This documents our construction efforts to build a test structure in Cynthiana, Kentucky.
If you are interested in more information about our team, please visit our website at http://TheOrangeTreeAtelye.weebly.com !
the structure has now been spray-coated with a cement based plaster.
looking through the main structure, you can see to the exterior court and stair
the view from our window in Cynthiana.
once finished, these roof drains will be able to prevent the roof from flooding.
there's still a few places to fix!
Liam Ream and Avi Bear on a chilly day making decisions about the best way to finish the stairs.
the metal decking is supported by the bags atop it and structural beams below.
Liam working to chip out the plaster that was accidentally sprayed into the drainage pipes.
all of these walls will look so much better when plastered and painted over and the floor is swept out!
we found that the upper parapet wall will be able to double as seating; this is our newest member for Fall Quarter: Cali.
these pipes hadn't been cleaned yet.
in some places, the curve of the bag edges is still visible
Day 12, Aug 27 PART2
Ready to be filled!
Boards allowed us to keep the concrete in the right place while still allowing to a lip to come out over the bags.
Charlie Schroeder, the man of the day, finishing up the framework.
Rocci takes a much deserved break as we wait for the concrete truck.
The truck! We're ready!
The first pour.
Filling the sill.
We are so thankful for Schroeder Construction's help!
Pouring the window sill.
Avi Bear filled his CAT bucket up in order to get the concerte to the needed height.
Creating a lintel!
Charlie, working hard.
It took the team from 7am to 5pm to lay the framework and finish pouring.
It was a beautiful day!
Avi Bear, concentrating on moving his CAT to just the right place.
We got a number 3/4 concrete, so it didn't have much flow.
Nick, tapping the boards.
A bit of ooze.
Between setting the boards and filling the bond beam, the team was there from 7am to 5pm.
Looking like a real building!
The stairs become harder to use when the landing is wet!
Pouring the last of the beam!
Mike, making it real smooth.
Day 12, Aug 27 PART1
Morning on the site.
Taking down the orange fence.
Re-stacking pallets, again.
The CAT! Strikes again!
Rob drives more rebar.
Charlie Schroeder's construction team builds the concrete framework for the bond beam.
Adding support for the overhang.
Getting everything just right.
The supports need support!
Window sill rebar.
Joe and Rocci talk with Patti about our structure.
Looking on at the workers. For once, we get to watch!
Patti talks with Doc Tanner about our structure: we found out it is the first straight-walled earthbag structure in the country!
Charlie and TJ
Our walls we're quite parallel.
Patti does a soil test on our bag soil.
Adding more wood for the beam frame.
Is that a lintel?
The team worked about 5 hours to lay the framework.
One corner was three inches higher than its opposite!
The man of the day: Charlie!
Our team with Patti Stouter before she left!
Cutting Styrofoam to make a pocket for our wood beams.
Look at those stairs now! Getting a landing and all!
A magic level machine!
A cake waiting for its icing.
Room for a lip.
it is important the concrete is level!
TJ installing rebar.
Day 11, Aug 26
Another Rotary meeting for lunch. This is an attendance board; when members arrive, they turn on their light.
Our finalized walls with platform get-ups!
Joe decides he has worked enough; nap time!
Emma enjoys an oversized cookie, thanks to Avi!
Charlie Schroeder came by in the afternoon to look at the building. He plans on coming by early in the morning to pour the bondbeam.
An interesting project!
Let's get the details right!
Applying chicken wire. The plaster will be applies to the wire for a smooth finish.
Those pesky metal ties finally come into use.
Patti Stouter hits on protruding bags to keep the plaster as flat as possible.
You can see how tough the wire was thanks to Joe!
Rob restacks more pallets!
Chicken wire: bawk bawk bawkkK!
We were so thankful to stay at the Evergreen Motel!
Day 10, Aug 25
Our window is almost complete!
Rob tamps like he has never tamped before!
Lots of bags and mixed-matched ropes and ties!
Rob, Joe, and Rocci re-stack a fallen pallet.
Nick makes the wall into a dancing platform, perfect for reenacting Marry Poppins.
It takes a team...
Patti Stouter, an earthbag expert, drove from NY to see our structure and help us make final decisions!
Rocci checks the level herself!
Our structure is almost complete!
Rocci tamps on a wall that feels as high as a mountain!
Our structure will be an interesting addition to the park.
Joe checks the bags on either side of the window; everything must be level!
Rob surfs on our wobbly wall.
Our walls are so high, the pallets are now barely tall enough to get to the top of our structure!
The landing is for standing!
Rocci, Joe, and Rob place and tamp.
Is Avi pleased with our progress?!?!
Avi shows off how skinny our stairs are: they should be perfect for children!
