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How to Build a Super Top Secret Bunker under Your House. The Prelude...

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EDIT: 07082012  Finally gonna finish it up in next few weeks....
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNjWVOXnyQ8

Another vid!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZXMuDMzRSE 

When I built the house I just spent 7 years working on, I had a lot of days that were just plane monotonous, so I would daydream about the Next Great Project as soon as I finished the house...

If you're OCD you know exactly what I am speaking about.

Perhaps it was watching too many reruns of Stollag 17...

Maybe it was all the Underground cabins we built as kids to have a cool place to hide out in the summer.

Truthfully though I just love to build things and when I designed the house I made the bottom level only half the size of the main floor and the other half is a crawlspace about 4 foot high.

Most of my plumbing and stuff runs around the floor joists down there so I wanted enough room to have access to everything but I didn't want to build an eight foot wall, It took me 7 weeks to do the block for the garage workshop and storage room so saving 4 feet of wall seemed like a good idea.

Looking back if I really intended to do this and had the wife's permission I could have saved a lot of bother by doing this first and I wouldn't have to worry about the house falling on my if I dug out too much from below it.

I didn't leave any vents to the outside mostly cause of wanting to be energy efficient and not have a cold room under one above I was trying to heat in winter. I did talk to the building inspector about this and convinced him I could put a gable vent fan on a timer at each end one blowing in and the other blowing out to ensure a good change of air so it never mildews. I intentionally made it to push air into my workshop and draw replacement air under the house at the far end of the garage. This way in the winter when I am using the wood burner if I am working on something I can open the duct to the workshop and close the damper and the heat travels in a big circle across the garage into the crawlspace and then back into the workshop to circulate the heat so I can work on something midwinter if it is 40 out with a t-shirt on.

I got lost in a Blizzard when I was abut 20 for 23 hours and was 31 miles from where we parked when found, so I don't do cold anymore...

When I laid out the supports to the crawlspace I left a wider gap between two of the columns supporting a beam since the crawlspace is 20 foot wide and I didn't want to pay to special order 20 foot 2 by 12's and I just happened to have gotten a deal on a couple 40 foot beams delivered by accident to my house and unloaded before we discovered they loaded the wrong ones and were two thin to support the bottom garage ceiling. They sold me them to me at cost when they delivered the proper beams a few days later because it would have cost them money to rent a piece of equipment to lift them back on the truck.

I also filled the back of the bottom garage wall wide enough for a ten foot door and didn't put any rebar in that section. All the rest of the bottom level block has rebar in ever other hole and is filled to the top with concrete instead of just every 4 feet as code calls for. I will be able to saw this opening or get some of that ACME black paint they use to make tunnels and then start digging with a bobcat and dumping the dirt on the slope behind the pool so its not as steep a grade since I use a push mower for the exercise.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/senseless_/sets/72157600030895157/

Related Instructable's

http://www.instructables.com/id/One-Method-of-Removing-Soils-from-the-Top-Secret-B/

