The Tower, A Purpose Built Survival Home.

Discussion in 'Permanent Shelters' started by Aerindel, Aug 28, 2019.

The Tower, A Purpose Built Survival Home. 5 5 3votes
5/5, 3 votes

  1. Aerindel

    Aerindel Well-Known Member
      72/115

    Blog Posts:
    0
    I have written a lot about my place elsewhere on the net and I don't want to just copy paste 12 years worth of thoughts on this long term project. Instead I would rather SHOW than tell you what this is, and then happily answer any and all questions.

    Pictures in roughly cronologically order...from about 2007 to the present.

    5779440a18397e34d05892c468ec6d73.jpeg

    5779440a18397e34d05892c468ec6d73.jpeg

    I was living in at this point:

    5779440a18397e34d05892c468ec6d73.jpeg

    5779440a18397e34d05892c468ec6d73.jpeg

    The second tower (storage and shop)

    5779440a18397e34d05892c468ec6d73.jpeg

    With the addition:

    5779440a18397e34d05892c468ec6d73.jpeg

    Interior pics:

    5779440a18397e34d05892c468ec6d73.jpeg

    5779440a18397e34d05892c468ec6d73.jpeg

    5779440a18397e34d05892c468ec6d73.jpeg

    Shop building (will eventually be the north wall of a triangular courtyard:

    5779440a18397e34d05892c468ec6d73.jpeg

    Store room (ground floor of the shop/storage addition)
    5779440a18397e34d05892c468ec6d73.jpeg

    The greenhouse...down the hill a bit

    5779440a18397e34d05892c468ec6d73.jpeg

    Ram pump, down by the greenhouse, pumps water all the way up to the Tower

    5779440a18397e34d05892c468ec6d73.jpeg

    Fire suppression system. Electric pump for day to day use, gasoline for SHTF:

    5779440a18397e34d05892c468ec6d73.jpeg

    One of the doors....4-5" thick and weigh about 180lbs

    5779440a18397e34d05892c468ec6d73.jpeg

    One of my fighting positions

    5779440a18397e34d05892c468ec6d73.jpeg

    Anyway, if you see anything interesting here, ask and I will happily tell you what you want to know.
     
  2. Aerindel

    Aerindel Well-Known Member
      72/115

    Blog Posts:
    0
    A few other details....

    Yes...the tower has an armory:
    0336b8c3663c4b25a292c2f470d2e1fb.jpeg

    And yes....getting up the road requires 4WD:

    Its really my first and best defense
    0336b8c3663c4b25a292c2f470d2e1fb.jpeg

    Primary water tank 550 gallons, under the kitchen addition. Secondary are the two 55 gallon drums suspended from the kitchen ceiling. I get gravity flow from those, and fill when needed from the big tank, that is in turn filled from a well.

    0336b8c3663c4b25a292c2f470d2e1fb.jpeg
     
  3. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
      477/575

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Okay, I will be the first to bite.. Why did you switch from hay bales to wooden walls on the other structures?
     
    barok129 and Sonofliberty like this.
  4. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
      477/575

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Okay, I will be the first to bite.. Why did you switch from hay bales to wooden walls on the other structures?
     
    Morgan101 likes this.
  5. Aerindel

    Aerindel Well-Known Member
      72/115

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Time.

    Straw bale construction is very strong, and very cheap. But it's very time consuming and labor intensive and I wanted/needed other buildings faster than I could have had them with straw.
     
  6. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
      477/575

    Blog Posts:
    0
    I kinda figured that but wanted your reason. H ow is the straw bales for heating and cooling? Again I think they would be excellent but better perspective from the owners point of view.
     
  7. elkhound

    elkhound Expert Member
      247/345

    Blog Posts:
    0
    looking good keep it up !!
     
    TMT Tactical likes this.
  8. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor
      360/460

    Blog Posts:
    3
    Very, very well done.

    (I hope you don't regret inviting questions! Here goes!)

    I would imagine that the stuccoing was one of the most laborious aspects of building this home? And that by the time it was finished, you probably had the recipe honed down to a science... What was the recipe that you are most happy with?