Consulting is so important!
Avi helps us protect our site, to discourage vandals.
How many men does it take to hang a fence?
Day 9, Aug 24
Nick breaks up a block of extra concrete.
Joe pulls on a zip tie!
Zip ties are a good replacement for nylon rope: they pull tighter and are much easier to use!
Bags and wire!
Our decorative window is coming together!
We cracked the foundation!
A beautiful sky to work under!
Rocci is so happy to work!
Pallets serve their fourth use, stacked into platforms.
A praying mantis came to visit!
Nick and Peter broke a sand casted, steel tamper!
The Judge comes by to check on us.
Our decorative window becomes a telescope!
Rob puts up our caution tape to secure the site for the night.
Nick talks to Doc Tanner and his wife, who came by to visit.
The wall surpasses Joe's height!
Day 8, Aug 23
A bag that had to be removed after tamping. You can start to see the brick that had formed.
Peter and Charlie, both long-term volunteers, tamp each side of our walls.
Our window, (barbed wire covered with cardboard boxes), become a good place to store tools.
Pallets are used for their third use, ladders!
Wow! Joe, have you shrunk? No? Than the walls must be getting very tall!
The team works together for the most time consuming part of the construction, the stairwall.
Barbed wire always needs to be layed.
Chrispin, who grew up in Haiti and now goes to UK, came by to check out our project and help us build.
Getting tall enough for you, Rocci?
Putting those ladders to use.
Walls are growing!
Stairs look like stairs!
Epic Joe, in a window seat.
As walls get high, bags must be passed up to those already on the wall. Rocci passes of a shovel-full of dirt.
Men work together.
What a team!
Rocci, thanks for sweeping our house!
Day 7, Aug 21
An epic sky captures our attention!
Many Rotary members check on our advancement.
The rain provided a few breaks...
Mud was abundant.
Stairs get dirty because they get used!
Sean, a volunteer, broke our tamper!
Peanut butter and jelly for lunch!
Rocci checks on the size of a new bag.
Joe places a big baby bag!
Unruly barbed wire gets shown who's boss with our new "paper weight."
The Ream boys.
Tyler, another volunteer, helps Rob place a bag in just the right spot.
Kristen begins tamping, and Rob gives direction.
Tamp that bag!
Team members give direction and volunteers do the work!
Sean checks the level between the bags on each side of the window.
Kristen shows the bags who is in charge!
A muddy floor makes for a slippery surface. The volunteers sty strong and stay vertical!
We placed tubes for the beginning of our decorative window. The PVC will be filled with wine bottles for colorful light and detail.
Volunteers take a break.
Sig Ep President, Mark, volunteers to take out all of his anger on our bags!
The Mayor of Cynthiana came by to check up on us!
Jenny Renn, another volunteer, and Rocci place barbed wire.
Joe tacks the wire into place.
Day 6, Aug 20
Day 6 hit hard, and Rob and Rocci needed extra caffeine.
Our stairs are coming together!
Frank Hensen, a member of the Rotary and owner of a laundromat, allowed us to smell fresh by providing laundry for the team.
To decrease bags bowing out, Rocci and Peter use tampers and hold back the bag as it is being tamped.
Mark, past President of the Rotary, talks to Nick about our progress.
Nick tries to fix a broken stapler.
Can we walk on those steps!? They look so inviting!
Joe takes his turn spiking the rebar.
Rob! Spike it!
Rocci tamps a bag as it is held back.
Day 5, Aug 19
Rotarian Bob helped transfer more pallets of bags to the site.
Avi took the pallets off of the trailer with his CAT and placed them near our slab.
Our tamper family.
Bob's truck and trailer of pallets.
Two other members of the rotary talk to Liam and Bob.
Nick holds the first "log bag" we created.
Avi and Ziggler slide down the playground!
A field full of pallets to work with!
We went to the Rotary Club for lunch. Avi talked about our progress so far.
We are so thankful for the Rotary's support!
Adnane, Rocci, and Joe work together on course 7.
Two courses on the stairs! You can start to imagine the shape they will take!
Joe holds rebar as Liam sledge's it into place. The rebar, spiked into all the corners, will reinforce the walls vertically.
Red spray paint helped us mark where the rebar was and stay safe.
The wall is growing!
Liam inspects his work.
Peter ties a knot over the wall.
Starting to look like walls!
It takes a team...
Joe unrolls and measures tarp at the same time... Wait, is that a man multi-tasking?!
Bags, now in shadow, thanks to the tarps!
Liam plows the field.
Pallets second use, weighing down the tarps!
Peter is psyched about our progress.
We made the front bag of the paper, above the fold!
Day 4, Aug 18
A dewey morning at the site.
