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balecob home on earthbag foundation--building progress

 
pollinator
Posts: 399
Location: Victor, Montana; Zone 5b
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and more...
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unfinished loft
unfinished loft
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finished loft from below in bedroom
finished loft from below in bedroom
 
Daniel Ray
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Posts: 399
Location: Victor, Montana; Zone 5b
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Going well, just ready to get the metal installed and be done with this project for the winter.
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fascia going on
fascia going on
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bale infill wall and insulation
bale infill wall and insulation
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supports for metal and fascia boards
supports for metal and fascia boards
 
pollinator
Posts: 4665
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
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Daniel, what a cool looking house, nicely done !
Tell me more about this bale cob technique.  

Do you stack the bails and then cover them with cob or are you breaking up the bails and mixing cob into them then reforming the bails?

Do you have to pin the bails together?

What kind of dogs are those?
 
Daniel Ray
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Location: Victor, Montana; Zone 5b
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Hi Miles, thanks for your questions and comments.

Balecob was coined i guess by Cob Cottage Company. I first read about the technique in the cobweb which was a regular write in newsletter thing from cob cottage. I contacted cob cottage and talked to them about the building process and got a more thorough understanding. It is basically stacked bales with an 8-10" layer of cob on the interior and a thick 2-3 inch earthen plaster on the outside. The bales are not pinned except for the corners and the infill wall up in the loft. The cob on the inside is pushed between the cracks of the bales 4-6 inches, but not all the way through to keep from having thermal breaks.. There are a few strategically placed pillars of cob in three different places in the exterior walls for strength--those are about 30" thick. Also, the interior walls are solid cob and there is a massive cob trombe between the house and the sunroom in the front.

My dogs are alaskan malamutes from a breeder in Big Fork Montana, but they don't help the building process much. I couldn't even get them to pull my beams to the house location when I cut them down. Had to use a winch.
 
gardener
Posts: 698
Location: SoCal USA
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That's looking great!
Other info on balecob that I gathered from my visit to Cob Cottage, the bales obviously insulate and the cob layer on the inside provides some thermal mass that can absorb heat during the day and radiate it at night. The "Dino" dining hall at Cob Cottage is balecob.

Daniel, do the earthbags get covered with cob at the same time as the bales, and will that go to almost ground level? It looks like the bags are filled with gravel yes? It's great to see a structure going up as I consider both balecob and Oehler designs for a likely zone 5 area.
 
Daniel Ray
pollinator
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Location: Victor, Montana; Zone 5b
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The earthbags are double wide to support both the cob and the bales, they are about two feet higher than the final ground level. The first two rows are gravel filled, but the next 3 are soil filled and tamped. We put a clay slip on all the bags this year to prevent them breaking down, but next year we will do a lime plaster and a field stone facade all around the foundation. I collected all the field stone this year, but there was no time to mortar them in place. A project for the spring.

Mark, how much time did you spend at cob cottage. We haven't had the chance to make a visit yet, but maybe next year we can go and get some hands on experience with the pros.
 
Mark Brunnr
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I went for about 10 days, they had a rocket mass heater workshop on a weekend followed by a work party the next week. The work party was early October, which is just before the rainy season starts, so tasks were focused on things that happen at that time like getting as much wood bucked/split/stacked under shelter as we could, maintenance of tools/gear, and some repairs.

We did play with cob making the manifold and covering the core for the RMH, Leslie Jackson was there too (she and Ianto wrote the Rocket Mass Heaters book), and Ianto has an immense wealth of knowledge that he shares on all kinds of stuff. Was also fun taking hot showers that were heated with a RMH and making meals from all the fresh food in the gardens. And it's not often you get to see a 1200 year old Cedar tree that's the size of a redwood, about 11' DBH. Once you're there for a couple days and your body/brain adjust to nature, it's incredibly peaceful.
 
Daniel Ray
pollinator
Posts: 399
Location: Victor, Montana; Zone 5b
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Here is the beginning of our batch rocket mass heater--we used Peter's numbers for an 8" stove and I can tell this thing is already going to be a beast. Very excited to light it up this week and post some photos of the burn. Our riser is experimenting with the partial octagon shape that was experimented with in the Mallorca workshop with Peter--visit here http://donkey32.proboards.com/thread/2364/rocket-heater-build-peter-mallorca
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building the riser
building the riser
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looking down the riser
looking down the riser
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[Thumbnail for 20180420_105455.jpg]
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chimney installed
chimney installed
 
Daniel Ray
pollinator
Posts: 399
Location: Victor, Montana; Zone 5b
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Clay plasters, rock facades, bale walls, bottle windows and more!!! We are nearing the end and should be moving in soon!

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glass blocks in high eave
glass blocks in high eave
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rock facade over earthbag foundation
rock facade over earthbag foundation
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bottle wall in bathroom
bottle wall in bathroom
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clay plaster, brown coat on back wall
clay plaster, brown coat on back wall
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brick floor in greenhouse
brick floor in greenhouse
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bedroom window
bedroom window
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unalome relief work with plaster
unalome relief work with plaster
 
pollinator
Posts: 3113
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even Soil:SandyLoam pH6 Flat
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Awesome!!!
 
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