Jake Filling Earthbags with Machine — 8 Comments

  1. I have been doing a vast amt of reading and would like to know if a Gabion wall in a circle with earth tamped instead of rock, would work and be filled with a back hoe. The walls could be 24″-30″ thick with this quick adaptation. Also the mesh wiring would be lined with lawn fibercloth and the two lines of mesh wire would be joined every 3 ft with tie wire for stability until the earth is tamped. Any remarks. Earthbag would be my first choice but I live in a freeze zone and would not have time to do it the trad. individual/tube system.

    • Sounds good. I don’t see any problems as long as the house isn’t real large and you use gravel on the lower courses. Just realize the gabion baskets are a little bit pricey compared to earthbags. Also, you’ll likely get some bulging on the sides. This could be hidden under foam board insulation which you’d probably want to add anyway in cold climates.

      This method lends itself to a pneumatic tamper like they use on rammed earth houses.
      This would GREATLY speed construction. You can rent the equipment.

      Please document your project and share the results. Email me directly if you have more questions. This is an exciting project.

  2. Production rate using his earthbag tube filling machine: On a good day me (42) and my 67 year old dad can get 70′ of bag wall done. I have a $5,000 late 60s backhoe that I use to put the dirt right behind the wall so we can shovel it right in the tube. This reduces the manual labor.

  3. In a previous blog post I explain how earthbag building can be done two and three times faster. Jake’s machine, like the Quick Wall machine on wheels, would be about three times faster than the typical hand-filled process. So both of these machines are highly recommended.

    Also look into using a vibratory plate tamper like Jake mentions in the video (not too big or it’s too awkward):×336/GC_C_WNC_VibratoryPlateCompactor14_large_1_a.jpg

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