Rammed Earth Techniques


Compressor-driven Tamper

The compressor driven tamper shown above is the usual contemporary ramming device. Compressor air supply to mechanical tamper must be a minimum 32KG. (70 LBS.) a minute. The tamper takes a considerable concentration to manoeuvre, while it jumps on your toes :-(

HAND ramming gives the BEST COMPACTION which is the CRUX of a lasting building!


Hand Ramming Tamper

The alternative HAND ramming device is easy to build and of course has no capital outlay like its counterpart above. The hand rammer should be at least five kilos in weight (12 LBS) to give the "punch" necessary to compact damp earth. The base is made of heavy hardwood 300mm.x100mm. (12x4 inches ), I used this style of tamper to build my house. The handle was not made of wood as in the diagram above, but from a 1.5 metre length of galvanised steel water pipe of one and a quarter inches diameter which gave a useful heavier weight to the tamper. The steel plate at the base (working face) is a very necessary addition to minimise any adherence of damp earth.


Rammed Earth Concrete Foundation detail

A cross-section of slab-on-ground construction. Damp course is laid on the slab before earth walls are begun. Notice the continuous rio-rod extending from the footing of concrete slab and reaching through the earth wall to the roof plate. This makes for a very secure roof especially in high or cyclonic wind.


Window Lintels

Several methods can be used to fill in areas above windows or doorways. Above is a unique method of incorporating arched concrete lintels by Ramtec (see links). I used heavy hardwood beams and also concrete lintels with a brick facade to span the window & door areas. Contempory/commercial RE is made up of 'stonehenge panels' & is a cost cutting compromise of simply filling in with windows & doors up to the roof plate.


TERRA 2000.doc

Above you can download a R.E.paper delivered in Western Australia by Stephen Dobson a Committee Member of the:

Joint Technical Committee of Standards Association of Australia and Standards New Zealand

for preparation of a Standard for Earth Building for Australia and New Zealand.


Rammed Earth - Great Wall China

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