Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A poor video of me putting light clay wood chips in the wall

I know I need to work on my video technique, but I was also working at the time and it is hard to pay attention to both where the camera is pointed and what you are doing while slopping mud.  I just wanted to show what it is like using light clay wood chip.  From the video you can see that the clay isn't too light.  It definitely isn't cob, but we found that if we didn't have enough clay in the mix, the small wood chips wouldn't stick together very well.  The first few batches we did had about the same recipe as light clay straw, but with wood chips replacing the straw.  The results of those first batches were unsatisfactory and the walls started flaking off wood chips when they were rubbed.  With more clay in the mix, it makes it less insulative, it has  more thermal mass, and it is much stronger.

Monday, September 10, 2012

First blog video

Here is the first video on this blog. It is a long video about the shed and how far we have gotten on it so far.
A view of the loft from the ladder. We still need to add the second layer and insulate the loft.

Looking in the front door

Looking toward the north west corner. One piece of plywood is being used as a form for the light clay wood chips

The rocket stove wasn't drawing correctly, so i dismantled it .  I'll rebuild it, but I'll follow the directions in the book more carefully this time.

The south east corner where a permanent ladder will eventually go.

The north side where we are putting in the light clay wood chips.  You can see the plywood forms above the scaffollding

wood chips filled up to the top of the pallets

looking down the pallets. You can see the electrical wire in the first row of pallets and then the second row is the one being filled up right now.

The east side with the forms recently pulled off

The south east corner.  You can see some of the chunks of foam inside the wood chips.  We are using a lot of the foam to help boost the r-value and just as a filler so we don't have to make so much light clay wood chips.  Because I got the foam for free, I'd rather use it than the wood chips, but the wood chips are needed to fill in the gaps and make it all fit together better, plus I don't have enough foam to insulate the whole shed.

The south east corner again

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Putting up the pallet walls

Pallet construction

Putting the walls up
40" Pallets leave a 16" gap on top where I had to cut up a pallet to fit
Once the foundation was finished it was time to put up the pallet walls.  I looked up the standard pallet size on line and it said it was 48"x40"  So I made my plans accordingly.  I was able to get a lot of pallets for free, but only a fraction of them were the "standard size".  I also found out that not all pallets are created equal and that there is a huge variety when it comes to quality. 

After scrounging up a whole lot of pallets (over 130) I was able to find enough to frame up the walls.  After watching a bunch of YouTube videos, I decided to use 2x4s in between each column of pallets with 4x4s on the corners. 

With many of the pallets not quite square (along with wavy but free 2x4s) it was necessary to use clamps quite a bit to keep things as square as possible.  If you do decide to make anything with pallets, I highly recommend getting some 5'+ long clamps along with some 8" long clamps.  It will make your project go much more smoothly and look much better.  

To speed things up while working alone, I build a few columns on the ground with 2x4s on each side, then raised them up and placed the loose pallets in between.

Using clamps helps keep it all square
Clamps also help hold it up square when I'm working alone

Skinny pallets in the corner so I have plenty of room for the door ( I didn't have the door yet, so I didn't know the size)

Starting on the floor joists for the loft
Sarah working on filling gaps between slats.  Yes she is using the  power tools.

The north side with the walls all up and getting ready for the loft floor to go up 

 The pallets in deck on the loft were made up completely of 40" x 40" pallets.  I seemed to get a lot of these and ended up needing to use them on the walls as well.  There are sections of the walls that use regular framing like around the windows and the door.
The loft floor half way complete

The floor from underneath

The Joist were salvaged from a house being torn down.

I ran 2x4s along the joists to sit the pallets on

So far all of the 2x4s are salvaged

View from the north east corner

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Building a Shed

Image of the Google SketchUp Model

Started collecting pallets and rocks
spreading out the rocks
This project has "Crazy" written all over it.  First of all the reason behind it.  Our son has autism and qualifies for services such as SSI, DSPD, and Medicaid.  There are several requirements to be able to quaify and one of those has to do with assets that we own.  One of the asset stipulations is that we cannot own property that we don't live on.  Well, back in December we bought some property to build our straw bale house on.  When we did that SSI put us on hold with their services for one year.  We figured that we could survive for a little while, but now the bild still hasn't started and we are being told that come December if we don't live on the property we will loose SSI.  Because the other programs are based off of our eligibility for SSI, we will loose them as well.  By the way there is a 4 year waiting list to get back on.  We have gone the rounds to try and find a solution, but it boils down to needing to move on the property while we build.  

The first day of foundation wall
Long story short, we just bought a camper trailer and I'm going to build a shed.  The purpose of the shed is to give us extra space to store things, a place to hang out and a place to eat together.  After the house is built, the shed will serve as my glass shop until I can build an official shop and then the shed will be a really cool hangout for the kids.Here is the link to the SketchUp model:

The corner at the right was the shallowest and everything after that took more rocks and a lot more time
The code here says that anything over 200 square feet needs a building permit, but anything under that doesn't, which also means that it doesn't need inspections.  So, I am going to build a pallet shed with an earthen floor, light clay straw/wood chips/foam insulation inside the pallets, a rocket mas heater, and an earthen plaster finish inside and out.  I was hoping to do all of this under $500.  The original plan was to use a living roof, but with the materials at hand the living roof would be too heavy, so I'll probably use a metal roof manufactured here in town instead.
That's me working
The foundation used a lot of stone and urbanite (used concrete) mortared together with a cement cap to make it all level.  Anchor bolts were put in between the rocks and mortared in.  The mortar cost $75, the cement $41, the rocks and urbanite came off the property $0 and the anchor bolts (and a lot of other materials for this little project) were salvaged from a dumpster $0. 

Trying to bring up the wall to the right level
 I have been able to find all of the 2x4 material, pallets, windows, door, joists for the loft, wiring, screws, trim, and carpet (for the loft) all through dumpster diving as well as some of the treated toe ups, and most of the plywood.  As we get further along I'll keep you up to date on what I have salvaged and what I have had to purchase.  The reasons we are trying to keep it cheep are 1) Duh who wants to spend extra money, and 2) we are trying to keep a good down payment for the construction loan for the real house.
First corner finished

This process takes a lot longer than just pouring a cement foundation
I spent hours doing this.  After sitting like this for a few hours , It would take me several minutes before I could stand up straight
Almost done with the foundation

A concrete slab to level off the top

Friday, January 6, 2012

Salvaging a Shed

Along with the salvaging we have been doing on a house that is slated to be demolished, we were able to salvage a shed.  This was much more of a process than it originally looked to be.  We got permission to use a fork lift to move it, but it was just too big.

 We tried to strap some dunnage 4x4s onto the tines to be able to span the distance to the back wall.  As you can see by the picture, the shed was way too heavy and snapped two 4x4s in half.  We gave it a few weeks to think about it and came back with a plan that ultimately worked.

 We were able to get some tube steel to attach to the tines that spanned all the way across.  We also tied the shed onto the fork lift to keep it from rocking.

 We were lucky that the shed balanced out.  Finally we were able to move it out of the back yard and 6 blocks away onto our new lot.  The shed will be a temporary storage while we are building.
 Along with making sure we didn't hit any power lines on the way there, the scariest part was that to get it out of the back yard we had to lift it over one of the houses.  Luckily both houses are going to be torn down.  I don't know if I would have dared trying that stunt over an occupied house. We did loose a few shingles on the yellow house.

I almost forgot, we also flattened a chainsaw in the process.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Stained Glass Bountiful Utah Temple

This year for Christmas we had Sarah’s brother Joseph and his family to give presents to.  So, following the traditions of previous years, I made them a stained glass picture of the Bountiful Utah Temple where they were married.  I wasn’t able to use much recycled glass on this one, only the windows, but I was able to put to good use some of the wood floor we have been salvaging to use as a frame.  The floor boards are tongue and groove.  The stained glass fit nicely into the groove.  So, I sanded off the old paint, trimmed off the tongue side, routed an edge on it and turned it into a picture frame.

 Another innovation this piece has on it are a couple of female ends to chain locks.  I have been struggling to find a secure way to hang heavy stained glass on a wall and I hope this will finally be the solution.

 I bought an LED light bar from IKEA to mount on the back.  The problem is that there is n o sign at IKEA that says that when you buy an LED light strip, you have to buy a plug to go with it.  So, I don’t have any pictures with the light working.   In fact, I haven’t seen it work yet.  We sent the plug to them after the picture was delivered and haven’t had a chance to see the whole ensemble together.

Look Ma, no plug