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suez Cawood
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What is the secrets to building with lime?

We have tons of rock on our property that we want to put into shutters and pour a lime/soil mix in to build our workshop.  We've seen this method working with building rubble and cement.  So want to try this with rocks, lime and soil.
But it doesn't seem there is a "recipe" on how to make the lime mix.

Can anyone help pls?
 
                                
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wikipedia has a pretty good article on lime mortar. I don't see any mention of lime/soil mixes.
 
Jami McBride
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This may be what your looking for.....



Lime mortar is a type of mortar composed of lime, an aggregate such as sand, and water. It is one of the oldest known types of mortar, dating back to the 4th century BC and widely used in Ancient Rome and Greece, when it largely replaced the clay and gypsum mortars common to Ancient Egyptian construction.[1]

With the introduction of portland cement (OPC) during the nineteenth century the use of lime mortar in new constructions gradually declined, largely due to portland's ease of use, quick setting and compressive strength. However the soft, porous properties of lime mortar provide certain advantages when working with softer building materials such as natural stone and terracotta.

  See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lime_mortar#Mix ; For the recipe details.

And there are some good videos, I'll see if I can find them, on Roman and Greek lime mortars -



Pozzolanic mortar is a lime based mortar, but is made with an additive of volcanic ash that allows it to be hardened underwater; thus it is known as hydraulic cement. The Greeks obtained the volcanic ash from the Greek islands Thira and Nisiros, or from the then Greek colony of Dicaearchia (Pozzuoli) near Naples, Italy. The Romans later improved the use and methods of making what became known as pozzolanic mortar and cement.[4] Even later, the Romans used a mortar without pozzolana using crushed terra cotta, introducing aluminum oxide and silicon dioxide  into the mix. This mortar was not as strong as pozzolanic mortar, but, because it was denser, it better resisted penetration by water.

 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Clay and lime also react, and harden.

A recipe that calls for "soil" is like a recipe that calls for "food." That actually isn't accurate, because soil is a lot more complicated than food, as far as variety, chemistry, etc.

Experiment with the various sorts of soil you have available. Do a shake test with a jar, and see how the soil reacts to small additions of lime. Chances are reasonably high that there will be enough highly-reactive silica in some sort of local soil, that some small amount of lime will add a lot of strength. Having coarse particles and medium-sized particles in the mix can be of help, too.
 
suez Cawood
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From my research I've also came to the conclusion that the mix might differ with different soils.  I'm planning some tests on our local soils.  But what am I looking for.  One of the sites referred to worm rolling and droptests.  Which makes sense, but does anyone know what to look for.  How should the mix react when we do that?  Should it behave like a cement mix or is there other things to look for?

Thanks so much for the input.  Appreciate it immensely

Suzie
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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I'm no soil engineer, but I think a shake test will give you some idea of the amount of fines, and a pH test of subsoil (i.e., find a sample with very little organic matter) will at least rule out soil that already contains a lot of lime, and might give information on the relative predominance of silicon vs. calcium.  High silica content, in the form of fines, will give a mix that reacts with lime to form something akin to cement; the archetypal example of this is pozzolanic ash.
 
suez Cawood
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Thanks Joel.

Appreciate

Suzie
 
                                    
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Location: Ishpeming, Michigan
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Not sure if this is what you are looking for but hope it helps

Based on the ASTM densities, this gives you no Portland cement, 270 lbs of hydrated lime and 1,620 lbs of sand.

To put together a single cubic yard of lime mortar, you need to buy:

No bags of Portland cement

5.4 bags of hydrated lime (50 lb bags)

0.81 tons of sand.......from
http://www.mc2-ice.com/support/estref/popular_conversion_files/masonry/mortar.htm

there are a lot of mortar recipes at that link.
 
suez Cawood
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Looks like the 3 lime : 1 sand is the general mix.

But looks like this mix applies only to sharp sand (builders sand). 

One of the benefits of lime over Portland Cement is that you can mix it with normal soil.  Which is why we want to use it.

The catch is - how to know when the mix is right using soil.  And the old people who built with it on a daily basis and knew the secrets is long gone - in our area in any case.

I recon we'll stumble upon the right mix eventually with enough research!!



Tks

Suzie
 
Jami McBride
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Posts: 1948
Location: PNW Oregon
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You may find what your seeking by doing a search on Roman Mortar.  It is the silica in the soil or ash that makes the mortar gel as Joel mentioned.  Seems modern builders are rediscovering the durability of the Roman mixes, there are recipes out there, however they are not exact, you'll still have to use some trial and error. 

In my search I found that fly ash can work in place of volcanic ash.  So if your soil tests light on silica the adding of fly ash may be just the thing.  Good luck



Mortars containing only lime and sand required carbon dioxide from the air to convert back to limestone and harden. Lime/sand mortars hardened at a slow rate and would not harden under water. The Romans created hydraulic mortars that contained lime and a pozzolan such as brick dust or volcanic ash. These mortars were intended be used in applications where the presence of water would not allow the mortar to carbonate properly(ref. iv). Examples of these types of applications included cisterns, fish-ponds, and aqueducts.

 
Jami McBride
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suez wrote:
What is the secrets to building with lime?

We have tons of rock on our property that we want to put into shutters and pour a lime/soil mix in to build our workshop.  We've seen this method working with building rubble and cement.  So want to try this with rocks, lime and soil.
But it doesn't seem there is a "recipe" on how to make the lime mix.

Can anyone help pls?


Have you considered Cast Earth? 

Here is more information:
http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/cast_earth.htm
http://web.itu.edu.tr/~isikb/Tech1.htm



 
suez Cawood
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Tks Jami. 

Looks like this can work... definitely going to investigate more......

S
 
Ardilla Esch
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suez wrote:
Looks like the 3 lime : 1 sand is the general mix.

But looks like this mix applies only to sharp sand (builders sand). 


I think you have the ratio backwards - it should be 1 lime : 3 sand.  It is basically based on the porosity of the sand/soil used.  A well sorted, angular sand generally has a porosity around 30%.  So a 1 lime:3sand ratio is enough to fill the void space in the sand with lime.  The porosity drops when the sand/soil is not well sorted and has a variety of particle sizes.  You could easily get to a 1 lime:4 to 5 soil ratio.  You can make some little test blocks and evaluate them for shrinking, cracking, compressive strength, etc.
 
                        
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http://howardhallfarm.com/limemortar.html  might be of help.   You might find this video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=znQk_yBHre4
helpful as well. The article that goes with it is here http://www.rexresearch.com/davidovits/davidovits.htm#geopyr  .
..Davidovits has all sorts of interesting things to say about making bricks without cement
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjeVeDVtghc
but I couldn't find a usable (for me) recipe..the chemical stuff loses me. Hope some of this will be of help. or at least interesting.
 
                        
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Just joined this forum
G'day Susie
My girlfriend and I will be building our workshop and start our permaculture property on 6 acres early next year.
My grandfather trained me in our families tradition of building,plastering and formworking and plaster/mortar manufacture from scratch since biblical times in middle east, I was just lucky to be born into this and really love doing it.

There are just so many options available to you,as I have so many recipes..and time and budget is what dictates your options ultimately.
There are means to cut costs right down but it also depends on what resources you have at hand.
If I can help,I will

 
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