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Anne Flatmo
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Hi guys, we are working on plans for a house on our place and trying to figure
out what would work best.
We have deided that our first choice would be to put up a post and pole
stucture and infill it with either papercrete or cast earth.
The drawbacks of paper crete is a potental moisture problem here in MT.
With the cast earth (which we prefere) the problem would be finding the
correct mix. We cannot find a so called recipe online.
Has anyone out there come across the recipe. It is a mix of soil, sand
and ash, as far as I can find. Just trying to find the right ratio.
Thanks for the help.

this is a vid that explains it but not the recipe......gurrrr
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0j4hGcoLYBc
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Anne,

I don't mean to be a downer on this topic, in general the concept, history, and traditions behind it are great. I have been following along since about 1996 the topic of "Magnesium" based cements, and related products, they just do not present as cost effective. I also have more questions than answers about companies, contractors and architects using the products, (very expensive and unproven in modern "slurry" style mixes.) It expense and the need to have it "just right," in most mix formulas makes in a poor alternative in most builds I find considering it. The following seems to be a common response from insiders in the traditional building trades with experience using the different mixes:

“We've worked with MgO and I’m much less enthusiastic than before. I think it’s way too tricky to rely upon. Very minor changes in mix make a huge difference in setting time (as fast as 15 minutes) and the affordable stuff only seems to come from China, the US stuff is 13x as expensive as Portland cement.”

If you have found more cost effective alternatives of Magnesium based matrixes that still provide the same qualities as other traditional "mass wall" and timber frame "infill systems," (i.e. adobe, cobb, Bousillage, lime mixes, etc ) I would love to read/see them.

Sorry I could not be of more help, maybe others could share different experiences or knowledge?

Regards,

jay
 
Anne Flatmo
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Hi Anne,

I don't mean to be a downer on this topic, in general the concept, history, and traditions behind it are great. I have been following along since about 1996 the topic of "Magnesium" based cements, and related products, they just do not present as cost effective. I also have more questions than answers about companies, contractors and architects using the products, (very expensive and unproven in modern "slurry" style mixes.) It expense and the need to have it "just right," in most mix formulas makes in a poor alternative in most builds I find considering it. The following seems to be a common response from insiders in the traditional building trades with experience using the different mixes:

“We've worked with MgO and I’m much less enthusiastic than before. I think it’s way too tricky to rely upon. Very minor changes in mix make a huge difference in setting time (as fast as 15 minutes) and the affordable stuff only seems to come from China, the US stuff is 13x as expensive as Portland cement.”

If you have found more cost effective alternatives of Magnesium based matrixes that still provide the same qualities as other traditional "mass wall" and timber frame "infill systems," (i.e. adobe, cobb, Bousillage, lime mixes, etc ) I would love to read/see them.

Sorry I could not be of more help, maybe others could share different experiences or knowledge?

Regards,

jay


Thank you for the input. I have been looking into this for some time and I understand the reference that you made, however, we are not going that route. We plan on getting the quarry fines locally and mixing it on site as need to infill the pole construction. One layer at a time. That way the cost is cut way down and the mix can be controlled because we are only going to do a 6 to 12 inch course at a time. The exact mixture will be something that we will have to play with until we get it to work consistantly. A small guest house (or larger shed) will be the ginny pig first. I have contacted several people that have done these types of homes with thier own mixture and am waiting back for the info. We will see.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Anne,

That is very exciting and they way I would do it if I had a local source for the Mag. element of the earth mix. I wonder if you will be able to maintain the same permeability as you would a Cobb or related style earth house? Are you going to use an internal foam layer, and if so, how will you deal with the lack of permeability and moisture build up in the matrix? Is the frame work exposed or hidden? Is your "pole frame" jointed as a timber frame or lashed together?

I really look forward to what you discover and any photos you maybe able to post. Best of luck and good fortune to your project!

Regards,

jay
 
Anne Flatmo
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Hi Anne,

That is very exciting and they way I would do it if I had a local source for the Mag. element of the earth mix. We are not using MAG We will be using a mix of dirt, Gypsom, and cement.

