a wetter mix; if you’re looking for building bricks or a solid structure made of cob, go for a firmer mixture.

Step 4

You should spread something like a tarp on the ground and put the bucket of homogenized mud and the cut grass/straw at the edges.

Step 5

In the next phase, you must dump the mud from the bucket in the middle of the tarp and put about half of the straw/grass on the top (step five, but who’s counting anyway?).

Step 6

In the next step you must fold a corner of the tarp over the top and stomp it pretty well if you’re barefoot or begin to directly stomp the straws into the mud if you don’t have a problem with getting dirty.

Step 7

Next, after you’ve danced around a bit and the mixture is flattened and spread out, step off the tarp then fold it in half, thus turning the mixture back onto itself. You should repeat the procedure at least 2-3 times until you form something in the shape of a ball. Then, you must add the remaining straw or grass progressively and start stomping again, until the remaining grass homogenizes with the mud thoroughly.  As a general rule of thumb, the optimum grass/mud ratio is somewhere between forty and sixty percent grass, depending on the type of the structure you want to build.

Step 8

The last step is to start your survival cement project as soon as possible. Don’t let the cob sit to dry out because the mud will harden and it’s going to be very difficult to get it into your desired shape or form. Basically, you can start building bricks with the cob/survival cement and you can repeat the aforementioned procedure until you have enough (bricks or whatever you’re doing).

– via www.survivopedia.com

Could cob be a useful tool for yourself and your family in a survival situation? What type of shelter would you build?

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