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My Underground house build

 
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Here, the third row of posts have been installed with the beams (girders) atop of them.










 
Orbit Royson
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Here is the super-cool Zac driving the great blue Genie.

 
Orbit Royson
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One morning, our friend, John came by to help us out. John is perhaps the strongest guy we know. Yes, it's true that the Amish people are strong, however, John is as strong as two of them, and stronger than 1000 other men.

He may look like a rough character, but let me assure you that he is kind and gentle. He is definately someone that you want on your side, though.









Here is John drilling the one inch hole into an especially hard rock area.

 
Orbit Royson
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John's truck and Zac's golf cart.

 
Orbit Royson
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Let me tell you about Zac's Yamaha gas powered golf cart. He has had it for many years, and has put it through MANY MANY unbelievable trials. Any other golf cart would have died many years ago.

Just last week, we took it into the woods where we cut down eight cedars to be used as bracing posts. Most of these cedars were close to twenty feet long. Zac used that golf cart to haul those trees out of the woods. I was duly impressed.
 
Orbit Royson
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The fourth row of posts have been installed. The girders have been set atop them, and pinned in with rebar.





A view of the joints.

 
Orbit Royson
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Here, we are nearing the short side of the hole. This is the front side of the house. You see the posts that will be set there. They are lying on the ground.

This will be the fifth set of posts. They are 6 1/2 feet tall. The posts at the rear of the house are 18 feet tall. There will be room for a loft or second floor in that part of the house. That is an added bonus.

 
Orbit Royson
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Now for a bunch of pics. What I did was walk around the hill to capture different angles of the structure.










 
Orbit Royson
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More views of this beautiful creation.










 
Orbit Royson
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It's like Big Boy Lincoln Logs.










 
Orbit Royson
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Around to the front again.







I especially like that post, just left of center in this next photo.

 
Orbit Royson
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This next series of pics are from the day that we loaded the purlins on top of the girders. There is a combination of ten foot sections and twenty foot sections.

Gary brought over some roofing brackets which we used to hold the purlins from rolling off the girders.

We will use a pulley to roll them into place. We will then notch them and pin them into the girders with rebar. They will be set on three foot centers We will then use a chain saw to render the tops of the purlins to a somewhat flat surface so that we can nail the sheathing boards to them. The sheathing boards will be full dimension 2X10 oak boards.

Here is Zac bringing us some purlin logs.





Oh my! Lucky there were no logs on the forks when Zac was on a big angle with the machine.

 
Orbit Royson
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The first purlin is loaded up. Gary sits up there waiting for another one.







 
Orbit Royson
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Now we are making progress.









Here you see that some twenty footers have been loaded up top, and some ten footers are being loaded on a lower level.





 
Orbit Royson
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There sure are a bunch of these things to load up there.

 
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An area that will soon be loaded with purlins.







 
Orbit Royson
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We've got a bunch of them up there now.




 
Orbit Royson
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The last day that the three man Amish crew was here they installed the last row of posts. There were six posts. They also installed the girders atop those posts.

Additionally, they installed eight diagonal braces using the cedars that Zac cut and hauled out of the woods with his golf cart.

Here are two photos of the last row of posts.







 
Orbit Royson
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Here are some pics of the diagonal braces.










 
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More pics of the braces.




 
Orbit Royson
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Two essential tools for this project. A chain saw and a sledge hammer.

 
Orbit Royson
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A view of the last row of posts. The gap between them and that hillside will be filled in with dirt. It is fantastic how the roof angle was calculated so that it conformed with the grade of the hill in which the hole was dug.




 
Orbit Royson
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More views of the diagonal braces.











 
Orbit Royson
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The last photos I have for now. At this time, the project has come to a close due to a lack of funds to continue.










 
Orbit Royson
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Many thanks go to all who have helped with the project so far: Gary, CJ, Rick, Rudy, and, of course, the Amish crew who were paid handsomely for their amazing work. Great admiration goes to Zac, who has the ability to think big. This house is 50 X 50 feet.

Thanks to Mike Oehler for providing the inspiration.

Extra special thanks to Zac's mom for providing money to help with the project.
 
Orbit Royson
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Presently, Gary and Zac are building scaffolding around the building which will enable us to work on the purlins. The optimistic plan is to have this building sheathed and the dirt filled in before winter.

So, to all of you who are following this chronicle, Send us some positive thought waves, and give us a cheer.

Thanks
 
pollinator
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Rudy wrote:
Presently, Gary and Zac are building scaffolding around the building which will enable us to work on the purlins. The optimistic plan is to have this building sheathed and the dirt filled in before winter.

So, to all of you who are following this chronicle, Send us some positive thought waves, and give us a cheer.

Thanks



Perhaps it looks like just started.... but sometimes thats the hardest part. I don't have the book so It is a bit hard to know before hand where you are going from where you are as I have only seen some finished places. Looks good. I'm getting ideas...
 
