6: Struts, Nuts and Bolts – breaking it down to build it up

So say you actually wanted to build a wooden dome for habitation, and not just a chicken coop or plastic wrapped greenhouse – what are the materials you would need? Having worked as a carpenter building houses, I have fortunately participated in building from the ground up – from marking out a site/creating profiles, excavation of foundations, laying a floor, building/construction walls doors stairs, cladding all the way to lock up and finishing.  All while working in amongst the associated plumbing and electrical trades.

In terms of a wooden geodesic dome using the strut and hub method (see pictures here for the “doghead” strut/hub attachment method as pioneered and designed by Patrick Martin, though the upper hubs utilized a much more cut-out-shape-fitting round metal plate instead of the very minimum requirement square metal plate seen here):


your almost exhaustive shopping list looks something like this (note that lengths and amounts are not included as this is a universal list that will be individuated by exact specificity):

* antcapping

* hoop iron for riser walls

* nails, screws and other fixings

* dampcourse/alligator skin

* flashing

* plywood and/or corrugated iron

* gyprock/plaster/architraves

* bolts/nuts/washers

* thick wire

* timber (90×45 mm)

* insulation bats

* blue paper (insulating paper)

* windows/doors

* hinges for doors and opening panels/windows

* metal disc plates for hubs

* 1 x concrete slab 😉

* chemset bolts/dyna bolts/concrete nails

Beyond this are the materials required by the plumbers and electricians. It should be noted that the strut and hub method in wood provides an excellent cavity for electrical conduit and insulation bats, as you can see in this picture where the interior walls were never attached (plus you get to see a picture of the second story and the beautiful light pouring in from the raised flat roof/floor the cupola sits on):



though I do have an appreciation for external utility access (rather than internal, inside the wall cavity), I’m sure that unless such external conduits were very well integrated into the décor they would leave a lot to be desired in terms of aesthetics and interior design…

Plumbing likewise can, depending on the thickness of the struts, be accommodated by this cavity.


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