Inspired by projects such as William Castle’s house, featured on our blog yesterday, I set out to design an open web joist using small diameter poles for non-code areas. It’s not as shiny and elegant as manufactured brands, but hey, who can argue with the cost? These trusses would cost just a few dollars apiece if you have a good source of poles. In parts of the U.S., and probably other countries, the poles you would need are practically free. Small trees like this are thinned out to reduce fires and help larger trees reach marketable size. You could use scrap metal for tie plates and cut the cost in half. Barter for a can of screws and you’re talking really dirt cheap.
Lowering costs is a major goal of earthbag building. One way to reduce costs is by using wood poles for lofts, roofs and other parts of the house. The poles are practically free if you obtain a firewood permit from the US Forest Service. There may be similar programs in other countries. This is a … Read more
There is a glut of small diameter wood in many parts of the US, both in national forests and tree farms. This resource is often wasted as it becomes fuel in massive forest fires. On tree farms, where it barely pays the bills, small diameter wood is sold cheaply to make paper. Instead of sending … Read more
One way to save money and reduce your impact on the environment is to use unmilled roundwood when building your home. Wood in the round is much stronger than standard dimension lumber and requires less processing. In our case it enables us to use local, sustainably grown wood instead of wood shipped hundreds of miles. … Read more