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Workshop Schedule 2018

Our complete list of workshops for 2018 is now online. It’s an exciting line-up of old favourites and new offerings.

You can access the full workshop list HERE…

Construction Skills for Women course

This workshop is held over four weekends: 
June 9-10 
& June 23-24 & July 14-15 & July 28-29

Endeavour is excited to introduce a new Construction Skills for Women workshop in 2018!

If you’ve ever wanted to be a bad-ass builder, our Construction Skills for Women workshop is your chance! This workshop involves you in all the steps of framing and finishing a small building. You’ll measure, mark, cut and assemble floors, roofs, walls, doors, windows and siding… all in a supportive atmosphere with two experienced women carpenters to lead and direct you.

Find the program details HERE…

Sustainable Renovations Course

May 7 – September 28

Endeavour’s Sustainable Renovations course is a unique, full time, hands-on sustainable building program that will put you at the forefront of the green renovations field.

You will find yourself at the centre of a renovation project that achieves the highest goals of green building:

Zero net energy use
– Zero embodied carbon
– Zero toxins
– Zero construction waste

You will work with teachers and practitioners who are leaders in the field and work with fellow participants who are motivated and enthusiastic.

It is a unique experience unlike any other construction program in the world!

Program details HERE…

Embodied carbon and carbon sequestration in buildings

Can buildings be an important part of the climate change solution?

The answer is Yes, and the key is using carbon sequestering materials instead of carbon-intensive materials.

Endeavour Centre director Chris Magwood is currently working on a Master’s thesis at Trent University’s Sustainability Studies program, examining the embodied carbon of building materials and the role of sequestration in drastically reducing the climate change impacts of our built environment.

On Tuesday, March 14th at 7pm, join Chris and hosts Fourth Pig Worker’s Coop, Eco-Building Resource and Green Community Hub at the Shacklands Brewing Company in Toronto to see the results of this research to date and learn more about turning our buildings into carbon sinks!

The event is free, and discussion time and beer will follow the presentation!

embodied carbon of building materials

May 2015 Workshops

We’ve got a great line-up of workshops for the month of May! From planning for your own build or renovation to putting on the finishing touches, there’s something for everybody this month! Find details here.

The Art and Science of Natural Plaster DVD Now Available

The Art and Science of Natural Plaster is a 140-minute DVD created to help homeowners figure out how to use natural plasters on their own projects, created and narrated by Chris Magwood of Endeavour Centre. Speaking of homeowners, cedar management group’s association is included in the mooresville top hoa management list. Their service includes reliable solutions for commercial and residential properties in North and South Carolina so if you’re interested, visit their website. The DVD is now available for purchase through PlasterScience.com in hard copy or online streaming formats.

Produced by Bart Glumineau, a graduate of Endeavour’s Sustainable New Construction program in 2013, and co-founder of PossibleMedia.org, creating original video content to share the stories of individuals and groups of people who are actively engaged in creating a better, more sustainable future.

The DVD covers base coat and finish coat mixes and applications that are suitable for a wide range of sustainable and conventional wall surfaces, from cob and straw bale to drywall. Chapters include:

  • Introduction to Plaster
  • Types of Plaster
  • Substrates and Substrate Preparation
  • Mixing
  • Tools and Trowels
  • Body Coat Application
  • Finish Coat Application
  • Paints, Washes and Sealants
  • Repair and Maintenance of Plasters

Much of the hands-on footage for the DVD was filmed at Endeavour’s 2014 project, a straw bale office building for the local teachers’ union.

We are excited to have some of our teaching and methodology presented in an accessible video format, and hope that the DVD inspires more people to take up natural plastering on new builds and renovation projects!

2015 Natural Building Workshop Schedule

Endeavour’s 2015 workshop schedule is our most extensive ever! Check out topics ranging from natural plastering to fundamentals of building science, earthen floors to straw bale construction… The link to our calendar is here, and from there you can jump to the details for each workshop.

2015 workshop list

Workshop survey for 2015

Endeavour tries hard to program workshops that are of value to those interested in sustainable building. This year, we’re looking for your help with our 2015 programming!

We’ve created a very short survey to give our readers input on the types, locations and costs of our workshops. We hope you’ll participate!

By filling out the survey, you’ll be entered into a draw to win an Endeavour workshop gift certificate.

You can find the survey here.

2014 Workshop Schedule

Our 2014 workshop schedule is now posted!

We’ve got some great fall workshops! Fundamentals of Building Science, Hempcrete, Straw bale building, plastering and more…

The Art of Tool Sharpening Workshop

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Instructor:
Peter Mack

EdgeCloseup00Sharp tools are essential to quality work, but the art of sharpening is becoming lost in a world of disposable items. This workshop will re-introduce the art of sharpening using basic and affordable sharpening equipment, applied to a wide range of tool types.

Participants will learn all about the kind of equipment needed to perform sharpening tasks, and will get a chance to practice sharpening skills on a different types of blades and tools. Participants are encouraged to bring their own equipment and tools and take advantage of the time and instruction to get your own tools sharp and ready for action.

Entry requirements:
Open to all

Fee:
$150
Includes healthy lunch (vegetarian and vegan options available)

Maximum class size: 12

The Art and Science of Natural Plaster

We’re funded!

Thanks to everybody who has helped us reach our fundraising target on Kickstarter! Whether you contributed directly or helped to spread the word, we couldn’t have done it without you…

We’re now excited to start work on the DVD project, collecting all of our experience with natural plasters in an educational and highly visual teaching medium!

