Buckley Rumford Fireplaces
Cob Rumfords



I am excited to share that the Alternative Technology Advisory Committee has given their support for outdoor Cob Rumford's in Portland. This support goes to the appeal board where I can then get the permit. Anyway, I am about to tell the story in the my newsletter and wanted to link to your site, specifically the photo I sent you. Do you have it up? You have so many wonderful photos that I did not find the cob Rumford. If it is there let me know and I'll link to it!

Good day

Sukita Reay Crimmel
Natural Builder / Artist
From These Hands, LLC
We create relaxing spaces where inspiration can unfold.
Licensed, Bonded, Insured

Wow amazed to see you write. I guess I had you on my list for the newsletter. In response to the reference of Orton's book I was directed to your article. I will correct my reference next time around. I have enjoyed your site!

Thanks for writing! Have you ever build a fireplace out of cob? I have done one and I had a rounded breast, but did slope the back.

Good day


Thanks for responding. No, I haven't built a Rumford out of cob. Do you literally mean build the whole fireplace out of cob or do you mean to use firebrick and the refractory clay Rumford throat, smoke chamber and flues with a cob enclosure? I know cob is used to build ovens but my impression is that the cob deteriorates quickly at high temperatures and it might be better to use refractory lining materials for both cob ovens and cob fireplaces. Educate me.

Warm regards,


I have built the whole thing out of cob and seen many examples of this. The Rumford I built out of all cob is only crumbly on the fire box back after 4 years of use, and only the first 1/2" or so. I will build up the back and sides with firebrick and the rest out of cob for any future Rumford's.

As for the ovens, I have seen many of these and built a couple myself with only cob materials no firebrick. I am not an expert and have not done any testing besides the example I built myself.

Someone who is much more versed in earth and fire is Kiko Denzer who wrote the How to Build your own Earthen Oven http://www.handprintpress.com/moreabout.htm#ovenmore Kiko actually sent me your article that is in response to Orton's book.

Thanks for your great website, I have enjoyed it much!

Take care


I'd love to see some pictures of your cob Rumford - finished with a fire as well as any construction pictures. I would be glad to put the pictures on our website with your comments if I may.

Jim Buckley

Hello Jim

Here are some photos of the cob Rumford I built in 2006. I will send some of the up coming Rumford. I am going to add you to my links, I really appreciate your information and work!



What do you think about smoke shelves? There theory another builder and I had about them is that they are only a result of Rumford lining old deeper fireplaces. You seem to have them in some, but no mention of their importance? I am about to get the City of Portland to approve me to build a cob Rumford. The only issue I am appealing with them is the use of cob, they already have a mention of Rumford, though short and limited words on it.



You are exactly correct. The smoke shelf was merely the inadvertent result of building the new fireback within an existing deeper fireplace, up about as far as the mason could reach. See my comments about Danforth on the second page of the article on Orton

I got your cob Rumford pictures and will get them on line pretty soon.


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