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Heck



Reged: Nov 16 2004
Posts: 164
Loc: La La Land
Dirt floor and oxblood
      #10252 - Sun Nov 09 2008 07:30 PM

I am designing a custom home for a client who wants at least one room to have a dirt floor, and she has read where sometimes traditional dirt floors had ox blood poured on them as a color/hardener (the Japanese used bath water for the oils it contained) and this is the look and color she wants.

I have done some research and there is information out there about how to install the floor itself, but none on any substitute for ox blood to get the color desired.

Short of buying an ox and sharpening my knives, what do I use to put on this dirt floor?

What do you all think about dirt floors? Anyone here have any experience with them? I actually knew folks when I was growing up who had dirt floors, but no ox.


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calvinAdministrator



Reged: Apr 30 2002
Posts: 2391
Loc: NW Ohio
Re: Dirt floor and oxblood [Re: Heck]
      #10253 - Sun Nov 09 2008 07:34 PM

If you could find that american working in Japan, maybe he might be able to help. Name was something like tatekata. Breaktime search maybe?

--------------------
Remodeling Contractor just outside the Glass City

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splintergroupie



Reged: Nov 09 2008
Posts: 83
Re: Dirt floor and oxblood [Re: Heck]
      #10378 - Mon Nov 10 2008 09:12 PM

You sure beet juice wouldn't work? :^[

I'd think you could get blood at any slaughterhouse for showing up with your 55 gal drum. They normally are trying to find ways to use it up by removing the color and substituting it for eggs in food products and similar. Did you know when blood if frozen, the cells rupture and it becomes more plastic. Hope this helps!


Mmmm...i need a cinnamon roll...


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SquarePeg



Reged: Nov 09 2008
Posts: 48
Re: Dirt floor and oxblood [Re: Heck]
      #10379 - Mon Nov 10 2008 09:14 PM

Well, if you are serious, here goes: (if you are kidding, don't mind me =)

Dirt is packed with a tamper and sealed with linseed oil and beeswax. The Laughinghorse inn in Taos has traditional oxblood floors - http://www.laughinghorseinn.com/history.html

They are exceedingly beautiful. Durability is low, so chair legs, high heels etc damage them. They age beautifully, even if damaged, though.

Traditional adobe houses are dirt floor and usually used oxblood - not just for color, but it compacts, hardens and adds sheen.

Sometimes other hardeners are added (lime, straw, sand) but most traditional ones are linseed and beeswax.

Lloyd Kahn at Whole Earth has contacts for dirt floors. They are quite the rage in the natural/green sector.

However, most folks use adobe techniques with a thin slip of clay for color instead of oxblood. Sealed with oil. Almost always linseed.

Quentin Wilson from New Mexico is a prominent adobe floor man. I think he has a website.

He and michael reynolds worked on the laughinghorse and wilson is the earthship guy, so is all into sod, cob, dirt and tire techniques. Reynolds is the guy that birthed the earthship movement in the us and did Dennis Weavers house in colorado.

You can try adobe yourself, but I'd really, really recommend hiring the floor out to someone familiar with adobe. They take forever to dry. Depending on climate, radiant can be put underneath, which helps with dry time.

If I were looking to subcontract, i'd call quenton or reynolds.

Reynolds has earthship.org and is at 575-751-0462


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jagwah



Reged: Nov 20 2003
Posts: 7
Loc: Oklahoma
Re: Dirt floor and oxblood [Re: Heck]
      #10382 - Mon Nov 10 2008 10:21 PM

I can't help you on the Ox blood idea.

But I can relate growing up with grandparents that had a dirt floor in the kitchen of the house. They had a rope like spiraled rug in the middle of the floor under the dining table. I know my grandmother wood pour something on the dirt but never thought about it. This is interesting. I have an aunt still living I'll try to ask her what they may have done.

--------------------
Just A Guy With A Hammer


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SquarePeg



Reged: Nov 09 2008
Posts: 48
Re: Dirt floor and oxblood [Re: jagwah]
      #10383 - Mon Nov 10 2008 10:40 PM

In our part of Oklahoma (soutwestern) there's lots of old rock houses with dirt floors. They're mostly falling down and it's a shame. Aunt Lena had a dirt floor in the back part of her house. The front was an add on and had wood. She swept them every day and poured linseed on, although I don't know how often.

Too bad it's kind of a lost art.

Are you in eastern oklahoma?


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splintergroupie



Reged: Nov 09 2008
Posts: 83
Re: Dirt floor and oxblood [Re: SquarePeg]
      #10384 - Mon Nov 10 2008 10:48 PM

I've rototilled portland cement into pathways and flattened 'em to make a little harder walkway outdoors. Have you heard of doing something similar for entire floors? It would take away the problem of having to wait for very long for them to dry, i'm thinking. Colorant could be added. Not sure how it stacks up against red blood in the 'green' index, though.

When i was going to school in Mexico, i stayed with a family who just dribbled water on the floor every day; it got packed continuously just by walking around on it. It had a big fogon (fireplace) in the middle of the room with a comal (large fired-clay tray) for cooking on directly. Talk about gathering in the kitchen!