I wonder if you will be able to maintain the same permeability as you would a Cobb or related style earth house? We are checking into heat? air exchangers and any other way we can keep the internal moisture at a minimum.

Are you going to use an internal foam layer, and if so, how will you deal with the lack of permeability and moisture build up in the matrix? Yes, we are planning on using a 1 inch foam insulation board in the middle of the wall to maintain the heat and keep the heat from transfering out of the wall.

Is the frame work exposed or hidden? The poles will be covered. Here is a pick of the framing for the pour that we plan on building to span the poles (which will be every 10 feet) http://www.tinyhousedesign.com/how-to-build-rammed-earth-walls/

Is your "pole frame" jointed as a timber frame or lashed together? The poles are like in a pole barn and the walls will be infilled between them.

I really look forward to what you discover and any photos you maybe able to post. Best of luck and good fortune to your project!

Not sure what you mean by the " deal with the lack of permeability and moisture build up in the matrix"

Still learning........Anne

Regards,

jay
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Anne,

I will work backward from your answers. Most natural (ancient) building methods rely on permeability (some lay folk will refer to it as "breathability) and with this capability there is no continuous buildup of moisture within the wall matrix (matrix being the mass and elements of the wall.)

What was (is?) promising about Magnesium based stabilized earth assemblies is the fact that Magnesium and/or Lyme does not draw moisture and hold it as portland (what you call cement) based stabilized earth so often do. The foam is a wonderful concept in theory, but for folks like me and many of the Building Science folks, it is a red flag for moisture barrier and build up which could be a completely hidden deep in the wall matrix, as an accumulative issue. When architecture must rely of mechanical "Air to Air" exchangers of any type, you add a moving part that the system depends on to work properly and only then it may function to a limited and/or not easily measurable capacity.

I should stop there as I do not want to dissuade you from you experiment with this type of construction. I do not know all you factors and this system could be effective for you in you environment, aesthetic vogue, and labor/cost range.

Please keep me up to date with your progress and I will always give you an honest and direct answer to any questions I can about a concept or application. If I can not provided pertinent information, in most cases I know more than one source that can.

Regards,

jay
 
Anne Flatmo
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Hi Anne,

I will work backward from your answers. Most natural (ancient) building methods rely on permeability (some lay folk will refer to it as "breathability) and with this capability there is no continuous buildup of moisture within the wall matrix (matrix being the mass and elements of the wall.)

What was (is?) promising about Magnesium based stabilized earth assemblies is the fact that Magnesium and/or Lyme does not draw moisture and hold it as portland (what you call cement) based stabilized earth so often do. The foam is a wonderful concept in theory, but for folks like me and many of the Building Science folks, it is a red flag for moisture barrier and build up which could be a completely hidden deep in the wall matrix, as an accumulative issue. When architecture must rely of mechanical "Air to Air" exchangers of any type, you add a moving part that the system depends on to work properly and only then it may function to a limited and/or not easily measurable capacity.

I should stop there as I do not want to dissuade you from you experiment with this type of construction. I do not know all you factors and this system could be effective for you in you environment, aesthetic vogue, and labor/cost range.

Please keep me up to date with your progress and I will always give you an honest and direct answer to any questions I can about a concept or application. If I can not provided pertinent information, in most cases I know more than one source that can.


Regards,

jay

Thank you for the input. That gives us a lot to think about. I need to spend some time to do some more research. Do you have any links or web info that I can search thorough to educate us about these concepts? Thank you for all your help. We just want to do this right the first time......
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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I just came back to edit and add these...they may be a bit to academic but are some articles I am currently reading that you may find of interest.

http://www.conservationtech.com/index.html
http://www.traditional-is-modern.net/index.htm
http://www.dur.ac.uk/charles.augarde/earth/symp/PaulJaquin.pdf
http://www.dur.ac.uk/charles.augarde/earth/symp/FionnMcGregor.pdf
http://www.dur.ac.uk/charles.augarde/earth/symp/AmalBalila.pdf
http://www.dur.ac.uk/charles.augarde/earth/symp/AndrewCorbin.pdf
http://www.dur.ac.uk/charles.augarde/earth/symp/HosseinNowamooz.pdf
http://www.dur.ac.uk/charles.augarde/earth/symp/MartaZurakowska.pdf
http://www.dur.ac.uk/charles.augarde/earth/symp/JonathanSmith.pdf


