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Arches and Buttresses in a Cheese Cellar

 
pollinator
Posts: 312
Location: Scioto county, Ohio, USA
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My questions are several, as I have been unlucky in my search for info on building stone cellars, much less in building them with lime mortar and including support pillars and vaults. Basically, my design for the cheese cave is a scaled down gothic cathedral without the decorations and false ceilings. The vaults will support an earthen overburden and the knaves will support the heavy outdoor kitchen parts such as an oven and stove, and smokehouse. If we had more room, I would build them seperately. But near the house there is not much room for building. So my sollution is to situate my summer kitchen atop the cheese cellar. I plan to hide the existence of the cheese cellar from casual observers for security reasons. Can't have someone raiding my cheese stash while I'm asleep.

So on to the questions:
First, how to I create the foundations for a cellar?

How should I cover the floor?

Is there an easy way to make removable forms for gothic arches and vaults?

Should the butresses be on the interior of the outer wall to resist the earth or exterior to support the arches?

How do I calculate the correct sizing of the knave arches and pillars to support the heavy elements of the summer kitchen above?
 
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Sounds like a interesting project. But the real question is which way do you want to do your construction do you want to do poured, block, brick, or stone walls or a hybrid system. How deep is it going to be back filled and covered And what type of water proofing do you want to use? And what constructions methods are you familiar with using. Poured reinforced  Concrete would be your strongest way to go. But a cinder block construction would be easies and could be built into the arches and the forms attached to it and the forms for the ceiling and roof are all in one pour be it concrete or a shot Crete. There are various places to get the local specs you may need to follow but planning and zoning can give you the local basics on there online site if they have one. As for a  floor concrete would be best and easy to clean as needed just remember to put in the floor drain.  
 
Ryan Hobbs
pollinator
Posts: 312
Location: Scioto county, Ohio, USA
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forest garden hunting cooking food preservation sheep homestead
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Anthony DiDonato wrote:Sounds like a interesting project. But the real question is which way do you want to do your construction do you want to do poured, block, brick, or stone walls or a hybrid system. How deep is it going to be back filled and covered And what type of water proofing do you want to use? And what constructions methods are you familiar with using. Poured reinforced  Concrete would be your strongest way to go. But a cinder block construction would be easies and could be built into the arches and the forms attached to it and the forms for the ceiling and roof are all in one pour be it concrete or a shot Crete. There are various places to get the local specs you may need to follow but planning and zoning can give you the local basics on there online site if they have one. As for a  floor concrete would be best and easy to clean as needed just remember to put in the floor drain.  



Fieldstones and lime mortar is the construction material. I was considering dry laid brick for the floor with drain tile and gravel under the brick. I am adept at laying such a floor as I have done it before for paths and driveways. I was not planning to make it waterproof at all as the moisture that seeps through the walls is needed to properly grow rind mold on my cheeses. The cellar needs to be at about 90% humidity. Moisture also strengthens lime mortar through a chemical process that gradually turns it into limestone. The pillars, arches, and vault will be made from stone and lime mortar as well. There are many such structures standing today that were built 1000 years ago. Lime mortar also has a unique atribute. If it cracks, and the crack is not very wide of a gap, water passing through its porus surface picks up excess calcium and knits it into the broken surfaces, eventually closing the gap. The drain tile and dry laid floor will carry excess water away and prevent pooling of water. The planned site is on the side of a mountain with zero chance of flooding due to rain or snow melt or ground water.

I do not have the money or the desire to use concrete. I can lay it all in the abundant and free stone.

There will be probably 8 feet of soil on top of the cellar, plus the afore mentioned oven, stove, and smokehouse. This depth is what is required to keep the temperature at a steady 60°F all year using geothermal mass.
 
Anthony DiDonato
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Sounds like You already have it planned out or at least a very good idea of what you really want all I can suggest is that you have the ceiling reinforced enough to hold the weight you will be putting on it. Have fun it will be a interesting project. please keep us posted on how it goes.
 
Anthony DiDonato
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Dry laying could work but for long lasting and strength I would recommend mortaring the walls or use slip forms for the walls with mortar and stone mother earth news and countryside and small stock journal has had some articles on that style of building. The forms are reusable and can be used and built for arches as most arches require a form to make to support while curing. I would recommend a concrete or shot crete cap over the outside of the arches with some wire mesh to reinforce to and it put most of the drainage to the sides just back fill lightly until you got a couple feet of coverage your footings are based on wall thickness. Remember when unsure of something thicker is better for good reason. Better over engineered than suffering a failure form not being thick enough for the task. Hope your project goes well would like see some photos of the project.
Tony.
 
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I would really like to get to know someone with so much cheese they have to build a vault for it. Sounds like my kind of person.
 
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Location: Australia, New South Wales. Köppen: Cfa (Humid Subtropical), USDA: 10/11
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Typically, the walls and their foundations are of extreme importance – it’s likely the walls will require buttresses just like Gothic architecture because that is where the forces of the roof are exerting the pressure.

For the sake of safety, you ‘should’ research the topic thoroughly and err on the side of caution – talk to structural stonemasons, architects, etc for some ideas/feedback.

The roofing stones need to be accurately keyed so they interlock – the ye olde stonemasons were the rock-stars of their generation, they did amazing things that appeared to defy gravity e.g. most of the old European churches, Mosques, etc. The calculations need to be very accurate.

Good luck with it. Have you considered a simple earth-covered structure with faux vaulted ceilings just for the aesthetics? Easier to build for the layperson and a LOT safer.
 
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