Friday, November 30, 2012

Why aren't Timbrel Vault people like Linux Users?

 Why aren't Timbrel Vault people like Linux Users?

Say what?

A bit of background so this question becomes clear to the reader.  In my past life I managed a bunch of  network equipment, mostly Linux servers.  Not a handful, I mean like 50 of them. 

I started to install and learn Linux before there was Internet in my town.  In fact I needed to get a Linux server (  and a Cisco router) running before my town could have Internet.  It is a long long story,  suffice it to say that someone helped me in an email get going,  and then once a Linux server running I then had access to tons of discussions and FAQs about issues I was having with Linux and presto the question was already asked and answered about umpteen times.

  That started in 1997, and by 2000 I was hiring young people to help me manage the servers at the ISP and the 50 servers at clients premises.  During the interview a key question was, "what do you do if you are faced with an error or something is not working on one of your servers?"  Of course the answer is " I would google the error".   If you could google and read you could install and fix anything.  People were enormously helpful without thinking about charging.

I benefited , and yes I also participated, from this incredibly helpful community.  If I needed to setup a new service, say squid caching server, there were many HOWTOs and then when I was stuck on something, the same question was answered already, or someone or even crowds of hackers would come to my rescue.   it might even be one of the key people who made the particular software or application.  To this day I am amazed how helpful the Linux community is to one another.  It happens with Cisco users and other groups but not to the same extent.  Linux users will spend considerable time making step by step instructions, share the results, and refine them. 

So now back to building vaults. 

As you may have noticed I became interested in masonry vaults and domes a few years ago.  I started with domes where there are many masons in my locality with that skill.  I moved to Nubian vaults where there are some websites, to brick vaulted explained somewhat by auroville.  Eventually I have come to timbrel vaults where I looked at pictures on other vaults.

These sites were helpful in a passive sense.

But unlike the Linux world no one takes the time to make a step by step process and leaves allot for the newbie vaulter to work out himself.  Or at least I have not found details on timbrel vaulting.  And if you ask a question on email , well I have never received a reply.

Contractor Talk moves in that direction, but not with vaults.  Maybe the the pool of vaulters is too small?  Dry Wall builders are much more helpful and document much more.


  1. I wouldn't say it is unwillingness to help with vault building, but a general lack of experience and/ or knowledge. I have never personally met a stonemason that has built complex structures like ribbed cross vaults or timbrel arches. Why? Because modern building has made it obsolete and we are busy trying to make a living, so projects like these are limited to personal ones or for very unique clients. I would love to be able to find a vault building bible or close to it...since working with an expert vault builder is nor an option. But for now, I'm limited to Google, forums and trial and error just like you.

  2. First off, this website is great. It's not perfect, but you're documenting things that few other people seem to be. I'm finding a lot of vault (Bóveda catalana) info on youtube in Spanish, at least in the form of watching these guys build. The staircases (escaleras) these guys are building are structurally amazing.

    Open Source Ecology (Marcin Jakubowski) is trying to bring the linux ethic of documentation and a constant pool of support to the building and industrial trades.