    How many square (round? lol) feet is the tower?

    How do you keep the ram pump and the plumbing on the way from it to the tank from freezing? (I can see how well insulated the tank is!)

    What is the distance from the water source/ram pump to the house/tank? How far up is the incline?




    .
     
  9. Dalewick

    Dalewick Expert Member
      190/230

    Blog Posts:
    0
    The high fence at the back of the straw bale house. Keeping something in...or out? Very nice place!

    Dale
     
  10. Aerindel

    Aerindel Well-Known Member
      72/115

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Its excellent. About R55, and the stucco provides a great deal of thermal mass to hold the heat, or the cool for a long time. Until the temps get below about 20º I only really need a fire every other day to keep it warm.

    Stuccoing itself was actually one of the easiest and most satisfying parts. The stucco prep on the other hand was the slowest and most labor intensive.

    After the bales are stacked, I wrapped the walls in both chicken wire and 2x4" 14 gauge welded wire fencing on both sides. This fencing is then sewn to the bales with three foot long needles and baleing twin that goes through the full thickness of the walls and pulls the wire tight again the bales. You have to put in a stitch about every foot or so there are many hundreds of them needed. It goes a lot faster if you have two people, one on each side with a needle so you can tie each others knots.

    After stitching you still have gaps in the straw between bales etc that you then stuff with handfuls of loose straw until you have a solid surface to stucco over. Straw stuffing is really the worst time sink of the whole project.

    As for stucco recipe, I started out with LaFarg brand stucco cement, sand and chopped straw. I do not remember the ratio, it was just whatever it said on the bag. I would mix that like you would any mortar mix, and then add handfuls of chopped straw to reenforce the mix, I basically just went by feel with how much straw to add. I made the chopped straw by through chunks of bales into a trash can and using a weed wacker on it until it was chopped into a fine fiber mix.

    LaFarg stucco become unavailable here and I switched to Type S mortar mix, which as far as I can tell, is just as good and a lot easier to find.

    600 feet in the tower, another 200 in the addition and the shop (under construction) is about 1000 total.

    Not a lot but it seemed like a lot when I built it as I was coming from 144 cabin in Alaska at the time. Plans are in the works for an addition connecting to the end of the kitchen on the upper terrace which will add a lot more space.

    The whole operation is a pay as you go afair so its been built in stages. The first two years I lived in it only the ground floor was closed in.

    I don't. It only runs in the spring summer and fall. I use that water for wash and irrigation water. The tank is filled from a 300' deep well, in the summer its only used for drinking water and lasts all season. In the winter I use it for everything and it lasts about a month between fills.

    Its about 200 feet from the water source, 300 from the ramp, which is at the end of 100 feet of drive line, at about 10 feet below the water source, it pumps back to a hight of 40 feet above the water source to a solar pre-heater tank on the roof of the kitchen. I found I needed a preheater tank as the water source is ice melt and even in summer its only about 40º which takes a lot of fuel to heat up so I hold it on the roof where it warms up to air temp before being used, the overflow from that tank then goes outside to a 500 gallon stock tank, which is the irrigation water for the greenhouse.

    BOTH! :)

    But mostly out. Bears are an issue in the spring and fall and for general defense it seems a good idea.

    I used to keep bees and built a guard tower for the hives since electric fences proved to not be enough
    deb908de0c4d372f2ad133124d32bd9c.jpeg
     
  11. Duncan

    Duncan Expert Member
      190/230

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Great engineering!
     
  12. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor
      360/460

    Blog Posts:
    3
    Aerindel, thank you. Your whole place is one of the best examples of innovative engineering I have seen with a view to self-reliance AND defense. I also noted the narrow and high windows. :)

    If there is anything that you would do differently, what would that be?


    The bears. I know what you mean! Here in my neck of the woods, they are my absolute thorn in the side. I cannot control them via electric wire either! Yet, Elkhound can.

