Step 5: Add Barbed Wire

Step 5. Add barbed wire: use two strands of 4-point barbed wire in-between each course of bags; bricks or stones temporarily hold the barbed wire in place.

Barbed Wire

Step 6: Place Additional Courses With Sheetmetal Slider

Step 6. Use a sheetmetal slider to place additional courses so bags do not snag on the barbed wire: fill the bags on the slider; sew the end closed; tilt the bag into position and push it against the previous bag. After the bag is aligned, hold the end of the bag and jerk the slider out. Continue with gravel-filled bags until you are safely above the height where moisture can cause damage.



First Bag Second Course

Step 7: Repeat the Process Using Earth-filled Bags

Step 7. Repeat the process using earth-filled bags for upper courses, but with a few minor changes: turn bags inside out to avoid protruding corners; use lightly moistened soil; lightly tamp the contents after each bucket of soil is added; pre-tamp each bag after it is aligned in position. This last step lengthens each bag to ensure good overlap.

First Earth Filled Bag
Tamping First Earth Filled Bag

Step 8: Make Custom-sized Bags

Step 8. Make custom-sized bags to fill odd-sized spaces: measure the opening; fill the bag to the approximate level; cut off excess bag material; fold each side of the end toward the center and tuck under the bag; place the bag in the wall.

Step 9: Tamping

Step 9. Tamping: Tamp earthbags solid and level after each course is complete. Tamp the high points first. Once the wall is approximately level, evenly tamp the entire wall several times as you continually move the tamper so as not to create low spots.



Tamping First Course of Earth Filled Bags

Repeat the process for the remainder of the walls, adding doors and windows as you go. Check often to keep walls plumb and level.

If you like this Instructable, please check out my other one that covers almost every detail for building a roundhouse: How to Build an Earthbag Roundhouse

Owen Geiger is the former director of Builders Without Borders, a Mother Earth News Green Home Adviser, The Last Straw Journal Correspondent and the director of the Geiger Research Institute of Sustainable Building .

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