Sewing Gusseted Earthbags

Sew gusseted earthbag ends with this small handheld electric sewing machine.
Sew gusseted earthbag ends with this small handheld electric sewing machine.

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.

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Joining New Walls with Buttresses

The drawings above show how to join new earthbag walls with old ones using buttresses. Put barbed wire between every course in the buttresses and through the rest of the structure. In the short-term, the buttresses strengthen the walls and serve as benches and plant stands. Here is the two step building process: 1. Build … Read more

Transforming Buttresses into Walls

From time to time we answer reader’s questions. “Can you discuss how to transform a buttress into a later addition to the home?” The drawing above shows one possible solution for connecting buttresses and additions. (This is one of our proposed house designs for Haiti.) The buttresses are located where future walls will go. Put … Read more

Reinforced Earthbag Buttresses for Earthquake Zones

Larger structures such as schools and other commercial structures in earthquake zones require strong reinforcing. Patti Stouter and I have been working on a school design for Haiti. The first earthbag school is now under construction near Leogane. Part of the design is this reinforced earthbag buttress, which will help stabilize the long walls. Complete … Read more