Compressed Earth Block Cabin Foundation is Complete

We have been working hard on the foundation prep and pour for our new Compressed Earth Block (CEB) cabin. The plumbing stub out had to be completed prior to the final slab pour. Hopefully, this will be the worst task during the CEB cabin build. While my good friend Vince Barnes was visiting #EurekaYurts, I told him I had to dig a 30 foot trench for the plumbing stub out. He asked if he could help. I said sure, but, it is going to be very hard work! He replied “Nah, it won’t be that bad”! Eight hours and two days later, with 3 guys and a hammer chisel, the task was done. At which time Vince said “Please don’t have me help you dig in Arkansas again!”. Thank you Vince for helping! 

So after the digging and stub out was complete, this is a picture of the footings, stem walls, and foundation for the compressed earth block cabin.

Groundbreaking for the Stabilized CEB Cabin

Ground breaking on cabin 3 has begun.  This last week we have been working on removing trees and shaping the lot to prepare for pouring the foundation for cabin 3 (stabilized CEB cabin).  The original design was to take out part of the hill and move the dirt forward to create the flat area for a concrete foundation for the CEB walls.  In the end we decided to make a walk out basement with the public accessible cabin on top.  The rational behind this decision was swayed do to the following.

Decision Factors

  1. This would provide a space for a pseudo storm shelter which Melissa had been wanting for a long time.
  2. This would raise the living area of the cabin about 9′ and would enhance the view.
  3. This will also yield more storage / living area.  We are going to stub out shower, sink and a toilet.
  4. And one of the most important.  Since this cabin is going to be fully wheel chair accessible, this will allow a “fairly” level entry into the cabin.  Nothing is level here.

This was the initial state of the area where the circular drive was going to go.

This is the result of some of the clearing.  One long backbreaking day of chain sawing with the help of my friend, Morris Dillow!

It didn’t take long to hit some massive flint and quartz rocks that the excavator could not break.  So we had to use the hydraulic hammer to break up the rocks to get where we needed to be.

In the end, our amazing excavator magician finished the pad site, and driveway in 2 days.

Final pad site.  The grade drops about 7 feet and the basement walls will be a little over 8 feet.  The clearing for the pad is about 46 x 22.  The cabin will be about 40 x 16 with a kick out for the bedroom.

Rough-in on the driveway.

Elevation from the main road.

Top of the pad site.

Dryed in, Finish-Out started

We now have the roof on.  It was quite difficult because my harness was made to catch you in the event of a fall.  The clip was designed to be in the back.  Notice the belt on my back to hold the harness together.  We had to retrofit it backwards so we could repel down the roof and pre-drill the holes and then screw it down.  In order to do this you had to support your weight with one arm while you worked with the other.

Skylight installed.  I only cut my forearm once on the edge of the roof getting it to the top.  #superglue

Interior after sheet rock, texture, paint, and fixtures.

Interior looking over the deck to the view.

Kitchen, Bar area, and front door.

This is a sink I found for the bathroom.  It carved out of a petrified wood tree log.  It is stunning.

This a google earth photo of our property.  The far left is our current house.  In the middle is Yurt 1 (tarp on the roof) and bottom right is Yurt 2 (the one we are working to finish first).  If you look real close you can see us working on the roof.

These are the materials that we have chosen for the finish out.  Flat pebble rock shower floor, tile for the shower walls, bathroom and living room paint colors and high-end vinyl flooring (no grout lines and looks just as good as wood due to a lot of variations in the planks).

View from the road with the circular drive

Walkin shower rocked.

Final Push to Dry-In

The last several weeks have been spend dealing with the tail end of winter and the nationwide flu epidemic.  Fortunately, neither Melissa nor I were recipients of the viral gift.  Most of the inclement days were spent putting together ceiling pies (as we call them).  Our first cabin ceiling was constructed by measuring and cutting the 1 x 6 tongue and groove ceiling one piece at a time.  It took 5 people 8 days to complete the ceiling.  This time we purchased some 1/4″ OSB and attached the 1×8″ tongue and groove board to the sheets and cut wedges.  This produced a wedge which was comprised of 3 sections for each opening in the rafters.  We are in the process of lightly sanding the pies and applying a very light stain to seal the wood and bring out the natural grain of the wood.

