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My Underground house build

Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
Hey everyone, my name is Zac and I am documenting the build of my underground house, I hope I can figure this stuff out like posting pictures and the sort.
I am A little ways into this but I should be able to get you all caught soon. Anyways I just wanted to let you know I was joining the forum.

I will be back later
Mark Larson


Joined: Nov 29, 2010
Posts: 53
Location: Conroe, Tx
Awesome. Definitely look forward to this one. Good luck!
Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
Here is a pic of the excavation and some crew that is helping me to debark the logs and set posts, girders and perlins. They are Amish, so you won't see many pics of them. My friend Rudy is taking all the pictures. and there is a lot.


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Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
These here are the posts I am going to use, they are cedar. I bought them from a guy about 20mi north of me for $50 a piece delivered. The next pic is a picture of some of the oak perlins that we cut and debarked and are ready for use.


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Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
Dragging to the pile and some fresh ones ready to go. I don't think I mentioned that I am using wood from my own property for all the Girders and perlins. Also the house is going to be a 50'x50' with a 10' offset. It is sitting on a north facing hill and will have a 3/12 pitch. There is a lot of stuff I haven't mentioned. I will get to it eventually.


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Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
Pile gets bigger and bigger!


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Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
and bigger!


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Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
Ok, at this point we are ready to start setting the posts and girders. I rent a skytrack that has a 8000lb lifting capacity and a 44' reach.


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Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
Road to my house and entering on the east entrance. I had to use a machine to set the posts, girders, and perlins. most of the girders are over a ton. I am trying to build this house as eco friendly as possible.


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Joined: Jun 20, 2011
Posts: 6
Location: High Peaks Area NY Adirondack Mountains
Ohhhh, my gosh! I am so jealous that you have all that help and equipment! My ex and I built our underground house without the aid of stuff like that. Ours started out 14 x 28 ft and we added on for about 18 years  We used Mike Oehler's $50 and Up Underground House book. I am looking forward to watching your progress! 

Wendy the Wanderer
formerly a Vermonter, now in the NY Adirondack Mountains


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Wendy the Wanderer
Jordan Lowery
volunteer

Joined: Sep 26, 2009
Posts: 1528
Location: zone 7
    
  11
great start keep us updated or post more pics.


The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings. - Masanobu Fukuoka
                        


Joined: Mar 25, 2011
Posts: 107
yes, thank you for posting!
rookie question #1: why debark the posts?  I have pondered whether to debark or leave bark on many times and I can not figure out what the advantages of debarking are, though I intuitively lean toward removing the bark.
Jeanine Gurley
steward

Joined: May 23, 2011
Posts: 1392
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
    
  10
Looks like you have the makings for writing a book there or at least a really good magazine article.  The beautiful location, great house materials, and experiences working with the Amish - I am sure they will have a lot of good input on how to build a solid structure that will last forever.  I look forward to following this thread.


1. my projects
Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
Rudy has all the pictures, and is good at explaining details. We have over 200 pictures so far.

In a few days, there will be many pictures of this 50ft X 50ft house. Perhaps, he will also be able to post the conversion of his 1973 Blue Bird bus conversion.

Stay tuned.
Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
kazron, the logs do need to be debarked because bugs and other stuff can live under there and you don't want to bring that into your house. Another reason is they look incredibly better. The logs are easy to debark as long as the are freshly cut. If you wait even one day, they are much harder. (at least for Oak) We found that flat nosed shovels worked the best and 3 people could debark a big 20 footer in about 15/20 min.
Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
Oh, and like i said, Rudy will be taking over the posting and the pics here real soon. He just moved here from Nashville area in his bus and now lives on my property. He has posted a lot on another forum about his bus build and is an excellent writer. I told him about permies. He had already got a good start on his bus forum about my UH and other fun things that have happened and been built since he has been here.
Oh, he is a musician too. I'm not ready to post a link, but if you would like to see a awesome video of him playing guitar then look up (Rudy Harley has guitargasim) on youtube. He is looking forward to this forum and will be posting my build in great detail with hundreds of pics very soon. Thanks for the interest.
Jeanine Gurley
steward

Joined: May 23, 2011
Posts: 1392
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
    
  10
Is he on schoolies.net?  I have a bus on there but haven't posted lately because, though we are finished, we are not using the bus.

