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Building long lasting dwellings.

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posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 04:39 AM
I guess many of us can knock up a shelter for very sort term living in the woods, debris shelters, lean-to's with poncho's and the likes, but i wonder how many would know where to even start if we required something for the long term?

I know for a fact i would not have a clue, yet i would not want my family stuck in a tent or fragile makeshift shelter for long.

I live in an area that is mainly forest, so my initial thoughts would be to go for a decent log cabin effort.

I just found this page on the net, it's not a full and detailed example, but it certainly gives you a great idea of how to get the important structural parts right.

Log cabin

I'll have a look around for better examples, that are easy to understand. Many of us will not have building experience or engineering qualifications, so a few basic tips for a more hardy dwelling would be most welcome.



posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 04:45 AM
I've just found this over at Amazon, just one of many books on building a log cabin.

How to build and furnish a log cabin

We all have survival books, wild food books and the likes stuffed in our BOB's, i think you do a lot worse than to have one of these tucked away in there too.

Even if you are not looking towards the long term shelter, just think of the improvements you could make in a temprorary one if you had the rough knowledge of building cabin?

If i see any more, i'll post them.


posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 06:18 AM
Awesome info!!



posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 06:38 AM
Thanks, glad you liked it.

This will be an invauable skill to have should something bad happen to your home.

I like the idea that should a natural disaster happen, the skills will be able to help many others rebuild a basic community, from homes, to community halls and farm buildings.

I wouldn't get away building something like this in my local woods whilst all is peacefull, but i might try and build a temporary smaller shelter using some of the stronger building methods.

It's all good practise eh?


posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 06:42 AM
Disclaimer: I'm a theist but not of the Abrahamic faiths. I have minor biblical scholar and scriptural skills. Also I am not a scientific/legal or medical expert in any field. Beware of my Contagious Memes! & watch out that you don't get cut on my Occams razor.All of this is my personal conjecture and should not be considered the absolute or most definitive state of things as they really are. Use this information at your own risk! I accept no liability if your ideology comes crashing down around you with accompanying consequences!

Explanation: I wanted to be an architech and I did some work experience to that end when I was in high school [yr10]. So here goes.

1. Get Your FOUNDATIONS right from the get go and thats 50% of your structures future long term survival right there!
The type of foundations you build will totally depend on the types of soil in your area! DO some research on your local building and construction codes!

2. Do some structural engineering study/research on the local or imported materials that you will be using in the construction. Work out some logistics as to sourcing and costing these items! Quality construction requires Quality building/construction materials. SAME GOES FOR YOUR TOOLS!

3. Get a REAL independent architech to go over any of your personal design layouts just to get a 2nd opinion!

4. All Buildings have a LIFESPAN and this is decided BEFOR the building is ever even put to paper. Are you building for just a few yrs befor rehashing/upgrading or are you building for generations to come?

Personal Disclosure: Forget about form as thats just bling/facade and can be added/disguised later! GET THE FUNCTIONS CORRECT 1st! and then everything else will flow! A building has to WORK or its just a waste of resources!

Edited to add the real estate managers motto "LOCATION! LOCATION! LOCATION!"

[edit on 21-8-2009 by OmegaLogos]

posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 06:54 AM
It depends on where you are and what kind of shelter you need from the elements. In the tropics where palm trees are plentiful, tiki style huts and thatched shelters can be made to withstand some serious storms and stay dry if built properly. I've helped stand and thatch a few that withstood hurricane force winds with only minor loss of thatching.

Here's an idea:

And how about adobe and/or rammed earth?

Another thing that you can do if you've got access to some sort of mortar and lots of chopped and split wood is make a chordwood cabin. Basically it's a stack of split logs with mortar between the wood. It's a lot less technical than building a log cabin and the materials are small enough that they can be handled easily my anyone, skilled or unskilled, safely.

How about using stones? Around here it'd be REAL easy to build a small stone cabin. as there's plenty of rock around here and lots of it is already flat enough to stack up into walls that will stay put, especially when i mud it all in with some sort of adobe or mud/grass mix. I'd make sure i built a stone fireplace that can be used for cooking and then i'd most likely use agave stalks and a lattice of ocotillo to tie bundles of beargrass to and thatch a roof.

It really depends on where you are, if it's cold enough you can carve you an ice palace.

Whatever you do, keep it simple and practical. A small log cabin big enough to cook, sleep, and work on crafts and projects is practical. A 5 story log mansion with balconies on every floor and 100 rooms os just ridiculous.