    Maybe our wire is not well-grounded? Not "hot" enough? What? (I cannot even think of having fruit trees, chickens, ducks, or anything else that is food for mountain lions, bears, and coyotes.) Phew.


    .
     
  13. Aerindel

    Aerindel Well-Known Member
      72/115

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Ha, what a question.

    Well....there is a lot actually.

    First, I would have made it square. I really liked making it round, but after a decade of trying to fit square furniture, square appliances, square carpet....you get the idea....into round rooms, I would rather have straight walls.

    I would like it to be bigger....but of course, everyone usually does. One thing to keep in mind, I was living in this thing by the time I had spend only $10,000 so I did a lot of things based on money. But in retrospect, the cost to make it just a couple feet wider would have been worth it for the extra space. I based everything of 16" maximum spans because that was the longest boards I could easily get and transport, and things like 4x8 plywood fit with no wast etc...but It would have been better to go just a little bit larger.

    I wish I had bought a laser level on day one instead of eight years in.

    There are various design changes I made during construction that causes complications.

    The top floor was originally not intended as living space it was going to be a uninsulated 'hording' lookout and fighting space, with the insulation being in the second floor ceiling.

    6f1f157ecd6d2025a9dbc96613235cbf.jpeg

    However, I decided that was stupid considering how easily it could be more living space.

    The problem is that since it was designed to be insulated the rafters where narrower than I would have chosen, and the roof lower. I could have EASILY built be taller and with more space for insulation for a couple hundred bucks, which would have been more than worth it in retrospect, and which I would have done if I had intended to live up there to begin with.

    As such, it ended up being a low ceiling loft bedroom space and not as well insulated as I would have liked.

    There where some things I did to save money but which used so much time and caused other problems.

    To save concrete for the floor, I used a lot of large flatish rocks I spent days collecting. (You can see them in the first picture) Unfortunately, the resulting surface, while great looking, was hard to clean so this last winter I poured new concrete over all my rockwork to make a boring, but easier to clean floor

    6f1f157ecd6d2025a9dbc96613235cbf.jpeg

    A lot of other little things that are probably too boring to mention. Mostly things involving trying to save money by not doing something they way I really wanted, and then finding out the way I really wanted was cheaper in the end than what I actually did.
     
  14. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
      510/575

    Blog Posts:
    0
    several things come to mind.
    there seem to be a lot of buildings, wouldn't it have been better just to have one building?
    the tower seems very high, how far away can it be seen?
    I don't know where you live, how far away is the nearest settlement, town, city?
     
  15. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor
      360/460

    Blog Posts:
    3
    Hindsight kicks us in the butt (isn't that why it's called hindsight? lol). In spite of all the shoulda's and coulda's, the final result is magnificent, and it looks like you accomplished a lot of what you set out to do. It will serve you well for many years to come.

    Hattip to you, sir. This has been one of the most inspiring threads I have laid eyes on! Thank you. Now I am chomping at the bits to stop procrastinating and put my haybale dreams into reality.

    Just a thought: I noticed that for the most part, the tower seems to be extremely fire-resistant which is great defense against arson. Except for the shingle roof, which is what I have as well. When it is time to re-roof my house (or before, if I can get up the $$$$), I will use metal. Two benefits: one is fire-proofing, the other is rainwater collection without the chemical contamination caused by the conventional shingle roofing material.


    .
     
  16. Aerindel

    Aerindel Well-Known Member
      72/115

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Great questions.

    Yes, I would much much prefer one building myself but there are a few reasons I'm ending up with a compound.

    First, its a pay as you project, often paid for pay check by paycheck, while being lived in at the same time, which means that its better to have four buildings, three of which are done, than one building, 3/4 finished.

    The second, is that the entire property is a rather steep hillside. Make large flat spots becomes exponentially more expensive. A 20 foot terrace for instance, is not just half the work as a 40 foot terrace, its something like 1/4 the work of two 20 foot terraces.

    Believe me, it annoys the hell out of me. Everything requires excavation, everything requires retaining walls. Every square foot of flat ground has to be hacked out of the hillside.

    but its the nature of the property, which was cheap to being with, probably because of the lack of flat cleared ground.

