Earth bag arches are a lot of work

Tuesday, December 16, 2008 7:31 PM

After working all day on the arch, we realized we’d become spoiled by laying long bag - progress goes quick. Once you fill and shape a whole lot of smaller bags into a tight arch pattern, required for an arch, work goes sssllloooowwwwlllyy.  

Ricardo had mentioned that we ought to build the ‘eyebrow’ over the windows out of concrete using a form.  But I was dead set on building natural earthen arches. And we did build one...but then Ricardo’s idea seems now like a good one.  These are decorative only, and not a structural addition.  So, after investing 4 people working 5 hours into a single, beautiful, arch, we’ve decided to let concrete forms do the other 6. 

Our goal had been to only build 4 window frames (2 for the bedroom and 2 for the Sunrise dome) and re-use 3 of them for the kitchen.   By building the arch over the window space, we could take the frame out and re-use it elsewhere to avoid the addition of more imported wood - and cost of wooden frames.  But not to be!  So, I went to the store and bought more wood and we built 3 more frames.All the walls are now at the same height and we are making amazing progress once again.  I think these walls will be done by Christmas.

Elika has been here and has helped a great deal. Specifically, her civil engineering expertise helped me decide to avoid the arches, alter the windscoop to float over the Sunrise Dome as opposed to the Bedroom Dome, and to explain height and center lining to the team. It’s been fun and helpful having her here!