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Archive for the ‘Emergency Shelter’ Category

Grain bin root cellar

Grain bin root cellar


“This is a root cellar we built out of an old grain bin that was going to be sold for scrap metal. When we had our CSA farm in Montana we needed a place to store vegetables to eat through the winter. We also wanted a place to keep the veggies cool while we prepared them for delivery in the summer season. We had so many rocks on our property that I was thinking about building a circular root cellar, using a rock wall that by design would keep the walls from caving in. That’s where the thought process started, circular things that would hold up to the pressures of dirt pushing against them. I was thinking about culverts at the time, and it led me to thinking about grain bins. Gigantic culverts! I’d always see what seemed to be abandoned grain bins in the fields along the highways and thought that maybe some farmer would be interested in selling one of them. So I checked into it. Low and behold, a farmer friend of ours knew somebody who tore down grain bins for scrap on the side, so I called him. He had two to choose from at the time, so I picked the 16 foot high by 18 foot diameter one. He said if I paid the $200 he would get for the scrap metal I could have it. SOLD!”

Read the entire article with step-by-step photos of construction at the source: Homestead Haven

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Top view of double pallet wall with post and beam frame

Top view of double pallet wall with post and beam frame


Wooden shipping pallets are typically available for free and are very practical for building homes, furniture and many other things. We’ve already explored several ways of building pallet walls: Post and Beam Pallet Wall, Earth Lodge Pallet Walls, Interior Pallet Walls, Straw Bale Pallet Walls.

This new design sprang from the idea of creating wider pallet walls to provide space for extra straw/clay insulation or other type of insulation. Total wall thickness is about 16” not including plaster and/or wall cladding. Note how the good side (top side) of pallets all face outward. The building process is as follows:
1. Construct the post and beam frame. In this proposed design, the posts are spaced two pallets apart.
2. Build the interior pallet wall. Horizontal 2×4 or 2×6 plates are attached at the base, between courses of pallets and along the top. Plates could be 3’-4’ salvaged boards from broken pallets.
3. Add a spacer board between the pallet walls to help stabilize the wall. This could consist of short pieces of scrap blocking or a long board.
4. Build the exterior pallet wall so the outer surface aligns with the outside of the posts. Some partial pallets are required. Partial pallets could be cut from damaged pallets.
5. Mix and stuff straw/clay inside the pallet wall.

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A hut in the Parc des Pyrénées (France), made of stone, with a vegetal roof. (click to enlarge)

A hut in the Parc des Pyrénées (France), made of stone, with a vegetal roof. (click to enlarge)


A wood hut

A wood hut


Philippine nipa hut made of palm, bamboo and other local materials

Philippine nipa hut made of palm, bamboo and other local materials


Ski huts along trails provide winter shelter

Ski huts along trails provide winter shelter


Huts are extremely practical, low cost shelters. While almost the same as a cabin, huts tend to be smaller and simpler. Huts are used for skiing, camping, lodging along trails and in wilderness areas (see Appalachian Trail Shelters), emergencies, housing for the poor or as shelter while a more permanent home is being built. Although many times huts are temporary, they can be designed and built to last many years.

“A hut is a temporary shelter built with materials found nearby. It is generally built manually in a natural environment with local materials: branches, leaves, logs, bushes, etc. Less commonly, it can also be made of materials such as metal (iron), cloth or plastic (sheeting), and be located in an unnatural area such as a backyard or on the water (stilts). The hut can be used as a place to live or just as a storing place. It can also be a shelter and a camouflage for hunting, fishing or simple observation of wildlife. Besides, building a small hut, at home or in a forest is a playful and cooperative activity for children. The hut is essential where self-construction is needed, in areas where vehicles cannot access. But beyond self-construction, the hut is an eco-construction which can be an ecological lifestyle, primitivist (denigration of industrial technologies), or simply unconventional choice (natural materials).”

Source: Ekopedia
Image source 1, 2: Ekopedia
Image source: Pinaymates.com
Image source: Top Design Mag (27 beautiful hut photos)

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“Testing a CEB (compressed earth block) wall for the ability to withstand small arms fire with an AK-47, 223 and a 45-70 Gov”

The video is rather shaky, but it does help validate what we’ve been saying here for the last few years – that compressed earth, especially when combined with gravel, has very good bullet resistance. This includes all categories of compressed earth: CEBs, earthbag, rammed earth or the EarthCo Megablock system (giant machined compressed blocks).

Related blog posts:
Earthbag Survival Shelter Plans (use the built-in search engine at Earthbag House Plans to find other shelters, forts, etc.
All house plan orders include a free copy of my Earthbag Building Guide ebook.
How to Build a Survival Shelter: article in Survivalist magazine.
Bullet Resistance of Compressed Earth
Bullet Resistance of Gravel
Bullet Resistance of Sandbags
Impact Testing Compressed Earth with Blackpowder Cannon

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Consider staying in a yurt while you build your earthbag house.

Related:
Roundhouse with Yurt earthbag house design.
Wild Horses of Mongolia with Julia Roberts

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This is the largest, most successful earthbag project in Haiti so far. They’re doing a great job in an extremely difficult situation.

“At this village in Bongnol, Haiti, Haiti Christian Development Project has completed 10 of 14 planned earthbag houses for earthquake refugees at the cost of $2200 each. Men of the community were hired to do the construction. Occupants will live in the houses at a low and affordable rent. Additional surrounding land has been acquired to extend the project.”

Patti also reports “The HCDP people are just continuing to build earthbag. They love it. Currently planning a little school/ clinic building, and buying more lots for another subdivision. Wow.”

Previous blog post: New Earthbag Houses in Bangnol, Haiti

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The blog post the other day about Temporary Shelters made with straw bales was a big hit and so I located this old instructional video and got it uploaded to my YouTube channel. I’ve already received more positive comments than most any of my other videos. This video has an incredible story. It was almost lost. Matts Myhrman lost the master copy. I managed to find one of the last remaining copies in a library, and Kelly Hart volunteered to copy it onto CD (with Matts’ permission, of course). Here it is on YouTube six years later!

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