Hi Anne,

Sure I can give some assistance there. My advice would be to "step back" a few paces and look at your "build project" from a larger context. So many folks get pulled into a building modality that interest them, or seems "cool," without truly examining all the facets of the choice. I am really intrigued by many of the "earth base" wall systems I am seeing. However, most are being done by Architects that though understand design, they do not understand well the larger parameters of what they do. I see project that are way more "industry" based, expensive per square foot, machine driven and not thoroughly vetted, (living experiments if you will.) I also see a large degree of "reinventing the wheel."

If you just thoroughly read through the eclectic list (about a week or two of reading) I provide, you may develop some different insights. Note: you may need to turn a google translator program on or use Google Chrome as your search engine. Let me know what you discover or if I may answer any other questions?


Other building systems and design

http://www.logandtimberschool.com/
http://www.jgrarchitect.com/2013/01/carpenter-squares-in-1503.html
https://www.google.com/search?q=Kullu+architecture.&sugexp=chrome,mod%3D0&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=xoCVUNjvMur00gGytYCQCw&biw=1280&bih=713&sei=bJKVUJbSOq230gGW0YCADw&qscrl=1
http://www.thehimalayanvillage.in/index.html
http://strawbale.com/store/
http://www.strawbale.com/
http://strawworks.co.uk/barbara-jones/
http://library.uniteddiversity.coop/Ecological_Building/strawbaleguide.pdf
http://greenbuildingsolutions.co.uk/
http://www.cordwoodconstruction.org/
http://www.cybis.se/forfun/kubbhus/indexe.htm
https://www.google.com/search?num=10&hl=en&safe=off&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=713&q=Kubbhus&oq=Kubbhus&gs_l=img.3...1052.1052.0.3054.1.1.0.0.0.0.67.67.1.1.0...0.0...1ac.1.8rZCcIEm4A0&qscrl=1
http://www.stockholmslansmuseum.se/faktabanken/kubbhus/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9wTLBGXZ04

(Just look at the pictures and building methods- these are some of the oldest vernacular folk styles in the world- up to several thousand years) http://www.mustafacambaz.com/categories.php?cat_id=634&sessionid=7ed8346c5060250ccf053f4269f440f9

Finishes to consider and learn about. There is much related info to learn about from these links.
http://www.realmilkpaint.com/powder.html
http://www.heritagenaturalfinishes.com/
http://pinetarworld.com/
http://www.earthpigments.com/products/pigments-by-type.cfm
http://www.linseedpaintandwaxco.co.uk/

Plasters

http://limeworks.us/
http://shikkuiusa.com/contact
http://www.mikewye.co.uk/faqs.htm
http://japaneseplastering.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html
http://www.tierrafino.us/
http://japanesewall.com/
http://www.claylin.com/
http://silkplasterusa.com/
http://www.silcotex.co.uk/
http://ultimatepapermache.com/paper-mache-clay-video-the-sequel
http://www.tapetlichid.ro/
http://www.greenbuildingsupply.com/

Cements

http://www.rosendalecement.net/index.html

Clay-Cob-Adobe-Bousillage Architecture

http://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/pdf_publications/pdf/terra_lit_review.pdf
http://whc.unesco.org/en/earthen-architecture/
http://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/pdf_publications/pdf/terra_lit_review.pdf
http://naturalcottageproject.com/wordpress/
http://www.tierrafino.us/
http://www.buildlikeabird.com/what-i-can-do-for-you.html
http://www.cobworks.com/
http://www.cobcottage.com/
http://www.mudandwood.com/our-cob-house.html
http://mudgirls.wordpress.com/photos/
http://buildnaturally.blogspot.com/
http://holzhueter.blogspot.com/
http://www.permaculturecairns.com/cobbuildingpermaculture.html



 
Anne Flatmo
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:I just came back to edit and add these...they may be a bit to academic but are some articles I am currently reading that you may find of interest.