Rob, barer of wire.
Emma tying the wire ties to the barbed wire.
We also had to cut nylon ties to six foot length.
The cloudy morning is replaced by sunshine and blue sky!
Liam returned from the store with goodies for encouragement and nourishment.
Rob "plows the field," or moves dirt from one end of the bag to another.
Joe jumps onto a newly placed bag.
Joe and Rocci adjust a bag size by adding a scoop of dirt per inch they need to expand.
Barbed wire stays put best when we push the end into the bag itself.
We used U nails over the barbed wire to keep it from attacking us.
Earthbags, nylon ties, wire ties, and barbed wire work together to make a complete system.
Liam contemplates the best way to start the stairs.
Peter shows Adnane how to make a bowline knot.
Rob takes a rest on five courses of work!
We have grown enough feet are dangling off the edge!
Liam tamps the first bag for what will be the stairs.
Emma films and interviews Joe about the progress of our team.
Peter and Rob work side by side to get the stairs done fast.
Joe and Rocci transfer bags weighing about 100 pounds.
A community member comes by and helps Liam design.
Emma stands with a tall hat to show what will be the height of the walls.
Joe organizes pallets.
That is not the right way to hold the tamper, Rob!
Some bags end up holes. We tape them closed in order to keep the dirt inside.
Rocci is pleased with our progress on the stairs!
Liam finds this a good height to lounge.
The team, through Nick's eyes.
Day 3, Aug 18
Chalking our slab!
Rob double checks the line.
Earthbags, ready to be placed and tamped!
Nick and Rocci warm up on the playground!
It is crucial to staple the large bags shut in order to keep the dirt inside.
Tamping our first bag!
Joe signs the cornerstone bag!
Emma and Joe cut PVC for drains.
Adnane checks to see if bags are level after tamping.
Rocci checks the length of the nylon ties. The ties will connect layers vertically.
It takes a team to handle unruly barbed wire!
Barbed wire between the courses will increase lateral stability in the structure.
Everyone must work together! Barbed wire is sharp!
The theme of the week will be: tamp, tamp, tamp! This is the most time and energy consuming part of the process.
Nick loves tamping!
We rented a compression machine to see if this could do some of the tamping more quickly. We opted against it because it wasn't saving enough time to make up for the fuel, fumes, lack of percise tamping, and manuvering power it required.
Bob, a rotary club member, came to check on the site and see our progress.
Avi takes the machine back to his CAT.
Bob Owen, another rotary member, came by to offer advice and lend us some tools.
We must keep checking to make sure our courses are level.
Rocci starts to tamp each bag with some jumping!
Very precise for first timers!
PVC becomes a drainage system.
Barbed wire must be laid between each course.
Rob holds and Joe maneuvers.
Rocci and Joe straighten out wire before cutting.
Peter, a long-term volunteer, shows us how to properly tie our ties, just like a good boy scout should!
Nick and Avi look on at our progress!
Tamping the last of our third course, our final course for the day!
Ziggler likes to play!
Avi always has a suggestion up his sleeve.
For safety, we wrapped our site before leaving for the night.
Three course on the first day, a huge encouragement!
Our team after a hard day of work.
Day 2, Aug 14
Quickly filling pallets!
The football team from Cynthiana came to help us.
Mark helps us tamp out the bags to fit onto the pallets.
Working hard in the heat!
Everyone got sweaty.
It takes teamwork to fill the earthbags!
Liam consults with Bob Whaler, the President of Cynthiana Rotary.
Dumping dirt from the Bobcat right into the buckets sped up the process immensely.
Rocci Powell concentrates on organizing the volunteers.
We made sure to drink lots of water and take breaks in the shade.
The football team provided pizza for lunch!
Volunteers were happy to sit down and eat.
Overall, about 70 people came to help throughout the day.
Avi Bear, the legend, lifting a pallet of 24" earthbags.
The team at the end of the day!
Atelye members and our friends, the earthbags.
Liam and his Atelye team.
We filled about 1500 bags in 6 hours!
The model of our soon-to-be hut!
The site at the end of the day. Even the dirt looks tired!
Day 1, Aug 13
Our slab, with our name etched into the concrete.
As you can see, our site is right next to the existing playground.
We went to the bag filling site a day early, to prepare bag sizes and filling methods, and further test the soil.
Filling our first bag!
Folding by Nick: Step 1: Fold down ears.
Step 2: Fold over 2 inches.
Step 3: Rock the baby!
Step 4: Fold over.
Step 5: Lay down.
We measured the bag, and it was perfectly the right size when filled with one 5-gallon bucket!
Rocci tamps the bag.
Double checking our measurements.
The squeeze test.
The throw test.
The ribbon test.