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Learning to build with native materials  RSS feed

 
Kahty Chen
Posts: 26
Location: Southern Oregon
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As I begin to thin our woodland, I'll be accumulating a supply of 4" fir and pine, 4" - 10" madrone (some straight, some twisty), and gobs and gobs of twisty manzanita, about 1/2" - 4" in diameter. There are larger trees, but I hope I won't need to be cutting any of them. There are also lots of small rocks (6" diameter and less) and some larger ones (around 12" dia.). The soil is about 5' deep to bedrock. There are really no vines growing here, or willow, but there are plenty of pliable poison oak stems. 

I'd like to use collected material to build fencing, a chicken coop, donkey/goat shelter, shade house, and propagation/greenhouse.

I've run across posts in the forum that suggest pine/fir buried in the ground won't last long - not good fence post candidates. But what about as fence rails? I'll be building a fence to keep in dogs, as the outermost ring of my livestock/garden zone system. Is there fence design that uses posts to hold vertical slash piles? Would pine posts last long enough for other trees to grow in place to replace them? Our climate is rainy winters (20" and dry from May till November. My soil is rocky/gravelly loam ... a bit on the clay side with moderate drainage.

I'm looking at cordwood construction for the chicken coop, and perhaps the back wall of the propagation house (which may be a shared wall with the donkey/goat house).

I've done plenty of building with milled lumber, but have no idea how to get started with fresh cut small trees and bushes. Where can I learn about conditioning the wood, joinery, tools, jigs, etc?

I'm hoping you can give me some references to books, websites, courses, and other sources of learning. I'd also love to see some of the projects you've built with collected native (or cultured) materials.
 
solomon martin
Posts: 102
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You might consider using a jack leg fence system, it would probably adapt well for holding slash.  It has the advantage of not having to dig post holes, although you end up using extra wood.  Stacked split rail (snake style, with dual uprights) may be another viable solution although it uses a lot more wood.  Both systems are found on old homesteads here in the rocky mountain west, and don't require digging, they work well for livestock.  A google image search should yield some images of what I am talking about. Good luck.
 
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