Repeated failures to mount a curtain rod lead Walter Devore on a quest to have a solid wall. I wasn't much a city guy, although growing up outside New York City in West Orange, New Jersey. Everybody should have some Jersey time under their belt?
I was blessed to have my father drill the times tables into him at an early age, so arithmetic was always easy. Being from Coral Gables, Florida and doing fifth grade through high school in Jersey, my math aptitude had me end up a Rambling Wreck at Georgia Tech in Atlanta. After a degree in Industrial Engineering it was back to Florida to give life a go. The flat lands had lost any allure and visions of mountains became captivating. So it was off to Colorado with wife in hand. Normal paths and ways of doing things held little appeal. He read about alternative building methods and decided upon rammed earth, as the ground below one's feet seemed a brilliant idea for one's primary building material. He was assisted by friends to purchase an old Allis Chalmers HD5 crawler loader for my earth moving. In order to mix cement with dirt for a "stabilized" rammed earth wall, I advertised seeking a big concrete mixer. That didn't work as the soil and cement packed inside the mixer and wouldn't want to discharge, but at least I had a hopper loaded mixer. After amassing a $1,500 down payment fund, wife and I settled upon a remote mining claim on a steep mountain side just east of the Continental Divide. Despite being the world's worst welder, I welded up a dirt screen with steel channel and expanded steel. My tractor and I scratched out a notch on the mountain side, all the while dumping the mountain through the screen, getting piles of clean dirt and tumbled down rocks to accrue a "flat spot". I was lucky because the fractured granite of the mountain after the rocks were removed was ideal for "ramming" into two foot thick braced wall forms. I was able to trade some tractor with a local weekend miner in return for using his air compressor. I purchased a pneumatic tamper and was stunningly in business. The wall building went well except when it rained too much, which was often back then. I felt brilliant standing in my wall form pounding dirt. The walls went up and eventually it became time for a roof. My mixer returned to concrete duty and my old flat bed truck hauled aggregate and pallets of cement up an old washboard mining road. I accumulated massive amounts of five gallon buckets. The mixer and task at hand worked me to a frazzle. I wasn't smart enough to partially fill the buckets with concrete, so each one was a heavy monster. I'd fill them from the mixer, put them in my tractor bucket, raise it up almost to roof level, and carry them onto my formed up roof to become "elevated slab". I had no good way to form an overhang, so I hoped attaching 4" polyiso insulation board to the outside of the walls would "cantilever" and hold the concrete far enough away from the wall to protect it from rain. It pretty much worked, but the specter of water one day getting in the wall to its maximum detriment would keep me up nights sometimes. I soon discovered that using wood for door and window frames would result in the wood warping. I never liked wood because it won't stay straight for very long. A wood house appears to me an optimal arrangement of kindling for a maximum burn. I feel that wood begins to pull itself apart as soon as it's assembled because of temperature and humidity changes. Wood houses didn't and still don't make much sense to me as a long term solution for housing. Concrete seemed a more viable solution, but it's so heavy and the forming for it is so demanding and expensive. I have always loved my dogs and escaping the city to give them a "proper" life was a big motivation for retreating to the mountain. The Continental Divide seems a good place for dogs to be free. Walking with them twice a day was and is a life long ritual. Being blessed to walk mountain trails is conducive to thinking and having insights burst in from nowhere. My "Concrete Building System" is a long term accumulation of "Eureka" type insights and experimentation with various molding techniques. Each method after a multi year period of use revealed a potentially better approach. I feel the system is finally ready for mass consumption. I have had a childless and minimal responsbility life, except to myself. I feel deeply that this a best way to go to house the world. I feel profits made from the system should support a deeply subsidized non profit to provide quality housing for everyone. I have trekked in Nepal twice and experienced a moving vision my first visit. I walked upon a field with a beehive of activity. Family and or locals were in a brilliant silent operation of concrete construction. No one needed say a word. Older women in thick black layers of garb were comfortably perched upon piles of round river rock. Holding a looped rubber hose a few feet long to restrain rocks in a "collar", they effortlessly used thin hammers to make smaller rock (coarse concrete aggregate) from bigger rock. River sand was in piles. Children took "wok" sized bowls of rock and sand to a wheelbarrow where teenagers would mix concrete with hoes. Fresh concrete next be bowl at a time delivered to men working the forms. They like to build up in Nepal since it only takes one new slab to roof an addition, and they leave protruding rebar to tie into future construction. A first floor requires a footing, ground slab, and roof slab, so going up is less work. CBS now awaits a viable organization to make it happen. There are many options. It could function as a general contractor, hiring out each component. Or, a tight knit business structure could be formed with a goal of going public within a few years. I feel the latter is a better investment of time.