Seemed like a good idea at the time, and it was great to travel in, but for some reason we just haven't used it.  I think we decided the motorcycle was more fun.  I still want to hit the outer banks with the bus before we give up on it though.  Maybe this winter.
Jason Long


Joined: Dec 01, 2010
Posts: 153
Location: Davie, Fl
I really enjoy this thread. Have you thought about starting a blog and just using your blog postings over here? That is great to know that flat shovels work best; more tips like this would be fantastic!

What an incredible musician!


Treehugger Organic Farms
Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
Jason, this is the first time I have ever posted anything on a forum. Should we start this as a blog? How would more interested people be able to follow my build? Rudy will probably know where and how to start things up. He will be taking control in a few days or so. He has over 200 pics or so.
Jason Long


Joined: Dec 01, 2010
Posts: 153
Location: Davie, Fl
Yes, I would suggest to start this as a blog, especially if Rudy knows how. This is very exciting and I am sure a lot of people would start following this. Try blogspot.com or blogger.com. I am not a blog expert, however I am sure someone can help you get started as it is really simple once you understand the basic functions.

If you start a blog you can link your blog here on this thread so people can then follow it there.

I have not found a blog in regards step by step underground house, timber framing, and natural building as this is. Wonderful.
Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
The Full update will be coming soon!
Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
Hello, all you fans of alternate building methods. My name is Rudy.

I have known Zac for many years. Last year, Zac wanted me to move here to help him with this underground house he is building. Alas, I was not ready to leave where I was living at that time

Two months ago, I had finished the preparation of the 1973 Blue Bird bus I live in, and was able to drive the 500 miles from Tennessee to Missouri. I do have a chronical of the bus build that has over 350 photos and explanations.

This show and tell, however, will be about the building of Zac,s large and beautiful structure that will soon be buried within the safe confines of Mother Earth.

I have been assigned the duties of photographing and describing the progress.

So, without further adieu, let us begin.
Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
Now, on to the underground house building project. This will be a lengthy project, and the postings will come sporadically.

The plans for this house came from a book written by a man who has built underground structures with great success. His book has sold many thousands of copies.

The biggest advantage of building an underground structure is climate control.
No more exorbitant heating or cooling bills, which translates into very minimal electrical dependency.

Zac's structure will be framed with trees that were cut down on his property. The posts are cedar. The beams are oak.

Let us begin with a walk up the driveway to see the large hole that was dug last year.

The house will be 2500 square feet.

Zac had to sell his prized Toyota Land Cruiser vehicle to fund the digging of the hole.

Here is what it looks like as we approach the site.







Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5

A neighbor, Goatboy, named so because he has many goats, donated his time and tractor this day to build a dirt ramp so that his tractor, and other tractors could get to upper level of the hole.

Goatboy (Gary) is kind enough to also bring his tractor here to set the beams (logs) on top of the posts when the time comes.

Other neighbors are also donating their time and machines to this project. They all are excited about being part of it. They don't even ask to get paid.

Unfortunately, Zac will have to rent a big machine to dig the holes for the posts. He is also paying the Amish crew to cut down trees and de-bark them. The oak trees will be the beams that sit on the posts.

Here's Gary's tractor at work. It is a Ford with a three cylinder diesel engine. It is a four wheel drive.









Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
There goes Gary taking his tractor home for the day.



Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
The next day, another neighbor, Rick, brings his Kubota diesel tractor with four wheel drive to straighten the dirt walls up.











