Perric Falcon

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since Dec 17, 2018
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earthworks sheep greening the desert
Graduate of Metropolitan State University focusing on sustainable agriculture. Blending ancient farming techniques with new technologies. Area was hit bad by the Hi Meadows Fire in 2000. Banana belt, south facing, 80 acres.
PineValleyHarvest on instagram
Pine, Colorado
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Recent posts by Perric Falcon

John C Daley wrote:Post and infill gives you the ability to have a roof while you are building the walls barbed wire is a very good interlocking device ad if you use 8 inch wide bricks as a minimum or even 10 the walls are very stable.
I think interlocking bricks may work if you use very little mortar between the bricks.
But with earth bricks, an earth mortar of the same material as the blocks are made from, and about 1 inch thick when the block is laid, will be very good.

That makes a lot of sense thank you for your reply!
10 months ago

John C Daley wrote:As  builder of CEB machines I can say that interlocking blocks are not such a great idea. Walls are easy enough to build without them.
You may find somebody who can make your bricks for you, if you have cash.
Otherwise make adobe bricks, which take a bit longer.
Either way, earth bricks are hard work.
I know I have built many homes with them.

Can you please elaborate more on why an interlocking brick, either hollowed or solid would not be such a great idea? If using standard blocks with no internal support such as rebar would the structure require a wood beam frame?

Purchasing bricks is not in our budget and our soil tests have proven to be a good candidate for making stabilized bricks.

Yes I agree earth bricks are hard work, as are all forms of building using the soil beneath your feet.
10 months ago

R Scott wrote:That link should get you enough to have a local shop build you one, and any decent shop should be able to add the interlocking feature.  The plans were out there on how to add in the Lego plates.  I will see if I can find them.  

That would be so awesome, thank you!
10 months ago

R Scott wrote:

Others have made your path easier.  

Yes thank you that is a fantastic thread, I just do not have any metalworking experience and I really would prefer the interlocking "lego" stlye blocks for inserting rebar for structural support and that accept different mold types like the "U" block mold for pouring a bond beam more easily. I know their are diffrent opinions on standard vs. interlocking blocks but I believe the interlocking would suit our needs best
10 months ago

thomas rubino wrote:Hi Perric;
I did a quick search and found the same things you did.  China / third world is the place to buy one. MAYBE you could locate a used one in the U.S. ... I wouldn't know where to ask ???
Alibaba itself I believe is up front (honest) each seller is the question. They have ratings like ebay and I think I would use my judgment after contact, to determine if I want to send them my thousand dollars or not...  My biggest concern would be the shipping.  I would want a locked down price up front. At the least , delivered to the nearest large town.

Thank you for your reply and insight, I am really torn between rolling the dice on a product in China and buying a local press I found in the USA. Unfortunately the USA one does not make interlocking bricks or accept the ability to change the brick mold like the chinese version I have found... With shipping they are pretty close in price however but because it exceeds $800 USD it is my understanding there could be a duty tax of up to 25% in addition once it arrives to the USA.

I would just go with the USA made version but the lack of interlocking bricks and being able to change molds is holding me back for the moment. It is a tough decision and a lot of money for us
10 months ago
Hello everyone,
   I have been researching to purchase a CEB press or brick making machine, the manual man powered type. I have only been able to find the type we want on alibaba (fl1-40 or fl2-40) and it comes out of China. I have never ordered anything this expensive or large (it weights over 200lbs) from overseas, and am very hesitant to engage the process as I am located in Colorado and do not know how to go about the logistics of having it delivered to me even if the transaction turned out to be successful. The machines I have found in the USA are all hydraulic/gas powered and I have received some quotes for a machine on a trailer from $10,000USD to $50,000 USD which lets just say is completely and utterly out of our budget.

   Has anyone ever ordered or utilized a machine like this? I know there is a post for a DIY cinva ram press but I have zero metal working skills and we really like that the fl2-40 model has interchangeable molds for making interlocking bricks and many other types.

  I also found a post from Owen Geiger's website stating he was quoted for a similar type of machine but they are based in Thailand and I think I would have the same logistic issues ordering one from there as I would from China.

 Any help, opinions or insights would be greatly appreciated.

10 months ago
+1 to mattock, 5 gallon buckets, and an endless supply of work gloves

Also nothing like a sharp chainsaw that is running well so +1 to files
10 months ago
For some rocks if you have the rock drill you can drill a hole, fill it with water and wait for it to freeze and then split in half, then the big rock will at least be in two smaller and hopefully more manageable pieces. Unfortunately this is dependent on freezing temperatures but it does work.
11 months ago

Catherine Windrose wrote:While looking for ways to test different mixes with or without added materials, I found this video which gave me a lot of ideas how to test at home.
Sand Castle Holds Up A Car! - Mechanically Stabilized Earth

When I was thinking about using sandy soil in earthbags and didn't want to risk wearing and tearing, I looked for screen materials as mentioned after the 4:00 minute mark in the video above.  (That homework led to finding basalt materials formed as rebar, mesh, fabric, rope for various purposes.  I may use a basalt mesh or fabric for a project.)

Your area being low in clay, might produce the effect you're looking for by making a thicker wall by layering something suitable about every foot or two.  If you try dropping different shapes of heavy weights on the test bricks, that might help find a way to combine materials to achieve the strength you're looking for.

Forgive the lack of tech jargon.  I'm nowhere near being an engineer, and learn by seeing what goes boom or not :)

Wow that video was just amazing thank you very much for sharing that!!!

I see exactly what you mean in adding a reinforcing material now, we have a ton of sheep fence wire that had to be torn down (basically a 6x6" grid work of metal), I wonder if layering this into the earth works would be beneficial or if a tighter mesh like the screen and even t-shirt example provided. I recall a film on ancient building techniques where they layed straw width-wise inbetween rammed earth lifts/layers and the straw stems worked in wicking moisture out of the inner workings of the wall. I imagine their foremost thought was adding strength as seen in the video though now.

I know their is basalt rock but have never heard of materials such as you mention being made from it before, is it a material that is easy to acquire or a bit of a specialy item? Being in the mountains I am neary a few quarries so if it is available I would love to know more about it as a material.

Thank you for your reply!
11 months ago
Thank you for the replies and suggestions, it is correct that the first batch was far too crumbly, however it did stay together better then initially expected. These will not be used as building blocks but rather monolithic rammed earth walls (12"-18" wide), the blocks are only for testing and seemed like a convenient size to work with (a 4' pine board made two sets of wood formers to produce blocks roughly 7"x7"x3"). These tests are just for our extremely granitic soil type and obtaining a baseline on which to improve upon but hopefully this can help with anyone else and their soils as well.  

Using the corner of a speed square triangle I tapped it quite hard until it split directly into two chunks. I then held it at shoulder level and dropped it onto concrete pavement at which point it continued to break into smaller chunks.

To improve on the mixture I went from 9:1 earth to portland ratio, to an 8:1:1 earth, sand, and portland.

Next I made another block of 7:2:1 earth, sand, and portland.

I am now letting them dry from 24 hours to 72-96 hours before 'pick' and shoulder drop testing again. Already the additon of sand has made it feel much harder around the edges compared to the initial crumbly block, and they are virtually impervious to trying to dig a finger nail into it to scratch it away. If they are substantiall stronger as I imagine I will subject them to varioius water test (spraying pressurized water and soaking one in a bucket).

11 months ago