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Timbrel Vault

 
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I know this post isn't new, but it is to me. http://www.lowtechmagazine.com/2008/11/tiles-vaults.html
Wow. What beauty.

This fits in with some of Alexander's ideas in a pattern language and it seems to require a lot less crazy materials than his epoxy vaulted ceiling idea.

I don't know how, but I have to try building something with this idea before fall arrives.

Other resources on the topic:
http://guastavino.net/
http://www.amazon.com/Guastavino-Vaulting-Art-Structural-Tile/dp/1568987412
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTBvV6b6LGo
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lDm9vIeheSQ
 
                    
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One thing to remember about old techniques like this is that the builders served long apprenticeships during which time they learned all that was known. The smarter ones then went on to expand and improve. Not to cast doubts on any one person but having seen many conventional modern self built structures with many glaring structural problems it is my opinion that a lot of techniques like this are well beyond the capabilities of many owner builders. Really nice to look at though, especially if one has the chance to travel and see examples in person.
 
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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I've always loved this idea.  There are many more web resources, and it is not necessarily a hard skill to learn.  There are a few examples online of beginners making successful ceilings.

We tried this a few years back, but we had a very hard time finding quality tiles at a reasonable price.  On top of that, you really must work during dry spells, as the plaster of paris mortar is really very susceptible to moisture.  If it gets wet, the whole roof can collapse.

My advice is to build something small, like less than 8 ft by 8ft, just to get a feel for the technique.  You will nee to do a minimum of 2-3 tile layers, and then a water proof layer.

Here's a beginner one done as a test:
http://www.umanitoba.ca/cast_building/research/masonry/catalan_vaults.html
 
Jim Argeropoulos
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Good link. Thanks
I've not found anything yet for a tile source. The closest I've come is 1/2 thick tiles and concrete paver related items that are nearly twice the desired thickness. Neither seems ideal, but could work in a pinch.
It looks like James Bellamy is making his own with concrete.
 
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