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Building a Pallet Cob Cabin

 
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 Hey everyone I finally got started  on my cabin build although it's pretty late in the year and it's three hours from where I live so it's not going to be a very fast endeavor. I plan on building with pallets, probably a sort of post and beam style because I want strength in the walls for an earth roof. The pallets will be packed with straw clay slip and covered with about 3 inches of cob inside and out. The roof will be rough sawn oak 2x lumber with a rubber roof membrane and maybe a layer of Styrofoam but instead of a bunch of soil I plan to put wood chips on it for more insulation and it will turn into a black light compost in time. I  will also use ICF concrete forms below grade and in the in house cellar just off the kitchen area. So, there will be a few conventional building materials but most will be covered in cob or dirt and I'm not too worried about gassing off of toxic crap. The pallets are all heat treated and not chemicals, that info is usually  printed on the pallet. I will also cut most lumber from my own land with my sawmill.
 If you have any ideas or criticisms feel free to chime in, I welcome it.
Also I may use this method on a room I'm building here where I live, it may help me to refine my methods.
Thanks for watching and if you like what I'm doing please consider subscribing to help launch my channel on youtube.

 
 
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I registered just to reply to your thread and I also subscribed to your channel. I've been lurking on Permies for a year or so. I just finished a similar design using clay-slip straw for 6 to 8 inch walls between a double wattle willow branch framing (if that is even the correct word!). I found an archaeology article from a site uncovered recently from 3000 BCE. Turns out the wattle/daub designs had been recreated wrong - it's supposed to be a double wall. I'm just saying that using pallets should save you tons of time since it was a very slow laborious process to use a lopper to cut the willow branches.

On the plus side I just discovered that since willow and hay are "pliable" and I use tarps from my rooF (plus rock wool) - so technically I built a tent-hut or tent-cabin. By code I can live in a tent structure for 7 months out of the year (without needing any permit regulation) as long as it's smaller than 150 square feet. I made sure to build it 120 square feet as that is the maximum size for structure not needing any permit. So there is even no floor. I used willow trees for posts via an auger digger going down about 3 feet, for the wall posts.

I live in the north where it is cold. I put in a small wood stove that is built locally and then I got a 4 gallon pot to heat up water and I surrounded the stove with bricks. So that way I can do a quick small fire like a masonry stove. My duct pipe is only 30 degrees ofF the collar (with a 5 to 6 inch reducer). So by the time the duct pipe goes into my cob wall (of perlite and cob) - it is cool enough to touch. Then I insulated the chimney outside with rockwool around a 6 inch diameter and then an 8 inch duct pipe to close it in.

So I used a lime - hydrated lime plus S-mortar (which is 6 parts sand to 1 part portland cement and 1 part lime) as my waterproofing on my exterior walls. I have three tarps as silicon-polyester or sil-poly that are 12 by 16. So the third one I switched the horizontal around so that I get a good foot plus eaves for water run off away from the structure.

Have fun with your build - I just made a lime-cob floor. I got free horse manure that I hauled up to make the cob mixed with my local clay.

So this was my first gable roof structure build - and I used NO measurements (except for the initial 10 x 12 rectilinear floor plan). So I also used FREE craig's list for scrap wood to "frame" a door - also wood from Habitat for Humanity ReStore. I got some free couch cushions to fill in some "corners" of the walls - between the wattle. I got the bricks also for free - so about 125 bricks for thermal mass. I will probably add more as I can access some free concrete outdoor landscaping bricks.

So yeah my roof is R-30 (two layers of rock wool that are crossed against any thermal bridging) plus local willow trees for the rafters and wall posts and ridge post (supported by an A-frame on the ends). So I put in a support post that is free standing and I can remove when I use the place. But we get a lot of snow - so it will be interesting to see if it survives. haha.

I have space for a composting toilet and a cot and a sheep stock tank as a bathtub plus a chair - and the wood stove. So it covers all the essential "facilities" for IRS code for a house. haha. Of course technically I would be homeless if I lived there as I would also need to camp in nearby national or state forests for free for two weeks at a time - to stretch out that 7 month limit for camping on my land into an entire year.

So that is how it panned out for me. Good luck with your build. I used a clay slip to cover the interior wattle walls - just horse manure and clay-water (sludge) and I just threw it onto the walls to get into the cracks between the willow branches.

I actually used CLIPS for the bottom tarp as the roof - so I have no holes in the tarp - and then the insulation goes on top of that first tarp and then cross rafters (what's the term?) - and then insulation going horizontal - and then a 2nd tarp and then a THIRD tarp with the wider eaves - more taut - to stop any water from collecting.

I wanted the structure to breathe and I also wanted direct contact with the EArth for the "yin qi" Earthing energy for meditation. It's a meditation hermit tent-hut.

I have photos at http://elixirfield.blogspot.com thanks
Since I didn't save my password - this is my first and final post here on the forum.
 
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Location: Bendigo , Australia
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what are ICF concrete forms?
did some research looks like- Insulating concrete form
 
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand
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Insulated Concrete Forms
 
William Egan
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  Paul Bunyane Thank you so much for watching and subscribing, feel free to check out my other videos. It sounds like you have a pretty cozy warm place there. I would recommend that when you put any kind of post in the ground to char it in a fire really good. That will burn the sugars in the wood and help preserve it from rot. I remember seeing where they thought they dug up one of Lewis and Clarks campfire pits and still had charcoal in it. Just be sure to not char completely through, just the outside layer. The wood-stove and bricks are an excellent idea, you could even make cob bricks for more mass but leave some of the stove exposed to radiate into the room for a quicker heat up when you start with a cold hermit hut, or better yet have them removed till it starts getting hot and then stack them on to absorb the heat. I'm also thinking of using wood chips on top and in a few years could even plant a garden up there
 It's turning winter and my building site is three hours away but I will try to show more on my build or at least try to put up an interesting video on something once a week.
 Thanks and God bless.
 
William Egan
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 John C Daley Yes that is right,it stands for insulated concrete forms. I got them off of craigslist, several left over odds and ends, different brand, different sizes, from different listings, but if a person takes and fits and reinforces then with plywood and 2x4's as long as they are close to the same size they work pretty good. A little Great Stuff in the cracks and broken peaces. I'll snag some chicken wire on it and put a layer of earthen plaster on the inside and stucco on the out or a water membrane and bury it up.
 Also on this subject I'm interested to try filling them with aircrete, I'll bet that would give you at least a R-80 insulation rating.
Thank you for watching and God bless.
 
William Egan
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Graham Chiu, Right insulated concrete forms, thank you and thank you for watching, feel free to check out my other videos, I try to make them interesting.
 
Roses are red, violets are blue. Some poems rhyme and some don't. And some poems are a tiny ad.
Switching from electric heat to a rocket mass heater reduces your carbon footprint as much as parking 7 cars
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