Building


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Permaculture Eden
Natural Building Project

Starting in 2014 we are moving forward with a new program of natural building projects starting with two small cabins which will demonstrate the use of natural sustainable building material to build comfortable and efficient homes using permaculture design principles. This will make Permaculture Eden not just an outstanding example of low input farming and food production but also a centre for natural home design.

These cabins will be used to house future students and tourist to the area allowing people to experience the comfort and pleasure of well designed natural buildings and of course the outstanding natural beauty and architecture of the Indre region of France.

The first cabin will be built in June 2014 by a group of course students and their instructor the course starts on May 25th 2014.

Below you will find updates to the project as it progresses.

Green Wood Terrace Cover

During 2015 we held two “Natural Building” courses the second one put a permanent cover over our existing terrace area, this is where we eat during all our courses. The door at the back leads to our summer kitchen equipped with a Rayburn wood fired cooker, stainless steel work area...Read More »


Breaking Ground Three

We are breaking ground on the third and last full natural building project here at Permaculture Eden. This is going to be a cob house with a living roof and stone stem wall.

The first job is to mark out the foot print slightly over sized and remove the turf...Read More »


Raising The Roof

Putting a hat on any building is incredibly important and can be the one area of the building if it fails will have an enormousness effect on the rest of the building. Putting a hat on straw bale building is doubly important as the straw has little resistance to weathering,...Read More »


Raising the Frame

This is the most satisfying part of the building process, after two weeks of hard work and then learning challenging round-wood timber frame joints to test the patience of even the best woodworker the moment of reward arrives. We have built two A Frames and another square frame with corner...Read More »


Building The A Frames

This is without doubt the most rewarding stage of building for me working wood is my life’s passion and without doubt my strongest area of skill and experience. One part of this skill and experience is my ability to see the 3 dimensional object I need to make in my...Read More »


Building 2nd Stem Wall

For this stem wall we returned to the same site for the materials as for the first stem wall, this time round though everyone got involved and shared the work load much more evenly and fairly.

You can see we are protecting the clay in the centre stopping it getting...Read More »


Breaking Ground Two

Here we are at the start of the second of our constructions for 2014, all buildings are only as good as their foundations, so its important that students understand the importance of a good foundation. The key is to understand one thing first and that is the “frost line” this...Read More »


Greenwood and Blacksmithing

The first week of our second building course is an introduction to green woodworking and basic blacksmithing, both of these are my own personal passion for creating both beautiful and functional hand crafts. The week starts out with building  drawhorse’s to used later in the week and during the Read More »


Even More Walls Going UP

The second week of our second building course with a large pile of clay sitting over the site still unused from the previous course I asked the student if we could spend a couple of days making cob to use the clay instead of just moving it. The students agreed...Read More »


More Walls Going UP

We have just finished teaching our 13th Permaculture Design Course during which we usually include a group work exercise and a couple of other practical sessions in addition to the international curriculum we follow. So we asked if we could make these sessions cob...Read More »


Walls Going UP

This stage of the build was always going to be the most rewarding as it closes the building envelope and makes it feel like something you could sleep in and pass a rainy day away in comfort. The cob making process is laborious unless you use a carbon fuelled engine...Read More »


Then cover it all up

Well it’s now time to cover the roof, first we have a felt which is seen from the inside.

Then we have insulation to add, in this case its the last three years wool sheared from our own sheep.

Then over the centre we put a disc of plywood so...Read More »


Fitting the Lath

Now with the main frame up and solid its time to cover the roof, we are installing living roof of soil and Sedum plants. The space between the main rafters is much too big to span with any kind of sheet material alone so we have to install lath to...Read More »


Raising the Roof

The roof is a reciprocal frame “A reciprocal frame is a class of self-supporting structure made of three or more beams and which requires no center support to create roofs, bridges or similar structures” this is a complex structure to set up and each one ends up looking a little...Read More »


Building the Frame

Week two the foundation is down the stem wall is up. Now its time to start the woodwork and build the H frames which will connect together to make the frame to carry the reciprocating roof structure. While I’m a great fan of Tony Wrench and his efforts to enable...Read More »


Building the Stem Wall

We are towards the end of week one with the foundation dug out and laid down with no cement in sight. Now is the time to build the stem wall that will take the timber and cob away from the rising damp and rain splash  preserving the less durable material...Read More »


Building starts

All buildings start with foundations and its no different with natural building as we are building a cobwood cabin for the first build of four cabins, we will need a good amount of subsoil so although a trench filled with rubble makes an excellent tried and tested foundation we are...Read More »


New Rocket Stove

We have been using rocket stoves on site now for a few years especially during our Permaculture Design Certificate courses how do you get enough hot water for as many as twenty people at one time? well using waste wood or small amounts of wood on a highly efficient stove...Read More »


Timber

Fiona and I have now collected 25 cubic meters of Chestnut posts ready for our summer Natural Building Course below you can see the pile after we have filled the trailer for the second time, a pink line half way down this stack marks what we have paid for.

The...Read More »


Latest tools

The latest tools have arrived for the summer building course, some more firmer chisels, framing slicks and scotch eye augers. Some of these tools are to provide for the increased number of students now booked on the course, we have been fully booked but due to a couple of people...Read More »


Second Forge

This week we received a new forge, the building course bookings have gone so well with ten people already booked and paid up its obvious that a single forge will not allow for everyone to get adequate time at the forge to complete their drawknife. I searched extensively for an...Read More »


Straw Bales

Last summer we ordered the straw bales for this years building courses and the weather as ever decides when crops will be cut and harvested, this lead to the farming neighbour who was baling the well compacted small bales for us ringing in the middle of our July 2013 Permaculture...Read More »


New Forge

New? I have collected the three main tools you can see here over the last four years and they are all pre owned and well used but they are new to me.

The hearth is a French make with a manually cranked blower, I’m told its a farriers hearth, this...Read More »


First New Tools

Today I received the first delivery of new specialist tools for our upcoming summer of natural building courses. While I already own some of these tools and other tools will be made on site some will be purchased so every student has the tools needed to hand. With six students...Read More »


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