Come to think of it, the kitchen floor was MUCH darker than the outdoor dirt...


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SquarePeg



Reged: Nov 09 2008
Posts: 48
Re: Dirt floor and oxblood [Re: splintergroupie]
      #10385 - Mon Nov 10 2008 10:52 PM

It darkens over time. Oil, smut, dirt and such can make it almost black. That's why the color. oxblood ages to a dark red with black striations. it's beautiful.

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splintergroupie



Reged: Nov 09 2008
Posts: 83
Re: Dirt floor and oxblood [Re: SquarePeg]
      #10387 - Mon Nov 10 2008 11:17 PM

You got my interested so i went to Google Images for oxblood floors. I didn't find a floor, but i found a whole house stained with oxblood and rowanberries.

http://www.urban75.org/photos/wales/st-fagans-museum.html


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jagwah



Reged: Nov 20 2003
Posts: 7
Loc: Oklahoma
Re: Dirt floor and oxblood [Re: SquarePeg]
      #10389 - Mon Nov 10 2008 11:25 PM

If that Q was to me, yes I'm in NE OK in Tulsa. How far SW are you?

I've called my Aunt and she doesn't remember what was done but she's calling her brother who's a few years older to see if he remembers.

This has turned into a very interesting thing. I can't imagine walking on a blood drenched floor but I figure if it was ever done it was due to butchering in the old days. If they found the blood did anything different or unique to the soil then say pig or any other livestock.

--------------------
Just A Guy With A Hammer


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SquarePeg



Reged: Nov 09 2008
Posts: 48
Re: Dirt floor and oxblood [Re: jagwah]
      #10392 - Tue Nov 11 2008 12:06 AM

My folks are down sw of altus. We are from the eastern side (talequah), but for some crazy reason a few generations back went west.

this is an intersting conversation. I might call home and see if anyone remembers how to construct a dirt floor and/or how to care for one.


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SquarePeg



Reged: Nov 09 2008
Posts: 48
Re: Dirt floor and oxblood [Re: splintergroupie]
      #10393 - Tue Nov 11 2008 12:22 AM

That structure is really cool.

"rammed earth" or "tamped earth" brings good google results.


PICTURE AND GREAT STORY:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/02/08/garden/08dirt.html


There's a lady in Oregon specializing in these floors. Her company is "From These Hands"

Also Mudcrafters in Crestone colorado.

Earthen Floors (instruction guide) is apparently the bible for this stuff. Is out of print but coming to this website soon: http://caneloproject.com/

There's a guy in Austin doing tamped floors.

DETAILED INSTRUCTIONS:
http://www.grisb.org/publications/pub11.htm

Frank Meyer of Thangmaker Construction has over 25 years of construction experience. His focus is sustainable and green building. He specializes in straw-bale construction and earth floors and is available for consultation and workshop facilitation. 904 E Monroe, Austin TX 78704; ph 512 282-2341; thangmaker@aol.com


BOOK HERE: http://books.google.com/books?id=054_i8K...t=result#PPA119,M1

MORE INSTRUCTIONS http://www.genevar.com.au/strawbale/sbat_files/sbat_files-The.html


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dovetail



Reged: Nov 09 2008
Posts: 9
Re: Dirt floor and oxblood [Re: SquarePeg]
      #10432 - Tue Nov 11 2008 08:58 AM



My son and some of his friends just did a "dirt" floor last year for a combination dance/ martial arts studio.

Clay , sand , chopped straw and linseed oil.
Lots of man hours.

Hard , yet not punishingly so .


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SquarePeg



Reged: Nov 09 2008
Posts: 48
Re: Dirt floor and oxblood [Re: dovetail]
      #10471 - Tue Nov 11 2008 09:37 PM

That sounds really neat. I've been coveting an off-grid earthship for quite some time, so have been reading up on this stuff.

Matter of fact, there's one for sale on the WA/OR border that I'd give my eye teeth for. Alas, dh is under the insane assumption that he needs to be in a big city. it's a little joke we have: I show him my dream property and he grins and says "maybe you and your next husband can buy that". =)

I bet your son could give Heck some tips....


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splintergroupie



Reged: Nov 09 2008
Posts: 83
Re: Dirt floor and oxblood [Re: dovetail]
      #10556 - Wed Nov 12 2008 09:30 AM

There was a recipe a friend of mine was using to make water-proof adobe bricks, which seems like it would work for a floor. The only additive was bitumious emulsion, or "bitch-mul", as he called it.

I've read you can also use paint as a binder to do the same thing. I collected 30 gallons of latex to make some bricks, but it sat overwinter in 5-gal buckets an molded before i got to working with it. Who knew paint could mold ??


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Heck



Reged: Nov 16 2004
Posts: 164
Loc: La La Land
Re: Dirt floor and oxblood [Re: splintergroupie]
      #10583 - Wed Nov 12 2008 05:39 PM

I've used the adobes you are talking about, and depending on the type of soil and binders, it might work for a floor.
The ones I used were made with the tailings from a gravel operation and made wonderful walls, but a floor of this stuff would assure you of holes in your socks.

I'm an old hand at molding paint, drywall compound, etc.


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