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the first wofati - allerton abbey- version 0.7  RSS feed

 
steward
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Location: Northwest Montana from Zone 3a to 4b (multiple properties)
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I agree with Juli Anne, I have tried describing them to my Bride and what my intent was, but seeing them in person took her from, "OK, we'll see how your crazy idea works." into, "So when are you going to build one for us?"
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How is the Wofati doing now days? Any work on the walls since the last posts? Can we get some pictures!
 
pollinator
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Any updates on this and the other Wofatis?
 
steward
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Allerton Abbey is getting some love yesterday and today.  We wish to get it ready to receive the rocket wood cook stove and oven that will be built as part of the rocket mass heater jamboree in a few weeks.   And then we would like to have Allerton Abbey ready do do the ATI tests this year.

 
paul wheaton
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The original name of this structure was "wofati 0.7 beta".  The idea is to get it up so we could do tests and learn lots of lessons. 

We have learned a lot of lessons. 

One very important lesson has been that when the vertical posts are put in, take the excavator bucket and REALLY mash them into the ground as much as possible.  We have seen two of the posts sink in about six inches each.   The good news is that the building took this change exceptionally well in general.   To mitigate and further sinking, we have put some logs on the ground, and notched the posts in question so that they sit on these logs. 



Those posts were also leaning out a few inches, so we used house jacks and bottle jacks to raise a beam a pinch and make the posts vertical again.



There was also a point in the middle of the abbey where a log looked like it was carrying too much weight.   So we used the house jacks and bottle jacks to raise it a bit and put in a new support.






And now the straw bale wall is going back in. 

This work is all being done as part of our permaculture bootcamp.  We are fortunate to have had several experts come through and give advice (Weston Ginther and Davin Hoyt) or even throw their shoulder in for a few days (Kirk "Donkey" Mobert).   The work is led by the wheaton labs land manager, Fred Tyler and the bootcamp participants Kara Haltom (who took these pics), J Graves, Attilio, Travis and Saikhnaa Armstrong.




We are working to get the wall complete before part 3 of the rocket mass heater workshop jamboree begins on October 14.   Peter van den Berg will lead a workshop building a rocket cook stove and oven.   Here is the rocket cook stove that is in wofati 0.8 (cooper cabin) from the last rocket mass heater event:



 
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when I was involved in log structures we often specified settling devices at each post - the wall heights would be monitored and the posts would be dropped accordingly by screwing down the settling devices (log walls settle due to shrinkage - log posts don't shrink nearly as much in length). With a WOFATI, it looks like the opposite is happening, the posts settle due to insufficient footings. Pound all you can, but you won't duplicate the forces that all that earth will put onto the posts. If there are not going to be footings then I suggest using post settling devices.
        A design I will be testing soon is using a gabion basket as the foundation for a post. The stone spreads the weight more broadly than just the diameter of a post. Then the post will be attached deep into this gabion basket, with a steel plate on the bottom, and rods through grabbing the outside of the basket, holding the post vertical inside this basket. My goal is for a structurally sound post without using concrete. When I get drawings and a prototype built, I will share what I learned.
 
paul wheaton
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Thanks Tim!

I think another lesson learned here is that since the subsoil is so sandy here, we should have put the posts in much deeper.   Maybe 5 feet deep instead of 3 feet deep.
 
gardener
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Sinking the posts deeper is effectively treating them as pilings, which is a sound technique if they are pounded in. If excavated and more or less just set in, you will not see the friction on the sides of the post that give a piling its strength. I would most readily suggest some large flat stones under the bottom of the post to spread the load. If you do not have much in the way of flat stones, putting the largest ones you have (at least three times the post diameter I would say) directly under the posts and at least roughly scribing the post to the top of the stone would do. Bonus if there is a relatively flat surface you can set the post on, it will be easier.
 
pollinator
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I am not a huge fan of "who is to blame here", and I am not saying that is the case at all in this circumstance, I am just saying I am more of, "we have an issue, how can we fix it...what is the work around?"

I wonder if in this case a wider foot print could be added onto the post so that it made a wider foot print above ground. I am not saying this is the final end all/be all design, we could all work together and generate a more detailed design, but maybe something like a steel half doughnut that slipped around the post and nailed to the side of it. Something that would hold up under the strain, but not impeded floor space. Again it is not an ideal situation, but it would add surface area.

