• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Mike Haasl
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • John F Dean
  • Rob Lineberger
  • Carla Burke
  • Jay Angler
  • Greg Martin
  • Ash Jackson
  • Jordan Holland

The dirt on glass bottle walls

master steward
Posts: 14545
Location: Pacific Northwest
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dale Hodgins wrote:About 15 years ago, I demolished the Glass Castle and mini golf. This touristy failure, was a blight on the landscape of Duncan, British Columbia. Bottles can look nice, in moderation. This place consumed years of the builder's life, in a fruitless effort to create a tourist attraction. The home was destroyed and the business never thrived. A decade later, I finally gave up on selling antique bottles. Only about 100 of several thousand, were sold. They went to the recycling depot.

Couldn't resist looking this up! For anyone else curious:

Some pictures from: https://www.flickr.com/photos/45379817@N08/14446499278/in/photostream/
[Thumbnail for 14446499278_29744ed5d6_m.jpg]
[Thumbnail for 14610105676_d63f74a741_m.jpg]
Posts: 1
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Kari, I would like to know how your retaining walls have held up over time.  Is this forum still active???
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am also interested in building a retaining wall and just starting my research.
Posts: 13
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Sandra Ellane wrote:Hi there,

I’ve been toying with ideas about bottle walls. There’s quite a few websites that have photos of various walls. (here’s a nice one: http://inspirationgreen.com/glassbottlewalls.html )

I’ve tried to find sites that discuss the properties of these walls- insulative properties, thermal mass, strength, R-values, yada yada and etc. This site comes the closest: http://www.greenhomebuilding.com/QandA/recycle/bottles.htm. ;

I know this is a pretty broad topic and could go in many directions, but I’d like to start a thread so others can offer input, perhaps sharing any experimental info you’ve done on your walls.

A thought that comes to mind: Most of the walls I’ve seen are built with the bottles laid perpendicular to the wall and the open end of the bottle facing inside the structure. It seems like this would eliminate the possibility of using those bottles as thermal mass/storage. Wouldn’t it better to close them?

Also thinking of using them in conjunction with a rocket mass heater or woodstove, but then I started thinking about how much heat the bottles can withstand. It’d be terrible if they shattered.

Just some things to tuck in the back of mind for mulling. Thanks for any input!


I'm so glad you posted this question thanks

it's exactly what I've been looking for. I don't want to be spending lots of time cutting bottles I want to match bottles up with jars.
I think the finished result will be more more interesting and I like the idea of having a mix of bottles on their ends and on their sides.
lots to be reading tonight...

I'm making a window rather than a whole wall. it's set into a prefab concrete wall section.

I'm building my window frame and constructing the bottles and cob on a table first... then hoisting it into the wall afterwards...
... because it's winter and I need it for my living room so I want it ready to add, before I cut the hole in the wall.

which then made me think.. if it's successful, it might be a way of making a bit of money!

"ready-made bottle windows in frames"

we'll see how it looks if its good enough!👣
Posts: 1594
Location: Cascades of Oregon
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would still like to see a standardized bottle brick like the Heineken WOLO but even plastic square ones would be cool.
 In areas of conflict walls made of plastic bottles filled with sand have been effective in preventing small arms fire from penetrating a wall. Not that we will ever have to have that feature as an important selling point in the US I hope.
Using a sand filled plastic bottle and pinning to a lower course could stabilize a wall much like pinning straw bales in wall construction. Not nearly as pretty as a glass wall but perhaps an option for a stucco wall.
Posts: 422
Location: Greybull WY north central WY zone 4 bordering on 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My thought on seeing this post is maybe we are thinking of it wrong.  What if cut the bottles and then heated the bottoms enough to fuse them rim to rim.  We only need enough plasticity for the glass to stick to itself and not enough to form a new bottle.  And while the whole bottle would have to get very hot the final bit of heat could be concentrated at the rim saving a tiny bit more power.  This way you would end up with a sealed glass tube.  But because of all the heat they apply it would be at a strong vacuum because the air has gotten very hot and expanded so there would be almost none inside the tube.  This is how the vacuum insulated solar collector tubes are pulled to vacuum.  Now we have real insulation.  If both bottles had 4" of usable length that tube would be 8 inches long so the thermal bridging path would be 8 inches long and if you got a good weld those bottle would hold vacuum for decades to centuries.  Plus if you got a bit of squeeze out at the fusion seam it would serve to anchor the bottles in the wall.  Permies has played with the solar glass melting oven so we know it can get this hot and since full melt is not required it might take less heat.  Just need to reach fusion heat at the rims figuring you are going to apply pressure to help force the melts together.  Likely you would end up with a solar heater doing the first say 2/3 of heating the bottles and the finishing bit done with some sort of gas burner so the heat could be concentrated at the rims.  And it should make the glass tubes incredibly strong as the glass would be under natural compression always.
Rocket Mass Heater podcast gob
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic