Author Topic: Glenn's Underground Cabin Update  (Read 921939 times)

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Offline glenn kangiser

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Glenn's Underground Cabin Update
« on: January 30, 2005, 06:24:03 PM »
Forum Administrator note by John Raabe:

This is a very popular thread of photos and philosophy loosely focused on the evolving underground house Glenn and Kathy Kangiser are building in central California. This is a multi-page thread (see the current page count in the upper left) so take you time and load it a page at a time. Several tons of creative ideas here  :D!

Also! Visit Glenn's Underground house page at the Owner-Builder Gallery. [edit by J. Raabe 3-10-07.]

Here's a preview of some of the photos. Glenn's comments follow:







Here are more photos-- don't give me too bad a time about not ever finishing anything - I just run around trying to get the the worst fires put out before I have a chance to go back and work on the other ones.

Work also interferes with my progress-- excuses- I got a ton of 'em ;D

Slideshow - click picture to start.  Also - It links to 126 Photobucket pictures.

Photo Link

http://s35.photobucket.com/albums/d184/glennkangiser/Underground%20update%202005-01-30/
« Last Edit: July 18, 2008, 12:51:09 AM by glenn kangiser »
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Offline Demian

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2005, 07:12:00 PM »
Glenn,

I really appreciate this post.  Perfect timing!

I finally purchased "The $50. & Up Underground House Book" and just received it a couple of weeks ago.  I've been poking about within the covers wishing for more images.  You cover quite a bit in these 16 photos from cob to stawbale.  This is great!

Demian

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2005, 08:07:41 PM »
Note - changed host so you wouldn't have to create an account. Picture quantity will change from time to time.

Demian- if you like the book and are interested in more, the videos answer a lot of things and give a lot more pointers.  2 important  points - logs are pinned with 16" long rebar spikes in pre-drilled holes and retaining boards should be 1 1/2" thick on side walls for 8' spans or cut span to 4' with an extra post - smaller diameter is ok for intermediate. 3/4" thick  bow excessively.   I will answer anything I can.  I don't receive any income from Mike Oehler but highly recommend his publications and ideas.  Also beware of other supposedly "underground housing experts" -they may cost you a lot.  Mike has sound reasons for his methods and has been living in his original -expanded $50 house converted to $500 house for over 30 years. ;D
« Last Edit: February 04, 2005, 09:44:05 PM by glenn-k »
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Offline Demian

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2005, 08:36:56 PM »
From where are the videos available?

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2005, 08:42:19 PM »
There should be an order form in the back of the book or go to Mikes site and order direct.  Here's a link.

http://www.undergroundhousing.com/videos.html
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Offline JeffnTN

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2005, 12:19:54 AM »
Looks good.  
No insulation problems there, I guess?

>:(

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2005, 05:25:24 AM »
No real problems- most is surrounded by dirt with 18" of dirt and horse manure on the roof- the parts that stick out have either straw bales at about R50 or used 2 1/2 inch celotex at R22 I think.  Usually above 50F with no fire even if freezing or below outside.  
Summer here stays above 80F at night for several weeks but as I get things more finished nights are cooler  inside then too.

I'm probably the only guy you know that will die being inundated with horse manure if his project fails.  I can see it all now.  Everybody will be standing around in a circle with their heads down then Jonesy will get philosophical again to make everyone feel better as he says, "Crikey mates, at least he died happy doing what he wanted to do.  He always said he wanted to be smothered in horse manure when he died.  I think he lost the will to live when John censored the male enhancement adds from the forum."  

Glenn ;D
« Last Edit: January 31, 2005, 05:36:39 AM by glenn-k »
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Offline John Raabe

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2005, 06:16:58 AM »
Great photos Glenn! Thanks for the update.

Quite the place - it should go on the historic registry after you are gone. Love that cob stair.

I hope I never have to do the "as built" drawings so the building inspector can issue an occupancy permit.
None of us are as smart as all of us.

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2005, 05:52:05 PM »
If I ever get industrious the cob stairway may get a earth plaster coat that is a bit more durable but it has been holding up quite well and is not much problem to repair.  The oak limb handrails were set in straw reinforced soil cement in places and drilled with a rotohammer and set on steel pins in others.

I hope you don't have to do an as built either - but before that happens there will be a large test of whether we still have any constitutional rights or not.  I tend to get well known in governmental offices sometimes.  I stopped Fresno county from imposing new water well permit fees for several years by calling the news team at one of the local TV stations.   The county had it set up to slip the fees through without time for the people to voice opposition to it.   After an onsite interview with me things changed.  

By the next afternoon they just wanted the phone calls from the outraged public to stop.
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Offline Demian

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2005, 06:14:16 PM »
This is off the thread topic, but Glenn's last post brought it to mind.

If anyone knows, where in California are we least likely to encounter difficulty with county inspectors or fees?  Counties known to allow owner/builder exemptions?