And resources, what do you have to work with? If you have concrete or can make it, then that's a big plus. Limestome heated in a fire and then cooled will give you lime to make concrete with. Add water to the lime and it'll react, dissolving into a putty. This putty is what you add sand and rocks to and you've got concretre Just add sand only and you'll have mortar.

If you can build four equilateral triangle flat pieces you can put them together into a pyramid.

If you're on the beach in south america or mexico you may be able to build a structure out of whalebones. The ancient Peruvians did it that way.

How about a large teepee? Buffalo hide isn't as easy to come by ever since white man "discovered" america, but i'd be willing to bet that if it's post doomsday, there'll be "feral" cows roaming around. Cows are a LOT easier to "hunt" than buffalo.

Several tribes in the southwest deserts were cliff-dwellers, and should you find yourself in a place that lends it to this type of architecture, that may be an option as well.

Underground and semi-underground are also possibilities depending on where you are and what you have to work with.

Got bamboo? Check out how the polynesians and pacific islanders build a raised floor out of laminated bamboo. If you've got bamboo and a machete, then you're all set.

How about society's waste? Come across something like a supply of pallets? There's a modular prefab home right there. Even without nails you can lash 'em together and build a structure.

My point is that there's a LOT of ways to build a few walls and a small roof. Use what you've got to fill your needs. In the tropics you won't need (or want) to cook indoors as you would in say, alaska. The same with insulation, in the tropics thin walls are fine but you'll want more insulating materials in colder regions.

posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 06:59 AM
This site -
is great. For $5 the author will send you his ebook, which is definitely well worth it. Not only does it include details on how to build a cabin just like his, and also how to expand the cabin for future needs, but deals with things like sanitation, composting, solar cooking, washing, and various other kinds of useful things the author's designed. Yes, it's not intended to be for a sitx type thing, but there's still a lot of useful info there. For example, if you're building a permanent house, but need shelter fast, you can build the main cabin for your and your family, and then expand it with three rooms if necessary - one per side, so you have a place to live while continuing to build.


posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 07:29 AM
Thanks for those suggestions, much appreciated.

Yes it's definately worth bearing in mind your location, theres not much point learning to build a log cabin if theres not a tree for miles.

Also it's good learning the important tips that are often taken for granted. For example, most people like the idea of a log cabin in the woods, sat in front of the indoor roaring fire.

However many of the instructions i've read about cabins suggest you don't think about building an indoor fire unles you really know what you are doing. Last thing you want to do is burn down your hard work.


posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 08:31 AM
One other thing, with regards to heat etc.. Consider doing your best to insulate your shelters well, whether with earth, fibers, etc.. (I'd probably go with earth, because of the fireproof properties).. While this would add significantly to the labor in the construction stage, for long term survival, one key component is to give yourselves enough calories versus expenditure. Being cold, uses calories. Spending a lot of time finding fuel such as firewood, burns calories. The less time you need to spend on such a fundamental thing as keeping warm in your shelter (or cool, for different reasons, since you'll use more water if you're too hot), the more overall calories your group has to spend on things like food production, safety, and overall improvements of your lifestyle.

Thus, insulation is a one-time labor expense, not a recurring one, and should definitely be considered important. If you're building something with wood, sticks (eg a wattle and daub style construction) even metal or plastic (depending on what you have available), mud between two layers of something else would make great insulation. Of course, a crucial aspect of that sort of insulation would be a well constructed roof, so that you're not going to wash your insulation out of the walls (unless your construction is water tight, which is harder to achieve).

Similarly this is why you should construct as close to water as feasible.. You're going to minimize the calories expended to get that water to your shelter. Even better would be if you can create some kind of pipe system from water to your shelter (even if you have to manually fill a cistern by the water source, expending no energy to actually transport that water to your shelter is very valuable).

Your time is limited. On a low food supply, your energy is limited, thus everything you do should be towards minimizing calorie output, since you can't necessarily govern what *input* you get.

posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 01:37 PM
I have a copy of the "$500 underground house" It's lots of labour but up hear where trees are scarce and it's below freezing 6+ months a year it could be handy.

posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 04:44 PM
[quoteWe all have survival books, wild food books and the likes stuffed
in our BOB's, i think you do a lot worse than to have one of these
tucked away in there too.

Hi CX, What you said there brings to mind something important. Weight
in your BOB - every ounce counts as they say. One simple way to
reduce weight if you carry books is to cut out the non-essential pages.