http://www.instructables.com/id/The-Super-Top-Secret-Bunker-Project-Video/
 
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thepelton3 years ago
I just finished reading "The Tunnels of Cu Chi" about a labyrinth of tunnels in the area northeast of Saigon used during the Vietnam war. It appears that two things you would have to be sure of before beginning your little postapocalyptic hideout are the consistency of the soil, (the Cu Chi soil was hard enough to withstand tunnelling), and the other thing is the water level (the water level was sea level, (Cu Chi area was high enough it didn't seep in.) Otherwise, you would need to pump constantly, which would use up a lot of power. In some places, like suburban District of Columbia, the water level is about three inches down.
Senseless (author)  thepelton3 years ago
I actually started with a test shaft about 7 by 10 and went down into the clay and lined it with concrete I carried in 80 pounds at a time and telescoped it as I went down. When I had about a 14 foot hole I shot a piece of 2 inch pipe down using water and watched until I hit the water table and so I could see where the seam of clay ended since it's very water impermiable fortunately and appears to be 22 feet thick. When I built the house about I put an I Beam in the footer where the shaft is located and made it thicker and wider so I could tunnel under it and for now I have a simple tornadoe shelter that is dry year round. The clay works as an underground dam and I actually pulled a siphon up the hill from the lake and ran it into the bottom of the pit to get an idea of how much lower I was which was maybe 4 or 5 feet so eventually I should be able to make a bigger version and keep 8 feet of clay between me and the water so I don't need to worry about sump pumps as you mentioned.
One other useable thing that I got from that book was that the Vietcong made an occaisional room with a conical cieling. This worked like a megaphone to amplify sound going through the ground. You'd be able to know if someone was outside, looking for you, or if someone was driving over your hideout.
Senseless (author)  thepelton3 years ago
I wonder how they supported it? I know a dome is strong but only if it has a solid arch in all directions from the top and with just dirt or clay I'd be nervous to be stuck there listening... I bet they used Bamboo in places. I need to read that book thanks.
You'd just need to "tank" it to be watertight which is installing a waterproof membrane on the walls. Then you just have to be careful not to puncture the membrane. There is a guy in the UK who "tanked" his basement... http://www.practicalfishkeeping.co.uk/content.php?sid=2951
Senseless (author)  stiggle3 years ago
The only water problem I have is the five feet of sand sloping from the road to the lake sitting on top of the 22 foot seam of clay. Essentially I just need to grout around the shaft with portland cement a foot or two higher than the clay so the water just flows around me instead of dropping into the pit I dug in the clay which then filled with sand. It would be cool though to tank part of it and raise Bass I can get from the lake since I love fish and could fatten them up on corn or something and without predetors like catfish I could end up with a slew of them to share.
kingme4311 year ago
Hey, have you considered entering this into the redneck contest??
Not sure if its quite redneck but its not done by a professional and definitely cool so...
Senseless (author)  kingme43116 days ago

Got an url? sorry life has kept me busy and I haven't been here for a long while.

I love this. When we can buy a place, maybe we can do something like this also. And if you're using more power suddenly, the utility company will report it as they think you're growing weed. Digging under a house would also lead them to believe you're growing weed. LOL
bachterman1 year ago
talk about minecraft in real life!
thumole3 years ago
I used wood. I'll explane later.
I dug straight down for 18 ft. Then dug a 12X10 ft room with an 8ft celing.
For the guy who thinks you need lead to shield from radiation. Not so!
I'm an engineer having worked on Nuclear projects.
All you need is a good filter to keep out radio active dust, "that is what nuclear fall out is" you only have to worry about Gamma radiation.
A cinder block building will protect you from Gamma if you double them up.
I would if building above ground make a wall of cinder blocks with the holes filled with
either concrete or packed earth.
Then I would build another around this wall with about 20 inches of space and then fill the space with either concrete or packed earth.
Build for strength and build the roof with a layer of 2X12 inch cinder blocks. Some earth of approximately 20 inches then another layer of 2 inch cinder blocks.
Other than life support, "mostly filtered air" you are safe from radiation with this.
I went underground due to paranoia.
My hole is under my deck which is at my dining room level.
Below my dining room is a utility room that is the same size as the slab.
Extending out from my dining room door is a deck. There is a stair way up to the deck as the back entrance to the house.
The deck then extends all the way around the house.
Under the deck just exactly under my kitchen door is where I sunk the 36X36 inch hole.
The shape of the slab is not square. One side is slightly longer than the other.
The house is sided up from the slabe and the area where I have my hole is in the corner created by the long side of the slab and the short side. It just happens to be the slab is actually 42 inches shorter at one point. That is where I dug down. That made it easy to wall my hole in under the deck maiking it look as if the slab is square.
In side my utility room I have storage shelves along the wall that is the short part of the slab. I have redesigned the shelves so one of them is actually a live storage area. We store light stuff there, "cerial, rice, dryed milk etc." That shelf is actually movable as a hidden door to the top of my shaft.
I have storage for more than a year if I had to stay there 24 hours a day.
That includes my wife, ten cats and two dogs.
I have a way to dispose of the cat littter and other nasty stuff.
I have a filtered air system, including hand pumped back up system.
I have a "geiger/muler" tube monitoring system with one in my shelter and one exteded to the surface. The one on the surface is disguised.
I have an almost endless supply of water. I also have filters for incoming water if necessary to remove sediment that may be radioactive.
If biological I have CO2 absorbers and a large supply of pure O2 and monitors to know how much O2 to add as well as the level of CO2 in case I need to manually pump the air. I also have quite a bit of clean nitrogen to replace any lost over time.
My blend is nitrogen and O2.
I'll elaborate on the "how to" on digging this without getting burried, later.
Dig baby dig!
It's coming.
Not if but when. O
bama is putting the push on to destroy this country as fast as possible with his friends.
It is the absolute gole of the Progerssive, Communsts etc.
When it comes, I'm gonna be a casuality but the cost, "if I have my way about it" will be very very high.
I'm still digging, "expanding in sq ft." Off one conrner I'm digging a long tunnerl,
75' to another area for an emergency exit.
The shaft for the exit on this will only go up to about 3 ft below the surface and will be dug with renforcement on the way up.
It will only be completed if I need to dig my way out!
Thu Mole!
Wow, are you in a survivalist club? The first thing to go woukd be the ten cats,they would have to live outside and kill rodents. Keep rotating your stock,
Senseless (author)  thumole1 year ago
Dang!

