Earthbag Cellar – Structure Done(-ish)

When I thought I’d finished with the internal walls I decided to play around with some of the cracks by filling them with clay-slip. What started out with a small local (small spot) experiment became another layer of finishing on all the walls. In the small room (sorry no pictures!) that experiment was expanded to include colors using metal oxides (readily available in our village shop). Though the colors are visible, I expect they will change drastically as the underlying clay substrate dries and becomes much lighter.

We are running a fan that is circulating air (and pulling humidity out of the small room).

With that done (ish – I expect another round of work with the cracks when the walls set … again because I am curious to see what kind of results we can expect with the clay soil under our feet!) I started alternating between a finishing layer on the earthen floor and experimenting for the first time with a lime-based finished for the external and retaining walls. It was interesting working with the lime but only time will tell about the results. Though the work is done, the walls still need to be uncovered (they are covered with tarps) and watered once or twice a day for around two weeks (the time it supposedly takes the lime finish to set).

This is what it looks like now (under the unfairly glorious light of a sunset). The walls turned out grey (and will probably be painted a tan color with a lime-wash in the coming days).

I decided to use the typical lime available in hardware stores. The quality of this material is questionable. Ideally I would have liked to useĀ  aged lime-putty which I know who to ask to try go get – but that is not as easily available. So in the spirit of experimentation (that permeates this entire project) I went simple and local first (and that is just one of many variables that can effect the quality of the lime-based work). If that fails ( = does not survive the elements) it may need to be redone!

Though the work is “done” … it isn’t really. In the coming days I hope to be able to burnish the floor (make it a smoother finish), water the walls … and get started with working on the outer door.

I am curious to see if the floor sets hard enough soon enough (the walls can take their time) to be able to move our food in for this winter!