Jim schalles

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since Mar 03, 2013
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Recent posts by Jim schalles

I may be able to help you Tim. I've been studying and working for the last 4 years out here on the west coast (mostly strawbale and rockets) and I'm moving back to my native Omaha this May. I'm teaching a rocket stove workshop in Kansas City in June but I'm looking for natural building projects, especially workshops that I can teach to help get me through the building season. If you are on facebook you can check out 'tallgrass vernacular' until I get my website launched. I'm rarely on permies but email me at tallgrassvernacular@gmail.com if you would like to connect. All the best- Jim
4 years ago
A well dug french drain/ rubble trench should be able to keep moisture out of your site well enough to not have to worry of the expansion and contraction of rich clay soil... plus all the soil dug out of your trench can go right back onto/into the house!
6 years ago
Strawbale construction will meet your requirements for sound insulation and fire resistance, especially with a clay or lime plaster. I looked up some basics on building code in your county, and unfortunately, it looks like your going to have to get this one permitted, unless your willing to drop the square footage to 120 sq.ft. and skirt it by considering your project an accessory structure like a shed. The bad news on that is you will have to pay building inspectors which might add to the cost and make it more difficult to do everything you want with the budget you laid out, but not impossible depending how you source material. The good news is there was new IRC building code written back in October which makes working with and permitting bales a lot more friendly. A good start would be to read through Bill and Athena Stein's book 'the straw bale house'. Its a classic, but will tell you most of the things you will need to start your build. The new IRC ammendment for bale construction can be found numerous places... this link was the first one that came up on my google search. http://www.strawbale.com/irc-code-2013/ Scroll down to find the link to the .pdf Good luck, keep us posted.
6 years ago
I'm from Omaha and over wintering here for the next couple of months Hoping to start a permaculture/natural building school somewhere in the Missouri Valley within the next several years
6 years ago
Hmm. Once temperatures start hit freezing regularly at night, I've found its time to tarp for the season, my fingers usually forewarn me. Something about the water in the wet cob freezing just scares me as I know it expands when freezing and contracts when warm. I don't know for certain, but I would guess this acts like 'frost heaving' where as the ground freezes, it expands and pushes apart, causing erosion and raised up fence posts... hence the dig down to the frost line if your not using a rubble trench with plenty of capillary space for the water to move as it freezes. Looks like a beautiful start! All the best.
6 years ago
cob
You could try Dancing Rabbit Ecovillage in Missouri, or some of their close by affiliates like Red Earth Farm.
6 years ago
cob
I think it worked? It feels solid, but I'm going to wait for a few days for the cob mortar to dry before trying to remove the arch form. I'll let you all know how it pans out. A cob bond beam will run on top if it which I think will help distribute the weight even more so.
6 years ago
I'm building a 200 sq. ft. bale-cob cottage. I planned in a rather large central doorway about 40" across. I've designed an arch for the door to resist the need for a lintel. I cut out an arch form from scrap plywood with a jig-saw and joined them together with 2 * 6's to the width of my wall. I ended up cutting bales down into 8" segments (about 5 flakes a piece), tied very tightly. My idea is to use them as I would adobe bricks, to stack an arch, filling the gaps with cob as with bale-cob mortaring until coming to a "key-bale" or keystone shaped bale cut 10" on the bottom and 14-16" on top and wedging this shape in. As far as I know, nobody has attempted this form. Whats the thought? Hesitations, excite-tations? I'll post a picture if there is interest.
6 years ago
I've had great luck just using a small piece of rebar bent into an L shape and just wrapping the bailing twine around the tip before pushing it through. Haven't cut through the twine once, and its easy to aim!
6 years ago
Can you describe in a little more detail your project? Where are you building? How big are you building? I'd say if work is started in the spring and worked on a daily basis, one person could finish at least the exterior work of a 200 sq. ft. cottage with a sleeping loft. This is the same most people will tell you, but start with ianto, linda, and michael smiths 'The Hand Sculpted House'. Also, my favorite instructional dvd so far is available at the firespeaking.com website and is filmed in spanish with english subtitles entitled 'mud, hands, and a house'. If you give more specifics about your structures size and location, I'd be happy to share some input with you on my experiences.
6 years ago
cob