    Its 26' tall all, but the trees are a lot taller. Perhaps with a telescope, on a mountain you could find it if you knew just where to look, but its pretty buried in the trees. There are a few 100 yard sightlines but in general you have to be within about 70 yards to actually see it. Because of the curve of the hill and the trees etc its not visible from anywhere in the valley below, and because its the end of a long private road, nobody is ever driving by.

    This of course brings up the classic defense paradox. Is it better to have clear sightlines or concealment?

    For me, I believe that because I will never be able to fight off overwhelming numbers with the people here, its better to be fairly hidden, off the beaten path and reduce the number of threats that could show up in SHTF.

    There is also some math that goes into this. If for instance, you have 200 yards of clear land around your place, that means its still in easy rifle shot from your boarders, but orders of magnitude more visible than a place tucked into the trees. To really have cleared ground wide enough that attackers would have to cross it to be a threat, you would need something like 1000 yards of cleared ground to eliminate most threats from your borders....but that now means owning something like a square mile of cleared land and enough people, firepower, etc to actually do something about the attackers that someplace that large could draw.

    Of course in the end, that means I am somewhat vulnerable to the person who does find me, sneaking up at close range. To mitigate this I have wireless motion alarms on all the obvious routes, trip wires between those, and dogs up close.

    And of course, thick walls, strong doors, and small windows so the person who does get close doesn't necessarily then have access to anything and are in a lot of trouble given the various small windows I have to shoot at them through.

    Well, definitions vary and its hard to give a sense of access in those terms as distance doesn't equal difficulty but...
    I'm 1/2 mile from the next closest house. I'm five miles from 'town' which is about 200 people, I'm 30 miles from a city of 70,000, which is further in practice because its on the other side of a mountain pass and so in an entirely different valley and socio-economic area.

    The back side of my property is the border with thousands of acres of wilderness, which is another advantage as I'm not on the way to anywhere and only have to worry about people coming from one direction.
     
  17. Aerindel

    Aerindel Well-Known Member
      72/115

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Indeed. For me it was simply a matter of not wanting to deal with cutting and fitting metal for eight converging rooflines.
    There is also the fact I am not a professional roofer and asphalt seems more forgiving than metal as small mistakes can be smoothed out, tarred over, etc.

    As for fire, it is my greatest and most realistic threat which is why I am set up to pump a hundred gallons per minute to rooftop sprinklers.

    Just make sure to use STRAW not hay :) people mix up the terms all the time but straw is significantly different than hay. Hay would make a very poor building material as it is animal food, the leaves of plants, while straw is the dead stems of grain crops, which is chemically the same stuff as wood and far more resistant to rot and pests, not to mention, has a lot more strength to it (and is much cheaper as well, being a wast product)
     
  18. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor
      360/460

    Blog Posts:
    3
    Thank you for straightening me out on the critical difference between straw bale / hay bales. I will be sure to continue to research the topic before attempting my outbuilding projects!

    What are those basket/ bucket looking things on the side of the building in the fourth photo?


    .
     
    TMT Tactical and Sonofliberty like this.
  19. Aerindel

    Aerindel Well-Known Member
      72/115

    Blog Posts:
    0
    They are planters hanging off the fence actually. Before I had the greenhouse I was attempting to use the fact that the wall collects and reflects heat in the summer to grow tomatoes near it. It didn't really work and now that I have a fairly big greenhouse I don't bother to try and grow things by the tower anymore.

    I really need to take some more current photos as a fair bet of the 'landscaping' has changed in the last couple years.
     
  20. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
      510/575

    Blog Posts:
    0
    I take my hat off to you.
    in my situation and location the more buildings there are the more chance of getting spotted, also I would have my building as low as possible, less chance of being seen.
     
    TMT Tactical likes this.
  21. Sonofliberty

    Sonofliberty Master Survivalist
      347/460

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Definitely post newer pics. The work you have done is awesome my friend! How close are you to actual self sufficiency? Have you integrated any renewable power sources? Seems like a wood gas power system would work great for you.
     