http://www.conservationtech.com/index.html
http://www.traditional-is-modern.net/index.htm
http://www.dur.ac.uk/charles.augarde/earth/symp/PaulJaquin.pdf
http://www.dur.ac.uk/charles.augarde/earth/symp/FionnMcGregor.pdf
http://www.dur.ac.uk/charles.augarde/earth/symp/AmalBalila.pdf
http://www.dur.ac.uk/charles.augarde/earth/symp/AndrewCorbin.pdf
http://www.dur.ac.uk/charles.augarde/earth/symp/HosseinNowamooz.pdf
http://www.dur.ac.uk/charles.augarde/earth/symp/MartaZurakowska.pdf
http://www.dur.ac.uk/charles.augarde/earth/symp/JonathanSmith.pdf


Hi Anne,

Sure I can give some assistance there. My advice would be to "step back" a few paces and look at your "build project" from a larger context. So many folks get pulled into a building modality that interest them, or seems "cool," without truly examining all the facets of the choice. I am really intrigued by many of the "earth base" wall systems I am seeing. However, most are being done by Architects that though understand design, they do not understand well the larger parameters of what they do. I see project that are way more "industry" based, expensive per square foot, machine driven and not thoroughly vetted, (living experiments if you will.) I also see a large degree of "reinventing the wheel."

If you just thoroughly read through the eclectic list (about a week or two of reading) I provide, you may develop some different insights. Note: you may need to turn a google translator program on or use Google Chrome as your search engine. Let me know what you discover or if I may answer any other questions?


Other building systems and design

http://www.logandtimberschool.com/
http://www.jgrarchitect.com/2013/01/carpenter-squares-in-1503.html
https://www.google.com/search?q=Kullu+architecture.&sugexp=chrome,mod%3D0&um=1&ie=UTF-8&hl=en&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=xoCVUNjvMur00gGytYCQCw&biw=1280&bih=713&sei=bJKVUJbSOq230gGW0YCADw&qscrl=1
http://www.thehimalayanvillage.in/index.html
http://strawbale.com/store/
http://www.strawbale.com/
http://strawworks.co.uk/barbara-jones/
http://library.uniteddiversity.coop/Ecological_Building/strawbaleguide.pdf
http://greenbuildingsolutions.co.uk/
http://www.cordwoodconstruction.org/
http://www.cybis.se/forfun/kubbhus/indexe.htm
https://www.google.com/search?num=10&hl=en&safe=off&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1280&bih=713&q=Kubbhus&oq=Kubbhus&gs_l=img.3...1052.1052.0.3054.1.1.0.0.0.0.67.67.1.1.0...0.0...1ac.1.8rZCcIEm4A0&qscrl=1
http://www.stockholmslansmuseum.se/faktabanken/kubbhus/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9wTLBGXZ04

(Just look at the pictures and building methods- these are some of the oldest vernacular folk styles in the world- up to several thousand years) http://www.mustafacambaz.com/categories.php?cat_id=634&sessionid=7ed8346c5060250ccf053f4269f440f9

Finishes to consider and learn about. There is much related info to learn about from these links.
http://www.realmilkpaint.com/powder.html
http://www.heritagenaturalfinishes.com/
http://pinetarworld.com/
http://www.earthpigments.com/products/pigments-by-type.cfm
http://www.linseedpaintandwaxco.co.uk/

Plasters

http://limeworks.us/
http://shikkuiusa.com/contact
http://www.mikewye.co.uk/faqs.htm
http://japaneseplastering.blogspot.com/p/blog-page.html
http://www.tierrafino.us/
http://japanesewall.com/
http://www.claylin.com/
http://silkplasterusa.com/
http://www.silcotex.co.uk/
http://ultimatepapermache.com/paper-mache-clay-video-the-sequel
http://www.tapetlichid.ro/
http://www.greenbuildingsupply.com/

