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Technology for making rammed earth blocks

Ed Johnson

Joined: Jan 10, 2011
Posts: 80
Location: Durham region - Ontario, Canada - Zone 5
Hello Mr. Oehler,

I've been interested in earth bermed structures since learning about them a couple years ago on this site and then from your materials. I've found this company out of Texas, Earthco Megablocks and they are developing a technology to make large rammed earth blocks.

To the point, do you have any thoughts on the use of this tech or how your designs could be hybridized with it? I've thought that this combined with a moisture barrier could build an Earthship or one of your structures quite nicely.

Have a good day,
Devon Olsen

Joined: Nov 28, 2011
Posts: 1044
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
i love this idea, i think that a moisture barrier would certainly be a necessity but a great option for an area without much in the way of wood, i didnt get much out of scanning over your link but does this work ok with VERY sandy soils? or is it unnecessary to have clay, like cob?

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Ed Johnson

Joined: Jan 10, 2011
Posts: 80
Location: Durham region - Ontario, Canada - Zone 5
I imagine it requires some clay. I think there's some mention in there about the soil mix
Mike Oehler

Joined: Jan 03, 2009
Posts: 60
Location: Bonners Ferry Idaho
I invested about $400 thirty years ago in such a devise that was used a lot in S America. It was called a CINVA Ram. Learned about it in one of the Whole Earth Cataloges. Made some bricks but they crumbled easily. Tried adding portland cement. still crumbled. came to find my soil had almost no clay. Hadn't added any straw either. If you do get a mixture that works either use it for interior walls or look up in Rob Roy's books about the plaster with fiberglas in it for the inside of exterior walls to keep the earth pressure from pushing them in. or use a vertical crawl space. -- MO

author of:  The Fifty Dollar and Up Underground House Book and The Earth Sheltered Solar Greenhouse Book Visit Mike Oehler's Website
I agree. Here's the link:
subject: Technology for making rammed earth blocks