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Jocelyn Campbell
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Eventually, we'd like to have organic mattresses here at paul's project.

A google search gave me this rather expensive brand being sold in Missoula: http://www.omimattress.com/.



Which made me wonder if others might have good sources or have already done the research to know if an organic futon would actually be more sustainable than the stuff more like an inner-coil mattress.

I know folks who save feathers from their poultry harvest, and gather wool for pillows and perhaps mattresses, so in the future that might be possible here, though we are certainly not there yet.

Open to ideas, links, etc., in the mean time.

(FYI - ISO = in search of)
 
Len Ovens
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:Eventually, we'd like to have organic mattresses here at paul's project.

Which made me wonder if others might have good sources or have already done the research to know if an organic futon would actually be more sustainable than the stuff more like an inner-coil mattress.

I know folks who save feathers from their poultry harvest, and gather wool for pillows and perhaps mattresses, so in the future that might be possible here, though we are certainly not there yet.


It all depends on how picky the sleeper is. A sand box can work well, and many hikers use less. It may take a lot of feathers or wool to make a mattress, let alone a bunch of them.

In my experience "pickiness" goes up with age (young children sleep anywhere, old folks can't seem to sleep on anything). It looks like you will have access to skins (cow pigs) at some time... a skin stretched on a frame would be similar to a camp cot or hammock. A few bear skins (fur still on) has been used in the past, there are lots of fir branches around, but they are somewhat temporary. Straw has been used for ages. It has to be replaced twice a year and you may have better use for what straw you harvest.

For quick, jute (or other natural fibre) hammocks or cots are probably the thing (if you have time, jute bailing twine and know how, they can be hand made)... at least for the youngest ones. A thin mat on top could help.

Making a jute hammock
Some info on obtaining jute hammocks from India
Cheap in quantity

I am probably not any better a searching than anyone else...

Certainly there is a difference between a thin mattress/pad on a hard board and the same pad on something with lots of give. So even if you don't like the idea of a "cot" style bed, it would be a great base for whatever pad goes on top.
 
Eric Rice
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Hi Jocelyn

Brieanne and I have been using a natural latex mattress for about 5 years now. It has been amazing so far.

I think we paid about $1,800 for the two cores and the outer cover. It was on sale. Regular price was something like $2,500. Not cheap, but I would classify this purchase as thrifty!

The company is Eco Baby in Sandy Eggo, California.
http://www.purerest.com/Organic-Mattresses/Zip-Customizable-Mattresses


What sold us on this company and style of bedding.
1: It is not sprayed with fire retardant.
2: It does not have springs, so it never needs to be turned.
3: It does not off gas like the synthetic latex rubber does.
4: It's easy to move. Ours is a 7" mattress with two inner cores with an outer cover that zips up around the cores. It looks just like a regular mattress. When you want to move it, you just unzip the cover and take the cores out. You just roll the cores up. One person can move a king size bed by themselves easily.
5: The claim it has a 20 year life span. I have not noticed any sign of wear yet after 5 years.

I'm sure Brieanne would have a lot more to say about it. Let me know if you want more info.
 
Kate Nudd
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Jocelyn,Hi
www.smallwondersfutons.com in Missoula might have what you seek.
I've known about them for a year or so...will either buy from them or make my own when I'm ready for it in my tiny trailer house.
All the best.
Kate
 
Mary Bricker
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We love the wool and cotton futon we got from Small Wonders just over a year ago. I've used others from them in the past as well. It's not cheap, but at the same time, looks to be a lot cheaper than the organic options you're listing here of more-standard type mattresses. Just be aware that, like all mattresses, they are required to be treated with fire retardant to withstand federal flame-resistance regulations (Small Wonders uses boric acid powder on the inner layers, for this). So do ask very specifically about what those organic mattresses are treated with for fire resistance, if part of your goal is to avoid certain chemicals.

The only way around the fire retardant treatment is to get a prescription from your doctor (some naturopaths will do this on request without any fuss) that the manufacturer keeps on file. Our futon has a huge disclaimer tag noting that it was custom made and has no fire retardant and should not be resold. That's ok by us, and we feel really good about sleeping on it.
 
