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round timber in oklahoma??  RSS feed

 
heidi shackelford
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i live in northeastern Oklahoma and i am wanting to build a round timber house. I have lots of white oak on my property, has anyone harvested white oak in this area? would like to know how you dried it and then protected it from rotting. also i know that concrete and wood don't like to touch but wondered about lime plaster or cob. i have lots of clay and i am currently harvesting some for testing. if it tests well then i would like to use as much of that as possible. i am thinking cord-wood walls with either lime plaster or cob?? any advice would be very much appreciated. trying to go green and eventually off grid :} again thanks for any input !!
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hello Heidi,

We, as Timberwrights build this way for a living. Timber frames, whether canted or in the round, are typically built with green and unseasoned wood. This is the way it has always been.

You are correct, wood and concrete do not play well together and cobb and lime are much better options.

Feel free to contact me offline or stay here on the forum. I facilitate numerous frames, and building projects.

Getting a set design and plan would do you the most good in preparing for the project.
 
heidi shackelford
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thank you so much, so you are saying that i can cut my trees and use them with out drying them first? what about cord-wood walls? dry or green timber? can you recommend a book or web sight with instructions? i have been doing tons of research on line and so far my plans are tire foundation (i have a source for all the free tires i need), then 3 round sections, 1 30-40' for great room , 1 12' for bathroom and 1 14' for bedroom. the 2 smaller connected to the large on the east side. a sun room on the north to break wind and sod roof on all of it. the 2 smaller rooms with have a reciprocal roof and the great room will have a raised center with a loft. sod on the lower roof and not sure about the higher center roof. these plan are just a rough idea of what i would like and subject to change. really any natural structure made with as much from the land as possible is what i am going for. i have 20 acres and would love to utilize as much as i could for building materials. i also have lots of sand stone and would like to use it as well. maybe stone on bottom and cord wood above that or combination of both for aesthetic purposes. i have learned a lot from just surfing the web but want to make sure that when it comes time to build that i do it right and build something that will last.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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thank you so much, so you are saying that i can cut my trees and use them with out drying them first?

Yes

what about cord-wood walls?
dry or green timber?

Depends on the style and matrix the cordwood will go in. Typically 90% of the time, it must be dry. Stacked wood architecture has many permutations. I would only facilitate infill methods with lime or cobb mortar, never modern portlands of any kind.

can you recommend a book or web sight with instructions?

For what in general?

i have been doing tons of research on line and so far my plans are tire foundation (i have a source for all the free tires i need), then 3 round sections, 1 30-40' for great room , 1 12' for bathroom and 1 14' for bedroom. the 2 smaller connected to the large on the east side. a sun room on the north to break wind and sod roof on all of it. the 2 smaller rooms with have a reciprocal roof and the great room will have a raised center with a loft. sod on the lower roof and not sure about the higher center roof. these plan are just a rough idea of what i would like and subject to change. really any natural structure made with as much from the land as possible is what i am going for. i have 20 acres and would love to utilize as much as i could for building materials.

Are you doing this work yourself and have you taken any workshops? It sounds like a wonderful start.


i also have lots of sand stone and would like to use it as well.

If you have stone then you may not need to use tires as your foundation. Tires are employable, but very labor intensive to do correctly.

Do you use Sketchup or draw? You are going to need a model of some sort to really do a good job and understand your design and be able to share it with others.
 
heidi shackelford
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Yes

i wished i had asked about drying wood before i spent a week cleaning out my open air barn to dry my timber. lol but i still need the space for a workshop and tool storage during building.

For what in general?

instructions on cord wood but really any book on building natural. there are so many books it's mind boggling.

Are you doing this work yourself and have you taken any workshops? It sounds like a wonderful start.

yes i am doing as much of the work i can by myself and i am looking for building methods with that in mind. however i do have family and friends to help with what i cant do myself. cutting down the trees, raising the frame, of course and the heavy lifting. i do have some ideas on how to make things easier for me even if they take longer. for example i have plenty of large enough trees surrounding the sight i can run cable between and use a chain fall to help with lifting or tripods with a chain fall. no i have not taken any work shops. but will look for some in my area. thanks for that idea.

If you have stone then you may not need to use tires as your foundation. Tires are employable, but very labor intensive to do correctly.


i do have lots of stone but the good stuff is partially in the ground and would take a lot to get it to my sight as most of my property is heavily wooded and not easily accessible. the tires just seemed like something i could do myself and with a free source for all i would need i leaned towards that. also i have limitations on bending over and stress on my lower back and a tire foundation requires less of that than setting stone for a foundation.

do you use Sketchup or draw? You are going to need a model of some sort to really do a good job and understand your design and be able to share it with others.


no i have never heard of sketchup but will for sure check it out. no i don't draw but my brother does and framed house for about 10 years so he will be doing my blue prints as for as framing goes.

i know this is a lot to do but on my side i have time and lots of it.

one more question. what time of the year is best to cut my trees and do you recommend stripping the bark ahead of time and after they are cut?


again thank you so much for your knowledge.
 
Tom Gauthier
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Location: U.P., Michigan
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Hello Heidi,

We live on the opposite side of the Ozark Plateau (SE Missouri) and it sounds like we have similar resources ... oak trees and lots of clay soil.