The campaign runs until April 23, so there is still time to get involved. When you contribute now, you can earn all kinds of rewards that won’t be available if you wait until the DVD is ready…

We are running a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds to produce this DVD, and you can find our Kickstarter page here.

Jen Sculpting plaster

Jen Sculpting plaster

Supporting the Kickstarter campaign brings you plenty of rewards, including educational PDFs from Endeavour, as well as the opportunity to “pre-order” the DVD.

We look forward to producing this DVD, and hope you able to share our Kickstarter campaign and perhaps lend us your support!

Ontario Natural Building Coalition’s Annual Conference

On March 1 & 2, Camp Kawartha will once again host the Ontario Natural Building Coalition‘s annual conference and annual general meeting.

Ontario Natural Building Coalition conference

Attendees enjoy a session at the 2012 ONBC conference

This is a great opportunity to connect (or re-connect) with the remarkable community of natural builders in Ontario, plus plenty of guests from further afield. It is rare to have this many experienced natural builders in one place at one time, all of them revved up and ready to geek out about sustainable buildings and practices.

Special guest speakers this year include David Eisenberg, Jacob Deva Racusin, Dawn Smith, Tina Therrien and yours truly. Plus you’ll be able to see the great slideshow of projects completed over the past year by ONBC members (and present your own project, too!).

If you have any interest in natural building, this is one event you won’t want to miss!

Register online at the ONBC website.

Earth Floor Workshop Overview

Back in August, Endeavour was excited to present an earthen floor workshop with Sukita Reay Crimmel of Claylin. Sukita is a world leader in making modern clay floors, and she led a group of workshop participants in laying a floor at the home of Deirdre McGahern of Straworks.

This gallery gives a good overview of the process of making a clay floor and the workshop:

Earth floors have a come a long way over the past decade, and seeing the results of this workshop makes it obvious that clay floors are suitable in a wide variety of residential applications. We look forward to making many more!

If you’re interested in clay floors, check out Sukita’s new book, Earthen Floors: A Modern Approach to an Ancient Practice.

Low-tech glory: Straw and clay

A lot of the attention in a sustainable building goes to the high tech equipment and mechanical systems. But at the heart of a project like Canada’s Greenest Home are some wonderfully simple, low tech and extremely effective structural systems like our clay plastered straw bale walls.

The north wall bales are installed and ready for plastering. The wall studs at 34 inches on centre are visible between the bales.

Installing the straw bale walls on the north side of our building and coating them in clay plaster is a strategy that combines low cost with high performance, and provides a window to a building system that is competitive with current energy-intensive practices but is also feasible in a world with a lot less fossil fuels to expend. These are materials that are locally accessible in most settled regions of the world, and the fact that one can base a very energy efficient home on them gives hope for a future when other materials may be much costlier or no longer available to us.

We installed our bales into a double frame wall system that mimics conventional frame walls, but with the studs placed at 34 inches on centre. In doing so, we create “bays” in the wall that are sized to the length of our straw bales, making bale stacking and plaster preparation very simple and straightforward. Unlike post and beam frames, no notching or cutting of bales is required, nor are heavy beams at the top of the wall. It is a very simple, very cost-effective manner to build a bale wall, and one that many professional bale builders find themselves gravitating toward.

Once the bales are installed, we use a “two-part, one-coat” clay plastering system. A thin coat of a wet clay plaster (1 part clay to 3 parts sand) is rubbed into the surface of the bales to provide a strong key into the straw and an adhesion layer for the bulk coat that follows immediately. This adhesion coat goes on very quickly. The bulk coat is a mix of clay, sand and chopped straw (1 part clay, 1.5 parts sand, 3 parts chopped straw). The more clay plastering we do, the more chopped straw we’ve added to our plasters. The bulk coat resembles a mix between cob and light-clay straw. This coat has enough tensile strength from the chopped straw to be applied to the wall at almost any thickness, from as thin as 1/2 inch to as much as 3 or 4 inches. This allows us to make a straight wall out of a lumpy, bumpy bale wall in a single coat.

We find that this type of clay plastering is a great deal more beginner-friendly than lime or cement based plasters. The clay plaster can be applied by hand, and no trowels or tools are required to make a very straight, even and beautiful wall. To achieve the same results with other plasters would take several more coats and a lot of troweling practice.

This part of the work is also very social, very engaging and a lot of fun. Building a house while up to one’s elbows in mud is a real joy. The fact that we are making an airtight, highly insulated and long-lasting wall system only matters after we wash our hands and look back at the beautiful walls!

Straw Bale Construction in China and Ontario

December 1st Presentation

On Thursday, December 1st, we are excited to join the Ontario Straw Bale Building Coalition in sponsoring Three Presentations on Straw Bale Construction at Ryerson University, Room ARC 300E, 325 Church Street in Toronto. 7:30 pm

Shi Yi, Wang Li and Tong Yu from the China Academy of Building Research will present on their lab testing program for straw bale walls, and on their involvement in straw bale home building projects in villages around China.

Colin MacDougall from Queen’s University Department of Civil Engineering will present on the numerous testing programs he has conducted on straw bale wall systems and other natural building materials.

Chris Magwood from the Endeavour Centre will present on the state of straw bale construction in Ontario, including homes built by professional bale builders, owner-builders and students.

For those with an interest in straw bale construction, the evening will be a fascinating look at a wide variety of approaches to using straw bale walls and a glimpse at the scientific testing that has made bale buildings acceptable in Canada and China.

For more information, contact us.

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