I hope no one is tired of my talking about rammed earth, because it’s definitely not going away anytime soon. Not after what I did today.

Joel (Kelly’s Dad) and I made a bench today from earth, alternating layers of golden clay from the school’s playground and brown clay from the new land (and mixing the two together). The final size: 16″x18″x28″. Ramming took about 5% of the total time. Pulverizing our clay from the new land into a dust took about 40% of the time, and actually mixing the clay/sand/water (stirring everything up in a wheelbarrow by hand!) took the other 55%.

Once we mechanize the mixing and pulverizing process, this will take a tenth as long! Take a look at what we ended up with (and please forgive Madan’s remarkably abysmal camera skills):

The whole thing is 12 total layers, and probably weighs 400 pounds or so. The bamboo is to demonstrate the plausibility of creating natural lighting without needing to cut out opening for full windows. I really like the look, and am excited to do another experiment with this mold (it’s reusable). The bench is quite hard already, but it hasn’t actually cured. In a week, it should be hard as a rock.

The front view.

The front view.

Good spot for a gargoyle.

Good spot for a gargoyle.


Looks remarkably similar to this diagram from my last blog:


6 comments on “RammedEarthRammedEarthRammedEar….

  1. Looks good….now you just need 1,000,000 more. Can’t wait to hear more!

  2. Hope Metcalf says:

    This is so beautiful. How would rammed earth look on Totman hill?

  3. Josh says:

    First time I’ve seen anything that tempts me to leave behind building with wood. And a really clever idea with the bamboo. Putting in different sizes and shapes made of wood forms would be cool too. Diamonds! Stars! Crescent moons! LM! 1211!!

  4. William and says:

    Perfect, stirred not shaken!
    We turned our friends Kim and Gretchen onto your blog today. More followers to Nepal and Back. Rammed earth is looking good. Like the soft striped colors. Will it become lighter as it cures and the water evaporates?

  5. Hope Cannon says:

    Are the holes for air circulation? ANd those could be different shapes, right? like JOsh was saying. I am anticipating there will be some rammed earth project on Totman HIll come spring. Very cool, Luke! Really glad you had the pic of you as a gargoyle. First, really friendly looking gargoyle, but gives the scale.

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