You've got me beat by a mile!
jgarza2 thumole2 years ago
We are thinking very much alike! The 75' E-scape with 3' undug left for that time.I also thought leaving ammunitions at the end. I have a perfect place for digging starting under the house, I purchased 5 acres on a hill having 360 deg. view, yet the hill is alabama red clay. A very tough soil yet i couldn't ask for better. I am starting the dig this weekend. I am an electrician and have the supplies for a battery bank and wind and pedal generated supply for the bunker using all LED's for some light. Thanks for your ideas and good will to you!
tinker2342 years ago
bye anychance does some one know how to make a airtight seal
use blue-skin or poly plastic sheating and tuck tape or acoustical sealant
Tonyraye1 year ago
I have been thinking about this article for two years since I have first read it. I have always loved the idea of an "underground mancave". When I was young I used to travel through sewage systems and local caves (they were probably no more than medium size holes in the ground, but seemed much larger back then). I am now in a position to build my mancave. I bought a house near the beach in Australia and want to build a new home on the land. Once that is done I will not have the access for machinery to dig etc that I have now. So I have to build a mancave BEFORE I build the house. The trouble is I want to build a workshop over the top of it. I live in a very sandy area and have considered cinder blocks, rammed earth walls and other building techniques, but I'm not an engineer and am worried about the pressure on the underground wals created by the sand once I have backfilled and the weight (and possible collapse) of a concrete foundation on top of the structure. I thought about using cinder blocks filled with rebar and concrete every 10 inches with timber beams going across. The structure underneath will be about 30 feet by 15 wide and the workshop on top will be about 50 feet by 23 feet wide. I wanted to make a ladder and have the entrance through the workshop floor somewhere so I can have a safe place to go in case of a zombie apocalypse or land invasion by the evil dolphins! Any suggestions as to how I can ensure the structural integrity of my mancave?
chuckw683 years ago
It rubs the lotion on its skin or else it gets the hose again.
Senseless (author)  chuckw681 year ago
LOL I knew someone would leave that comment!

Haven't looked in here in ages...
I love that movie!
Senseless (author)  leoishungry3 years ago
Yeah me to but I swear I'm not some wacko serial killer promise LOL. The name came because my wife said my projects were just senseless so I have a catch all business in that name Senseless Ventures since I tend to do lots of different types of work. It really saves on business cards LOL.
Senseless (author)  chuckw683 years ago
Bwahahhahahhaha! Dang I've even got a fire hose LOL.
im assuming that your house is in between 1200 and 2500 square feet, i also noticed that you rented a tractor backhoe, i work for an excavating company and it would have been cheaper to rent a full sized excavator, for the given size of the crawl space it could have been finished in two to four hours at 110 dollars an hour CAD. thats just my two bits.
Senseless (author)  Jordan Dyck1 year ago
You're absolutely right!

