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Can we talk about wood chip clay?

 
Posts: 167
Location: Cowichan Valley, Vancouver Island, Canada
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Updating this thread to say that we are still on plan for beginning our house build this spring. Next week we are meeting with the folks from EcoNest, who build timber frame homes with clay/fiber infill.

And I found a book that has a good section on wood chip-clay; most information I've found in one place on this topic. It's called The Art of Natural Building by Joseph Kennedy, Michael Smith, and Catherine Wanek. Page 165 is the start of the chapter on light clay and it covers wood clay as well.

Some of you may remember the thread I started on Straw Bale in the PNW. Since beginning that thread I've continued to do my research and have narrowed things down just a bit.

I've decided against cob. I personally like right angles and am not interested in living in a hobbit-house type design so that advantage of cob is not important for me. The very high labour involved is therefore a downside.

Clay/fibre (wood or straw) makes way more sense to me because it can be filled in forms and takes less time and labour to put up infill walls. Using wood instead of straw makes sense given where I live, where wood waste is an abundant and practically free resource. Unfortunately we'll have to bring in clay as our soils don't contain much of it.

We will also almost certainly use straw bale for the north walls, sandwiched between layers of cob for added protection against moisture from humidity (as explained in my other thread, we have rather humid winters here).

Honestly, the only real hurdle is convincing my husband that this is not some weird hippie experiment in green living. I'm hoping the EcoNest folks will help with that.
 
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Mariah,Hi
All the best with your decisions.
I have helped others build with cordwood, cob and clay slip straw. All interesting to work with. All with merits and negatives.
People at www.harvesthaven.com here in southern Alberta not only built an approx 1500 sq ft house but have done a massive timber framed approx 3000sq ft store out of clay slip straw.
Marc ( the manager) went to the US to learn with the Econest people.
Lots of pics on their website.
My choice will be to have a timber frame structure with roof up first then build up underneath with curved walls. Mine will be a very small home ,probably 600sq ft.
I've built a cob oven before and the ideas from it fascinate me for a home...a layer of clay sand then a layer of straw clay with plaster over that.
Good luck.
Kate
 
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