The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the category “building materials”

How to Cure Wood

Curing wood you’ve felled or found (drying ‘green’ wood in a controlled fashion) is essential if you want to use it for construction, woodworking, or even just for use in your woodstove or fireplace.

You can read Curing Wood in 5 Steps here.

Curing the wood keeps it from cracking, splitting and distorting after you’ve already created/built something with it.

Artificial drying – over a fire or in an oven also risks splitting or otherwise damaging your wood.

“Cabinet maker Jeff Segal shows how he’ll store and cure the freshly milled plane tree, using bearers or stickers [square dowels] to separate the wood and allow the air to circulate.”

How to Make Wood Shingles

WoodlandsTV from the UK shows us how to make oak shingles with hand tools. He notes that the oak shingles should last about 70 years untreated due to their high tannin content:

Rammed Earth Construction

Rowland Keable from the UK talks about rammed earth and rammed chalk construction.

Earthen/Cob Floor

“Natural building expert Michael G. Smith from the Emerald Earth Institute shows us the first layer of an earthen floor (clay soil, sand, chopped straw and road base, or crushed rock): just one layer of the 3 layers they eventually use. He also shows us a finished floor that has been treated with 4 to 6 coats of linseed oil and is water resistant and completely mop friendly.”

It was nice to see a natural, durable floor that didn’t come from a factory.

Building with Straw Bale Demo

Barbara Jones who builds with straw bales in the UK, demonstrates how load bearing straw bale construction works. She shows us the various simple tools and components of straw bale construction (wooden pins that anchor the bales to a base plate, baling twine, the base plate itself, top plates, mallets, baling needle, strapping, etc.).

Straw Bale Build in Fairview, Utah

“When this home is finished and you walk into it , it will be like putting on an old pair of Levis. It’s just extremely comfortable and personnable.”

This (4H?) video shows a straw bale house under construction in Fairview, Utah. The house is a wooden post and beam house that uses straw bales as in-fill material (versus a structural straw bale house that would use the bales as support for the structure).

At the time of the video all or most of the straw bales are in place between the wooden joists and the all-ages work crew is focused on finishing the interior walls with a home made plaster (a mix of mud, sand, wheat paste and straw).

Adobe Brickmaking 101

Here they are making stabilized adobe bricks including Portland cement.

Earthbag Construction – Using Metal and Wooden Supports

Treatments for Exterior Earthbag Walls

There seem to be a number of ways to cover your completed earthbag “skeleton.”

Cement plastering in a hot, humid climate:

Cement over chicken wire in another hot climate:

Papercrete (ash, mud, newspaper)

Cob finished with paint and linseed oil

Earthbag Construction How-To

Laura Bartels of Greenweaver shows students how to use earth bags in construction. Filmed on location at the University of Colorado Boulder.

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