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Quickest half-depth root cellar? I have a backhoe for a month.

Posts: 567
Location: Mid-Michigan
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Good morning!

I'm looking for insight. I've got some resources, and I've got a goal, so perhaps you can tell me the best way to get there.

I intend to build some underground storage. It will serve as a root cellar, wine cellar, and storm shelter. I'd like to do it right the first time, and make it plenty large. Say, 10' x 20' (3m x 6m).

Here are the circumstances:
1. The water table is high and the frost line is low. The houses on my roads don't have basements, which is rare in Michigan. It's because we're at a low point in the county, and groundwater is a big problem. Building code here calls for a 42" frost depth.

2. The soil is high in clay, high in sand, low in organic matter after the first 8" or so.

3. The soil is rocky. Glacial till. So I have access to a big quantity of smooth, round fieldstones.

4. It's wooded around here. I could cut little poles or big timbers. I don't have any that are already cut, so I'd be working them green. I have a chainsaw and its accoutrement.

5. I could spend maybe $200 on this. Less is better.

6. I have a small backhoe (compact tractor with a loader on front and an excavator arm on the rear) for a month. After this month, I don't know if or when I'll ever have one again.

I figure the best plan will be to dig, say, 4' deep, then build an 8' room, and berm over the top of it. Right?

What kind of wall and roof system can I use to make this happen in just a few weekends and evenings?

Thank you all!
Posts: 3764
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Mike ohler $50 underground house book. And all the info Paul has on Mike.

The half buried storm shelter/root cellar was very common here. Either water table or bedrock. Usually much narrower, maybe 6 foot interior width. Ten foot wide would need considerable bracing. Most were brick barrel vaults with an outer veneer of concrete.
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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Mike C. :I located this Podcast (049) of Paul Wheaten discussing Sepp Holzer's 'Round Wood ' Shelter for animals and root cellars. Partially the present configuration

of the Wafati comes from this and of course Mike Oler ! Hope this helps!


For the good of the Craft ! Big AL

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