[Strawbale] earthen floor sealer in Haiti ( GSBN Digest, Vol 35, Issue 15)

RT ArchiLogic at yahoo...
Sun Mar 20 17:58:34 CET 2011

On Fri, 18 Mar 2011 13:00:03 -0400, <gsbn-request at greenbuilder...> wrote:
> From: Bruce King
> If you're going to use multiple coats of (linseed) oil on the floor,  
> don't you
> want the FIRST coat to be thinned, and therefore penetrate better, and
> then progressively thin subsequent coats less and less?
> Also:  am I the only one who is uncomfortable about the idea of using
> edible oils (i.e., food) in construction?  My discomfort is partly
> because that oil is food to all sorts of critters, but also because
> one way or another you are, by using it, sort of removing it from a
> hungry person's mouth.
> Bruce "Big Mouth" King

(For full text of this message and its thread, see:
      http://greenbuilder.com/pipermail/gsbn/2011q1/001360.html )

Well Mouthy, I too am uncomfortable, but that discomfort is more about  
using linseed oil for an interior application and an even greater  
discomfort about using VOC-emitting solvent thinners (up to 75%/unit  
volume)to partially saturate a large volume of material inside of the  
house interior ... than I am about you and the EBN Haiti-gang competing  
for the tablespoon of ground flax seed I put into my oatmeal most mornings.

My experience with linseed oil as a "sealer" is limited to its use with  
wood but since we're talking about the polymerisation of linseed oil, that  
polymerisation process shouldn't be any different when the oil is applied  
to earthen mixes, timbers or swine.

That being said, I would be very hesitant to use linseed oil (if the  
intent is for the oil to change from liquid state to a dry, semi-solid  
state) if the material to which it is applied cannot be exposed to full  
summer sun (ie good long stretches of heat ) and abundant breezes (ie good  
air circulation ) until the polymerisation process has been fully carried  
out (ie typically a summer day here in MooseLand, where it is only in  
summer where there are a good 6-8 hrs of hot-enough sun in a day).

I've found that without those conditions at the time of application, the  
linseed does not dry/harden properly and never does -- remaining tacky  
forever (ie a crud magnet, that crud eventually becoming fodder for black  
mould)  and bleeding into/onto anything that comes into contact with the  
oil-treated material.

OTOH, when the oil is subjected to sufficient heat/air circulation, the  
oil dries and hardens to yield something that is not unlike a polyurethane  
finish. I like to use linseed oil for pre-treating timbers (after all the  
joinery/surfacing is done) outdoors before they are installed and for  
wooden garden tool

My guess is that with enough Googling, one could dig up a scholarly  
document that talks about the precise temperatures, exposure times and  
amounts of oxygen required for desired oxidation/polymerisation  
rates/levels of linseed oil but "one" is not going to be me.

I don't know nuttin' about nuttin' about making earthen floors (I rely  
upon Beel Steen for expertise in that) but I couldn't help but wonder if  
agar-agar would be a viable alternative to linseed oil and animal blood as  
an earthen floor stabiliser/sealer in Haiti where I'm guessing that  
seaweed might be an abundant natural resource that is easily harvested ?

=== * ===
Rob Tom
Kanata, Ontario, Canada
< A r c h i L o g i c  at  Y a h o o  dot  c a >
manually winnow the chaff from my edress if you hit "reply"

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