Chen Czarnecki

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since Jan 30, 2017
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Recent posts by Chen Czarnecki

Hello to all,  I am new to this way of communicating, so please forgive the occasional dumb question. I'm not sure if this is the best thread to post my questions, but here I go. Here in northern NSW, AU, my lady and I are building a two story, round-wood, post and beam, circular building (similar to a grain silo) with straw bale infill walls, clay/lime render skins and an earthen floor with PEX radiant heating and hardwood inlays. I am 40 years a painter and plasterer with a fair bit of construction knowledge. I also spent 30 years of my adult life in a religiously constricted, Judeo-Christian, share everything and own nothing community, which I departed about 5 years ago. It was a profoundly beautiful way of life in many ways, but having gained a sort of PhD in narrow-mindedness, I'm now like a kid in a candy store of new ideas and ways to embrace life. I too see that building a home is not rocket science and that we should look to ourselves first for answers, but having said that, good, sound advice is a lovely and comforting thing. We are also choosing to spend as little, and be as resourceful as humanly possible. And, sorry about the metric measurements; I'm originally from the U.S., but I've fallen in love with millimeters.
 
So... my concern is foundations. The site is gently sloping; the soil is sandy loam. I've carved out a flat pad with our farm tractor, digging into the high side and moving that soil to the lower side. I'm going to hire a plate compactor and pound the filled side for a loong time. The winters here are incredibly mild and frost is not an issue. I'm from Wisconsin where people have basements and central heating. Not here. Termites (white ants) are a definite problem though. Our 40 acres is largely regrowth Aussie hardwood, but lacking in the tallowoods and grey gums, etc... that one would chose to be near or in the ground. I see the sense in using concrete under buildings, but I'd really rather not, and we can't get a concrete truck down to the site anyway. We are on a creek with an endless supply of smooth river rock in all sizes. We also have an elegant stand of flooded gums (eucalyptus grandis), tall and straight as ships masts.  Fine for framing, floors and external features, but not durable in the ground. I want this building to be there in a hundred years, so I understand that I need to get down to stable soil for a start.
 
My idea is this:  Fire up my trusty earth auger and drill a series of 250mm wide holes around the perimeter at around 1200mm deep, maybe up to 2 meters deep on the lower, filled side. Fill the compacted bottom of each hole with 200mm of clean stone. Then weld a thick steel base plate onto the end of a galvanized, 100 x 100 x 4mm square hollow steel section. Being a painter, I would coat each SHS with many coats of serious anti-corrosion paint. Then place each one onto it's stony pad, level up and back-fill with more clean stone. These steel posts would protrude above ground level to the height of the coming grade beam. Then I plan to dig and fill a rubble trench between each of these in-ground posts. The top of that trench brings us up to grade. Then we lay 2 or 3 courses of rock-filled, barbed wire reinforced earth bags to form a grade beam. That done, I would bolt my heavily preserved, flooded gum posts onto standoff stirrups welded to the top of each steel pier. Then I would build a strong upper ring beam to lock the timber posts into position at the top. Back at the base, I would construct a timber, ladder-type stem wall for the straw bales to rest on. This would, of course, be bolted to the timber posts as well, tying it all together.  I would then go back to the top and construct the roof before installing the straw bale infill, etc...

In all I've read, I haven't seen this method described, and of course I ask myself why. Am I missing something? Or maybe it is fundamentally sound, but needs some help here and there. Any comment or ideas would be greatly appreciated.   Have a creative day....
3 years ago
Hello to all,  I am new to this way of communicating, so please forgive the occasional dumb question. Here in northern NSW, AU, my lady and I are building a two story, round-wood, post and beam, circular building (similar to a grain silo) with straw bale infill walls, clay/lime render skins and an earthen floor with PEX radiant heating and hardwood inlays. I am 40 years a painter and plasterer with a fair bit of construction knowledge. I also spent 30 years of my adult life in a religiously constricted, Judeo-Christian, share everything and own nothing community, which I departed about 5 years ago. It was a profoundly beautiful way of life in many ways, but having gained a sort of PhD in narrow-mindedness, I'm now like a kid in a candy store of new ideas and ways to embrace life. I too see that building a home is not rocket science and that we should look to ourselves first for answers, but having said that, good, sound advice is a lovely and comforting thing. We are also choosing to spend as little, and be as resourceful as humanly possible. And, sorry about the metric measurements; I'm originally from the U.S., but I've fallen in love with millimeters.
 