The rest of the days were spent erecting the ring and rafters on yurt 2 and installation of the septic tanks and trenching the electrical and water to both yurt 1 and 2.

After heavy rains, we found out we were building the worlds most elaborate rain water collection device.

Gator and Buck (hardest working men in Eureka) installing one of 3 septic tanks.

Electrical going to Yurt 2.

Initial rafters going in on Yurt 2.

View from Yurt 2.

Finished framing.

Always a greeting when daddy comes home.

And in the end, we were pooped.

And the next morning, I was blessed with this view of a sunrise over Yurt 1.  I interpreted this as:

Well done, good and faithful servant! (Matthew 25:23)

Raise the ROOF!

Winter has arrived.  And with it comes the inevitable construction delays.

After the wall were erected on Yurt 1, it was time to raise the Roof.  First step was to calculate the height and positioning of the center compression ring.  Once the calculations were complete, checked and rechecked, it was time to construct the stand on which the compression ring would sit.  After it was build, Gator and I had to figure out how to get the stand on top of the scaffolding.  After a couple failed plans and near drops or falls, we finally succeeded.

Next we had to get the compression ring on top of the 14′ 7″ stand. HUM?  For this we had to bring in some additional muscle.  Much like the stand, several attempts were made using a pulley system to no avail.  So, we decided on trying to build a ramp from the top of the wall to the stand.  After a couple hours, the Eagle had landed.

The next task was to secure the roof rafters from the top of the walls to the compression ring.  Some slight modifications had to be made to the rafters before we could install.  After several hours of tweaking we finally had the first four rafters up.  Then came the rain.

We tarped the yurt with a 6 mil 50 x 50 tarp.  No easy feat on a rocky slope, I will let you know.  We though we had the tarp tight enough to slope the water off the roof, but upon inspection the next day we had huge areas on top of the roof holding massive amounts of water.  The tarp grommets had pulled free on several of the tie-downs.  So, it looked like we had built an awesome rain water collection system.  After several hours I got the water siphoned off the tarp and we reinforced the tie-downs.

Then came the snow.  The dogs loved it, the production schedule hated it.  I was pressing to try and get the rafters up before the weather set in so we would work inside on the ceiling panels, but it did not happen.

That is the update.  Next up is getting the rafters up on Yurt 2, building and installing 80 ceiling sections, wiring the interior, plumbing stubbed out, AC lines installed, and finally having the outer ceiling, interior walls and exterior floor spary foamed with insulation, and metal roofing installed.

Wall Panels, Window Panels, Door Panels, Oh My!

During the inclement days the 20 wall panels are being fabricated.  The sides of each panel is cut at a 9 degree angle to account for the curvature of the yurt.  We are doing 4 picture windows (3.5 feet by 6 feet tall) and a double hung window in the bedroom, bathroom and the kitchen.  So we have 7 window panels, 1 door panel and 12 solid panels.

Fixed Window Panel
Fixed Window Panel
Prepping wall panel with outer cedar cut with tongue and V grove underneath.
Prepping wall panel with outer cedar cut with tongue and V grove underneath.
JT adding the western cedar outer sheathing.
JT adding the western cedar outer sheathing.

Notice the bottom cedar sheathing has 2 finish screws on each side.  This is so that after the panels are set, the piece can be removed so flashing can be installed so water will not wick up the panels.

 

Finished Solid Wall Panel
Finished Solid Wall Panel
Window Panel
Window Panel

Getting the Deck Up

Setting the vertical piers and bracing them for the runners.
Setting the vertical piers and bracing them for the runners.

After the pads were poured and cured.  An 8″ double galvanized pin was countersunk into the pad and the bottom of the treated 8×8 pier.  These were plumbed and braced.  Dual 2×12 runners were attached to the piers from front to back.  Then the 2×10 floor joists were attached to the runners on 16 in centers.

 

Transformer set and hot.Meter base wired and set. Ready for service.

Runners on Pad Site 2
Floor Joists on Pad 2
Floor Joists on Pad 1

 

During this time Buck trenched and set the conduit for the electrical and the water to the end of the ridge.  Two more transformer pads were built for the future “family cabin”. 

Meter base wired and set. Ready for service.
Meter base wired and set. Ready for service.

 

Transformer set and hot.
Transformer set and hot. We got the power!
Eureka Yurts and Cabins