Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A ring and a circle. The earthbag shed as a chapel??

Making great progress on this project thanks in no small part to a great group of friends. From the beginning I have had visits from friends and volunteers just about every day I have needed to lay down bags. I feel very blessed to have a community of people who are eager to help. And really, who can say no to a little fresh air and and a good days work lifting bag after bag after bag after bag after.....


The walls are now almost as tall as I am! The end is in sight and all the hard work is really starting to feel like its approaching a final destination. Its incredible to feel the vision come into being. Its just a shed I know, Its most glorious days will be housing the water tank and pump controls but it feels like the taj mahal. If Im getting this worked up over a tiny shed I cant imagine ill even be able to make it through building a whole house without popping an artery.

The tires placed in the wall are acting as window forms. I gathered this idea  from a fellow in an earthbag group on facebook. Its a brilliant idea and from his experience it seems to work like a charm.

You can see how the bags form over the tires to form and arch. after the arch is set the air can be let out and the tire will easily pop out of the wall.

To fill the opening Ill need to find suitable prefab windows or scrape together some reclaimed glass. Or maybe a bottle window? Lots of ideas for interesting ways to fill the space.

We have also got a good start to the initial mud application on the walls. We made up a mixture of almost equal parts water, cement, clay and straw to make the perfect mud putty for filling in the gaps and spaces between bags. This initial application will bring the surface of the wall almost to flush and save a lot of effort in the final plastering, giving the stucco finish a good base to cover.

One month ago
The current progress
 It really looks like a building now! I think it will take 2 or three more weekends and we will be done with the walls. By comparison the roof should take no time at all!

The amount of labor involved so far has given me a new respect for anyone who has completed one of these projects. It is hard work but dont let that scare you off if you're just hearing about this process. Its not back breaking work, its the kind that will get you into shape and the level of satisfaction pays for itself. Seeing a group of friends come together to help you build strong shelter walls will add years to your life.

There is also new technology coming over the horizon which makes the process of constructing earthbag buildings astronomically more efficient, strengthens the ability for communities to utilize these techniques, all without the need for any extra specialized labor. In my next post I will be discussing this topic in more detail.


To wrap up the weekend I took a knee and asked my girlfriend the most important question of  my life. What better timing then after a long day of sweat and dirt and sore muscles? As smoothly as this process has been going I have to admit it would be twice as difficult without her help. I knew she was the one before this project started but having her involved has made all the difference. A beautiful girl who isnt afraid to get her hands into some mud and gravel? Thats a keeper.

Personally I thought the dirty fingernails made a much better compliment to the ring but she insisted on girl-ing it up for the camera. what can you do? Sorry gents, this one is taken.

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