So... my concern is foundations. The site is gently sloping; the soil is sandy loam. I've carved out a flat pad with our farm tractor, digging into the high side and moving that soil to the lower side. I'm going to hire a plate compactor and pound the filled side for a loong time. The winters here are incredibly mild and frost is not an issue. I'm from Wisconsin where people have basements and central heating. Not here. Termites (white ants) are a definite problem though. Our 40 acres is largely regrowth Aussie hardwood, but lacking in the tallowoods and grey gums, etc... that one would chose to be near or in the ground. I see the sense in using concrete under buildings, but I'd really rather not, and we can't get a concrete truck down to the site anyway. We are on a creek with an endless supply of smooth river rock in all sizes. We also have an elegant stand of flooded gums (eucalyptus grandis), tall and straight as ships masts.  Fine for framing, floors and external features, but not durable in the ground. I want this building to be there in a hundred years, so I understand that I need to get down to stable soil for a start.
 
My idea is this:  Fire up my trusty earth auger and drill a series of 250mm wide holes around the perimeter at around 1200mm deep, maybe up to 2 meters deep on the lower, filled side. Fill the compacted bottom of each hole with 200mm of clean stone. Then weld a thick steel base plate onto the end of a galvanized, 100 x 100 x 4mm square hollow steel section. Being a painter, I would coat each SHS with many coats of serious anti-corrosion paint. Then place each one onto it's stony pad, level up and back-fill with more clean stone. These steel posts would protrude above ground level to the height of the coming grade beam. Then I plan to dig and fill a rubble trench between each of these in-ground posts. The top of that trench brings us up to grade. Then we lay 2 or 3 courses of rock-filled, barbed wire reinforced earth bags to form a grade beam. That done, I would bolt my heavily preserved, flooded gum posts onto standoff stirrups welded to the top of each steel pier. Then I would build a strong upper ring beam to lock the timber posts into position at the top. Back at the base, I would construct a timber, ladder-type stem wall for the straw bales to rest on. This would, of course, be bolted to the timber posts as well, tying it all together.  I would then go back to the top and construct the roof before installing the straw bale infill, etc...

In all I've read, I haven't seen this method described, and of course I ask myself why. Am I missing something? Or maybe it is fundamentally sound, but needs some help here and there. Any comment or ideas would be greatly appreciated.   Have a creative day....
Hello to all,  I am new to this way of communicating, so please forgive the occasional dumb question. Here in northern NSW, AU, my lady and I are building a two story, round-wood, post and beam, circular building (similar to a grain silo) with straw bale infill walls, clay/lime render skins and an earthen floor with PEX radiant heating and hardwood inlays. I am 40 years a painter and plasterer with a fair bit of construction knowledge. I also spent 30 years of my adult life in a religiously constricted, Judeo-Christian, share everything and own nothing community, which I departed about 5 years ago. It was a profoundly beautiful way of life in many ways, but having gained a sort of PhD in narrow-mindedness, I'm now like a kid in a candy store of new ideas and ways to embrace life. I too see that building a home is not rocket science and that we should look to ourselves first for answers, but having said that, good, sound advice is a lovely and comforting thing. We are also choosing to spend as little, and be as resourceful as humanly possible. And, sorry about the metric measurements; I'm originally from the U.S., but I've fallen in love with millimeters.
 
So... my concern is foundations. The site is gently sloping; the soil is sandy loam. I've carved out a flat pad with our farm tractor, digging into the high side and moving that soil to the lower side. I'm going to hire a plate compactor and pound the filled side for a loong time. The winters here are incredibly mild and frost is not an issue. I'm from Wisconsin where people have basements and central heating. Not here. Termites (white ants) are a definite problem though. Our 40 acres is largely regrowth Aussie hardwood, but lacking in the tallowoods and grey gums, etc... that one would chose to be near or in the ground. I see the sense in using concrete under buildings, but I'd really rather not, and we can't get a concrete truck down to the site anyway. We are on a creek with an endless supply of smooth river rock in all sizes. We also have an elegant stand of flooded gums (eucalyptus grandis), tall and straight as ships masts.  Fine for framing, floors and external features, but not durable in the ground. I want this building to be there in a hundred years, so I understand that I need to get down to stable soil for a start.
 