Zac Martin


Joined: Jun 16, 2010
Posts: 70
Location: Springfield, Mo
    
    5
In order to prevent confusion, I am registering under my name (Rudy), so that I may post to Zac's house build.

Zac will interject his comments occasionally under his moniker, Crazac.
Orbit Royson


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 89
    
    3
As per Zac's suggestion, I will be posting the chronicle under my name.

Questions about the build can be addressed to either Zac (Crazac) or me (Rudy).

The few posts above were posted by me (Rudy).
Orbit Royson


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 89
    
    3
Let us continue.




On that day, Zac also used his little Hanimoto diesel tractor to do the same task.

I think it is a Japanese tractor. All the placards on it are written in Japanese.

Although it only has a tiny 2 cylinder engine, it performs remarkably well.

Here are some pics of Zac putting the tractor to work.













Orbit Royson


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 89
    
    3
More pics of Zac's tractor in action.








Where Zac cleaned up the edge of the wall.






Orbit Royson


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 89
    
    3
Zac already had a stack of cedar trees that will be used for the posts of the house.



Orbit Royson


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 89
    
    3
The Amish crew arrives. Their main job, presently, is to cut down oak trees on the property and de-bark them. They will be used for the beams that sit atop the cedar posts.

You will only see these two photos of them as it is against their religion to "pose".

I told the leader of the crew that I would be chronicling the building of the underground house with photographs of the progress.

I also told him that I would respect his wishes to not photograph them.

I asked him where he got those hats. There is a store that sells Amish clothing. I am going to get one of those hats. I hope they will sell one to a non-Amish guy. Perhaps I will just give the guy some money and let him get one for me.








Orbit Royson


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 89
    
    3
The beginning of the stack of oak logs that have been cut and stripped.





Here you see where trees have been felled, de-limbed, and de-barked

Orbit Royson


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 89
    
    3
Here are pictures of Zac hauling trees out of the woods and bringing them to the pile.











Orbit Royson


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 89
    
    3
Oh look, two at once.




And the pile gets bigger










Orbit Royson


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 89
    
    3
Today was a big day. Eight posts were set. At first, it was trial and error, but once a method was established, the setting of the poles went quicker.

The "sky boom" machine arrived this morning at Gary's house, up the road. There was room for the big truck and trailer to turn around there and to unload the "long arm of the forks" machine.

Here are some pics.

Zac and I arrived on the golf cart after the machine had already been unloaded from the trailer.







Here is a pic of the trailer automatically folding it's ramp underneath itself.







Here is the truck that hauled the trailer.


Orbit Royson


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 89
    
    3
The machine is ready to be started.





Here, Gary and Zac discuss the controls.






Zac takes off down the road.





Gary follows Zac with his four wheeler, and I follow them both in Zac's golf cart.






Orbit Royson


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 89
    
    3
We end up here, which is to be the driveway for the Underground House.




Orbit Royson


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 89
    
    3
The lifting of the first post. It is a 20 footer. It is cedar, as well as all the other posts.
At this point we were not sure how we would be able to set this post.










Orbit Royson


Joined: Jun 28, 2011
Posts: 89
    
    3
Shortly, we discovered that we needed a jib on the end of the forks in order to reach out far enough to bring the post into position.

A twelve foot oak which was 10 inches in diameter was chained to the forks.

The posts were now attached to the end of that (jib-log) with a chain that held the post upright.

The bottom of the posts were cut flat with a chain saw. A 1 inch hole was drilled into the center of the log. A 1 inch piece of rebar was sledge hammered a foot into the log

Soft dirt was removed in the work site to expose the rock surface just below it by six inches.

A 1 inch hole was dug into the rock with a gas powered drill to a depth of one foot. The poles were stood. The pins (rebar) went in to the holes. The poles were leveled and braced.




The first attempt of setting one upward (before we put the jib on the forks).




The fork boom did not reach out far enough. It was then that someone came up with the wooden jib idea, which extended the reach to be able to set the three rear poles.





 
 
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