In my last post I mentioned the loction I'm currently in merely as "this place in Southern California"... And yes, the exact location shall not be disclosed. But since this will be my second post about it, I can't help but give it a name, even if it may not stick.
Calling a Place by a Name
So I thought, Stone Turtle sounds like a good moniker for this property, after the carved rock that may look like one... or a dragon, depending on the eye of the beholder. But Stone Dragon just sounds too much along the lines of Puff the Magic Stoner. Nothig against a good toke of reefer, but yeah dude, cough-cough... Besides, the rock behind his head just looks a lot like a shell. Aaaanyway...
Back to the Build
It was not even this rock I wanted to discuss here, but the build of the timber-framed cob house I started to build. Well, after four weeks of work (assuming 40-hour work weeks, though in reality I spent less than that on it per day, in a span of something more like six weeks) I have finally gotten the foundation done. Which is as far as I will get this time around.
No Roof After All - Again!
I remember having mentioned how I've done the groundwork of so many buildings, constructing the foundations, pounding tires, mixing concrete, and the like. However, I am still hoping for a chance to do the roof! It's all in my mind, but my hands still need to dip into that experience. For a while I thought this may be the case right now, but it all came a bit differently.
Due to a number of factors, including time, money, my time remaining of being welcome in the US, and my friend's plans who has asked me to build this structure for her, we decied that it may be wisest to leave the framing (and all subsequent steps) for next year. Instead, I should complette the foundation with all the perfectionist rigor that I can muster.
So I made sure that the tire wall is as leveled as possible, with the horizontal 4x4s layed on top being perfectly leveled. They are fixed in place on metal platforms with spikes going between two tires, and a bit of a concrete base under them where necessary.
Superadobe? Or Just Cement with Dirt?
Once I got all that done, I wanted to cover all the tires. On the outside I piled up a nice thick berm on the two courses. On the inside I made a mix of cement and dirt, and used that to fill the spaces between the tires, and cover them all in a thick wall. Yes, this cement-dirt mix is often called superadobe, which I don't really like, as it may be confused with the Nader Khalili style earthbag construction.
What We've Got
What we have now, is a tub of dirt, which is strong enough to carry a timber-framed cob wall (which can be up to a foot thick), a big south-facing window, and a sheetmetal roof. The entire floor space is somewhat smaller than intended - instead of 200 it only has 150 square feet. But it does have two cooling tubes, a nice french-drain wrapped around it underground, and even a potential planter, in case the person using it decides to dig it up.
For now I'm quite happy with it, and I look forward to coming back next year to continue the build. The cover on the tires may crack and fall off, as it is completely exposed to the elements, but it's all dirt, which will have to be done and redone anyway. The wood, however is varnished, so I'm hoping it sould be fairly well protected.