Philip Durso
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:

Open to ideas, links, etc., in the mean time.

(FYI - ISO = in search of)


Buckwheat Hulls may be a good material to consider.

pillowcompany.com
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Len, the hammock links are awesome resources for a variety of places we've talked about placing hammocks - perhaps even the shelves in the auditorium.
Eric, I will look at Eco Baby, thanks! I hope you, Brieanne and the kids are doing well.
Kate, that link might be just the perfect local source for a certain bed platform RMH that needs a mattress...though I don't know yet what is planned there.
Mary, oh gosh, such a good tip about the flame retardant! Silly regulations.
Philip, the buckwheat hulls look fascinating as well.

Loving this thread - thank you everyone!
 
Ryan Barrett
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This is what I ran across a while back.
http://openyoureyesbedding.com/

Basically you can buy circular woven organic cotton. fill with buckwheat hulls and twist like sausage links. Then weave them together like balloon animals....
That's the "box springs". This is relatively firm.

Then you do a single sheet that lays on top like a pillow top/thin mattress. This is loos and floppy so that it fills in all of the gaps to be more comfortable.
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Jocelyn Campbell
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A bed made out of buckwheat hulls - fascinating, Ryan! I wonder if there might be a local source for the buckwheat hulls.
 
Noah Jackson
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Plus, if you get a Small Wonders mattress, you get to build your own bed frame. If you go this route - and we highly recommend their comfy mattresses - we can direct you to some good plans for a mattress frame we built!!! Or, you know, we can certainly build a mattress frame you too!

Mary Bricker wrote:We love the wool and cotton futon we got from Small Wonders just over a year ago. I've used others from them in the past as well. It's not cheap, but at the same time, looks to be a lot cheaper than the organic options you're listing here of more-standard type mattresses. Just be aware that, like all mattresses, they are required to be treated with fire retardant to withstand federal flame-resistance regulations (Small Wonders uses boric acid powder on the inner layers, for this). So do ask very specifically about what those organic mattresses are treated with for fire resistance, if part of your goal is to avoid certain chemicals.

The only way around the fire retardant treatment is to get a prescription from your doctor (some naturopaths will do this on request without any fuss) that the manufacturer keeps on file. Our futon has a huge disclaimer tag noting that it was custom made and has no fire retardant and should not be resold. That's ok by us, and we feel really good about sleeping on it.
 
Philip Durso
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Noah Jackson wrote:you get to build your own bed frame.


That is actually what got me interested in researching this whole "better way to sleep" concept. I envisioned a masseuse table/bed hybrid where the "head hole"(HA!) could be removable for people that like to sleep on their stomach without having to turn their head. In theory this will hopefully reduce or eliminate stiff necks or arms falling asleep. In practice however it may just result in a puddle under the bed(Yuck)! I could see a bed that was easily converted into a massage table (or in the case of a futon a bed/masseuse table/couch) would have a great function stacking aspect to it.
 
Michael Cox
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Personally the quality of my night's sleep is far more important to me than the organic status of the mattress. We sleep on an oversized memory foam mattress from IKEA - if you tried to take it off me at this point I would probably end up clawing out your eyes!

Basically, don't jeopardise comfort and sleep quality - too many other health related issues are linked to quality of sleep for a gamble to be worthwhile. (immune system responds to sleep quality, as does mood, appetite, energy levels etc...)
 
Adrien Lapointe
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I think it is possible to find a really comfortable option that will not be laden with chemicals that slowly make you sick. I cannot help to think that a mattress with a layer of feathers would be very confortable. I use a feather pillow and would not trade it for a foam one anytime soon.
 
Sherakee O'Riley
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Len Ovens wrote:In my experience "pickiness" goes up with age (young children sleep anywhere, old folks can't seem to sleep on anything).


