• 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
  • r ranson
  • Nicole Alderman
stewards:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • paul wheaton
  • Mike Haasl
master gardeners:
  • jordan barton
  • John F Dean
  • Carla Burke
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Jay Angler
  • Leigh Tate
  • thomas rubino

Oehler Structure_in progress

 
pollinator
Posts: 227
Location: Hardiness Zone 5
80
hugelkultur purity forest garden chicken wofati woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm about to attempt my first Oehler style earth integrated structure, any suggestions would be appreciated.

The poles, girders & beams are Larch timbers.

My main concern as of now is on the shoring boards. I have access to rough cut 1x6 boards from a local hardwood sawmill.
Species like: Beech, Maple, Oak etc.
In Mike Oehler's underground book he mentions the use of softwoods ei. pine. for shoring.
Am I correct in assuming that hardwood would be even better a choice? Perhaps hardwood would let me get away with thinner boards?

Anyways, here's some 3d model views of the structure.
OehlerStructure_3d_views.png
[Thumbnail for OehlerStructure_3d_views.png]
OehlerStructure_4views.png
[Thumbnail for OehlerStructure_4views.png]
 
gardener
Posts: 3201
Location: Upstate NY, zone 5
168
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I haven't read up on Oehler structures in particular, but 8' spans for planking 10' below grade are not viable for the long term, even 2" solid oak. Without calculations, I would want at least 4" solid hardwood planking or larger round logs. I think doubling the perimeter posts would be more viable. Again, I don't know the exact capacity of larch, but as a softwood I wouldn't trust it buried in the ground for decades, depending on the climate. What is the diameter range of the posts on hand?
 
gardener
Posts: 703
Location: SoCal USA
142
cat dog trees wofati composting toilet bike solar
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Mike Oehler mentioned that 6' would probably be better than 8', perhaps in a Youtube video of his place. I don't recall him saying it in the video courses. If the off cuts you can get are 16 feet long for the sides and are 2" thick, then that will probably work if the wood is protected. There should be a layer of poly between the shoring and the earth, and it also comes up under the bottom board if following Mike's floor setup. If you dig a trench around the building, with gravel and drain pipe going down below the frost line, then the chance of moisture seeping up to reach a board seems highly unlikely.

The biggest point of concern I have been considering is protecting the posts. Especially if green when installed, a lot of moisture will come out of the wood and if the logs are wrapped in water-tight plastic then that moisture will cause faster rotting. Some suggest charring the logs to create a more rot-resistant coating, others have thought a layer of borax underneath would reduce the organisms trying to feed on the wood. My personal thought is to have landscape fabric inserted in the hole, then 2-3" of gravel in the bottom, tamped down, so water doesn't remain in contact with the wood. Then some borax might be added but I think it would settle into the gravel... but then the log on top of that. I would want the fabric to come up the sides of the log to limit soil contact there either.
 
Jason Vath
pollinator
Posts: 227
Location: Hardiness Zone 5
80
hugelkultur purity forest garden chicken wofati woodworking
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Update. It's on baby!
Structure_College.png
[Thumbnail for Structure_College.png]
Wofati_2020-08-24_overhang.png
[Thumbnail for Wofati_2020-08-24_overhang.png]
 
steward
Posts: 8923
Location: Northern WI (zone 4)
2574
hunting trees books food preservation solar woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Impressive!  Is the water in the upper right picture due to a storm or is that ground water?
 
Jason Vath
pollinator
Posts: 227
Location: Hardiness Zone 5
80
hugelkultur purity forest garden chicken wofati woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That area where the water stands is 2ft. below the rest of ground - it's to be an indoor root cellar/storage room.
It's simply rain water that does not drain away. Water has been there for months despite little rainfall - high clay area.
I used to drain it but it proved to be constant battle every rain.
I'll soon cut out a trench now the roof is on.

Unfortunately since I'm the only one working on this, I have to deal with these things way longer than I'm comfortable with.

I figure since all posts are larch, they can tolerate it for a while.
 
Posts: 10
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jason Vath wrote:Update. It's on baby!



Thats Awesome Jason! I am currently Trying to build a similar structure by myself, and the excavation process is taking much longer than I would have hoped... Please keep posting pictures of the process, And I would like to contact you directly because I am struggling with some of the specifics, like the floor moisture barrier and roof post notching.

Where is this at? it reminds me a lot of Oehlers ridge house.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1440
Location: Bendigo , Australia
90
dog gear plumbing earthworks bee building homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Looks good Jason, and by yourself I WILL GIVE YOU DOUBLE POINTS!

Timber generally rots when it gets alternatively wet and dry, the best example is wharf timbers, where the waterline shows much damage
Compared with deep down or high up.

That water in your root cellar may come from a spring or ground water flow you have broken into.
It could give you a lot of grief, so if a deep french drain can be installed to keep the soil dry around the building perimeter
you may improve things a lot and reduce the humidity within the building as well.
gift
 
Rocket Mass Heater Plans: Annex 6" L-shaped Bench by Ernie and Erica
will be released to subscribers in: soon!
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic