Sunday, 9 June 2019

Rammed Earth Cabin in the Woods Underway Again

Hi Everyone,,,, we are back from an extended absence with pictures of the work and places visited during the winter and spring of 2018/2019.  We are committed to getting the structural and envelope elements of the Cabin in the Woods wrapped up in the coming months.  Blog entries and more pictures will follow on a frequent basis.

A fantastic sunset taken at Piha which is an hour outside of Auckland.  This picture was taken during a consulting trip with SIREWALL to Kawakawa in the Northland where a very unique rammed earth community center is being built.

Government sponsored Kiwi garbage shaming!  Unfortunately there was a bunch of rubbish a few feet from this sign.

Curved rammed earth formwork for the Te Hononga community center in Kawakawa.

New Zealand is never short on beautiful scenery.  This shot was from the roadside in The Bay of Islands.

The first wall unveiled.  The theme for the colors is Pukepuke Rau which in the traditional dialect means the hundred hills of the Northland.   Many Ngate Hine artists were involved in color selections for the building.

This is an elevation view of the same wall in the Te Hononga community center.  

Bathroom renovations awaited Earth House Holdings upon arrival back to
Canada. 
Recessing the oversized washers and anchor bolts to allow for a more continuous air barrier in the Cabin in the Woods back in Sooke.


Douglas fir 6 x 12 beams with MST 72 Simpson strapping for seismic reinforcing.  It is the author's humble opinion that the Cabin is overbuilt and may last for over 300 years.  

The lower roof Douglas Fir bond beam in place with structural strapping and angles.  The load bearing of the roof trusses will be resting on this outer bond beam.  

A panoramic of The Cabin in the Woods as it sits at the moment.  
 Thanks for checking in and more posts will follow this one during our campaign to get the roof on during dry season. 

Friday, 26 October 2018

Denman Project

Hi Everyone
Here are a few photos of a SIREWALL rammed earth entrance/feature wall project on Denman Island. 
The feature wall being built is on a concrete stem wall and features a few VDB windows.  (Volume Displacement Box)

The wall features a few different tones of the same colour the some black veining.  

Another view of the first section completed.

The wall as seen from the far side of the site with perspective on the rest of the form work.

The 20 foot high section with a corner window just coming into view.

Corner window reinforcing as per engineers specs (16" of insulation needs to be cut back from the window edge still).

Another view of the same VDB corner window detail.
Thanks for checking in and I will add some photos to this post as we complete the walls.

Thursday, 30 August 2018

Rammed Earth Walls Complete

The Cabin waiting patiently for its roof.

Hi Everyone and thanks for checking in again.  We are now finished the rammed earth walls and currently working on the douglas fir beams.  We are heading to Denman Island to work on a clients rammed earth entrance wall from mid-September to mid-October and will return in the fall for more beam and wood column installation.



The upper and last level rammed earth walls and columns complete and covered for the winter to keep the insulation dry.

The lower level with peel and stick as required by the structural and envelope engineers to keep the beams from sitting directly on top of the rammed earth walls.  The peel and stick is another line of defense for the insulation as well.

Ripping off the old insulation cover on the lower level in order to instal the peel and stick.  There was an abundance of wasp nests making the plywood and tarps their home.

The lower level with peel and stick across the top of the walls.



Thanks again for checking in and more progress updates will follow upon our return from Denman Island.



Saturday, 28 July 2018

The Home Stretch (for the walls)

Hi and thanks for checking into the Cabin in the woods blog which follows the construction of a rammed earth house in Otter Point BC.  It was a busy spring with rammed earth projects working for SIREWALL in Edmonton and New Zealand. 
As of early July we have been forming and ramming in the hopes of finishing the rammed earth walls before labor day weekend.

The Step rig in Edmonton

The landscape wall at the U of A Botanic Gardens.

Another view of the landscape wall at the U of A Botanic Gardens in Edmonton.

Some color samples for a project being built in the Northland of New Zealand.

The same color samples used on the test wall for the Northland project.

Some color samples created using soils in Taranaki, New Zealand.

A test wall in Taranaki, New Zealand.

Back in Sooke and forming the last of the rammed earth walls on the Cabin in the Woods.

A footing for a rammed earth column to be built at the back entrance way to the Cabin.

A rammed earth wall being built with the step rig above and ready for the next four to five feet of wall section.

The step rig ready to finish the top of this wall.

Thanks again for reading the latest news on building the Cabin in the Woods and please check back as we go for the rammed earth wall finish line this summer.

Friday, 27 April 2018

Rammed Earth and Compacting Below the Outdoor Living Space

Hi Everyone and thanks for checking out the latest shots of The Cabin in the Woods as its being built.
These photos show a relatively small wall with a lot of right angle turns, utility knockouts and some damp-proofing below grade.  


The area to be back filled and compacted for outdoor living space outside of the sliding glass wall.

Double silt cloth wrapped drain tile and roof drain each with six inches of sand or drain rock around them.

Drain tile and roof drain clean-outs in the corner where they turn ninety degrees.

Damp-proofing with an airspace next to the wall.

A panoramic for fun.

Some utility knockouts below the future mechanical room.

The outdoor living area or what will be one day. 
Thanks for checking in and new material will be sporadic until July due to working commitments.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Ramming Earth Between Snow and Sub-zero Temperatures

Hi Everyone, thanks for checking out the latest pictures of "the Cabin in the Woods".  It's been a long time between posts as I've been working elsewhere.  As mentioned before we are onto the third and final level.  If all goes as planned this will be the last summer of ramming before the roof goes on.

Winter time lighting filtering through the trees with the "cottage forming" of the retaining wall in the foreground.

Same thing as the last picture just a slightly different angle.  Although the picture depicts sun, this was the exception during this wall.  

Two days after I finished ramming this wall the temperature went down to minus 7 C.  After three or four cold nights it decided to snow a couple times too.  I insulated the top of the wall to try and retain some of the heat created through hydration.    

After all the weather troubles everything appears to be OK with the wall.  

The retaining wall side, It seems a waste to me sometimes to bury all that beautiful rammed earth but that's whats happening on this side.

Thanks again for checking in and I'll get some regular posts happening throughout the summer. 


Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Random Weekly Photos

Hi everyone and thanks for checking up on our progress building The Cabin in the Woods.

These are some random photos this week.
Foamglas insulation blocks below the inner wythe of rammed earth.  The engineer determined we could place 14" long blocks between the vertical rebars leaving ten inches of rammed earth touching the footing.  While it doesn't complete thermal envelope 100% it will help stop thermal bridging.

This wall is 19 feet long so to avoid bowing we switched to LVL wailers.  They are a little heavier and fairly expensive but very stiff and stable. 
Rebar details seen inside the form before ramming begins.


The last of the tall walls can be seen in the distance.  Note the fresh air intake for the wood-stove in the corner of the wall in the foreground.

Thanks for checking in, the next update will be in about ten days once the last tall wall is complete.