That's an incredibly good point. Bladder's could be used, (big like a twin blow up mattress) or small (like the wine bladders in boxes) in creating the firmness or even the adjustable firmness of the crazy money diala-beds. For a cheap shortcut and more instant gratification, one of those self inflatable jobs could be inserted into our final product. For a marketable product or for those of us who choose to build completely from our own devices, small hand pumps or any type of ac/dc powered air pump, a check valve or valve's (also called stop vales), some tubing and imagination would do the trick. Die hard survivalists could even have a blow up valve or that could be an added option for extra security for any reason.

I wish I were there with you guys. I am pulling for you and am very proud of everyone.
 
Julia Winter
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Natural latex mattresses are expensive, but also thrifty. My husband and I are sleeping on a natural latex mattress that he bought in California in 1997. It's been moved multiple times (this particular mattress has a zippered cover and multiple pieces of foam that you stack inside) and is still lovely for sleeping. A few years ago we bought an additional layer of extra soft latex foam because, well probably because we're getting old. :

Anyway, my parents have gone through multiple rather expensive mattresses in the time we've had this one mattress, and I anticipate it working exactly the same for years to come.

After we moved to Portland, we got two twin natural latex mattresses for our girls. They were also pricey, but I expect they will work until they go to college, and beyond. They were made in Portland in one piece (no zip-off cover, a single piece of foam inside) and I had to get a doctor's signature for his records so he could make a mattress with no "flame retardants" in it. So, totally chemical free and will last almost forever. Worth an investment in my opinion.

It's worth noting that there are mattresses called natural latex that aren't, really. You need to do some research.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Do you know of a good outfit that would sell the version with a zipper?

I bought a mattress 7 years ago and it is time to replace it. I paid $600-$700 for it, so even if I pay $2000 for one that will last over 20 years, I am further ahead, plus I don't get the off-gases.
 
Daniel Worth
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So, I'm an avid backpacker and diy gear maker. I've made my own backpacking hammock setup and I want to raise a few points.

Most backpacking hammocks are nylon and super light weight. While no one I know has tested cotton fabric for making a gathered end hammock I would imagine it would be simple with a heavy enough fabric. Where that limit is might be up to being tested. I'm not a fan of rope hammocks as the rope isn't as uniform or comfortable as a solid fabric hammock.

If you hang the hammock properly and know how to lay in it the right way, you lay diagonally, you can sleep just as flat as you do in a bed, e.g. not bent up like a banana. Many people who have back problems have reported them going away by sleeping in a hammock, in fact in the hammock camping community there are a number of these "full time hangers" and one of my friends is in this category.

To keep warm an comfy in a hammock it's important to note that they provide no insulation underneath you. This is corrected by creating goose down quilts that hang tight to the bottom of the hammock to keep your butt warm. I use a 3/4 length under quilt for backpacking. Also for the top quilt it typically has a foot box, think of a big blanket with about 18 inches of the bottom sewn together and gathered with a draw string, sewn into it to keep your feet nice an toasty.

So, IMHO. Hammocks have the following advantages over mattresses.

1. They take up less space as they can be unhooked at one end and hooked back to the other end when not in use, this makes it ECO as less space is required to be dedicated to sleeping area.
2. They are low cost, especially if you have a source for goose or duck down to make your quilts.
3. You don't end up with pressure points over time when using them.
4. Down as an under insulation is superior to even foam or traditional mattresses meaning you can sleep warmer at night and use less resources to keep warm in the cold times of the year.
5. In hot climates you can remove the under quilt and keep cool at night since you don't have any insulation material underneath you. reducing the need for comfort cooling.
6. The height of the hammock can be adjusted to make it easy to get in and out.
7. No expensive frame.

They have draw-backs though

1. They take some getting used to.
2. It isn't as easy to toss and turn in them. Although many people say that it reduces pressure point issues that usually cause the need to keep changing positions when sleeping.
3. I you have partner it is difficult to engage in certain partner based activities.
4. Care needs to be taken to ensure the hanging points of the hammock are appropriately rated for safety.

