Glenn's Underground Cabin Update

Started by glenn kangiser, January 30, 2005, 10:24:03 PM

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Redoverfarm

As they would say "Been there and done that" Glenn. You are lucky that you were able to lure them back across.  Generally they are a "herd" animal and don't like to seperate from their new found friends.  I have had to leave mine as "squatters" on the neighbors property a couple of times until they could be seperated when they were moved.  Usually happens when I used to be away more and the wife doesn't like to play cowboy as well as I do ;).


glenn kangiser

I was wondered how that compared to other people's experiences, John.  Do I get my cowboy badge yet?  [noidea'

I could see right off that I could not get them to leave their friends hence the shortage of hay before I got them all the way to my place.  I had to chum the entire herd of the neighbors cows all the way to my place.  It is 4 miles by road.  I'm guessing about 1 1/2 to 2 miles (to the cabin from the farthest point the cows were at) by the way I went.  

Rough guess there were about 35 cows in the neighbors herd.  Seems they all loved alfalfa so passing out a little at a time kept them following me.  It was a very cool cattle drive..... drive....hmm.....actually it was more like a suction pulling them across the land with a Bush Hog full of food.  [ouch]

It helped that I decided right off that I would have to bring them all.  The good neighbors cooperation by allowing me to do it helped a lot too. Gotta call him and thank him this morning.  

What could have been a rather frustrating chore actually turned out to be a very nice enjoyable day.  I enjoy being around a large group of cattle and dogs more than a large group of people sometimes.  :)
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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PEG688


Nice job Glenn! Another adventure from the wild west! :)
When in doubt , build it stout with something you know about .

glenn kangiser

Thanks, PEG.  It was fun.

I just got off the phone with the neighbor.  Thanked him for his cooperation. :)

He said "Oh, you've got them trained."  I said, "Yeah, I've got them addicted to grain."  

He said he had been feeding his a bit of hay too, so that helped to keep them following.

He was laughing when I told him I had to bring his herd too.  I don't think he thought I would be able to do it. [ouch]
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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glenn kangiser

I am currently working on the Bobcat getting it ready to do a dig for yet another underground house for a young family in the area. 

Another who feels they should not have to support corporate America to provide shelter for their family and a warm safe place to raise their children without being in debt for the rest of their lives. 

We will be using Mike's designs and engineering tables to base the structure member sizes on for safety and structural integrity.  The build will be done mostly by the owner with me assisting as needed and providing additional design consulting.  We will use some of my methods which go beyond the original information provided in Mike's book.

This will be a very low profile build but I will try to get a few non-location specific pix as we go along.

I will be getting onto the other one I posted earlier about also soon.



"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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Ernest T. Bass

Sounds like fun! Exciting cow chasing adventure. ;) I, too, am familiar w/ the scenario... Got woken up by a lady at the door around 3:00 AM on a bitter cold night to be informed that our 8 horses were several miles down the road and still going. Lots of fun. ::)

Our family's homestead adventure blog; sharing the goodness and fun!

glenn kangiser

I hadn't meant for the cow story to get that long but...... I had been invited over for dessert after Thanksgiving dinner I was supposed to attend (but was out wooing cows) and after 6 pm or later I drank 2 cups of coffee while talking.  I later started the story and by the time I finished spewing yarns and editing it was 2 AM.  [ouch]

Oh well - I guess I was too wired up to think well enough to write the condensed version.
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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Whitlock

Glenn by the way we can't call you a cowboy until we see you ride [slap]
Make Peace With Your Past So It Won't Screw Up The Present

ben2go

You might of lost your cows but they weren't lost.They were right where they wanted to be.LOL!The cows on the farm where I was a worker would find there way home in a couple days.The neighboring land owners would call and thank us for letting the cows out.Seems they would eat the grass in the drainage ditches and fence line.

Yeah we will have to see you mount and ride that bull for 8 seconds before we can call you cow ummm boy.LOL!


glenn kangiser

Hmm [ouch]

I don't have a horse and I don't think I would last 8 seconds on the bull, or being a Dexter, I'm not sure his back would last with me up there.....

I thought being a cowboy was easier than this... how about a picture of me riding the Bush Hog... [noidea'
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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Source_to_Sea

Grew up on a farm. I used to lead the cows with a bucket of grain dangling off the side of my motorcycle  :D

Back to the outdoor sign tarps. Did yours come in yet? I'd love to hear what you think about them. I'm almost ready to get off the pot and buy some land to either put up another yurt or do a sneaky straw bale "shed" on.

Also, do you think that something like HH-66 could be used to glue them? I've seen the stuff used on PVC fabric, and it's awesome. You'd tear the fabric before the glue lets go

http://tarps.mauritzononline.com/item/all-categories/hh-66-vinyl-cements-thinners/hh-66-01-3?&plpver=10&origin=keyword&by=prod&filter=0

glenn kangiser

I think we may need to start a new class of mechanical cowboys-- no horse required... :)

Yes  on the tarps - the light ones came in yesterday and the heavy ones today, but I haven't opened them yet. I'll unload them from the truck in the morning and check them out for you. 

