Gimme Shelter
June 19, 2015 11:42 PM   Subscribe

Building a primitive wattle and daub hut, from scratch.

Exactly what it says on the tin. 11 minutes, yet still oddly soothing.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy (38 comments total) 50 users marked this as a favorite
 
Pretty cool. I would love to do this on a suitable patch.

Having said that, I wonder whether open fires are really a smart thing to do in the Australian bush if you don't need to (that was Australia, right?). If it's dry enough to find tinder and firewood like that, what will stray cinders do?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:28 AM on June 20, 2015


Minecraft has better graphics now than I remember from when I tried the beta.
posted by Sequence at 12:45 AM on June 20, 2015 [11 favorites]


That first shot of the guy looking oh so smug ("My hammer is a rock, yo. Do you even paleo?") I wanted to hate this. But by the end I was oh so impressed. Making his own freakin' pottery to make the mud right at the hut--practicality at its finest. I imagine there are a hundred variations you could do with this kind of construction. Very cool.
posted by zardoz at 12:57 AM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Yeah, this was pretty impressive. I can say as someone near 50 that it would not go anywhere near as smoothly. And all my bark would be coming from ground-level.

All I can think of when I see jungle-ish stuff like this is HOW LARGE ARE THE CENTIPEDES?
posted by maxwelton at 1:02 AM on June 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


The one part I would be clueless about is the clay. How does one find clay rather than just mud?
posted by zardoz at 3:00 AM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


He didn't grow those trees, lame.
posted by Meatbomb at 3:21 AM on June 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


The movie was shot in Queensland. Here's how I can tell:
1) He uses paperbark for the roof. Paperbark trees are mostly endemic to Australia; and
2) His use of lawyer cane for the lashings narrows it down geographically; and
3) Planning permission in Queensland is notoriously lax; there's no way he'd get a permit for the building anywhere else.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:36 AM on June 20, 2015 [17 favorites]


As someone 20 years younger than 50, I too would be gathering my bark near the ground. Death by gravity/impalement would be something I would try to avoid at all costs.

That was very fun to watch!
posted by Bibliogeek at 3:47 AM on June 20, 2015


This sort of reminds me of a tv show I always wanted to make / see.

A bit like the old show Rough Science, but you get a group of people in the middle of nowhere, with nothing.
Over the course of the show they would build up all the trappings of civilization, from nothing.
So you get a rock, you make a hammer, you make a hut, you find ore and make better tools etc etc,

Also, when he was making the pot I Was thinking that he should finish the house first, then I realised he needed the pot to make the house. Which just reminds me of Kittens Game
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 4:43 AM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Pretty awesome, although the bed did not look that comfy. I guess primitive mattress would involve a bunch of kangaroo hides. Wattle and daub was also the primary building technology in old times in the Caribbean.
posted by snofoam at 5:00 AM on June 20, 2015


Interesting to see him repeat the fundamental thermal error shared by so much Australian architecture, putting the chimney outside the space to be heated. I've never understood why we do that.

Sure, doing it properly means you need a roof penetration rather than a wall penetration, but the minimal extra engineering effort required to achieve that should be more than offset by requiring the ongoing gathering of only about half the fuel.
posted by flabdablet at 5:31 AM on June 20, 2015


Over the course of the show they would build up all the trappings of civilization, from nothing.


I think you just described Gilligan's Island
posted by TedW at 5:43 AM on June 20, 2015 [7 favorites]


First you must invent the universe.
posted by jefflowrey at 6:14 AM on June 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


Interesting to see him repeat the fundamental thermal error shared by so much Australian architecture, putting the chimney outside the space to be heated.

He's in a rainforest in Queensland. He's probably not worried about being cold, more about being damp.

Here's another cool video of his: Making poisonous Black bean safe to eat (Moreton Bay Chestnut)
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:18 AM on June 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Very cute. And the hut is nice, too.
posted by yesster at 8:07 AM on June 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


There goes the neighborhood. Very ineresting film. Nice to be out of the rain. I am thinking crochet bug curtains.
posted by Oyéah at 8:24 AM on June 20, 2015


Very cool. Quite a lot of hours of work; fun to see but I'm glad it was someone else doing it.

HOW LARGE ARE THE CENTIPEDES

.. fortunate not to have kissing bugs in Australia. Chagas disease is a major killer in populations in the Americas that have primitive housing.
posted by anadem at 8:29 AM on June 20, 2015


I would take this more seriously if he wasn't clean-shaven.
posted by schroedinger at 8:40 AM on June 20, 2015


I'd love to spend my days doing shit like this.

"..where they hung the jerk, who invented work..."
posted by bonobothegreat at 8:41 AM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


The one part I would be clueless about is the clay. How does one find clay rather than just mud?