I'm sure there are more pros and cons I'm not thinking of but since I have experience in this I though I'd share.

Dan
 
Jerry McIntire
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Yes, natural latex mattresses with zippers mean they are easy to take apart and move, adjust the firmness with different cores, or air out/clean. and they last a long time. We've been sleeping on one for 13 or 14 years and it hasn't deteriorated. The top is filled with wool. We like the folks in northern Cal who make them: flobeds.com They weren't as expensive 14 years ago! But we anticipate having ours for many more years, so they were a good investment. Sometimes there are sales.

On beds, we just made an extra-long twin frame for our son who is 5/ 10" and growing. It's a great, simple design from an Instructable. It's great because it uses the least material possible and has the least waste when constructing from milled lumber. Check out his amazing photo of the few small cut-offs left after building. http://www.instructables.com/id/Cheap-easy-low-waste-platform-bed/?ALLSTEPS
 
Chris Kott
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As a stopgap for those of us who can neither afford to shell out for even a generic cheapie mattress, does anyone have ideas for hypoallergenic organic zippered covers that can seal away the toxic ick?

Don't get me wrong, as soon as I can source the requisite materials, I would love to build my own frame, rope webbing over wood supporting a pad made in the cotton and buckwheat hull sausage balloon animal technique (that is what it's called, right? ), but I would love to benefit from an organic sleep tonight if I could.

-CK
 
Harry Greene
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I sleep on a piece of plywood with an old comforter on top of it, covered with a normal fitted sheet. It has all the padding I need.

I feel much more recovered in the morning (I'm an athlete), and I also wake up with more energy.
 
R Scott
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Chris Kott wrote:As a stopgap for those of us who can neither afford to shell out for even a generic cheapie mattress, does anyone have ideas for hypoallergenic organic zippered covers that can seal away the toxic ick?

Don't get me wrong, as soon as I can source the requisite materials, I would love to build my own frame, rope webbing over wood supporting a pad made in the cotton and buckwheat hull sausage balloon animal technique (that is what it's called, right? ), but I would love to benefit from an organic sleep tonight if I could.

-CK


There are allergen covers, but they are stupidly expensive, too. probably because of the medical tags.
 
Meghan Merker
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We've been sleeping on a set of three queen-size Small Wonder futons (organic cotton and wool) for about three years. Each futon is about two inches thick, making it possible for one person to turn the individual layers periodically and keep body impressions from forming. Also, with three layers, I can take one off for unexpected company and put it almst anywhere. I did have to get a prescription for a chemical free bed, but that was not a problem. I would have preferred to make the whole shebang from scratch, but I do not have a heavy duty sewing machine and I do have a connective tissue disease which gives me hell a lot of the time. HOWEVER! For those of you who might want to experiment with making your own organic wool beds, I would like to offer the organic wool free of charge if you want to pay shipping or come by and pick it up (I live about 40 miles SW of Dillon, Montana in the middle of nowhere). This wool is not cleaned or combed, that's your job. It comes from my beloved Navajo-Churro sheep. Feel free to email me at sheepislife at gmail dot com if you're interested, and happy sleeping!
 
Christina Preston
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In response to Mary Bricker regarding flame retardants in the mattresses... Our mattresses are made naturally flame retardant with the use of wool. They pass the mandated flame testing required by law to meet the standards without needing chemicals. Therefore a Rx is not necessary. We also have wool-free options using silica. Our queen beds start at $1,200. We carry mattresses and bedding from (the aforementioned) OMI, Savvy Rest and Naturepedic. All made organically, not just green-washed "natural" materials. You can have a a beautiful and comfortable bed without toxic exposure and without breaking the bank! Our store is located in North Florida, opened after doing the research to find our own beds free of out gassing.

- Christina
NightTime by Nature (dot net & @ gmail)
The Organic Bed Store
 
Meghan Merker
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PS: Speaking of sleeping....does anyone have plans or a source for organic sleeping bags? I have tried everything I can think of. I have MCS and cannot use commercial bags without terrible consequences.
 