I think the glue would work fine.  The vinyl (these are PVC with reinforcement sandwiched in) should be easy to glue I think, but the EPDM is not easy so I think that is another plus for the vinyl.  Thanks for the link - I may try that too. 

It is also easy to lap for more coverage - even vertical up a roof etc - A board under lapping edges will give a lap that is hard for water to cross, of as Andrew mentioned - Gorilla tape or other good duct tape -but be sure to dry it well first.  Water does not try real hard to get under a lap as capillary action will pull it into the soil.... but - if a gopher cleans a trail along the plastic then it may leak.  We have not had any problem with gophers going through the plastic, but did have a wood rat or ground squirrel dig through one once.
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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Source_to_Sea

Good to hear. That glue link I sent is a heat-activated contact cement of sorts. Spread it on both surfaces and let it dry, heat up on surface with a heat gun, and CAREFULLY align the pieces before pressing together cause they ain't coming apart. :)

I'm going to order one of the heavy ones to play with. I bet you can get at least 10 years before replacement on something like a shed or yurt roof.

glenn kangiser

I didn't see a place to purchase it on that website.  I wonder if they only deal through wholesalers or if they just want you to e-mail them for more info?
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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glenn kangiser

OK - Here is what I found.

The vinyl billboard tarps are reinforced with fibers.  It looks to me like the PVC when cold is not quite flexible enough and I noticed a few spots at the folds with a bit of wear, where I would wonder about over time, if I may not have problems with them.

The feel of the PVC tarp is more like the feel of a piece of PVC water pipe than like soft flexible vinyl.  If buried flexing much is not a problem and they may work well but while not having holes, I did note weathering slightly and potential for possible problems.

As Andrew noted above, possibly a going over with Gorilla tape may be in order.  I would more consider these for the top layer of plastic above the 4 inches of fill over a primary EPDM or heavy 20 mil poly water barrier.  Note that Mike's original design used 6 mil poly but he now recommends the EPDM for a trouble free water barrier.

In my opinion these may be usable but for foolproof, the EPDM looks like the answer.
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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Source_to_Sea

Here's a link to buy the HH-66. I've used these guys a lot for tent fabric and such. Good folks.

http://www.seattlefabrics.com/vinyl.html#HH-66

glenn kangiser

Thanks for the link.  I will still play with the vinyl tarps to check their suitability a bit more so may be wanting to get some of the HH-66.

"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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glenn kangiser

Got a start on my friends underground house yesterday.  Here is one of the first things - rerouting road runoff so that it goes around the area rather than through the front yard swale.

We are putting the house a few feet higher up than the bottom of the swale so it will not have a drainage problem.  The French drains will drain into the swale as well as runoff from the roof, where it will continue on down and away from the house into the gully below.



I filled in about 4 feet at the center of the fill after rerouting the water to the right.  This will only be a driveway area.  We may put an auxiliary building straight ahead at the edge of the hill but the house will be down to the left on the hill side.  This is going to be a north facing cabin so sunlight will enter from the south, east and west but light will still be available from the north.  Should be a great place in our hot summers.
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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ben2go

Are you gonna start a new thread for that build?

glenn kangiser

I think I will just document the educational parts here as it is on the QT and I can't reveal the location.  This will be handled as general discussion of building methods I am using based on what I have learned in the past.  I will keep only the one other thread on the other one I am building --- too many things for me to keep up with and the info will be better used if kept together I think.

Since the basics were done on mine before I started this thread this will bring in the first parts and the changes and additions I have made in the construction methods.  That way if this is the only thread that someone reviews to build their own U-house, they should get most of the info in one place.

This is not really going to be my build - I am just assisting with methods and consulting and I cleared using the educational information for the benefit of others without revealing location  I am doing some of the heavy machinery work - digging etc in trade for his previous assistance in building my cattle fence on the meanest part of my property.  I like to encourage barter with like minded individuals.  Everyone comes out ahead as well as cutting out parasitic interests... [waiting]

The owner of this place is a young friend - very handy with construction and he has proven to me that he is one who will use and share the knowledge he gains as well as understanding what he is up against.

He has his own very good ideas so as we talk I try to get him to explain his needs then we together discuss reasons why and methods of design to accomplish what he needs.

Things to consider here - his wife doesn't care for gray and dreary dark places.  We will adjust framing methods to bring in light from all directions to keep it pleasant for her.  He has 3 and 269/270ths kids ... each days work is defined by whether he has 4 or not.  He wants a safe place for the kids to play and be watched by mom from the house.  He wants it to be well hidden in the environment  - unobtrusive - fairly unnoticeable.  

