Win a copy of Straw Bale Building Details this week in the Straw Bale House forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Mike Barkley
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
  • Pearl Sutton

--- A NEW BUILDING SYSTEM IS BORN --- This is the system I'll build my walls with, once approved.

 
master pollinator
Posts: 2725
Location: Toronto, Ontario
293
bee dog forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Dale, I think successful block-making would depend on the ingredients of the slurry that surrounds the cedar waste. I don't think the bit about the blocks being weaker is true, however. With compressed earth blocks, for instance, one of the reasons they are such a good masonry product to build with is that they are mortared together with a watered-down mixture of the block material. When used properly, the individual blocks bind one to another, creating a monolithic structure.

-CK
 
Posts: 183
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks Dale and Chris. I love learning new stuff like this.
 
pollinator
Posts: 8170
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
616
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am in an earthquake zone. I would never consider using CEBs for anything other than floors. I'ts been done but is utter folly. The joints create a thousand weak points. Think of what happened to Mexico City and Nicaragua in the seventies and more recently to Haiti. All of these places used unreinforced masonry with tragic results. There are several cob structures in my area which are unlikely to stand a good quake. Their builders cite a lack of recent quakes as evidence that all will be fine.
 
Chris Kott
master pollinator
Posts: 2725
Location: Toronto, Ontario
293
bee dog forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
While I would agree with your assessment unconditionally as it applies to conventional masonry, I disagree with it being applied to properly constructed compressed earth block. As I mentioned before, although possibly not clearly enough, unlike conventional masonry, which uses mortar as a spacer to keep the bricks uniformly level, compressed earth block actually adheres one block to another. After the blocks are allowed to set, you can't get them apart. In block mixtures with greater than 10% portland mixed in, it would be fairly easy to destroy an excavator or front-end loader trying to demolish one. Explosives would work, with sufficient expertise, but an earthquake would touch it no more than any other properly built monolithic structure.

You seem to be saying that any masonry acts like the century-old brick buildings you see in some parts of Victoria and Vancouver, which are deathtraps in event of even a moderate earthquake. Compressed earth block is different. I would, however, be interested in making mine longer and flatter than any standard masonry unit, and I'd reinforce individual blocks with fibrous material. I also want to experiment with increasing the strength of said structure by laying the fibrous material thinly between the layers of block along with the block slurry, so as to further tie them together.

Just to head off another objection, it can be a monolithic structure if you make it out of compressed earth block, because of the way the blocks adhere to one another and join to form one giant piece. Conventional brick won't do this; however you structure it or tie the bricks together, it remains a structure built up of discrete, separate pieces, ready to shake to bits. Compressed earth block is no different in this way than pouring cement, or compressing earth layer by layer into a rammed earth structure; all ways combine ingredients on-site in such a way that the little pieces (loose dirt and aggregate, wet concrete slurry, or compressed earth blocks) join one to the other to form a single piece when complete.

One last thing I'll say about CEB is that I love the idea of using specialised shapes for increased structural effect. For example, one could design forms for the block press that produces blocks that interlock, like interlocking patio stone, but shaped specifically with earthquakes in mind. One could conceivably mortise-and-tennon the blocks together. I'd like to see anything short of dynamite demolish that!

-CK
 
Posts: 29
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Could it be slip formed? Or as said above make long blocks like 2 meterish.
 
Ivan Weiss
Posts: 183
Location: Vashon WA, near Seattle and Tacoma
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If this is a dumb question, I apologize in advance, but can't compressed earth blocks be made with holes in them to accommodate rebar?
 
Chris Kott
master pollinator
Posts: 2725
Location: Toronto, Ontario
293
bee dog forest garden fungi homestead hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've often thought that, just like bricks, holes could be left to accommodate rebar such that the holes would line up as the blocks overlap in the usual manner, and the rebar would be dropped several feet into the foundation and secured there with epoxy or something suitable. I don't like rebar, however, as it lends to whatever structure it supports the same long-term weakness of reinforced concrete structures, which is that when cracks develop in the cement, or when water works its way through to the rebar, it oxidizes and doubles or triples in size (I forget which), which pushes the structure apart from the inside.

