Archive for October, 2011

Weather woes

Sunday, October 23rd, 2011

I am fast learning the real enemy of earth building – other than bureaucrats with nothing better to do than over regulate everything – is the weather. We’ve lost a lot of days (12 out of 21 so far) in October to just a couple of heavy rain days that have turned the site and our material piles to unworkable slush. This is beginning to get somewhat frustrating.

We do have some progress though and the outline of the house is now identifiable as the house with window and door openings marking room locations.

First  pic above is showing how we are making the transition from full to 2/3 width blocks where the veneer portion of the house begins around the wet areas. Pic 2 is the expansion joint ties set into the wall. I have preformed a rectangular “sausage” of polyurethane of 50x20mm cross section that will sit against the flat face between the ties. Each of the ties will have some high density foam wrapped around the articulation area (the peak if you will) to stop the earth mix from constricting the movement they need to have to function correctly. The angled faces the ties sit in will then have a double thickness of expansion gap 10mm foam stuck to them. Once that is in place the next block will be shuttered and the mix poured straight against it. Again, I will follow that explanation up with some pics as we get to that part of the build. Pic 3 is Elise enjoying the view as she scrubs down the dirty shutters.

I’ve solved the dilemma of forming weepholes in the skinny blocks as well. is the product we have ordered, having to be bushfire compliant means we need to screen the weepholes with fine mesh to stop ember ingress. After racking my brains for hours about how to achieve this a quick google search found this product and they were cheap, less than $3 total for the 90mm extreme bushfire weepa with a 90mm extension.

20% done

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

20% of the mud required has now been mixed and poured. We’ve lost a few days with wet weather over the past 4 weeks since hitting the 10% mark but looking at my notes on what has been done for the time available the next 10% will be done in around 10 days.

Now we have the base layer complete the process of setting up and levelling/aligning the moulds is taking half the time of the base layer. Most of the resets are falling into place and require minimal if any levelling, usually the end plates are the only part needing to be squared and plumbed.

The extra shutter sets I made are now coming into their own. I am able to simply pull down and put the used shutters to one side and then reset with the newly cleaned and oiled extras. When I have a helper come up for the day they are cleaning the dirty sets and reoiling them for me.

It is a massive undertaking and all told we are happy with progress so far.