Kristy Cooper
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I'm actually chemically sensitive and when I found myself needing a new mattress for my adjustable bed, I was terrified of what was out there. I finally settled on the green cotton mattress from White Lotus. You can get a mattress with only boric powder used a flame retardant without a prescription. (I've yet to find a doctor in my town with common sense, so I was reluctant to rack up bills trying to find one to write a prescription.) I was understandably hesitant about ordering, but I've been pleased with the results. It is firmer than a foam mattress, but there is absolutely no chemical smell (and I would know if there was even a tiny one). I believe foam would be softer, but I am afraid of foam, too. I think they make it out of soy and I give soy a wide berth.

Anyway, if you sign up for the newsletter, they have pretty good sales periodically. That's what I did and got a pretty good deal. Be warned that the green cotton mattress without foam is more like a futon mattress but it works perfectly for my adjustable bed. BTW, I replaced one of those dial-a-firmness beds with the air bladders in each side and I hated it! It was prohibitively expensive and I had to replace the air bladders three times in 7 years and once it wasn't even the side I sleep on. Plus, it reeked of chemicals......I don't recommend them. For the chemical smell, I had a zip-up mattress cover from National Allergy. The nylon ones reek of chemicals so the all-cotton is the way to go. They are expensive, but it does help cut down on the amount of chemicals you breathe in your sleep if you have a conventional mattress.
 
Len Ovens
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Jerry McIntire wrote:
On beds, we just made an extra-long twin frame for our son who is 5/ 10" and growing. It's a great, simple design from an Instructable. It's great because it uses the least material possible and has the least waste when constructing from milled lumber. Check out his amazing photo of the few small cut-offs left after building. http://www.instructables.com/id/Cheap-easy-low-waste-platform-bed/?ALLSTEPS


That is a very simple way if all you want is a platform.

It really doesn't take much more to make a bed frame with head/foot board with side rails. For my head/foot board I used corner posts of 4x4 with horizontal 3x3s connecting them and then premade railing spindles to make the space between the 3x3s "look nice". The side rails are just 1x6 with 2x2 along the inside bottom to hold the slats. I used steel corner hangers to hold the sides to the ends because I want to be able to move it but long screws would have worked too. For slats I used 2x6s because I had them. They are really too thick and stiff. 3/4inch works well for a single/twin so I am thinking 1inch to 1.25inch might be just right or 3/4 with a support down the centre for a queen. (Yes I made it for the queen of my house) It is all pine... as yet unpainted/finished and has been good for us for about 10 years and should last much longer. I was going to buy a bed, but could not find anything with out some "furniture board" (AKA particle board) or plywood which have fumes to pre-pickle the body :/

In the case of living off the land, all parts could come from tree part and be round instead of square. The wood would need to be well dried to make good furniture I think, so not quick and easy maybe. But as part of such an enterprise, setting aside wood for future projects should be a way of life anyway.
 
Len Ovens
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Harry Greene wrote:I sleep on a piece of plywood with an old comforter on top of it, covered with a normal fitted sheet. It has all the padding I need.

I feel much more recovered in the morning (I'm an athlete), and I also wake up with more energy.


Interesting. How thick is the plywood? and how is it supported? Does it have any "give" so it can act as a spring? or is it a solid platform? (these are all really the same question asked in different ways)
 
Len Ovens
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Daniel Worth wrote:So, I'm an avid backpacker and diy gear maker. I've made my own backpacking hammock setup and I want to raise a few points.

Most backpacking hammocks are nylon and super light weight. While no one I know has tested cotton fabric for making a gathered end hammock I would imagine it would be simple with a heavy enough fabric. Where that limit is might be up to being tested. I'm not a fan of rope hammocks as the rope isn't as uniform or comfortable as a solid fabric hammock.

If you hang the hammock properly and know how to lay in it the right way, you lay diagonally, you can sleep just as flat as you do in a bed, e.g. not bent up like a banana. Many people who have back problems have reported them going away by sleeping in a hammock, in fact in the hammock camping community there are a number of these "full time hangers" and one of my friends is in this category.


