Daniel Ray

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since Feb 04, 2014
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hugelkultur forest garden composting toilet building rocket stoves
Victor, Montana; Zone 5b
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Recent posts by Daniel Ray

I've seen two portable clay plaster structures. The first was in the UK and I cannot for the life of me find it again, but the other was done by the Canelo project. https://caneloproject.com/projects/tiny-house/

I haven't seen it in person, but it is a beautiful structure.

My immediate thought would be that the plaster would crack with any sort of towing, but Athena Steen is so experienced, she would know best.

2 months ago
Hi Everyone, we have some fun natural building experiences for anyone interested. Check out our upcoming workshops at spiritwoodnaturalbuilding.com.

2 months ago
Hi everyone, we have an earthen floors workshop coming up in April I thought I would share. This is a collaboration project between Spiritwood Natural Building in Victor, Montana and Sage Oasis Retreat Center in Hot Springs Montana. Check out the info and links below!

Date: April 22-23, 2022

Cost: $75-$125

Location: Sage Oasis Retreat Center, Hot Springs MT


3 months ago
A candle isn't going to throw off much heat. That being said, a butt warmer really doesn't need much does it? Unless it was in direct contact with the seat it wouldn't do much warming. Seems a lot of work to keep the goose pimples off your bum.
6 months ago
After 3 stoves and 5 barrels, I've done away with trying to burn away the paint. I've used the pocket rocket method, sanding, blowtorching and I'm always left with an unsatisfactory level of paint and/or sooty residue that takes way too much time to remove. The last two barrels I did, I just took into a car detailing shop and had them sandblast. Costs 35 bucks per barrel, but saves me an entire day of cleaning and burning.
6 months ago
Hi Betsy, my house is built with a rubble trench foundation with layer of insulation on the outside of the foundation to prevent heave. I believe in MN you would need the apron to extend out from the foundation 2 feet, but I would double check. With a shallow trench foundation you are relying, I believe, and someone please correct me if I am wrong, relies on trapping the heat from the stable earth temp and the heat produced from the house. Even with some insulation you are going to have heat loss to the ground which is actually positive for those cold winter days when you are preventing frost from ruining your foundation. The rubble trench is also superior in that it wicks moisture away from under the house. No water, no frost, no heave.

No concrete slab is necessary for your construction of an earthen floor. Just level, put down 4-6" of gravel, use a moisture barrier, put down rigid foam insulation, do a base earthen layer (quarries have road base that works well), then do a finish layer of earthen floor that gets oiled once dry.

6 months ago
I wouldn't bother with putting rigid down along the perimeter, the heat will still suck out and down into the ground rapidly. You could use rigid foam and lay it down inside like a pad, then cover with scrap plywood or drywall for a temp floor. If you want to avoid the insulation, if just for a season, I would use a nice thick layer of woodchip or sawdust which will give a nice insulation, nice smell, and nice softness to the floor. Definitely would cover with scrap plywood or drywall as it would be a fire risk and you wouldn't want sawdust getting into everything.

Another option, that is also very cheap or free, is to use a bunch of wine or beer bottles. I did this for a portion of my house and have seen it used effectively in a superadobe dome. Would need to have an earthen floor overtop though which would require some more work.
6 months ago
yes, as long as you have the same area as the pipe, you will be fine. Many are using the 5 minute riser now which is not squared up, but uses the same diameter pipe. If doing a square riser, stick with the 6" diameter, it doesn't hurt to avoid any bottle neck.

As for welding, I just took my pipe to a fabrication shop and they cut and welded it to my specifications for about $15. Saved me some work that I'm not comfortable with.
7 months ago
Hi Karl, sounds like a fun project. I'm sure others will chime in, but here is my insight.

1) the half an inch won't matter for the depth of the port. It is simply sized that way because of the thickness of the fire bricks commonly used.

2) The p channel can definitely go from the top, mine is on my 8", but it does make it more difficult to replace if the need should arise. The floor channels simply pop out and can be replaced with much more ease. (if this isn't what you meant please let us know). As for the size of the p-channel, the amount of air allowed is what matters most so any size is useable. I believe that the dimensions of 2 3/16" simply corresponds to the size of the port itself and therefore allows the maximum amount of air to be injected into the port. Other builders may have some more insight, but I don't believe it will make much of a difference. You will still want to have the p-channel overhang the port and have the port side open as described on Peter's site so that the air is inject more easily into the port.

7 months ago
It is definitely possible, but it won't add much insulation value. Cob has an R-value of about .5 to 1 per inch. So even with high straw cob you would need a good amount to make any sort of difference. How big of a dome are we talking? building sized or oven sized?
9 months ago