Touring earthbag building projects in Nepal has allowed us to gather hundreds of photos, dozens of hours of video footage, and discover lots of interesting new earthbag techniques and developments. I now have fresh content for lots of future blog posts. The volunteers and workers here are very good and so there’s quite a bit of innovation taking place. The photo above is one example of how earthbag builders in Nepal are improving the building process by sewing perfect corners on earthbags.
Good Earth Nepal.org bought a handheld electric sewing machine to speed the building process and create perfect squared ends on buttresses and ends of walls. Due to the extreme earthquake risk here, there are lots of earthbag buttresses and lots of buttress ends. Typical rounded/irregular earthbag ends take a lot of time, labor and materials to make straight and plumb. The process of sewing gusseted ends with the handheld sewing machine takes a few extra minutes, but the time and labor saved on plastering is well the extra effort in my opinion. Note how most bag ends (ends of earthbag tubes within the main walls) are not sewn this way. There’s no need since the tube fits snugly against the adjoining tube. The only ends being sewn are on exposed ends.
The actual process of sewing gusseted ends is best shown by video. (It’s sort of like trying to explain how to tie your shoes versus watching it done.) Good Earth Nepal.org is in the process of making several documentaries that will show this process and lots of other interesting things about new earthbag projects in Nepal. Stay tuned. My trip and the production of these documentaries has been generously sponsored by the Schoeck Family Foundation.