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Checking Soils

Strong soil beats quakes

Adobe builders dissolve soil in water, let it settle, then check that 1/3 or more is sand at the bottom. Easy to build with, but strength unknown. 

Is a soil worth testing? Is it cohesive (good for contained earth/ CE types of earthbag)?

  1. Pinch damp soil, then open fingers. A little should stick under the top finger.

  2. Squeeze a small handfull into a roll, and inch a ribbon out between your thumb and forefinger. How long before a piece falls off? It should hang between 12 mm (half an inch) and 50 mm (two inches) before dropping.

Soils making longer ribbons may need sand added to be easier to work and to prevent too much shrinking. See info under soil types below.

Some gritty soils fail hand checking but make medium strength courses. Tamp a bag. After 24 hours can you turn it without breaking? 

under construction january 2021

Check Your Soil

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