Orbit Royson
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South Carolina wrote:
Is he on schoolies.net?  I have a bus on there but haven't posted lately because, though we are finished, we are not using the bus.

Seemed like a good idea at the time, and it was great to travel in, but for some reason we just haven't used it.  I think we decided the motorcycle was more fun.  I still want to hit the outer banks with the bus before we give up on it though.  Maybe this winter.





I am not on schoolies. net. I have an extensive collection of 357 photos and details of my bus build. I may start a blog.
 
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Wow. Absolutely amazed.
 
Orbit Royson
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Jason wrote:
Wow. Absolutely amazed.



Your response makes me smile.

This project has only just begun. I am as excited as you are.

Thanks for the reply.

It's already started

Rudy
 
                                    
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Location: High Peaks Area NY Adirondack Mountains
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How are you going to waterproof the house? The French drains worked well for us. The plastic suggested in the book was a bust. We ended up digging our whole house back up and replacing the plastic with sheets of rubber used for flat roofs. This was glued to the boards on the walls and roof. THEN 6 mil plastic, foam insulation, more 6 mil plastic, cardboard for protection and it was back filled.

Another thing that did not work according to the book was just having boards stay against the posts with the pressure of the earth.  When we dug the place up, all boards were nailed on. Without nails the boards moved too much and bowed in. Since the site is well excavated, looks like you will be fastening the boards to the cedar poles?

I see you folks are doing the earthen walls where the elevation changes. Are you going to do something to hold that earth in place? Mike must have had just the right soil at his place to get away with that. Ours was a sand/gravel/clay soil where we excavated for our underground house. It needed support.

Are you going to use local rough-sawn lumber to build with? We did...and it worked out well and was much cheaper than lumber yard wood!
 
Orbit Royson
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Wendy, thanks for that information. Originally, Zac wanted to use rubber. It is expensive. After reading what you just wrote, he may reconsider.

I expect him to address these questions and post soon.
 
                                    
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Rudy wrote:
Wendy, thanks for that information. Originally, Zac wanted to use rubber. It is expensive.



We contacted a roofing company and were able to buy several leftover odds and ends of rubber, plus some partially used buckets of the special rubber cement. Start calling places now to have them save up their oddball pieces. You have to buy a whole other kind of cement to glue the rubber to rubber. It's wicked expensive!

We used the smallest pieces for the 8 x 8 ft root cellar addition. I HIGHLY recommend putting a root cellar on the north side, attached to the house. We then buried flue tiles in the floor and put insulated covers on them. They stay cold enough to store milk and mayo without refrigeration

By having operable windows and doors at both the highest and lowest spots, we had fantastic ventilation. The root cellar had high and low vent pipes.  When it was below zero out, we just stuffed something in the top of the pipes outside. Ventilation is important in an underground house.
 
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Wendy, I think rubber would be a much safer option for sealing my house as well. It is a good idea to find pieces of leftovers from different places. Just out of curiosity, Why did your plastic fail? I will probably start looking for rubber today.
I am thinking about buying 1x12 white pine decking material for the roof and walls. I can get it for 57 cents a foot. I will be doubling it of running at oppisit 45 degree angles.
I like the idea of the rough sawn bundles as well. Thanks for the info.
 
                                    
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We were good about keeping trees away from the house, but existing trees sent roots over to us that went right through the plastic. We actually encouraged the raspberry and blackberry bushes on the roof and sides. Even their roots came through eventually. The rubber never had any problems.

I'm not sure if we are talking about the same rough sawn lumber. Ours was dimensional lumber...cut in true thickness and just not planed. We used 2 inch thick boards. I really liked the way the rough boards looked in the house along with our cedar uprights and hemlock, fir and spruce roof logs.
 
                                    
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Rudy and Zac- I'm tuned in now, and caught back up so get that $$ raised and get back to work pronto so those of us who are addicted to this house build don't start having withdrawal symptoms. Rudy, no sharks crusing around this site are there?
 
                            
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Rudy and Zac,

Just picked up two of Mike Oehler's books from the Buffalo and Erie County public library and read them both in two days.

I notice that it looks like you are going with concrete footings that tie into your posts with rebar. Were you concerned with setting the posts straight into the ground? Did you consider doing this?

I realize that Oehler gave concrete footings as an option in his book.
 
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Awesome
 
                          
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Great job what an inspiration!!!
I'm can't wait for the Odyssey to continue.
 
                                    
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Do we need to send out a search party for Zac and Rudy?? They have not posted anything in a few days, and usually Rudy is very good about posting on a regular basis!
 
We can walk to school together. And we can both read this tiny ad:
Switching from electric heat to a rocket mass heater reduces your carbon footprint as much as parking 7 cars
http://woodheat.net
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