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Building stone walls with forms

 
pollinator
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I continue my adventure expanding my knowledge of environmentally friendly and creative ways to build a dwelling.  While I was reading an article on rammed earth construction, I started to wonder if it is possible to build a stone wall the same way.  Put in the foundation, then set up a form, and start filling the form with rocks..would have to be some kind of binder - portland cement or lime?  The area where I have my land has lots of rocks.  People would probably welcome you to go onto their land and collect them - maybe even pay you.  I was just trying to think of a positive way to use them in construction.
 
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Sounds like slip form masonry.
It's more resource intensive than dry stacked walls or even conventional mortared stone walls but also requires much less skill.
Sometimes a foam core is cast into the middle of such a wall,  creating a system that has a weather resistant exterior , high mass interior and a continuous insulative air barrier.
 
Tom Connolly
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William Bronson wrote:Sounds like slip form masonry.
It's more resource intensive than dry stacked walls or even conventional mortared stone walls but also requires much less skill.
Sometimes a foam core is cast into the middle of such a wall,  creating a system that has a weather resistant exterior , high mass interior and a continuous insulative air barrier.



Wow! I read the description in wikopedia...seems it would use more concrete than a brick or cinder block wall...how does this fit on the continuum of resource sparse to resource intense?  Maybe with earth bags being at the resource sparse end.  It seems that it would be much faster than earth bags, or rammed earth even.
 
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If you use small and smaller rocks as infill the amount of concrete or mortar used will be reduced.
Its a great method if you dont know what to do , so to speak.
I helped a bloke build a small crane system with a swinging arm to move the rocks, it saved his back.
It had a small basket to swing the smaller rocks and that saved a lot of time also.
If you drill the rock and insert a Ramset hook, they are easily and safely lifted
 
William Bronson
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Concrete blocks walls are fairly efficient compared to poured concrete,  pretty much a wash of the cavities are filled with mortar.
Bricks,  I'm not sure.

I compare slip form masonry to a poured concrete wall.
Every stone that you use displaces some of the concrete.
The stone finish excuses imperfections.


Maybe cob could be substituted for the concrete.

 
Tom Connolly
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William Bronson wrote: Concrete blocks walls are fairly efficient compared to poured concrete,  pretty much a wash of the cavities are filled with mortar.
Bricks,  I'm not sure.

I compare slip form masonry to a poured concrete wall.
Every stone that you use displaces some of the concrete.
The stone finish excuses imperfections.


Maybe cob could be substituted for the concrete.


What about strength?  does using stones make the wall weaker?  or stronger?  If nothing else, I would like to use this by the entrance of the drive way to my property.  I think with the proper stones chosen, it would look pretty cool.
 
John C Daley
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I think each construction technique will be strong enough for your purpose
 
Tom Connolly
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This might be a tricky thing to do...if I were building with rammed earth, if there were some way to stick the stones to the back of the front part of the mold...and then fill the mold and process as usual...I have read a lot of about the different forms of construction - now am reading about how to cover it without using stucco.  I really like the looks of the houses I have seen (different kinds of construction) that use some kind of rock, especially the smooth "river rock" type rocks.  I have also seen rammed earth homes that had a pattern etched into the back of the front frame, that gave the wall a wood grain look.
 
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John C Daley wrote:If you use small and smaller rocks as infill the amount of concrete or mortar used will be reduced.
Its a great method if you dont know what to do , so to speak.
I helped a bloke build a small crane system with a swinging arm to move the rocks, it saved his back.
It had a small basket to swing the smaller rocks and that saved a lot of time also.
If you drill the rock and insert a Ramset hook, they are easily and safely lifted



Hi John, I'd love further info or pictures of this crane if you have the time to spare.  We've bought a stone ruin and I can see my husband breaking his back rebuilding the house.
 
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Slipform walls depend on the exterior surface material being continuously bonded back into the interior. Rammed earth would have small numerous bonding surfaces evenly distributed. Stone facing on that would have large discrete discontinuities, and unless the stones were rough and angular and widely spaced on the surface they would tend to fall off. You would need something actually adhesive to make a strong slipform wall with stones. If the stones available are suitable for dry masonry, you could add cob to increase stability and weathertightness. I think this would be easier to do without a form. Cob in a wall outdoors would be very short-lived unless you are in a desert environment.

The best way to use your abundance of rocks will depend greatly on their character. Are they rough and angular, or flat? Excellent. Are they smooth and rounded? They are pretty much purely decorative and you will not be able to build a wall with them without depending totally on concrete, and even then local failures of bonding over time become likely.
 
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