I'm at Lake Tahoe, but when I build I won't be building here.  Just within the last 5 years a friend built a two-car garage.  The permit alone cost him $16,000.  That's SIXTEEN THOUSAND.  I'll die first!

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2005, 06:06:21 AM »
I think Marin county used to have a owner builder permit or exemption but I'm pretty sure that's gone now.  They lose too much tax revenue that way.  The first place they get permission to enter your property is when you sign it to them on the permit application that you are forced to get when you apply for electricity.  Many times the power co. staff will be unofficial reporters back to the building dept/assessor office (note the combination as that is the way they work).  This tends to make you want to think about the wind generator/solar option.  Unhappy neighbors are another problem.  If they are next to you with a million dollar house and you are there with a $50 one they don't always like it.  Over the hill and far away is good.  Go out of your way to be a good neighbor.  Try to get to the end of the road.  Another option is to put in one of Johns small cabins to code- pay the small fees - do your obligations then expand.

Is this wrong or are illegal laws that conflict with the constitution or your God given right to support yourself and provide shelter for your family wrong???

Here is my favorite sign
 Note that this sign does work in our county, as the sheriff's department called in an unmarked car and un-uniformed person to tear down the sign at a place a few miles down the road before they would cross it to go to a domestic dispute as reported by a relative next door.  The day use fee usually stops the county from picking up the tab for the individuals you file suit against in small claims court.  Go to the site on the  sign for more info.  Note that any time you want to try to stick up for your rights things can get messy and you have to be a determined scrapper - I do it as a hobby so I don't feel bad about wasting money on it ;D  Again avoiding the situation is the best policy or compromise or talking your way out of it if possible.  You must know your rights and laws that affect you.  The government and laws won't protect you if you don't make yourself aware of them and use them.  
« Last Edit: December 16, 2009, 10:09:59 AM by glenn kangiser »
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Offline Epiphany

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2005, 09:14:29 AM »
Love your cabin, Glenn.  Perhaps when you all get together to help with the cabin, I should just bring shovels.... and more beer. ;D

Epiphany

Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2005, 09:27:36 AM »
My ground is hard.  Bring picks, jack hammers and backhoes ;D
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Offline Okie_Bob

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2005, 04:06:14 AM »
Hey Glenn, Jonsey has been busy trying to rope that goanna and having some weather problems down under. But, I think I've talked him into coming up here to the states this summer to give us all a hand.
Epiphny, we probably will need a LOT of beer to wash down the goanna and prepare us to blast our more space for Glenn.
He mentioned something about bad weather problems down under as well, wouldn't get into details except to say he plans to update his website with new pics soon.
BTW, if you haven't checked out his website, and if you have any questions about a simple foundation, you owe it to yourselves to take a look. It's very similar to John's pier system only this is commercially available down under and could easily be copied. In fact Jonsey did a new design for me to use under John's saltbox plans that I'll probably go with.

Offline John Raabe

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #14 on: February 03, 2005, 05:30:41 AM »
Jonesy's owner builder project is quite interesting and very well documented.

Here is the home page where you can get the step by step of his one story house. It is built on a welded steel post and pier foundation using site built exposed trusses for the cathederal roof.

http://users.tpg.com.au/jonsey/home.htm

For the garage and laundry area he built a thick "modified waffle" slab using recycled old tires.

http://users.tpg.com.au/jonsey/carport.htm

This type of slab involves little excavation but would have to be modified for deep frost areas as it doesn't have buried footings.
« Last Edit: February 03, 2005, 09:02:29 AM by jraabe »
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #15 on: February 03, 2005, 07:20:56 AM »
I hope all  goes well for Jonesy and he gets his chance to get up here.  We miss his remarks here but I know how weather etc. can change your available time.;D

Currently I am covering the front section east wall with  stabilized earth plaster - 10 sand, 4 clay, 2 lime, 1 cement, 1/2 fast set cement, 2 handfuls cut straw over stucco lath.  This is an infill wall over a post and beam log frame with a window framed in it.  This method allows me to take the sidewall covering completely to the top over the earth retainer boards and over the exposed edge of the plastic on the roof.  The wall look will be of adobe pueblo style where it rises above the excavated earth.  :D
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #16 on: February 04, 2005, 09:52:26 PM »
Note:  Changed photos to public to prevent password request.  Added earth plaster photos.  I will update these occasionally. :) http://s35.photobucket.com/albums/d184/glennkangiser/Underground%20update%202005-01-30/

"When I began to have a fire at evening, before I plastered my house, the chimney carried smoke particularly well, because of the numerous chinks between the boards. Yet I passed some cheerful evenings in that cool and airy apartment, surrounded by the rough brown boards full of knots, and rafters with the bark on high overhead. My house never pleased my eye so much after it was plastered, though I was obliged to confess that it was more comfortable. "  from
Walden: House-Warming
by Henry D. Thoreau
« Last Edit: April 07, 2008, 08:08:04 PM by glenn kangiser »
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Offline John Raabe

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2005, 06:04:33 AM »
Glenn: I've updated your information on the Gallery page http://www.countryplans.com/gallery.html to include a link to this photo update. Thanks for all that you share here.
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2005, 06:34:12 AM »
My pleasure, John.  It keeps me from boring my wife by always making her look at what I've done ;D  Actually she works on it a lot and enjoys looking at progress too.

