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Eastern White cedar Bark

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an Idea just popped into my head and there seems to be nothing in cyberspace that resembles it. I am stewing over building designs in my head constantly; building designs in my part of Canada need to withstand everything from -50C in the winter to incredibly hot, dry summers, to incredibly wet and humid springs, to god knows what else with the year-by-year shift in climate I have witnessed even in my short life time. of all the building options that I wish to incorporate into building my future great grandchildren's house, I have been pondering wattle and daub the most these days. It seems to me that this method lends itself to inventing a scheme of layers to provide adequate insulation, which at -50C is a primary concern.

Here in the Forestry/Mining heart of Northern Ontario, there is an abundance of young regrowth dogwood, birch, willow, alder etc that makes wonderful wattle, plenty of timber frame material and a never-ending supply or high quality clays and sands. While straw, either from a farm or wild, is available, I am pondering the use of beaten bark from our eastern white cedars. I wish to utilize this species in construction to make use of it's resistance to rot and the left-over bark is a very strong, durable, insect and rot resistant fiber.

If it is chopped to lengths of maybe a foot, and then beaten to loose the fibers, I am thinking I could mix it with clay and sand in much higher proportions than one could with straw and make a light-weight, insulating layer of daub. Perhaps such a mixture would be best as a layer between the wattle and a heavier cob casing. In my mind, I see a double wattle wall encased in this cedar-bark daub, and capped with cob and plaster on the exterior. This would provide a core of dead airspace in the weave, surrounded by dense cedar-bark daub.

Any thoughts?
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Hi David,

I will be as short as I can. I'm a timber wright by trade. I specialize in folk styles. Your concept is perfect, when you live isn't. What I mean is, if it was 200 or more years ago, you would have many hands to make the work light. Processing bark, (I know,) or flax is extremely labor intensive!!! The amount you would need for a house would exhaust one person.

Buy hemp or sisal rope and chop it into 20 to 30 mm lengths and add to your clay, or hair from a barbershop, or any other easily obtain strong fiber.


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