    TMT Tactical likes this.
  22. Morgan101

    Morgan101 Master Survivalist
      455/460

    Blog Posts:
    0
    All of it is very impressive. Well planned. Well constructed. You did a beautiful job.
     
    TMT Tactical likes this.
  23. Sonofliberty

    Sonofliberty Master Survivalist
      347/460

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Have you picked out a tree you can quickly drop across the far end of your driveway if needed? How about spike strips if dropping a tree is impractical?
     
    TMT Tactical likes this.
  24. Aerindel

    Aerindel Well-Known Member
      72/115

    Blog Posts:
    0
    I don't really think true self sufficiency on an individual level is probable, and not in this location especially. I'm never going to be able make all of everything on a hillside in Montana. The indigenous peoples here never where able to live here full time either but moved through during different seasons.

    But, as far as how long I could make it.....a fair amount I reckon. A few years without leaving the hill. Eventually though I would need trade, or scavenging.

    About five years ago I built a small gasifier just to test the concept. It worked but the more I looked into it, the more complicated it looked to make one that really worked on a day to day basis rather than as an experiment that you run for a few minutes. A real system that goes all the way from tree to power has a lot of steps, and a lot of moving parts.

    My general approach to power is to reduce the need for it, rather than increase the production of it.

    Oh trees are very practical. There are a least a hundred along the road I could drop. And yes, I have some picked out. Primarily the ones I have picked are ones with their bases buried in brush so that if cut down, nobody from the road could see they where cut rather than broken or uprooted, and which would fall between other trees so they could not be pulled or pushed out of the way but would have to be cut up.

    There are also two small bridges on the way that could be pulled out with a truck.
     
  25. Alaskajohn

    Alaskajohn Expert Member
      170/173

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Hey Aerindel, great to see you here. I was wondering why you haven’t cut back the trees to create a more defendable space for fighting wildfires around your dwellings?
     
  26. Aerindel

    Aerindel Well-Known Member
      72/115

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Some of the trees in those pictures are no longer there, some have had all of their branches removed up to 20'

    But I do not want too much cleared area around, I want to remain mostly hidden in the woods, and not have to worry about ever being shot at from a hidden sniper a long ways away. The trees make up some of my defenses.

    Now fire IS the big one. But luckily I am a firefighter and have seen and fought fires over the last ten years. And the vast vast majority of what is burning in a forest fire is not the big trees, its all the brush and pine duff on the ground. By removing ladder fuels you can keep the fire out of the trees.

    And in any case, its usually not a big tree burning near your house that is the problem. Its burning brands, sparks etc blown into cracks, under porches, into brush right up against the building, etc that burn down a house. With water enough to douse the surfaces of the building, and sprinklers to wet everything down within a hundred feet, I am not much worried about the trees.
     
  27. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
      477/575

    Blog Posts:
    0
    @Aerindel Good fire info in your post. I had always suspected it was the ground cover that facilitated the fire but now I have some confirmation. I think I will still go with the steel roof. I also like the hidden vs. cleared land. No matter how much you clear, somebody may be able to cover that distance with a good rifle. Not needing a long range shoot out is better.

    Am I mistaken or is the greenhouse a little distance away from your main structure? If so , is that due to water limitations or some other reason?
     
  28. Sonofliberty

    Sonofliberty Master Survivalist
      347/460

    Blog Posts:
    0
    From what we can see of his terrain, it may be the closest flat spot reasonably near his tower.
     
    TMT Tactical and Aerindel like this.
  29. Aerindel

    Aerindel Well-Known Member
      72/115

    Blog Posts:
    0
    That and there is more sun down there. Even that spot was only sort of flat. I had to make a new road and a terrace for it.

