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      Quinczhee Building Suggestions     



distinguished member(552)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/25/2019 03:34PM
I am looking for helpful building suggestions from experienced quinczhee builders. I am not able to head up north this winter to camp so I have been piling up snow at home over the past week or so and have nice pile going. I though I would camp in the back yard. Ready to make it a home. Any suggestions appreciated!

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distinguished member (248)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/25/2019 07:32PM
Push sticks into the pile about 12-14"s long about 18' or so from the base, 10-12" up a little higher and so forth. When you dig, stop when you hit the sticks. This gives you fairly consistent wall thickness. I for one like to dig a large working door for hollowing out; makes for much easier work. the snow that comes out can make for nice wind breaks and or a tunnel entrance of the smaller . more desirable door. I like and air hole somewhere in the dome( a shovel handle size is suffice) and a wool blanket for a door cover. If you have the means , nothing beats a straw floor covering.
Dug this out yesterday.
This is from a few years back.
snow house
distinguished member(4104)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberpower member
02/26/2019 03:12AM
Make sure whatever pile of snow -- is properly set up and pressured down. If not by snow shoe with people on top -- give some time. Many dig out too soon. Let the snow set up. If it was blown there by a snow blower- give extra time. Been there- done it. The longer a pile sits- the better. After it's dug out- place a candle or two inside to harden the inside.

The sticks mentioned are crucial. Spent several nights in a quinchee that we thought was thick enough- only to have a cave in. TIME and prep is crucial.
distinguished member(552)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/26/2019 08:08AM
Arcola, neat trick with the use of sticks. Makes sense. I will give that a try. I don't think my neighbor will miss a branch from one of his trees.

WW. The pile has been sitting several days. I shoveled off the deck and used the snowblower on the patio on the 16th and then again on Saturday before the blizzard. I did not pack it down but it has been sitting for quite a while so I am hopeful that is sufficient (?). We began digging it out on Saturday (before the blizzard) but have not finished. Arcola is right, having a large opening to begin digging would be much easier than scrapping the inside out through a small hole. Lesson learnt!

More snow on the way so maybe I will add a west wing.


distinguished member(1346)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/26/2019 11:25AM
It's best to make the pile all in one go, rather than in several spaced out sessions. Sintering time of several hours is plenty - multiple days is overkill, and will make hollowing it out a lot of work. I'll disagree with using body weight to pack it down - that's too much, and will limit breathability. Smacking with the backside of the shovel is the most packing you need, but most of the work comes from the sintering. I'll also disagree with the candle for the same reason - you'll get a layer of ice that blocks airflow through the snow. Yes, do punch a small hole or two as well, but you should get a lot of breathing right through the walls. Typically the way I've done it is to either start making the pile early in the morning, take a 3-4 hour break for a ski/snowshoe outing and lunch, and hollow out in the afternoon/evening, or pile one day and hollow the next. You want a consistent wall, not boundaries between layers. While piling, grab snow from different areas and different depths, and throw some shovelfuls on upside-down and others straight - you want to mix different temperatures and consistencies of snow together. When digging, remember to dig UP. You don't want to dig IN all the way to the other side before you start going up, because you'll have way too much weight above you - you need to go up and clear the whole height as you work your way across. A shovel with a short handle is needed - a collapsible one for ice fishing or backcountry skiing works well. If you have a sled, you can slide that in with you, fill it up, then haul a whole load out at once. Use a trowel for finishing touches to smooth out the wall, so any melting rolls all the way down the wall rather than dripping on you. If you can, try to leave the floor slightly elevated from the door opening - you'll be a smidge warmer that way.
distinguished member (248)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/26/2019 08:16PM
Bare in mind that Igloo walls are only about 6" thick; yes, its drifted snow and usually much colder , but the point is that not much more than that is needed to insulate you,and if you do have a cave-in you can just stand up an say"Aw CRAP!" I hope your picks aren't of the complete project digging wise. Thinner walls are in order. ;)
distinguished member(552)distinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished memberdistinguished member
02/28/2019 08:40AM
Nope, those pix were just at the start. Work has been bothersome this week and kept me from finishing. Maybe tonight...
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