On-site Casualties ( Warning: Graphic Images Below )

Last week saw the first casualties on site since Raymond (the lemon tree) back in June 2011 - needless to say it was a bit emotional.  Black Betty, the beloved AltShiftNZ tamper who has compacted hundreds of meters of SuperAdobe for us, broke her neck the other day in a strenuous bout of Earthbag thumping (be warned: the following images are of a graphic nature).

Above, a slight closeup of where the pipe failed just above the gussets that provided connection and support to the tamping plate 


To the right is a picture to get an idea of the thickness of the pipe.

An interesting case study in the field of material strength and fatigue.

With a little welding surgery and a brand new set of gussets, Ms.Betty is back smashing the massive 20" wide Earthbags from Cal-Earth at 97 Kings Dr.- take a gander at her new neck:

 Black Betty forming the retaining wall and top tier of the 
SuperAdobe landscaping on the West side of the home.

The other (more catastrophic) fatality, was that of 'Thor Hammer', a creation handcrafted by DIY specialist Douglas 'Murphy' Meyers.   Originally built for 'persuading' straw bales into their ideal place,  the wooden mallet was subbed in for tamping the Earthbag after Black Betty lost her head.  Within a few swings, the 'Thor Hammer' exploded, and was laid to rest.

Above, Doug shouldering his timber sledge back in March 2011.

'Thor Hammer' remains.

A bit of a tearjerker, 'Thor Hammer' will be remembered fondly and buried on site (service date and time to be determined).  May your tools stay healthy!!


  1. Oh My!!Wanted to let you know that PCI contacted me about passing on the film as a spark for discussion-I can get it to various Transition and Eat Local groups--You never know...

  2. Well done Nancy!! So good to hear about your proactive spreading of critical information. Keep up the good work!