This made me go read the Wikipedia articles. Turns out, clay is not just something that occurs in very low energy depositional environments (slow rivers in flat land). It can be formed in place if you have the right source minerals and enough rain. One of the ways we know that Mars once had water is by finding some clays on its surface.
posted by Bee'sWing at 8:45 AM on June 20, 2015 [5 favorites]


Does he teach classes? Because I'm sure he could get people to pay stacks of money to learn all of those skills, maybe with an all-summer course during which the class builds a village of such huts and then learns how to live in them.
posted by pracowity at 9:17 AM on June 20, 2015 [4 favorites]


Re: the OP title, I answered your demand some years ago.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:52 AM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


i wonder, if i were able to mine the ore, smelt it and somehow fashion it into a ring with stone tools, if he'd marry me.
posted by Conrad-Casserole at 10:58 AM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I discovered clay by a creek near my house when I was a kid, so I'd probably start by looking near creeks.
posted by thelonius at 11:04 AM on June 20, 2015


I would take this more seriously if he wasn't clean-shaven.

Or if his chest weren't pearly white.
posted by slipthought at 12:07 PM on June 20, 2015


That was neat to watch! Doesn't stripping bark kill trees? Or are they some sort of badass Aussie tree? The Paperbark wiki linked says their bark was peeled for things, but not if it damages them.

Also, watching him use the stone axe made me think "damn, that would kill my hand."
posted by mon-ma-tron at 4:12 PM on June 20, 2015


I would very much like to be able to do the things that this guy does. Very much indeed.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 4:52 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mon-ma-tron: paperbarks have multiple layers of very thin, papery bark - hence the name. They accumulate on its trunk to form a thick shield that is presumably a defense against fire or something. You can peel quite substantial amounts off by hand without injuring the tree; I presume he cut it because he wanted a large sheet with defined edges.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:59 PM on June 20, 2015 [2 favorites]


Joe in Australia: that's cool! Thanks!
posted by mon-ma-tron at 5:17 PM on June 20, 2015


Doesn't stripping bark kill trees? Or are they some sort of badass Aussie tree?

What Joe says about paperbarks is quite true. But paperbarks are not the only Australian tree whose bark is a traditional construction material: where I live in East Gippsland, scar trees used for canoe construction, some of them hundreds of years old and still healthy, are important archeological and cultural sites.

Many Australian trees have the kind of very thick bark you'd expect in the fire-adapted forests that are common here. They can cope with removal of lots of bark as long as you don't ringbark them. The paperbarks in the linked video are not cut deep enough to risk that; scar trees obviously are, but those don't get cut all the way around.
posted by flabdablet at 9:44 PM on June 20, 2015 [3 favorites]


Dendroglyph. The word for today is dendroglyph, a carving made on the trunk of a tree.
Aborigines in Victoria and New South Wales marked important graves with dendroglyphs.
You can see a photo of one in the Wikipedia article Flabdablet linked to. Scar trees sometimes heal over time; I suppose some of the scar trees I've seen may have actually had dendroglphs hidden beneath the regrown bark.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:18 PM on June 20, 2015 [1 favorite]


I got really into this sort of thing in my 20's. Taught myself flint napping, made stone axes and fired clay with wood in piles of rocks. I got pretty good at it. I made bow drills and other tools. I really got a lot out of it.
I used to carry a big obsidian knife in my tool kit when I did AV work and Used it for cutting carpet for stages (did shows for Apple) it was nice because you could just knock off some flakes to resharpen it.
One of the new techs was a smart ass and picked up the knife and declared that it "could not cut s==t" and before I could stop him drew it across his gloved palm. He needed 8 stitches and could not use his hand for about 2 weeks.
posted by boilermonster at 12:57 AM on June 21, 2015 [13 favorites]


I used to carry a big obsidian knife in my tool kit when I did AV work and Used it for cutting carpet for stages (did shows for Apple) it was nice because you could just knock off some flakes to resharpen it.

OMG. My work here on this planet is done. I can die happy.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 1:04 AM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


I am almost as amused by the idea of preparations for an Apple AV presentation being done with a stone knife as I am at the idea of documenting the construction of a mud hut via digital video footage uploaded to a global computer network.

What odd things we are.
posted by flabdablet at 5:21 AM on June 21, 2015 [10 favorites]


Obsidian scalpels.

No way would I draw an obsidian knife across my hand. He's lucky he didn't do more damage.
posted by TedW at 7:17 AM on June 21, 2015 [2 favorites]


Yeah, this is great. And I think it would be amazing if you could pay this guy and go into the bush with him and learn about stuff. You might need a fair bit of recreational leave saved up though: despite the shortness of the video, apparently his hut took him about 9 months to complete. I think he said that if he was going at it flat-out he could have done it in either a month or a week (I forget which). Given that he is potentially also foraging for food while he's out there, and finding appropriate rocks to replace his tools when and if required, a month seems pretty reasonable.

Also there was a kid in my grade in primary school who died after eating part of one of the big seeds from the Moreton Bay chestnut at school. I don't know if it was on a dare or he was just showing off but it killed the shit out of him. The pods make really excellent little canoes for your GI Joes though.
posted by turbid dahlia at 4:57 PM on June 21, 2015 [1 favorite]


/me squirrels away "it killed the shit out of him" for later use.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:17 AM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree; and a small cabin build there, of twigs and wattles made. Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honeybee, and live alone in the bee-loud glade.
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:59 AM on June 22, 2015 [4 favorites]


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