Igloo with blocks from a mould.

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Rabbit leg

Forager
Nov 9, 2016
114
53
UK and world
Hello All,

I have been in the French Alps for the last couple of months. I have made a few quinzhees and trenches and slept in them. But as a variation, I would like to make an igloo.

I know they are made from blocks of compressed snow. But that sort of snow is not around here. Maybe on the Massif Central plateau, which is open and wind swept.
Compressing the snow with snowshoes does not get good results.

I am going to make one using a tub or box as a brick mold.
Just want to ask if anyone has done it this way and any tips? Brick/mold size etc.

Cheers.
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,868
1,927
S. Lanarkshire
No, but years ago Jon R made an igloo from snow he'd scraped up from all over his garden. Gathering it up and thumping it into a pile with a shovel seemed to have compressed it fairly usefully. If I mind correctly, he just cut chunks out of his pile of snow.

I know there's a thread somewhere.
The photos are probably long gone, but Jon has a website and he might have them there :dunno:

I'll find a link to the thread.

M
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,665
1,626
McBride, BC
When snow stops moving, it can and will set up like cement.
That is exactly what happens at the end of an avalanche.
It refreezes and compresses/out gases as it settles.

Inuit have 10-12 different words for snow qualities, I don't know more than 5 or 6 of those.
Even where I live, wind-drifted snow is so hard you can't poke a hole in it with your thumb.
Need a shovel and/or a snow knife.

Build a frame. Cover it with a builder's tarpaulin. Shovel 60cm snow onto it
Let it settle and knit together. Maybe a couple of days. Carefully pull the frame and tarp out.
Not an igloolik but good shelter. If you cook a little in it, you can melt and refreeze the inner
surface to make it stronger.
 

Rabbit leg

Forager
Nov 9, 2016
114
53
UK and world
I tried making an igloo years ago but never succeeded. Building a snow mound is not an igloo but a quinzhee. Big difference.

But then I found an igloo made by some children. They had made it out of snow balls. Childrens' hand size. It was only big enough to sit in. But I felt a bit stupid, as I thought it wasn't possible with the amount and type of snow available.

I don't want to make a quinzhee igloo cross breed. But a real igloo out of blocks. I know the snow in this area, and the UK, will never be right. But compression in a tub should work.

Being a purist won't work. I am not in the wind swept artic tundra. A tub or mold that makes bricks is the only way to go.
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,868
1,927
S. Lanarkshire
I think the practicalities of making dozens of blocks is going to be an awful lot more work than simply cutting them out from a well thumped snow mound though.

M
 

Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,262
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
If the snow is well below freezing ( 0C) it does not compress well, it tends to stay loose and powdery.
Windblown/compressed snow should be firm enough to be able to be cut.

Compressing into moulds sounds like hard work....
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,665
1,626
McBride, BC
Disturbed snow doesn't behave like that = never stays light and fluffy. Drifts are hard and it isn't the loss of air in packing.
Doesn't matter if it's an avalanche, the village plowing the street or shovelling snow into a tub.
The microscopic melting at, say, -10C, chills and refreezes when the disturbance stops.
Give it 30 minutes to "set up" and it will. Cut it up in pieces.
It takes longer to see the effect, the lower the temperature goes.

Watch the SAR people searching for Pieps signal or with probes on top of a stopped avalanche.
That snow sure was the lightest and fluffiest, running at 100kph down the mountain, agreed?
Then it flowed to a stop. Then what happened? It literally froze up.

That's why uou did snow pits to check conditions. The natural refreezing isn't uniform.
You get strong layers and weak layers of refreezing.
Then some fool traverses a slope, cuts a big slab that breaks on a weak layer and away they go!
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
35,868
1,927
S. Lanarkshire
I know a couple of Americans who write mold for the fungus and mould for the shaping, though.

Actually, that kind of makes sense, even to a Brit.

M
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,665
1,626
McBride, BC
Igloolik are quite dark inside. Inuit use either fish skin or ice for a window to allow some light.
Ironically, they will get 6+ weeks total night in winter!
Can you make a piece of ice, tub size, for some light?

I have a soapstone carving of a family, dogs, sled and igloolik. The window is inset a little,
maybe just so it shows differently in the carving.
 

Robson Valley

Full Member
Nov 24, 2014
8,665
1,626
McBride, BC
Have you made a snow knife? The blocks have to be trimmed as you go up in the spiral.
We all seem to be suffering from a shortage of whale ribs so your choice of wood or old saw blade
Is as good as it gets in the deep south. Google the online "UBC/MOA collection" = snow knife to get some ideas.

South? 53N? Do I need to spell it Soth? Why not?
How about 53 Nourth? I'm too moldy for my Basidiomycetes.
 
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Janne

Guest
Feb 10, 2016
12,368
2,262
Grand Cayman, Norway, Sweden
Of course you Canadians can change the spelling, as the USAmericans are doing it!
Create a Canadish language!

(Jamaicans have an English based patois. Not a written language yet. Soon come, bobo!)

Nourth. Will that upset Kanye and Kim or what!
 

Fishawk

New Member
Feb 22, 2018
1
0
58
Ontario Canada
Hello All,

I have been in the French Alps for the last couple of months. I have made a few quinzhees and trenches and slept in them. But as a variation, I would like to make an igloo.

I know they are made from blocks of compressed snow. But that sort of snow is not around here. Maybe on the Massif Central plateau, which is open and wind swept.
Compressing the snow with snowshoes does not get good results.

I am going to make one using a tub or box as a brick mold.
Just want to ask if anyone has done it this way and any tips? Brick/mold size etc.

Cheers.
Take the blocks from the floor area of your igloo