Sometimes natural building techniques just aren't suited for a certain environment. For example, an exposed cob oven in vermont vs. a stone oven would turn out very differently, the cob falling apart in VT's heavy rain.

With that in mind, is wattle and daub suited for the Adirondacks? Similar to in this video though I envision it a little thicker in the ADKs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sah-T9bWStA The video shows an Australian bushcrafter building a small shack with small diameter hardwood woven with wattle and then an inch or two of daub.

I've also seen European primitive structures crafted with wattle and daub in some cases, but usually only in certain parts or for relatively open structures. Part of it may depend on my question about soil suitability, but other factors could be due to weather, precipitation, temperatures, wind.

  • I would use similar logic to what I provided in your other question: you could make one in Vermont, or practically anywhere as long as you have mud and something to hold it. Under heavy rain, you just need to protect it much better. Even when these primitive means were used natively, it wasn't because that was "the correct thing to do." People used the combination of what was available and what they thought could work well. People coming from a wattle & daub -using area in 500 or 1500 would likely use that method wherever they went, even ADK. If I answered, I'd copy/paste my other answer.
    – Loduwijk
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 18:44
  • Unless, by "suitable" you mean "the ideal material," as in "If I want to make a (semi) permanent shelter and do it primitively, would this be the ideal method?" then the answer would be no, as simply using the wood would be preferable if you have adequate cutting tools. Is this more what you're asking about?
    – Loduwijk
    Commented Mar 27, 2019 at 18:45

1 Answer 1


Take a closer look at european construction techniques up to the invention of asphalt and steel roofing.

In general, if you can keep the water off of the building, you can use a water soluble medium.

Technologies used:

  • Thatched roofs with large eaves. Thatch has to be quite thick, and quite steep to be effective. Material is usually heavy reeds. Typically you will use 3-4 times the thickness that is opaque. This translates into 1 to 2 feet thick.

  • Ceramic tile sections. Often used in Mediterranean areas. Red (usually) tile roofs with one layer of tiles open up, and a second set over them opening downward. This is a very heavy roof.

The other technique is to surface the walls with something less ready to try to run away when it gets wet. Lime plaster works well for this. To make it more water proof it was mixed with pig blood. This was often used for chimney caps, but in parts of England you still see pink cottages echoing this tradition.

Surfaces can be sealed with milk paint or with linseed oil.

Doing this:

A building is a lot of work. When trying a new technique do 4 projects:

  1. Doghouse.
  2. Garden shed.
  3. Garage
  4. House.

This will make your mistakes a lot cheaper both in time and money.

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