Wattle and daub with pine and olive

We have made our internal walls using a pine structure and green olive branches. It has worked very nicely so here is a little guide on how we did it. Firstly we built the structure using 70x100mm pine joists. We secured them to the floor horizontally and connected them to the first floor joists vertically….

Hang pictures on a cob/stone wall

Hanging things on walls built with natural materials generally requires different techniques from a modern build, and sometimes a bit of pre-planning. We are at the stage of our build where we are rendering the walls with cob and we know the layout of the rooms. As such, we are comfortable to start deciding where…

Off Grid Solar Hot shower

Before we begin, depending on where you are on the planet, this shower will not likely work during the cooler months. We are in central Portugal and experience 40+ degree C summers, and 10 to 15 degree winter days. During summer we had scorching hot water every day, warm water on cloudy days, but it…

Pallet long drop and compost toilet

Here are a couple of compost toilet designs you can make very quickly using a few pallets. First of all the situation: you need a toilet that same day, and you then need a permanent compost toilet for the foreseeable future. So here is our idea, using the same pallet for the long drop as…

How to make organic soap

Here is a simple way to make your own soap at home… First of all, what kit do you need? Large pan for melting solid oils over a heat source Your ingredients (an example soap is listed below) A probe thermometer (if you can get two it can make things easier) Scales for weighing your…

How to Transplant Mandioca – Video

A quick run down of the video, with some information which I forgot to mention Take a cutting from a previous Mandioca plant. The reason that potatoes and onions are usually grown from other potatoes or onions rather than seed is because they take over a year to go to seed. The reason they create…

Make window frames with re-used train track sleepers

Old train track sleepers are really heavy, really strong, and using them can ease your conscience as you are not cutting down new trees to build your house. They are however likely to have been pressure treated with seriously dangerous chemicals which keeps them strong for a long time but makes them pretty toxic especially…

Electric pipes in a cob house

You can wait till you have built your cob house to install your electric pipes. This gives you a bit more freedom to place them once you have more of a feel for the room, but it means cutting out channels of rock hard cob, which is not easy, and then re-cobbing over them to…

Home made Scaffolding and Ladders

You can easily make your own scaffolding and ladders from wood if you do not want to use the metal commercially available ones. If you use a strong hard wood then they should last many years and serve you many building projects. We made some of the basic scaffolding below two years ago, they have…

Cool Bamboo stuff from the Pindorama Team

We recently went to the Sustainability festival in Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro. It was an amazing festival and I would recommend visiting next year. We saw many excellent lectures, including a talk from the author of the barefoot architect – Johan Van Lengen. The team from Pindorama were there with their beautiful bamboo structures….