    5c28c5b62efd3838fb088d56fe202a3c.jpeg
     
  30. LastOutlaw

    LastOutlaw Master Survivalist
      330/345

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Looking through this post made me think of a few people in my past who did some similar things and I wanted to mention. I have browsed this post but have not read it in it's entirety as of yet so bear with me if I rehash anything that has already been mentioned.
    I had a friend who was raised in a home made house in Alaska many many years ago who told me of his upbringing in the home. The home was built by his father and was heated with wood. His father had used sawdust for insulation. His job was to build a fire every morning as the eldest son. In the end one morning the fire got out of hand and caught a wall on fire and the entire home burnt to the ground. He said the sawdust insulation went up like a wildfire. Are you concerned about fire using hay bales as insulation? I did see that you have a fire suppression system.

    I had a friend who, when I was trying to work with a MAG who had the idea of insulating the food storage room in his barn with dirt as it was financially mre feasible in his mind and would make a safe place in the event of gunfire. It was a huge job filling walls with dirt and had to be heavily reinforced to hold back all the weight. In the end I think while it may have been financially more affordable the labor hours cost more than simply buying insulation.

    Another guy I met had bought 100 acres near where I live now. I went to see the place he had started construction on but hadn't finished. It was a round tower much like what you have built but was framed in wood. Two stories tall and only the outside shell had been constructed. I asked why he built round and his answer was that his wife (who had left a few years earlier) had requested round and she always wanted to live in a round house. He said it was his biggest mistake for many of the reasons that you mentioned but also stated that the cost went way up due to materials and time in carpentry work.
    While I realize that one's own labor is free it still must be considered in man hours when one crunches numbers on how long it takes to build something versus how much more you can have doing something differently.

    I have a cabin way back off grid and it is a decent task to get materials in there to build with. When I first bought it I was living 6 hours away and time was an issue I had to consider that whenever doing anything there such as adding on a room. Working a 9 to 6 job and then traveling there on the weekends left little actual time for the construction while I was there. Usually it was about a day and a half to actually work on things and that was driving in and arriving late Friday evening and leaving half way through the day on Sunday. Also one would have to insure that they have everything needed in the way of materials and tools due to the drive time into the property from pavement. The last thing you want to have to do is drive back out for some screws that you left at home. I would guess that you run into some of the same issues there especially the work before you moved into the building but still after.

    I am also curious about your ram pump. You stated that you use it to push water up to the tower? Could you share more info on it? Size, how much elevation it moves water up, how fast flowing is the stream it is in, etc? I have a small stream below my cabin and wondered if it was feasible to utilize a ram pump at times there.
     
  31. Sonofliberty

    Sonofliberty Master Survivalist
      347/460

    Blog Posts:
    0
    He plastered the walls. Fire really should not be a problem.
     
  32. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor
      360/460

    Blog Posts:
    3
    Even better: the plaster/stucco is done on both sides, inside and outside of the building, which makes it highly fire-resistant.


    .
     
  33. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor
      360/460

    Blog Posts:
    3
    My BOL is on a gentle slope of a mountain, so I don't have near as much of a leveling headache as you do, BUT it is on the north slope and the shadow of the mountain comes across the land too early to suit me (and my garden!).

    Soil is thin, so I learned to build it up through composting, cover cropping, etc. Your pictures suggest that you have similar soil challenges as I do. What are you using for garden soil in your greenhouse? What do you grow in it?

    (I have a gazillion questions, but I am trying to behave and not pester you to death, lol.)


    .
     
  34. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
      477/575

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Being the paranoid we all know I am, ballistics is a concern. I have shot arrows into straw bales but never bullets. I have to wonder about penetration and hot lead (bullets) causing a fire within the bales.
     
  35. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor
      360/460

    Blog Posts:
    3
    I wondered about that, too. Put my GoogleFu hat on and found this (for what it's worth, lol):

    Excerpt from a post here: http://www.calguns.net/calgunforum/archive/index.php/t-201455.html

    Bought six bales of straw, shot it 40 times with a Mauser, 60 times with an AR, read a magazine for half an our and saw no smoke, so my answer to my own question is NO. Then, since it's no fun being anal and paranoid unless you act on it, I set a sprinkler to hose it down for an hour or so just in case.