He brought up a point today  - I encourage his ideas.  He wanted a tunnel into the main room - that would be the entry.  He said something like --- kind of a dumb idea but I was thinking about a tunnel into the front room.  I said - absolutely not a dumb idea.... do it and we proceeded to talk about what it would entail to do that.

That is the advantage of not having a plan you are stuck to.  Think it - do it.  Sketch out a drawing if necessary but solid unbending plans stifle creativity.  That is why Mike's methods are so great.  The specs are in his engineered tables.  Stick with them - move them - tune them to your needs and you can be both safe and cool... :)
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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ben2go

Thanks for putting up with my Q&A sessions.

That is a cool idea,a tunnel.Awesomeness.

Ernest T. Bass

He sounds like a neat guy, Glenn! Awesome project, too. A tunnel sounds so cool.. Is there any practical reason for it? (Not that you necessarily need one... ;))

Our family's homestead adventure blog; sharing the goodness and fun!

glenn kangiser

Quote from: ben2go on December 02, 2010, 02:08:00 PM
Thanks for putting up with my Q&A sessions.

That is a cool idea,a tunnel.Awesomeness.

No problem, Ben... just glad someone has an interest in this stuff... otherwise I don't know why I would take time to write it.... [ouch]

Quote from: Ernest T. Bass on December 02, 2010, 07:46:04 PM
He sounds like a neat guy, Glenn! Awesome project, too. A tunnel sounds so cool.. Is there any practical reason for it? (Not that you necessarily need one... ;))

Yeah - he's kinda cool like you, Andrew... :)

Practical reason... [noidea'


[idea] Yeah, cause he wants one, and he would never be able to forgive himself if he wanted one but didn't do it.... mostly for the coolness factor I think, Andrew. 

He downplayed the importance of it when he mentioned the idea, but to me, that is something you have to do - think it would be cool in a U-house.... gotta do it.

I just returned from there about an hour ago.  We dug the trench from the other house on the property to his so he will have power and water while working.  There will be a water and power line in it - possibly phone also.  Rough job - so steep the Bobcat barely made it with tracks on and nearly all of it had to be done backing up hill.  Backing down trenching as would seem logical, I would have rolled it over backward.  Note that I have my own trencher attachment for the Bobcat.

Will try to get some more pix on here later.
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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glenn kangiser

Got to the site this morning and there were 5 large rodents there looking at me... these two hung around for a photo op.... [waiting]




I finished excavating the area for the house today.  It is not absolutely necessary but I lasered the excavation in several places - I was within about 2 inches overall except the front was a little deeper.  The soil in the front is too soft so I am having him make concrete piers down to the porphyry claystone below, that will be firm enough to support the structure weight.  These posts could possibly have around 12000 lbs on one assuming in the center of the structure.  

You need to know that the soil will support the load or put in a sufficient footing to do it.  I am very familiar with the soil types around here.  The red is very soft laterite (iron oxide rich soil)  and would not take the weight even in undisturbed soil.  The porphyry clay (tan colored claystone in broken large crystal shaped rock like chunks separated by carbon film)) is in about 2/3 of the excavation and just below the rest in the front area.

Mike's design allows for some settling with no problem but we want to keep things where we put them and use good design practices... more important for someone else than for me.... [ouch]

Here is a shot of the dug out area and part of the pile excavated that we are saving for backfilling and covering.



I should have an extra foot or so all around for the French drains and a bit of working room.  Over-excavation is not an advantage.

We will keep the posts on piers with vapor barriers below them as needed to prevent moisture from transferring up through the concrete to the post bottom - no treated posts in an underground living area.
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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glenn kangiser

Finished the trenching last night after dark.  Here is a shot of it -



and the trencher on the Bobcat.  The Bobcat is 7'6" to the top of the cab.



We started making a water crossing without a culvert last night - after a couple tries with sheetmetal decking we were not happy last night.  I got there late this morning and J had a couple of arches made to hold it into place.  



He said he was going to do a couple more.  I said I think we need to do all of it.

So a few piles of rocks later we had the entire arch of dry stacked rocks built.




With J watching I carefully back-filled both sides.  After a few slight movements we arrived at a back-fill method from both sides and over the top that did not destroy our work.  Heavy packing with a loaded bucket moved a few things a little so it was done first with an empty bucket and driving over it with the Bobcat.  Later the fill was brought even higher and it seems like it was successful.  I am a bit afraid to try my truck over it but any pickup size vehicles and the 12000 lb Bobcat work just fine on it.

J said - This is cool - we made something that didn't cost anything.  I am reminded of Baldisare Forestiere's comment - "Anybody can make something with lots of money... to make something out of nothing...now that's something."



At J's request I dug a couple of pop-outs on the excavation... he is fully understanding the concepts now and the organic ideas are beginning to grow.   He uses meat plans  with an occasional sketch like I do.  :)
"Always work from the general to the specific." J. Raabe

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