Here are some resource books I would recommend ...

For cob building and other natural building designs: "The Hand-Sculpted House" by Ianto Evans.
For cordwood: "Cordwood Building" by rob roy.
For timber framing: "Timber Frame Construction" by Jack Sobon and Roger Schroeder.

We are planning to build our home using a similar construction method as you describe ... round wood frame, with stack wood infill.

Rob Roy's book has great information, but there is one thing about his method that doesn't appeal to me. At least at the time he wrote the book, he was using Portland Cement almost exclusively as the mortar for the stack wood. I prefer to avoid Portland Cement as much as possible so we will be using cob as the mortar. As for the stack wood ... he does not recommend using hardwood such as oak ... there is too much expansion and contraction as the wood absorbs and releases moisture. We will be using Eastern Red Cedar as our stack wood (we have an abundance of it). Whatever wood is used it must be well dried, so your open air barn will be utilized.

Regarding your foundation, you may want to do more research on using old tires. Old tires will "off-gas" some pretty nasty toxic chemicals for many years.

Good Luck and Best Regards,
- Tom
 
heidi shackelford
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Hello Tom,
thanks for the book suggestions i will check them out for sure.

Regarding your foundation, you may want to do more research on using old tires. Old tires will "off-gas" some pretty nasty toxic chemicals for many years.


i will do more research on this matter !!!

have you started cutting your timber or harvesting you clay?

i have started "playing" with the clay and have 5 or so buckets settling now. here is a video i found on how to process dug clay
it appears that his clay is pretty clean except for some stones. i still have sand n mine but that's because i didn't let it settle long enough.
but basically i have done the same with the exception of my clay having more sand dirt and grass in it. i just dug it up, put it in a big clear tub mixed well with water then scooped the muddy water off the top, strained through my screen and letting it settle. after a couple hours it settles and has clean clear water on top, at first i scooped the water off with a cup and a sponge. both took too long, so i came up with the idea to drill holes down the side of the bucket and covered them on the inside with duct tape, as it settles i will take the tape off to let out the clear water and then wait some more. i'm wondering tho, if i am going to add sand back to the clay if i really need to get all the sand out? i guess i will find out, i plan to test it and see what happens. i will let you know the best system and "recipe" i come up with.

the other thing i am going to look into is controlling humidity or lack there of by adding a water feature in the house. when i was younger and we heated with a wood stove the house would get really dry so we always kept a big pot of water on the top to help. it would seem to me that come careful planning and a humidity gauge would help with the shrink swell of the cord wood. i will do some research to find out what the optimum level should be in a cord house.

look forward to sharing idea and knowledge with you in the future.
best regards Heidi
 
John Elliott
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i'm wondering tho, if i am going to add sand back to the clay if i really need to get all the sand out?


Hi Heidi,

It's a matter of controlling the properties of your material. It is possible to work with it as is, that's what adobe/cob construction is based on. When you start separating out materials, controlling the proportions of sand to clay, adding in fibrous materials for tensile strength (keep it from cracking), adding in lime or cement, adding in things to speed up the set, or things to retard the set, well, pretty soon you quit "playing in the mud" and start doing "materials engineering". Then there is the trick of adding a little soap so it will flow into molds better, and the trick of entraining air or adding styrofoam bits to make it lighter. You're just beginning to scratch the surface. Probably the best way to approach it is to have an idea in your mind of what you want the final result to be, then you can study the different ways people have fabricated that material, and in the end, you will come up with your own recipe that you are satisfied with.
 
Tom Gauthier
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Location: U.P., Michigan
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Heidi,

I think if you get the Ianto Evans book, you will find the answers to many of your questions. Regarding your question of preparing the clay for cob, the short answer is "No, you don't need to remove the sand." Cob is a mixture of clay, sand, straw, and water in certain proportions. If your soil already has clay and sand, it's really just a question of getting the proportions right ... you may have to add sand or clay. This will take some testing and experimenting. Again, Ianto's book has a lot of information on this.

As for the humidity question, any structure that uses cob will pass moisture thru the walls. This is critical that the wall is allowed to breath. The worst thing that can be done to a cob wall is to seal the surface against moisture. In "cob-wood" construction, the end-grain of the stack wood is exposed on the inside and outside of the wall. Again, moisture will pass through. The result will be that the inside of the structure will eventually stabilize to match the outside humidity.

The books can explain this all in more detail.

Best Regards,
-Tom
 
heidi shackelford
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Thank You Tom and John so much for answering my questions. it seems the more i read the more questions i have lol

i know i am over thinking this. and Yes i will get the books. i just don't want to get half way into my build and have an " O crap" moment after it's too late.
 
Katey Ross
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Heidi.
We live in south east Oklahoma and are planning to use Cedar for our logs and a clay plaster mix for chinking. The "rubble trench" and short stone wall that is used in Cob building will be used for the foundation and it will have a cob floor. The "rubble trench" is for drainage and the rock wall is to help keep the logs off the ground and the termites at bay. We have several ideas for a roof but have not decided on any one yet. Good luck with your cabin!
 
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