Most of what you said makes great sense. Just a few questions:

I am thinking that you backpack tentless? Or is the tent part of the hammock? (do you have a rain cover over top?)

When you say "gathered end" do you still use spreaders?

Is their generally room when laying diagonally for two people to sleep... if not doing other activities.... this is looking like a deal breaker for daily use

Are there web sites that deal with these questions as well as the art of hanging them? (how much droop should there be for example)
 
Jay Hayes
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To whom it may concern.

I think this is a really cool company in California. A friend of mine has visited with these folks and they are good people doing many good things, including making mattresses relevant to this conversation. When I actually get a dwelling I will be sleeping on one of these beauties.


http://www.shepherdsdream.com/


http://www.shepherdsdream.com/

J
 
Kris Arbanas
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Love my natural latex mattress.. 100% natural from "rubber" trees and lasts 30+ years unlike coil mattresses. A little expensive but so comfortable and well worth it since it will pretty much last a lifetime.
 
Jay Hayes
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So, after writing my post yesterday I went ahead and ordered a layered felt mattress from shepherds dream yesterday. The folks were really easy to work with and seemed genuinely happy to help me out. The mattress is made to order so I will get it in 4-6 weeks, with free shipping! If anyone is curious about the product feel free to ask me and I'll share some info when I get it. I am wicked excited!

J
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Makes sense that an expensive mattress can be thrifty due to how long they last. Very much enjoying the continued ideas and sources in this thread.

I'm thinking the buckwheat hulls might be an excellent fit for the bed platform RMH in a tipi because they are touted as very healthy to sleep on (ergonomically as well as non-toxic) and naturally fire resistant. Supposedly, people have tried, and could not ignite the hulls. I've heard that wool is actually quite flammable, though I do enjoy things made from wool.
 
Len Ovens
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:I've heard that wool is actually quite flammable, though I do enjoy things made from wool.


I think the flammability of wool depends on form and position. I think it also depends on how it has been cleaned, that is bleached and acid dipped may remove much of the wools natural fire resistance. I think felted or woven wool laid horizontal is going to be hard to keep burning without a constant flame source. The word is fire retardant. That is how long does the object keep burning when the heat source is moved away from it. Wool seams to go out on it's own quicker that cotton with chemicals when used as a mattress cover. (tested by leaving a burning cigarette on the mattress BTW)

Back to the buckwheat hulls, You are probably right.... but, while the hulls may not burn, the wrapper is much more important regarding fire. Organic cotton with no treatment burns easier than wool. Also, the picture of the hulls mattress shows a lot of airspace. So maybe the best of the two would be better. Use the hulls, but use woven wool for the cover. Even then the wool pad topper might be nice.

Beds on heated benches: Just some notes on sleeping on heated benches....
- The Russians have been doing this forever... except they sleep on top of the oven/heater. I have noticed in all the pictures I have seen that they do NOT sleep directly on the brick/stone/clay/cob surface, but build a frame over top a few inches over the oven. This even though these ovens have a sleeping platform height of 5foot plus. That is not much head room. This may be for safety or to be able to have a bigger sleeping platform that the heat spreads itself out under. It may be because there is too much heat for such close contact. Or...

- The Shepherd’s Dream people say that these natural mattresses require air to be able to get to the bottom of the mattress and recommend a slatted platform... in fact they are very much against a solid platform. The reason for this is because we sweat (and drool?) through the night and the the mattress needs to dry out every day. I would suggest their website on care of their mattresses would apply well to any natural mattress. I have said a lot less than they have, but the word mould seemed to pop up a few times

- I feel a slatted base also adds to comfort. They bend/give with weight. I have 2x6 slats in our bed and would suggest they are too firm. I am thinking rather than slats, round branches about 1 inch diam. could be used spaced much closer together making good use of materials "at hand".

