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Nail guns instead of barbed wire

 
pollinator
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If it were possible to load a nail gun with nails that are sharp on both ends, could the barbed wire between layers be replaced by simply putting some nails into the tops of each layer?  I have little experience with barbed wire, but am of the opinion that it is a rather hazardous material to handle.
 
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How would you get them to only shoot in half way?  If you could get double pointed nails, could you just stab them into the bags with your bare hands?
 
Tom Connolly
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Mike Jay wrote:How would you get them to only shoot in half way?  If you could get double pointed nails, could you just stab them into the bags with your bare hands?

 It would have to be trial and error...find the sweet spot - maybe 6 feet away from the bags so that the nails only go halfway in.  This would help bind the bags to each other but would not provide any lateral strength, which barbed wire would provide - the actual strand of wire.  Is that significant?  Is the barbed wire's purpose to hold the bags in place until the soil mixture sets?
 
Mike Haasl
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I don't know if the benefit of the barbed wire is mainly in locking the bags together until they set or if the wire provides some benefit as well.  

Shooting nails in from 6 feet away could be a bit challenging.  You'd have to override the safety shoe that only lets the gun fire when it's touching wood.  Basically turning it into an actual gun.  Due to the short barrel it probably wouldn't be accurate at all.
 
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If you are doing this, i would use a spike and hammer it all the way through the top row and into the bags under it. No reason for it to be double pointed and stick up. Next row would would have a new run of spikes.

Depending on the length of spike (3/8" rebar?) You could "nail " through several layers at a time.

There's also ladder wire. It would be barbed wire without the barbs. It might keep bags from sliding out.

I'm not advocating this over barbed wire as i have no knowledge about it.. I'm likening this to a retaining wall or raised bed using 4x4's or 6x6's.
ladder-2-wire-piece.png
[Thumbnail for ladder-2-wire-piece.png]
 
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I built a 12' diameter earthbag 'cave' about 4 years ago and used barbed wire. All the research I came up with suggested that the barbed wire was for shear strength and only needed in areas prone to earth quakes. Even though I am not in an earthquake area, I only used barbed wire because it was my first build and just wanted to be sure. From this experience though,  if I were to build another one, I would leave it out as it was constantly getting caught on my clothes, the bags etc.
Michael Smith from Cob Cottage Company suggested using angular rocks placed between rows which would be similar in effect which I though was a great idea...readily available and often free.  You would only need to place them when the next bag was ready to be placed (so they don't get in the way - especially when you get up high enough and need a safe walkway) rather than unspooling the barbed wire all the way around the whole row.
 
Tom Connolly
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Gerry Parent wrote:I built a 12' diameter earthbag 'cave' about 4 years ago and used barbed wire. All the research I came up with suggested that the barbed wire was for shear strength and only needed in areas prone to earth quakes. Even though I am not in an earthquake area, I only used barbed wire because it was my first build and just wanted to be sure. From this experience though,  if I were to build another one, I would leave it out as it was constantly getting caught on my clothes, the bags etc.



This is my concern...barbed wire is barded to help it latch onto things.
 
pollinator
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fortunately, you only have to do it once, and it's mot exposed, so it won't pose a danger after building. it's also not under tension in the system, which is where it's more dangerous(when it break under tension and whips back.

Cutting it into small sections(enough to go across 3 bags, maybe?) might make it more manageable/less likely to catch when working with it, rather than leaving it all connected in one big strand.

A house that falls down on you is much more dangerous than a few scratches.
 
Gerry Parent
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Dustin Rhodes wrote:fortunately, you only have to do it once, and it's mot exposed, so it won't pose a danger after building. it's also not under tension in the system, which is where it's more dangerous(when it break under tension and whips back.

Cutting it into small sections(enough to go across 3 bags, maybe?) might make it more manageable/less likely to catch when working with it, rather than leaving it all connected in one big strand.

A house that falls down on you is much more dangerous than a few scratches.



Hi Dustin,  I agree with all you said. The one good thing about the barbed wire (in particular when you leave it as long as possible) is that it helps to tie all the row together acting somewhat like a bond beam, in particular for a house situation with straight walls. Cutting it into smaller pieces sounds appealing but I think you would loose some of this effect unless you overlap to help compensate for all the breaks.
Probably no definite answers, just whatever you feel most comfortable with and the type/size of building that your making.
 
Dustin Rhodes
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I also was assuming the OP would overlap, if they chose my "smaller sections" idea - good catch!
 
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IMO babed wire is an economical form of insurance. Its well proven, performs multiple functions and works.
 
No prison can hold Chairface Chippendale. And on a totally different topic ... my stuff:
Devious Experiments for a Truly Passive Greenhouse!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/paulwheaton/greenhouse-1
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