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The Papercrete Post

What is Papercrete?
It is cement made from water, paper and Portland cement. When dry it is beautiful, practical, hardy, low-cost, green and, though hard work to mix and pour, not rocket science. Its attributes: highly insulative, lightweight, animal-proof, fire resistant (you cannot light it with a blow torch!), and waterproof.

What’s the Mixture?
We fill the mixer ¾ full of water on top of in 84 pounds of cellulose insulation and let it soak. Right before we mix it, we add a 94 pound sack of Portland cement. The cellulose is in four not-too-big large bales. The cement is in one very heavy single sack. Then, we tow the mixer behind the truck for about ten minutes at 7 to 10 miles per hour.

Mixer with work crew soaking the paper.

What about that Mixer?
We had to make our own mixer because you can’t buy one. Si made mine. We got a rear wheel axle from a junk yard with the drive in place. Also tires. He welded the frame together, placed a sheet of plywood on top with a hole for the differential to poke through, cut a hole in large steel feed bin, placed the bin over the differential on top of the plywood, sealed it, then added a lawnmower blade, put a plywood lid on top, and voila!, we have what is basically a huge blender. Because the mixer has no engine, you tow it behind your vehicle.


Si pours papercrete into a form

What’s a Pour?
We put forms up between the posts inside the barn which are ten feet part. The forms are well-supported sheets of heavy plywood about three feet high.

We pour the papercrete mixture into these forms, let them sit for three to four days, then remove the forms.

Si checks to see how wall is setting










Moving the form up

The walls are damp but solid. The form can then be moved up and the next layer of wall poured. Over the next month the walls dry and harden. The final result has a beautiful earthy look with the resilience and warmth of wood but a rough, stony textural look.

Papecrete Wall












DancemeditationThank you for joining this great adventure and for sharing this with friends.
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    1. Vajra Ma #

      Dunya! I love seeing you build with papercrete. Wolfgang and I are going to build a cob house (clay, sand, straw mixed). I am very envious of the help you have. How do you get people to help? Wolfgang has almost single-handedly developed our land, Shakti Moon, for seven years–septic, mobile installed, cabin renovation of re-flooring and laying (salvaged) douglas fir floor, fences, goat barn, 50 ft. greenhouse, hothouse made of salvaged windows…etc etc. (All on less than a shoestring.) Do you cast a spell and hypnotize people, “you are getting sleepy…when you wake up you will be my slave…”? hahahaha You must have a secret!

      Thanks for sharing your Ravenrock journey in blog–it shows the way in so many ways. much love!

      October 1, 2012
    2. Vajra, I hear you! (Or read you.)

      Getting help —> I asked and people were curious and generous. I learned a lot about volunteer help. Make sure the project is small enough for volunteers to see immediate accomplishment. (Something I didn’t do but will in the future.) I love sharing some of it with friends, however, and I think it makes everyone belong more. To one another and to the place.

      The long, tough grunt work, that is taken for granted and becomes invisible, will mostly be done by other labor (paid or self.)

      Cob and papercrete are similar, in terms of effort. Hard work!!! I have mulched paper instead of straw. Cob is more mud and less straw. You probably need more mass to stay warm where you are. Here I need less mass and more barrier against the heat.

      October 1, 2012

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