I am thinking I will try a wool topper for our foam mattress to replace the obusform pad that is falling apart. I have been waking up with a full nose for what seems like forever. I am thinking the foam/whatever mattress topper might be part of it. We have no carpet or fibreboard furniture and the window is permanently open. There are no ducts for dust to collect in either. As I need to replace what we have anyway...
 
Len Ovens
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Len Ovens wrote:
- The Shepherd’s Dream people say that these natural mattresses require air to be able to get to the bottom of the mattress and recommend a slatted platform... in fact they are very much against a solid platform. The reason for this is because we sweat (and drool?) through the night and the the mattress needs to dry out every day. I would suggest their website on care of their mattresses would apply well to any natural mattress. I have said a lot less than they have, but the word mould seemed to pop up a few times


A quick thought.... Instead of building a frame for the top of a heated bench, furrows could be built into the top of the bench itself. It is formed by hand anyway and should not be too hard to just put slots in the surface. These slots could be filled later if they didn't work (or added I would guess) and a frame could also be tried and accepted/rejected.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Len Ovens wrote:
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:I've heard that wool is actually quite flammable, though I do enjoy things made from wool.


I think the flammability of wool depends on form and position. I think it also depends on how it has been cleaned, that is bleached and acid dipped may remove much of the wools natural fire resistance. I think felted or woven wool laid horizontal is going to be hard to keep burning without a constant flame source. The word is fire retardant. That is how long does the object keep burning when the heat source is moved away from it. Wool seams to go out on it's own quicker that cotton with chemicals when used as a mattress cover. (tested by leaving a burning cigarette on the mattress BTW)


Great thoughts - thanks Len. I'm still confused about wool's flammability though. I was reading some posts about using wool as wall insulation and I think they wrote that the lanolin in unwashed wool is what makes it flammable. But what you wrote sounds the reverse of that. Maybe I need to research this a bit more...
 
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Len Ovens wrote:
Len Ovens wrote:
- The Shepherd’s Dream people say that these natural mattresses require air to be able to get to the bottom of the mattress and recommend a slatted platform... in fact they are very much against a solid platform. The reason for this is because we sweat (and drool?) through the night and the the mattress needs to dry out every day. I would suggest their website on care of their mattresses would apply well to any natural mattress. I have said a lot less than they have, but the word mould seemed to pop up a few times


A quick thought.... Instead of building a frame for the top of a heated bench, furrows could be built into the top of the bench itself. It is formed by hand anyway and should not be too hard to just put slots in the surface. These slots could be filled later if they didn't work (or added I would guess) and a frame could also be tried and accepted/rejected.


Oh, I like this idea! The air circulation issue is an important one for mattresses that I hadn't thought of. Plus, a less flammable cover/tube for the hulls is a good point as well.
 
Len Ovens
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Jocelyn Campbell wrote:
Len Ovens wrote:
Jocelyn Campbell wrote:I've heard that wool is actually quite flammable, though I do enjoy things made from wool.


I think the flammability of wool depends on form and position. I think it also depends on how it has been cleaned, that is bleached and acid dipped may remove much of the wools natural fire resistance. I think felted or woven wool laid horizontal is going to be hard to keep burning without a constant flame source. The word is fire retardant. That is how long does the object keep burning when the heat source is moved away from it. Wool seams to go out on it's own quicker that cotton with chemicals when used as a mattress cover. (tested by leaving a burning cigarette on the mattress BTW)


Great thoughts - thanks Len. I'm still confused about wool's flammability though. I was reading some posts about using wool as wall insulation and I think they wrote that the lanolin in unwashed wool is what makes it flammable. But what you wrote sounds the reverse of that. Maybe I need to research this a bit more...


Here are two pages to look at:
Article on wool and fire
Another one

Lets start with the first thing I said about form and position. The second URL gives a great way to take advantage people who don't want to do very much research and are willing to believe whatever they hear. Take some ordinary wool yarn and hang it from some pliers and light it. Away it goes.
- organic wool? maybe.
- acid dipped? probably. If you read the first pdf you will find out why that is important. The combustion retarding properties of wool are at least partly due to the outer layer of each strand. The reason for acid dipping BTW, is to remove organic material like weeds, bur and feces from the wool. There are other ways to do the same thing.
- one strand of yarn burned from the bottom up to make the most of the yarns "self heat" and to make sure it's oxygen sealing properties are of little use as possible. This is a great stunt to make wool look bad, but not at all practical testing of a fully manufactured product.