I wouldn't go anywhere without my peterson's field guide to edible
wild plants yet I managed to cut a full third of the pages that were
index, non-essential or redundant. I ssed to several blank pages to
write in information on the handiest medicinal plants for my area.
Any book worth taking you should be familiar with and at least
the forward, table of contents and index can go.

Back to topic - where ever you are use what you have - wood,
stone, snow, mud, garbage (that deserves a thread of it's own).
The real trick is how to make a sound dwelling that you can hide
in. But I already shared that with you didn't I?

posted on Aug, 21 2009 @ 07:36 PM
i think a long lasting dwelling could be dug up.
you would have shelter from the wind and the shelter keeps you warmer.

posted on Aug, 22 2009 @ 02:44 AM
If no caves can be found, I plan on digging into the side of a hill. An entrance about shoulder height framed with logs. A door that can be made out of sticks and twine. 2 vents/windows. You can dig ditches into the walls for fires for lighting and heat. With some extra work a latrine with a drainage system can be built in.

posted on Aug, 22 2009 @ 02:47 AM
the entrance must be camouflaged or thieves will kill you and take your goods,

posted on Aug, 23 2009 @ 02:49 AM
if digging into hillside be very careful of collapses i know from experience ground not properly shored up =s death . pallets would make excellent walls stand them up on endput another up behind for inside wall fill with dirt mud or whatever insulation you got available and there you go. be careful where you put it me and some friends built a nice tree house in woods when we were kids
cops came and tore it down they thought pot heads had built it was there excuse

posted on Aug, 23 2009 @ 03:26 AM
My primary B.O. location is pretty hard to get to, even on foot, but yes, my plans include a camouflaged door just in case. I also have the benefit of dense vegetation. I was planning on using stones from along the river bed near by to build up the walls, but I am open to alternative solutions. Would using a log to pound the ceiling help? Dome shape?

posted on Aug, 23 2009 @ 03:55 AM

Originally posted by calstorm
My primary B.O. location is pretty hard to get to, even on foot, but yes, my plans include a camouflaged door just in case. I also have the benefit of dense vegetation. I was planning on using stones from along the river bed near by to build up the walls, but I am open to alternative solutions. Would using a log to pound the ceiling help? Dome shape?

Some Cob buildings from the 1600's are still standing in the UK.

Cob building materials

Make a hybrid between that and Mike Oehler's $50 and up
underground housing, and you are good to go.

Underground housing website of Mike Oehler

Smoke from a fireplace may bring visitors, sometimes you get lucky
and they are good visitors, sometimes not so much.

The underground sections would stay the same temperature year
round and why wine cellars are mostly underground, a power failure
would not spoil the large collection of valuable wine.

Root Cellars

This also works as your own secure root cellar to store food as well.

[edit on 23-8-2009 by Ex_MislTech]

posted on Aug, 23 2009 @ 04:32 AM
Underground homes, or even partially underground "earth bermed" are the best forms of long lasting dwellings.

You don't have to worry so much about outside maintenance, you get a constant temperature of around 65-71, depending if it is completely underground or just an earth berm home.

My home is partially underground which keeps it cooler on summers than any home above ground, and on winter the temp doesn't fall as much as outside, and in an above ground home in winter you suffer more during bad winters and have to use more energy to keep your home warm. Meanwhile a partially underground, or better yet a fully underground home you will have almost a constant temperature of around 65-67 degrees which is easier to get warm, or maintain yourself cool if you like the temp cool.

With an underground home you don't have to worry so much about forest fires, hurricanes, tornadoes, or almost most if not all natural and even man-made catasthrophes, your home will be safe for the most part.

If you add nuclear and biological filters such as these.

Or these.

Just in case we get attacked again.

This type of home is excellent.

I want to be able to build an underground home. I have the skills since my first job in the U.S. was working with my uncle on his construction company, and I learned the skills from my uncle himself, although right now I wouldn't be able to build one due to my injury which I hope it will get better soon.

Anyway, anyone that is considering building a log home should seriously consider upgrading and building an underground home, or at least an earth berm home, you will thank me later.

[edit on 23-8-2009 by ElectricUniverse]

posted on Aug, 23 2009 @ 08:25 PM
reply to post by CX

Check out this site

Coyote Cottage

This guy built a 500 sq. ft. cabin.....has all the designs and pictures on how he did it....looks pretty good.

posted on Aug, 23 2009 @ 08:49 PM
Yes, thank you for the info.

Star, and flag.

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