Also, this is a thread about Dale's cedar waste-based clay plaster. Getting into CEB is kind of off topic.

-CK
 
Dale Hodgins
pollinator
Posts: 8170
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
616
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Off topic is what we do best. I think slip forming would make the most sense for most people who want to save on materials. I will probably leave forming battens in place since I have a limitless supply of decent wood. By going monolithic, a time consuming step is skipped. Instead of rebar, I'll drive in hundreds of wooden pegs cut from scrap.
 
Dale Hodgins
pollinator
Posts: 8170
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
616
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Eight months later, I'm still totally committed to building this way. After scouring the net regularly, I've determined that this is still by far the most ingenious method of building highly insulated, quake resistant walls from free materials. I must admit to some bias.

I've decided not to wait until I have approval to try this out. I'm still $50,000 away from building the house. This isn't going to be some hippie shack. I want it to be a home worthy of inclusion in a housing magazine and one that B and B customers will pay to stay at.

So, I will build a greenhouse where the north wall and one third of the east and west walls are of this material. The roof of this portion of the building will also be covered in a sawdust clay insulation in a manner that doesn’t rot the stuff and there will be no weak spot where wall meets roof. This portion of the building will be a bachelor unit while the southern portion will be a conservatory/greenhouse with a rocket powered hot tub and a very unique frosted glass outhouse where the poo falls into a glassed in area filled with bugs and growing plants in a sawdust substrate.

This small building will be a proving ground for the system, proving strength and durability to building officials. The living unit will eventually be called storage and the building will be used as a bath house/spa/cooking area and as a foul weather refuge for campers who arrive on my bus.

I've had a eureka moment regarding the framing that will allow me to use irregular round wood for a post and beam structure which is completely encapsulated by the infill. The plane of each side of a wall can be as straight as any concrete wall and there will be no joints or seams. It's midnight, so I'll get to that soon.

Of the 145 topics created by me, this one will be the most important since I intend to demonstrate a unique building style which could be used in any area of the world where any combination of sawmill waste along with straw, rice hulls, coconut fibre, or corn cobs mixed with clay and sometimes sand could build a well insulated, quake resistent home. Some assembly required. I finally have it all figured out: Dale
 
Dale Hodgins
pollinator
Posts: 8170
Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
616
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm consolidating all of my green building inventions and adaptations under one roof. The thread is called "Dale's Marvellous Inventions and Adaptations." and links to other ideas and inventions. Here's the link --- http://www.permies.com/t/19303/green-building/Dale-Marvellous-Inventions-Adaptations
 
Posts: 730
Location: Bendigo , Australia
24
dog homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So, how is progress?
 
pollinator
Posts: 3008
592
books cat chicken duck rabbit transportation trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dale Hodgins wrote:It's an awkward material to separate into exact quantities. The stringy nature ties it together well, but this makes it difficult to confine in a small space unless the materials are reduced in size.  Block making would be a time consuming exercise that would result in an inferior finished product, lacking the strength of a monolithic wall.




This was well before my time, but some 60 years ago my Grandfather needed a light weight concrete for the floors of his chicken barn. He contacted the University of Maine and they came out with Sawdust Concrete. I am not sure what the exact ratios of sawdust to concrete were, but he poured it on top of wooden floors to make them impervious to water and manure and it lasted the 27 years he had chickens, being scraped down every 6 weeks.


The reason he needed something light weight was the barn was a 5 floor 1800 New England Timber Frame barn and he did not want to overweigh the structure using traditional rock aggregate.
 
Good night. Drive safely. Here's a tiny ad for the road:
It's like binging on 7 seasons of your favorite netflix permaculture show
http://permaculture-design-course.com/
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!