You might not have to do this to every post, just the ones under the most strain.

 
Glenn Herbert
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I think that is the idea with notching the beams at floor level into the posts. I would hope there are stones beneath the new beams, to spread that load and keep the wood from direct soil contact.
 
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So, how did things go over the winter??

How did the stove go, etc etc etc. 

thanks
 
paul wheaton
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Allerton abbey was empty over this winter.
 
Travis Johnson
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paul wheaton wrote:Allerton abbey was empty over this winter.



That is really too bad, and I wished I lived closer as I think the WOFATI Design is rather unique, and would like to study its finer features more. I think it has a lot of potential as a low cost building system that provides a lot of comfort for low cost. We live on a hill so we get blasted by the wind, and trust me when I say, my wife and I covet the thought of hunkering underground in peace and harmony when the wind is blowing 35 knots or more.

I was hoping to build an underground retirement house for me and my wife, but after clearing the lot this winter, we realize the soil is just far too thin. It has a nice view, so with ledge rock 3 inches down, we are thinking about going in the opposite direction and building up. Probably anchor a Fire Tower Cabin to the rock and have a view even if the wind sloshes the water in the toilet! It is not really what we want, I think going underground has a lot more going for it, but blasting rock with dynamite and hauling in soil is just too costly for this site.

Here is our proposed building spot.

 
gardener
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The 10-foot wooden pillars in our earthen building hold up a (wooden) second story and then a heavy flat earthen roof. Under the posts we laid the biggest roughly flat stones we could find, thick rough slates about 3 x 2 feet. Under that is the typical 3-foot deep drystone masonry foundation, too.
Pillars-in-SECMOL-Terra-Hall-from-above.JPG
[Thumbnail for Pillars-in-SECMOL-Terra-Hall-from-above.JPG]
Typical Ladakhi wooden capital to spread load under the beams.
Pillars-in-SECMOL-Terra-Hall-with-trombe-wall.JPG
[Thumbnail for Pillars-in-SECMOL-Terra-Hall-with-trombe-wall.JPG]
Poplar pillars, 10 or 11 feet high (the guy is 5'6"), hold up a second story and then a heavy flat earthen roof.
 
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Travis Johnson wrote:

paul wheaton wrote:Allerton abbey was empty over this winter.



That is really too bad, and I wished I lived closer as I think the WOFATI Design is rather unique, and would like to study its finer features more. I think it has a lot of potential as a low cost building system that provides a lot of comfort for low cost. We live on a hill so we get blasted by the wind, and trust me when I say, my wife and I covet the thought of hunkering underground in peace and harmony when the wind is blowing 35 knots or more.

I was hoping to build an underground retirement house for me and my wife, but after clearing the lot this winter, we realize the soil is just far too thin. It has a nice view, so with ledge rock 3 inches down, we are thinking about going in the opposite direction and building up. Probably anchor a Fire Tower Cabin to the rock and have a view even if the wind sloshes the water in the toilet! It is not really what we want, I think going underground has a lot more going for it, but blasting rock with dynamite and hauling in soil is just too costly for this site.

Would an earthship ish design work there?

 
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I'm thinking about what to do to get started with construction, want to install traditional and passive solar on the home once I am done with construction, so far have found some property off grid but I am trying to keep home construction costs under two thousand dollars.
 
paul wheaton
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jessica peterson posted some pics of the allerton abbey walls about a month ago ...





 
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Wow that looks like some beautiful housing well done I'm seriously impressed.

Just a couple of notes.

Heating the thermal mass seems fraught with difficulty. Would it be possible to use the exhaust from the RMH through pipework in the earth mass?

When you put in your structural poles, put a foot on them that sits level with or just below floor level. In this manner you have footed the poles as a fencer might, the difference being the position of the foot. No more underground migration.
 
paul wheaton
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As of two hours ago, there is no rocket mass heater.  

Many of the posts now have a deadman to prevent further sinking.

 
steward
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More repairs - YAY! Photos from Chris McClellan aka Uncle Mud. Featuring Mud, Kirk Mobert aka Donkey, Fred, and David McGhee.















 
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