Rammed Earth Techniques


Compressor-driven Tamper

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

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


Hand Ramming Tamper

The alternative HAND tamping device is easy to make and of course has no capital outlay like its counterpart above.
The hand tamper 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).
The handle was not made of wood as in the diagram above, but from a 1.5 metre length of galvanised steel water pipe
about 30mm. diameter which gave a useful heavier weight to the tamper.
I used this style of hand tamper to build my house.
The steel plate at the base (working face) is a very necessary a
ddition to minimise any adherence of damp earth.
(see photo of my tamper on home page)


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.

Form End Shutter or Key-Way

End Shutter or Key-Way is necessary to join on the adjoining earth section/form.
This gives strength and bonding to the walls overall length.
Imperative that the tamper foot fits both the negative & positive.
The wood stud down centre of back board has a slight chamfer
down each side to facilitate removal at tamping completion.
This shutter is 45cm wide for walls the same width.

Pouring Earth into Forms before Tamping.

When pouring loose earth into the forms prior to tamping, make sure to pour along the form sides

NOT down the middle.

If earth is poured down the middle forming a hill, the small gravel,

 stones & clay lumps will roll to the exterior face of your wall.

Lumps will visually be unsightly & not homogeneous to overall wall.


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 'stone henge 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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