Cements

http://www.rosendalecement.net/index.html

Clay-Cob-Adobe-Bousillage Architecture

http://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/pdf_publications/pdf/terra_lit_review.pdf
http://whc.unesco.org/en/earthen-architecture/
http://www.getty.edu/conservation/publications_resources/pdf_publications/pdf/terra_lit_review.pdf
http://naturalcottageproject.com/wordpress/
http://www.tierrafino.us/
http://www.buildlikeabird.com/what-i-can-do-for-you.html
http://www.cobworks.com/
http://www.cobcottage.com/
http://www.mudandwood.com/our-cob-house.html
http://mudgirls.wordpress.com/photos/
http://buildnaturally.blogspot.com/
http://holzhueter.blogspot.com/
http://www.permaculturecairns.com/cobbuildingpermaculture.html




Boy, do we feel stupid to say the least.
We really thank you for taking the time to post all these sites. We will go through them and take notres.
We sure have our reading/work cut out. It will all be worth it in the end.
I spent most of the day in Missoula trying to locate someone that has some direction on our project but was
only able to find one persons name. I will contact him to see what he is up to and if he can help us in any
way.
Now we are very daunted........but we press on. We are stubborn that way. hahahah
Thank you again
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Anne,

You are not stupid at all, because you are asking questions and expanding your understanding. Of all the projects that I have facilitated, the only ones that I find the owners ever regret, are when they do not heed my warning of slowing down, planning well, and thinking before acting. Good luck to you, and please let me know if I may answer more of your questions.

Regards,

jay
 
Jim schalles
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Perhaps Straw-Clay infill would be a good choice for you in MT if you already have a pole framed structure designed. The straw clay, if built in the summer during a drier season, will provide a nice healthy living space with a good amount of insulation.
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Jim,

I was trying to avoid front loading them with an actual choice so they could pick their own. It is funny you would pick 'Straw Clay' (or straw clay slip forming) as that was exactly what I thought would be a much wiser choice for them. Great suggestion.

Hi Anne,

I could not agree more with Jim's advice. If you are looking for a "mass wall" design type and something that is traditional, well proven, ancient in design and concept, look in slip forming with straw clay and the like.

Regards,

jay
 
Anne Flatmo
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Hi Jim,

I was trying to avoid front loading them with an actual choice so they could pick their own. It is funny you would pick 'Straw Clay' (or straw clay slip forming) as that was exactly what I thought would be a much wiser choice for them. Great suggestion.

Hi Anne,

I could not agree more with Jim's advice. If you are looking for a "mass wall" design type and something that is traditional, well proven, ancient in design and concept, look in slip forming with straw clay and the like.

Regards,

jay

That was actually going to be my next question for you. What would "you" do in this cold climate ? Another question is how thick should the walls be, given it was clay straw ? And, one more question....Does an insulation board nrrd to be placed in the wall?
Thanks for all the input guys.
Still plugging away though all the websites....will be well worth it.
 
Anne Flatmo
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Jay C. White Cloud wrote:Hi Jim,

I was trying to avoid front loading them with an actual choice so they could pick their own. It is funny you would pick 'Straw Clay' (or straw clay slip forming) as that was exactly what I thought would be a much wiser choice for them. Great suggestion.

Hi Anne,

I could not agree more with Jim's advice. If you are looking for a "mass wall" design type and something that is traditional, well proven, ancient in design and concept, look in slip forming with straw clay and the like.

Regards,

jay

One more thought. What are your thoughts on papercrete for this area (MT 59870)
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Anne,

I want to sound positive, so I will say very interesting and I have seen some very nice builds with it. Your questions is a perfect segway into my point about understanding a building system thoroughly before actually building a living space. The affirming aspect about many current 'permaculture' builds are the innovative approaches and ideas I see. Many folks have gone way outside the box. On the questions side, I must ask, is the system truly vetted? How much embodied energy went into the build compared to a more traditional systems? Questions like that really need to be examined first.

Asia (particularly Japan) has had different forms of paper plaster (I think I gave you some links) and paper mache' building methods for over a thousand years. The use of cellulose in general has been part of the human races building strategy for a very long time. So in general I like paper use in a design but would not recommend "papercrete," as I believe it is too new and there are more applicable and traditional systems that are better choices. If you have more direct or technical questions about it, I will address those, if you want to consider this system as a possible choice.

Regards,

jay
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