First off wool will burn, there is no getting around that. But you do want something you can sleep on/in. Fiberglass melts at around the same temp. as wool's flash point... you don't want to sleep in that, it's fibers will give you cancer if you breath enough in (other problems with the lungs as well). Asbestos? No thanks. Even steel wool burns at a relatively low temperature.... and it will sustain a flame better than wool will. Leather (remember those welding gloves?) ignites at 212C (maybe one more reason for animals to have hair that doesn't ignite till about 600C) rock wool anyone? (good to about the same temperature as brick) Buckwheat hulls flash point is only 187C BTW even lower than cotton.

Now there are some things needed to keep wool burning. Lets compare cotton. Cotton starts to burn at about 1/3 the temperature of wool, but when it does start to burn, it gives off more heat and so easily sustains a flame. Wool when burning may put out the same heat, but because it's flash point is so high it's own heat output is not able to sustain a flame or burning.

Lanolin will burn yes, But while some of these fabrics do have some on them, most is washed off. What is left is enough to keep it anti-bacterial. The oxygen exclusion properties of the wool itself are not taken into account in the lanolin burn tests... meaning I can't tell from what I have read if it would keep burning after the heat source was taken away.

Open flame tests: This is a great one. Put your skin then asbestos then an open flame at 2100deg. The asbestos will not burn, but your skin sure will, it will even ignite after the heat dries the water content out of it. If there is an open flame that close to your bed, you better be away from there.

Anyway, back to where we started, the warm bench... design temperature is less than 140F (ye old scald temperature... also the point where anything living in air dies if left long enough) There should be absolutely no way there would be any open flame there as you would have CO problems first. I expect cotton would be quite safe and wool should never be a problem.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Hm, lots of food for thought here, Len.

Len Ovens wrote:Anyway, back to where we started, the warm bench... design temperature is less than 140F (ye old scald temperature... also the point where anything living in air dies if left long enough) There should be absolutely no way there would be any open flame there as you would have CO problems first. I expect cotton would be quite safe and wool should never be a problem.


This is basically what Ernie and Erica said when I asked for their opinions at lunch today. Erica recommended a series/set of thinner mattress pads for easier flipping, moving or hanging up to dry in case of moisture; though largely for flexibility of limited space. One thin mattress could be pulled up and folded as a back rest, or moved out of the way to provide extra seating for guests, etc. Ernie recommended installing boards in the cob, that a set of slats could be attached to, if that might be desired for mattress breathe-ability.
 
Meghan Merker
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Apropos the potential lanolin involvement in flammability of wool: the free wool I am offering to y'all is from Navajo-Churro sheep, and their fleeces have one of the lowest lanolin counts of any fleeces anywhere. Just saying....:>
 
Daniel Worth
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Just a few questions:

I am thinking that you backpack tentless? Or is the tent part of the hammock? (do you have a rain cover over top?)

When you say "gathered end" do you still use spreaders?

Is their generally room when laying diagonally for two people to sleep... if not doing other activities.... this is looking like a deal breaker for daily use

Are there web sites that deal with these questions as well as the art of hanging them? (how much droop should there be for example)


1. I've made a tarp that goes over the hammock. These systems are documented extensively on http://hammockforums.net

2. No gathered end hammocks don't use spreaders. It's what makes them so simple and cheap.

3. While one commercial manufacturer makes a double hammock, ENO(Eagle Nest Outfitters) I've heard that it isn't very comfortable to sleep in a hammock with two people. So, I would say they are so cheap and take up so little room you'd use two hammocks for two people.

I can make a standard backpacking hammock in about two hours including the time to sew the seams. For backpacking making the quilts and the tarp are much more difficult and time consuming.
 
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