    My own thought on this is that in the absence of air, any sparks made would probably have a hard time igniting the straw... The very limited amount of air inside the strawbale may not be enough to contribute to a fire????



    .
     
    Morgan101, Meerkat, Aerindel and 2 others like this.
  36. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
      477/575

    Blog Posts:
    0
    GA, thanks for the link. Now I will not worry about fire but I do think a bullet will penetrate a single bale, even with stucco on both sides. I tend to believe that only concrete walls will be any good against bullets or at least poured cinder block flower planters as a minimum deterrent.
     
    Meerkat likes this.
  37. Aerindel

    Aerindel Well-Known Member
      72/115

    Blog Posts:
    0
    I am not. Straw burns poorly, particularly when compressed and covered in stucco. In places with building codes straw bale buildings by far exceed any fire ratings.

    I'm sure that would be the case with conventional construction. The reason I tried round is that with straw there are no additional costs to make round walls. It inconvenience of trying to furnish a round room from a square world however is very real.
    Indeed. It a constant struggle. I can't tell you how many times I've had to make a three hour trip just to get some little $1 PVC fitting or bolt or something I needed to actually finish the project.

    What is worse is that no delivery driver will come up my road, so all the concrete, rock, lumber, roofing, etc has to be brought up in my own vehicles. I have loaded and unloaded many hundreds of sacks of concrete by hand for this project.

    Yes, I run it to a rooftop solar preheater tank and then the overflow fills a stock tank that I gravity feed down to the greenhouse

    Specs on the pump.

    100' feet of 1.25" poly drive line, coming from ten feet of head.

    about 300' 3/4 poly pumped water line.

    The ditch has a fairly low flow rate but flow rate is irrelevant in a ram pump as long as its enough to supply the needed water volume as all the energy comes from the water coming down the drive line rather than the flow of the stream, a ramp pump could function just fine out of a pond for instance until the pond ran out of water.

    My ram consumes about 10 gallons per minute and pumps about one gallon per minute to a height of 40' about the water source (50' above the pump itself) generating about 35 PSI of pressure at the pump.

    The main valve, often called the 'clack' valve is homebuilt from large washers and bolts. The check valve is an off the shelf 3/4 PVC valve, and the pressure tank is a scavenged water filter unit with the filter removed and a inflated bicycle tire inner tube shoved in for a air bladder.

    Indeed. soil here really sucks in fact. The entire hill is a terminal moraine, a left over gravel bar at the end of a glacier from the last ice age. Its nothing but rock and clay with a couple inches of topsoil over it. Probably about 80% rock by weight per cubic foot.

    Almost all my gardening is container gardening in potting soil bought by the cubic yard and placed in grow bags.

    Don't worry, If I didn't want to write, I wouldn't have joined a forum :)

    Fire is pretty much a non issue. There is so little free air inside the walls even if ignited the straw cannot sustain combustion.

    I am surprised nobody has asked if I've tested my walls ballistically yet.

    I have. They will stop 9mm, .45acp, and 556. They will not stop 7.62x39 or 7.62x51 Obviously, most of the ballistic protection is from the combined inch and a half of stucco from the inner and outer walls but I imagine the mass of the bales slows things down as well. ( all stopped bullets where found against the stucco of the inner wall.

    Exactly. When I was first looking into this someone told me it was like trying to burn a phonebook.
     
  38. GateCrasher

    GateCrasher Expert Member
      170/173

    Blog Posts:
    0
    We considered straw bale construction when we built, many advantages over the typical 2x6 wood frame cookie-cutter homes so common in the US.

    Comparison study on different alternative construction materials, I think they might sell straw bale a little short when it comes to fire, but a good starting point for anyone considering building a new hazard / disaster resistant home or BOL.
     
  39. GateCrasher

    GateCrasher Expert Member
      170/173

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Sorry, wrong doc attached above. This one includes the straw bale comparison.
     

    Attached Files:

  40. Aerindel

    Aerindel Well-Known Member
      72/115

    Blog Posts:
    0
    As a firefighter, I will mention that what your walls are made out of really has little to do with how well your house may burn.