If I wasn't married I would have just done this first off for practically nothing time wise. I can rent most anything I need and yeah a loader would have been good but I needed the stinger to dig in a few spot.

The main floor is actually about 4200 square feet, the bottom floor is a workshop garage and office with full bath I am gonna finish as a bedroom and just relocate down there when we have hurricanes.

I used a big loader, can't remember how many yard bucket it was, to clear the roads on my tree farm and I agree I could have dug the hole for the house in a couple hours but like I said I needed to do some backhoeing to and it was cheaper to just rent one and spend more time than rent both for the weekend.
sk8rforlife3 years ago
im not trying to be mean but why did you make a top secret bunker?
Why wouldn't one make a secret bunker if it's possible?
Senseless (author)  sk8rforlife3 years ago
I tagged it top secret as a joke... I wouldn't plaster it on the the net if I really wanted it to be secret LOL but I did work on it for four months before my wife finally caught me.... Even the EMS knows it's here I live in a small town and I know the Paramedics and volonteer fire department guys pretty well and given them tours. The entire bottom floor above it it a safe place to duck and hide if a hurricane turns at the last minute everyone on my street knows I'd have the back door unlocked and to just let themselves in. This whole project is mostly for fun but then again building the house above was fun to. Peace and no offense taken oh and geez now that I have my glasses and can really see the your question... I live about 30 miles from the Gulf of Mexico and my wife is an invalid and too ill for me to evacuate so I'm well prepared even just with the bottom level being under ground and the bunker itself was a test to see exactly how deep I can go without hitting the ground water so I can build a larger sinpler one that I can just enter through a door at the back of the bottom garage and get my wife inside quick in case we get a tornadoe. I tend to over build things and maybe I planned too much but I'd rather be prepared and never have to use it than get caught off guard.
octollama2 years ago
It would be so cool to have a secret bunker under my house
maxsil2 years ago
Wow, you'll probably be the safest person on earth during a zombie apokaplypse
dildo693 years ago
Did not understand what this project is. Want my nickel back
pigsnfish3 years ago
I've ALWAYS wanted a hidden, underground bunker. As for verbiage...you made me laugh and smile and believe that I could do this as well. It's a very detailed instructable, and I think that with your instructions, I could make a reinforced hole in the ground, too. Unfortunately, I get all the great ideas, but don't have skills with electric/mechanical tools. When I approach my husband with my grand ideas, he looks at me, his eyes glaze over and his jaw goes slack. I'm thinking I might just have to start secretly digging a hole (and I have the perfect spot) and when it's mostly dug out, I can employ his help. I think that it's wonderful that you'll be able to save yourself and your wife if you have to thanks to your bunker.
Robert5953 years ago
Love the project, but wish that it was summarized with less detail as to what type of wood your floors are made out of, and more of what you did for THIS project. Also mentioning accidents that happened in your life just distracts from the reading, but its still a GREAT idea.
Senseless (author)  Robert5953 years ago
I was still in La La land when I made this one LOL.

The left side of your head which I crushed deals with talking and I used to obviously really ramble for the first couple years after the wreck not that I don't now...
mcaliber.503 years ago
now i want to make one. but if i do, i'm lining the outside with lead. keep the radiation out.
:.( I always wanted to build things but I never able... never figured out why...
Senseless (author)  HisDivineShadow3 years ago
Also watch people work and if you can do it without slowing them up ask questions. That's how I learned most of my skills. I was five when I moved to a new development and there were only ten houses up so I got to spend my summers watching them being built and my first underground refuges were made from digging a hole and rolling logs over it then shoveling the dirt back over them then always had a cool place to hang out in the summers.
The only problem is that I live in the suburbs of a small town in North central Texas, and there isint much land to be bought to build/dig on...
Thanks man!

Soon as I get free time I'll try something...
Senseless (author)  HisDivineShadow3 years ago
Never hurts to try. Start simple and small and Instructables has instructions for a zillion things you can build.
Now i know what i'm doing this summer!!!!
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