My idea is this:  Fire up my trusty earth auger and drill a series of 250mm wide holes around the perimeter at around 1200mm deep, maybe up to 2 meters deep on the lower, filled side. Fill the compacted bottom of each hole with 200mm of clean stone. Then weld a thick steel base plate onto the end of a galvanized, 100 x 100 x 4mm square hollow steel section. Being a painter, I would coat each SHS with many coats of serious anti-corrosion paint. Then place each one onto it's stony pad, level up and back-fill with more clean stone. These steel posts would protrude above ground level to the height of the coming grade beam. Then I plan to dig and fill a rubble trench between each of these in-ground posts. The top of that trench brings us up to grade. Then we lay 2 or 3 courses of rock-filled, barbed wire reinforced earth bags to form a grade beam. That done, I would bolt my heavily preserved, flooded gum posts onto standoff stirrups welded to the top of each steel pier. Then I would build a strong upper ring beam to lock the timber posts into position at the top. Back at the base, I would construct a timber, ladder-type stem wall for the straw bales to rest on. This would, of course, be bolted to the timber posts as well, tying it all together.  I would then go back to the top and construct the roof before installing the straw bale infill, etc...

In all I've read, I haven't seen this method described, and of course I ask myself why. Am I missing something? Or maybe it is fundamentally sound, but needs some help here and there. Any comment or ideas would be greatly appreciated.   Have a creative day....
3 years ago
Hello to all,  I am new to this way of communicating, so please forgive the occasional dumb question. Here in northern NSW, AU, my lady and I are building a two story, round-wood, post and beam, circular building (similar to a grain silo) with straw bale infill walls, clay/lime render skins and an earthen floor with PEX radiant heating and hardwood inlays. I am 40 years a painter and plasterer with a fair bit of construction knowledge. I also spent 30 years of my adult life in a religiously constricted, Judeo-Christian, share everything and own nothing community, which I departed about 5 years ago. It was a profoundly beautiful way of life in many ways, but having gained a sort of PhD in narrow-mindedness, I'm now like a kid in a candy store of new ideas and ways to embrace life. I too see that building a home is not rocket science and that we should look to ourselves first for answers, but having said that, good, sound advice is a lovely and comforting thing. We are also choosing to spend as little, and be as resourceful as humanly possible. And, sorry about the metric measurements; I'm originally from the U.S., but I've fallen in love with millimeters.
 
So... my concern is foundations. The site is gently sloping; the soil is sandy loam. I've carved out a flat pad with our farm tractor, digging into the high side and moving that soil to the lower side. I'm going to hire a plate compactor and pound the filled side for a loong time. The winters here are incredibly mild and frost is not an issue. I'm from Wisconsin where people have basements and central heating. Not here. Termites (white ants) are a definite problem though. Also, we are not concerned with local Council permits and approvals. We are the local government on our property, and this is only an "out-building" . Our 40 acres is largely regrowth Aussie hardwood, but lacking in the tallowoods and grey gums, etc... that one would chose to be near or in the ground. I see the sense in using concrete under buildings, but I'd really rather not, and we can't get a concrete truck down to the site anyway. We are on a creek with an endless supply of smooth river rock in all sizes. We also have an elegant stand of flooded gums (eucalyptus grandis), tall and straight as ships masts.  Fine for framing, floors and external features, but not durable in the ground. I want this building to be there in a hundred years, so I understand that I need to get down to stable soil for a start.
 
My idea is this:  Fire up my trusty earth auger and drill a series of 250mm wide holes around the perimeter at around 1200mm deep, maybe up to 2 meters deep on the lower, filled side. Fill the compacted bottom of each hole with 200mm of clean stone. Then weld a thick steel base plate onto the end of a galvanized, 100 x 100 x 4mm square hollow steel section. Being a painter, I would coat each SHS with many coats of serious anti-corrosion paint. Then place each one onto it's stony pad, level up and back-fill with more clean stone. These steel posts would protrude above ground level to the height of the coming grade beam. Then I plan to dig and fill a rubble trench between each of these in-ground posts. The top of that trench brings us up to grade. Then we lay 2 or 3 courses of rock-filled, barbed wire reinforced earth bags to form a grade beam. That done, I would bolt my heavily preserved, flooded gum posts onto standoff stirrups welded to the top of each steel pier. Then I would build a strong upper ring beam to lock the timber posts into position at the top. Back at the base, I would construct a timber, ladder-type stem wall for the straw bales to rest on. This would, of course, be bolted to the timber posts as well, tying it all together.  I would then go back to the top and construct the roof before installing the straw bale infill, etc...

In all I've read, I haven't seen this method described, and of course I ask myself why. Am I missing something? Or maybe it is fundamentally sound, but needs some help here and there. Any comment or ideas would be greatly appreciated.   Have a creative day....