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Joel Hollingsworth
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The New York Times recently had a good article about a forestry/architectural firm that builds with whole trees, but they keep their content locked away, so here's the company's website:

http://www.wholetreesarchitecture.com/gallery2/gallery2/main.php

There is a local-resource aspect to this, including applying CSA-type funding to forestry, but the website also goes into the structural drawbacks of milling lumber.
 
paul wheaton
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Jami McBride
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Very cool - I love this. 

Whole trees/limbs are soooo beautiful - some permaculture doesn't seem to take aesthetics into consideration, but this certainly does!
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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paul wheaton wrote:
Oh!  A book on this topic would be excellent.



I agree.

Perhaps there's some way to connect Roald Gundersen with a publisher? He might also need a co-author, perhaps.
 
Leah Sattler
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Jami McBride wrote:
Very cool - I love this. 

Whole trees/limbs are soooo beautiful - some permaculture doesn't seem to take aesthetics into consideration, but this certainly does!


it is a little sad sometimes when beauty is treated as if it has no value. I think aesthetically pleasing structures and designs have value. we are artful beings. obviously beauty is subjective and sometimes it takes a little change in ones outlook to see natural beauty and have respect for natural inclinations of building materials.

those photos show a wonderful harmony between art and nature. 
 
Fred Morgan
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Very nice, you see a lot of porch beams like this down here.
 
Fred Morgan
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On thing I was going to mention regarding building with whole trees. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to have limbs not split. There are some tree types that don't, but more than do. So selection of wood will be important.

Generally speaking, you will be looking for trees that have interwoven grain pattern. This means they aren't so good for making furniture and for sawing, due to difficulty in finishing, but they will generally not split. Eucalyptus comes to mind here as well as mango (yes the fruit tree). Roble Savanah is also a tree like this.

Mango and Roble Savanah are used to make oxen yokes down here. Light weight, but handle shock very well. They would also be superior for snath handles (like for a scythe)

Hope no one minds me obsessing about my field. 
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Fred Morgan wrote:Mango and Roble Savanah are used to make oxen yokes down here. Light weight, but handle shock very well. They would also be superior for snath handles (like for a scythe)

Hope no one minds me obsessing about my field.


Oh man, that's great information.

But it makes me think I should've posted this in "woodland care" instead...I debated for a while, I wonder if people would've focust on the building aspect if it had been posted there!
 
Jim Argeropoulos
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Roald of Whole Trees was interviewed for Here on Earth. http://www.wpr.org/hereonearth/archive_100927k.cfm
Not a lot of information, but maybe you'll hear something you were looking for.
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Ben Law is putting out a new book on roundwood building, according to the recent issue of Permaculture Magazine (thanks again, Paul!).

Not precisely the same, but a lot of the same design considerations.

The article in PM mentions strength tests and forestry practices, perhaps the book will show some numbers on the subject.
 
tel jetson
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Joel Hollingsworth wrote:
Ben Law is putting out a new book on roundwood building, according to the recent issue of Permaculture Magazine (thanks again, Paul!).

Not precisely the same, but a lot of the same design considerations.

The article in PM mentions strength tests and forestry practices, perhaps the book will show some numbers on the subject.


got a little excited and ordered that book a couple of weeks ago.  it's interesting, for sure.  seems like a bit more of a coffee table book than a text book or instructional manual, though.  and it really is specific to the particular style that Ben Law has created over the last few years.

a quote about strength tests from page 8:

Two well qualified professionals in the strength of roundwood have stated that roundwood can be 50% stronger than sawn wood fo the same cross-sectional area.


there are a couple small tables with bending and compression values for a sample of roundwood, but nothing really useful.  there is a book mentioned in an appendix called Round Small-Diameter Timber For Construction that apparently has better figures.

some forestry practices are mentioned almost in passing, but the book does not go into depth, sadly.  the "Managing Woodlands for Roundwood Timber Framing" chapter is six pages long, including a couple of full page photographs and many smaller photos.
 
                      
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This looks cool. However, I wonder about the labor involved? How much increase in cost for homes like these? Cob and other forms are more suited to those that are looking for sustainable and cheaper ways to build ones abode.
 
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