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Jason Taylor
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First post here at Permies, and very excited to have found this resource. My wife and I are looking to get out of the city, buy a piece of rural property with 10+ acres, build our own house and start a small scale farm. Right now I am debating cob vs earth bag, and structural vs infill.

Has anyone had experience using canvas bags? I have access to a couple thousand of the bags that they would put smoked hams in from a local bag factory that shut down. If this would work, it may go a long way towards me choosing earth bag construction. I hate the thought of using synthetic fibers to hold my house together, but I also don't want the worry of my canvas exoskeleton rotting and my house crumbling to the ground.

Thanks,

Jason
 
R Scott
Posts: 3362
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
32
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It has been done. They need to be strong enough to ram without blowing out and hold together long enough to get the finish plaster/cob/whatever onto the outside. The poly bags will degrade if you take too long to get the plaster on.

And welcome to the asylum.
 
Joe Woodall
Posts: 43
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@Jason you said :

"I have access to a couple thousand of the bags "
"canvas exoskeleton rotting and my house crumbling to the ground."

I think you have hit upon 2, of the many problems associated with earth bag construction, in that :
1.) Free Materials Should Be Carefully Chosen !
2.) Bags are not properly bonded to one another internally & a bags external appendages ROT ( fence wire rust too , along with steel rebar ), so why choose them ?

In Rammed Earth construction, one has the desired particle bond to each other connecting particle and it is that bond, that holds the structure together internally & externally, in both a compressed, yet repelling action. That mechanical bond is therefore missed, when bags are used, no matter the amount of compression.

I would first then say to a new builder: Ask yourself why your using this chosen material ? Then work towards a time tested & known method of earthen construction.
( I might also add in that conversation they should a Georgia Adobe Ecoitecture building method, but maybe that's a better topic, for another posting ).

I hope that was of some help to you. Happy Building Bro ! :>

Best Regards,

Joe Woodall, Ecoitect
Georgia Adobe Ecoitecture
http://www.georgiaadobe.com
 
Kathy Desjardins
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Hi, I have read all of the posts regarding where to buy earth bags at a reasonable price, and I still do not have a good idea of what web site to go to. I agree superadobe is too expensive. I am looking for a poly weave tubing. Can anyone help me.
 
Joe Woodall
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@ Kathy

I wouldn't go this way, I would use free recycled materials
but, & Only If I Had To Use Bags
I would go with this supplier, as it was a firm started by a person of whom
I have high regards for:

http://calearth.org/shop/index.php?l=page_view&p=Unfilled-Superadobe-bag-rolls

Good Luck
Joe
 
Kathy Desjardins
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Thank you Joe for your reply. Maybe I will stick to my original idea of cordwood construction.
Kathy
 
Joe Woodall
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@Kathy,

I wouldn't do cordwood - it will allow moisture to pass through the grain,
into the building ( into your face, on the furniture, etc. ) & it harbors molds.

You were on the right path before, just stay with the Rammed Earth (even as a beginner you should be fine )
and follow the more traditional R/E methods we lay out in our description of construction .

Read my Georgia Adobe blog page & web site to learn more &
friend me on facebook and read the notes section there, ( if you want some free info, from someone
that's been doing this stuff since he was 7 years old) & information that works without too many problems or expenses.
( there are Links on my web pages to all this ).

Best Regards,
Joe
 
Kathy Desjardins
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Once again Thank you Joe. I will check out the information on your blog. I do not do facebook, so will correspond through your web site. I am looking forward to learning about this type of construction. However taking a quick look, it seems that a lot of equipment is required. I think most people are looking for simple construction methods without the use of lots of expensive equipment. In the meantime I will watch your stuff.......
Thanks again
Kathy
 
Joe Woodall
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@ Kathy,

Your welcome , and the equipment is not more expense than would be required for
the "bagged" rammed earth, of course without the price of bags on top
- you just don't need the bag with Traditional Rammed Earth.

The forms you choose (with bags) are the most expensive part. That's one reason we use wooden forms (reusable through the build out)
or even tires ( free or they pay us to remove them), when we wish to leave the "form material" in place.

Cheers
Joe
 
uma kirkwood
Posts: 11
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I appreciate the rusty wire comments and alerts, and I hope you'll forgive me for tossing in an opposing comment. Doesn't the barbed wire have to be in contact with the air in order to form rust? We see rusted barbed wire everywhere, yet it's still strong. When we pull a strand out of the ground that's been weather buried for years, it's as good as new and twice as strong. Perhaps there are different grades of metal used over the years or from brand to brand? I think I'll build a test dome, a dog house igloo, and tear it apart in 20 years and check out the wire. Between the heavy layers of adobe and the plaster as well, I doubt much air will be able to seep in and rust it too badly. Will see. Has anyone else tested theirs this/similar way?
 
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