    The contents are going to be the bulk of the fire in most cases.
     
  41. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
      477/575

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Another thought just came to me. Does the Straw bales make a nice home to rodents (mice and rats)?
     
    Sonofliberty likes this.
  42. Sonofliberty

    Sonofliberty Master Survivalist
      347/460

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Wouldn't the plaster keep them out?
     
    TMT Tactical likes this.
  43. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor
      360/460

    Blog Posts:
    3

    It is not likely that mice would be motivated enough to chew through stucco, but rats can chew through concrete and make the way for other critters to get in as well. Stucco would be a piece of cake.

    (There are lots of sources that support that surprising fact about rats chewing through concrete: http://www.wildlife-removal.com/ratschew.html is one.)

    I'm guessing that apparently the rodent problem is not much of a concern (no more than most dwellings anyway), or else it would be mentioned in the abundant knowledge base about the final stage of strawbale construction.




    .
     
    TMT Tactical and Sonofliberty like this.
  44. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor
      360/460

    Blog Posts:
    3
    Based on my experiences with strawbale gardening: mice, rats, and even snakes can quickly move into the straw. So before plastering, I would carefully check for any signs of infestations. But even if compromised bales are plastered over, there is a possibility that the critters could survive long enough to chew their way out, and I should see evidence of that before too long.


    .
     
    TMT Tactical and Sonofliberty like this.
  45. Aerindel

    Aerindel Well-Known Member
      72/115

    Blog Posts:
    0
    They could in theory but the stucco does a good job keeping them out. Maybe if highly motivated a rat could eventually chew through but there is no motivation for them to do so.
     
  46. CountryGuy

    CountryGuy Expert Member
      230/345

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Aerindel, awesome work!

    I was wondering back to the insulation. I know the straw bales are to be very high R factor, but what did you do in your roof? Just traditional glass bat?

    How many cords of wood do you go thru a winter to heat? I'm assuming your heating with wood? I see in the one pic what looks to be a stove pipe going out the peak?
     
    TMT Tactical likes this.
  47. Meerkat

    Meerkat Member
      23/29

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Good job on the structures but I was looking for the tower.
    I have been wishing we had a tower to see over all these huge trees and jungle type surroundings we have . Plus you can see further.

    This is almost exactly what we need here.


     
    TMT Tactical likes this.
  48. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
      477/575

    Blog Posts:
    0
    Very cool video Meerkat. Thanks for posting it.
     
  49. Aerindel

    Aerindel Well-Known Member
      72/115

    Blog Posts:
    0
    The roof is fiberglass batting between the rafters and a layer of high density foam board over them to prevent thermal bridging of the rafters.

    Yes, I heat with wood. About three cords a year. All soft wood up here of course.

    I'm hoping to reduce that this year. I've been using a large barrel stove this whole time which is not very air tight and which I often overheat the house with. This year I bought a 1979 Vermont Castings 'Resolute' wood stove which should in theory be significantly more efficient.

    xNAaJzxUUayyyj3odHaHAEdAuWmknHMD.jpeg
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2019
    TMT Tactical likes this.
  50. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor
      360/460

    Blog Posts:
    3
    @Aerindel, during SHTF, what foodstuffs will you be concentrating on growing in your greenhouse and/or sourcing?

    .
     
    TMT Tactical likes this.
Loading...
Similar Threads Forum Date
Frying Pan Tower - Offshore North Carolina News, Current Events, and Politics Sep 7, 2019
New Member Hello, From The Tower. New Member Introduction Aug 28, 2019
How Tall Are Your Overwatch Towers.......??? Is 17' High Enough..?? General Q&A Feb 6, 2019
Forget "money" - What Will Matter Are Water, Energy, Soil, & Food... And A Shared National Purpose News, Current Events, and Politics May 29, 2019
Is "social Media" Destroying Humanity On Purpose?? News, Current Events, and Politics May 18, 2018
Kickstarter's all purpose knife. Thoughts? Essential Items Jun 1, 2016

Share This Page