Tom Connolly

pollinator
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since Apr 20, 2013
Nevada
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Recent posts by Tom Connolly

What did you decide?  Did you pursue this?  Very interested in what you learned.

1 day ago
I have some property in NE Nevada.  The wind blows quite strongly in the evening - it is hot during the day for 5 months of the year - there are all manner of 2 and 4 legged critters that come and go.  I am learning to use a CAD program now for the sake of developing this property.  I would like to build a wall around the property to help me address a number of the issues previously mentioned. I am leaning towards rammed earth or earth bags.  I have looked into natural fences, but I would like something that can be put up in a couple of months.  I would like to run water pipe and electric conduit through the wall - I think rammed earth or earth bags will have enough earth mass to keep water from freezing.  Any suggestions?
1 day ago
Thank you both for your excellent answers! If things work out, it looks like I will be able to build into the side of a hill, so excavation would amount to slicing a part of the hill off, as well as digging a few feet down (this is still slightly up in the air, but land with hills on it has been a high priority on my list for 20 years.  I could probably still work a round structure into the plan, or at least curved walls.  The original idea would have 3 earthbag walls as interior walls, about every 10-12 feet or so, and maybe 3 berms built into the hill, offsetting the interior earthbag walls. I have also thought about some pyramiding half height berms in the front to separate the "yard" into a couple of parts.  Water?  Water???  I wish.  I participate in a forum of people that live in the area.  Some have dug down as far as 12 feet and have yet to find anything that resembles water.  
1 month ago
Undergound...I think i have found a cost effective way to excavate.  I want to build a rectangular building - no, not round - underground house about 5m x 17m.  Round and quaint, stronger than straight walls, but is less efficient use of space - how many beds or sofas have you seen with a round back to them?  This would require come berming - can do some outside but also inside, to make partitions for the rooms.  To make it water resistant, if not water proof...i was thinking, once the walls were in place, to rent a nail gun and shoot 4" or longer nails into the outside, then spray the outside with something like bedliner (for a pickup truck)...put a layer on that is only 1/4" or so, then add some kind of rebar, and shoot it with insulation, then finish it off with a cost of something that will protect the insulation and backfill.  Some of the materials are not very eco friendly..any thoughts?  The roof will be arched, with at least 1.2m of soil on top.
1 month ago
What about using earthbags for the underground house?
1 month ago
cob

Glenn Herbert wrote:The "My Little Homestead" family built a rocket mass heater in one of their earthbag structures.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEQH2vIsMoU

They have built several, but the rest are not so directly integrated with the earthbag wall.



Thanks!  That is exactly what I am looking for.  I don't know how practical it would be, but I would like to make every third layer of my eb house with a hollow space in the middle and run the exhaust tube through that...to heat up the whole wall.  i wonder if that would destroy the integrity of the wall?
2 months ago
Has anyone combined the rocket mass stove and earth bag concept?  maybe running the heating tube inside the wall, or building a double thick lower section of the wall - maybe 1 m tall - and building the rms in that?

2 months ago
This might be a tricky thing to do...if I were building with rammed earth, if there were some way to stick the stones to the back of the front part of the mold...and then fill the mold and process as usual...I have read a lot of about the different forms of construction - now am reading about how to cover it without using stucco.  I really like the looks of the houses I have seen (different kinds of construction) that use some kind of rock, especially the smooth "river rock" type rocks.  I have also seen rammed earth homes that had a pattern etched into the back of the front frame, that gave the wall a wood grain look.
5 months ago

William Bronson wrote: Concrete blocks walls are fairly efficient compared to poured concrete,  pretty much a wash of the cavities are filled with mortar.
Bricks,  I'm not sure.

I compare slip form masonry to a poured concrete wall.
Every stone that you use displaces some of the concrete.
The stone finish excuses imperfections.


Maybe cob could be substituted for the concrete.


What about strength?  does using stones make the wall weaker?  or stronger?  If nothing else, I would like to use this by the entrance of the drive way to my property.  I think with the proper stones chosen, it would look pretty cool.
5 months ago

William Bronson wrote:Sounds like slip form masonry.
It's more resource intensive than dry stacked walls or even conventional mortared stone walls but also requires much less skill.
Sometimes a foam core is cast into the middle of such a wall,  creating a system that has a weather resistant exterior , high mass interior and a continuous insulative air barrier.



Wow! I read the description in wikopedia...seems it would use more concrete than a brick or cinder block wall...how does this fit on the continuum of resource sparse to resource intense?  Maybe with earth bags being at the resource sparse end.  It seems that it would be much faster than earth bags, or rammed earth even.
5 months ago