Album guests, please note-- If you have seen most of the photos and only want to look at new ones click the  "Back to Album" link at the top of the photo page.  That will bring up a page of thumbnail pictures to choose from. ::)

Here is a link to the thumbnail page.

http://s35.photobucket.com/albums/d184/glennkangiser/Underground%20update%202005-01-30/
« Last Edit: November 22, 2007, 06:11:08 AM by glenn kangiser »
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2005, 12:15:43 PM »
Inspector dropped by today.  Said I should add more straw to my earth plaster mix.  Said it tastes better.  See- they can be helpful if you just show them some respect and treat them like they're human ;D

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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2005, 08:20:48 AM »
Added new photo's to same link - here it is.

http://s35.photobucket.com/albums/d184/glennkangiser/Underground%20update%202005-01-30/

Also I would like to welcome our new member - Mike Oehler, the father of the underground house (author:"The $50 and Up Underground House" book, videos and other books)..  Mike is very busy writing another book now, however hopefully he will get a small break sometime to offer his insight.   :)

Here is a copy of the link to Mike's web site.http://www.undergroundhousing.com/
« Last Edit: November 22, 2007, 06:12:53 AM by glenn kangiser »
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Offline John Raabe

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2005, 11:23:41 AM »
That's gotta be one of the better looking inspectors I've seen.

Looks smart too!

::)
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #22 on: February 10, 2005, 11:51:12 AM »
In dealing with her, I find it's best not to try to slip anything by her lest it come back later and bite me in the behind (or butt me in the behind). ;D
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #23 on: February 10, 2005, 07:38:02 PM »
Welcome to another new member - Reenie who is from my area and is helping to get a group of people together for a cob/alternative building workshop at the Underground Cabin in the near future.

She has been studying alternative building for a while and is the proud owner of a copy of  The $50 Underground House book. She said she would like to live in a cave or underground house.  
« Last Edit: February 10, 2005, 10:24:36 PM by glenn-k »
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Offline glenn kangiser

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Re: Underground Cabin Update
« Reply #24 on: February 21, 2005, 09:14:56 AM »
I received an e-mail from Becky Bee this morning and sent her a reply about keeping dry in the underground cabin.  Becky is the author of "The Cob builders Handbook" and in my opinion a foremost authority on building with cob.  A link to her site follows the copy of the reply.

----- Original Message -----
From: Bex
To: glenn kangiser
Sent: Sunday, February 20, 2005 9:29 AM
Subject: Re: ref books


I looked at your pictures this am! Beautiful! Congratulations! What did you do to prevent water coming into the underground part?

Becky Bee

Groundworks
PO Box 381
Murphy, Oregon 97533
USA



cobalot@cpros.com


Hi Becky,

I built using the methods in Mike Oehler's "$50 and Up Underground House" book.  Mike uses what he calls the PSP method-post, shoring and polyethylene-Basically you put in posts then a shoring of boards with poly and tar paper behind them and wrapped about 1 foot around the bottom.  You continue stacking the boards behind the posts and pulling up the plastic as you go up.  I used tarpaper to protect the plastic from rocks in the backfill.  You hand tamp the backfill equally on opposite sides.  Drainage is one of the keys to keeping water out.  Roof plastic extends past the sides a few feet to keep runoff away.  Mike is now recommending EPDM sheeting for the roof as he has had a few leaks over 30+ years.  Another friend of mine recommended torch down roofing.  The roof has a minimum of two layers of 6 mil poly with tarpaper underneath on mine.  Tarpaper over the boards with a lap then poly then 4 inches soil then another layer of poly. We have also used good heavy duty reinforced poly tarps in some areas.  The dirt cover prevents UV deterioration nearly indefinitely.  Over the top layer of poly I put compost and soil mix for the garden.  Gardening requires that you don't go deep enough with a shovel to harm the poly.  With good composted horse manure you donít need to shovel much so we use non-tillage methods and minor surface tillage mostly.  The top soil layer should be about 14" giving a total of about 18".  Another key to keeping dry is the uphill patio.  It is excavated on the uphill side to stop missed runoff before it gets in and gives you light and a back way out also.  A greenhouse over it also helps.  If  you are in a wetter area than I am French drains along the walls through under the floor to the low side of the cabin would take away any missed runoff. The French drains can be combined in plumbing trenches.  I occasionally get a little seepage from gophers digging around one area where I don't have an uphill patio.  It usually only gets damp- not major wet.

Glenn

For a lot of interesting information on cob, her cob books, and lots of cool pictures go to Becky's site.  Below is some of  Becky and friends work from the Oregon Woman's Natural Building Symposiums

http://www.beckybee.net
« Last Edit: February 21, 2005, 09:42:58 AM by glenn-k »
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