As you can see from the photo above all the straw bales are finally in place and covered in plastic to protect it from the unusual weather we have been having, it isn’t meant to rain here in September!
As you can see each bale is tied tight to the bale beneath it, this creates a strong stable wall. Each bale gets compressed down on to the bale beneath it. The string is connected to the cross beam at the top and the upright posts by hooks, it is now impossible for the bale walls to move.
This unorthodox method of bale attachment using string has many advantages, the first is that it easy for a one man operation, no lifting bales on to rebar, or problems with rebar when you get to the top of the wall under the roof.
As the wall goes up it is stable, one can lean ladders on it and climb all over it.
It compresses the bales one by one, the importance of this is lost on my extension that is post and beam connected to a stone cottage at one wall, but for a complete straw bale construction of at least four walls I would think using string as I have done would make the solid base for the roof as in the ‘Nebraska’ style load bearing walls system of building bale houses. There being no necessity for the post and beams holding up the roof.
The next job is plastering the outside and cobbing in the top where the roof meets the wall. An extra straw cob mix will bridge the gap between the top of
the bale wall and the underside of the roof.
I am in the middle of experimenting how to do the plastering.
Above is an image of a clay earth, sand and chopped straw mix, put on by hand and then with my thumb pushed right into the bales (hence the holes) to key it in.
On top of this will go another mix of the same but slightly smoother, without the holes, on top of that will go a thin layer of lime plaster which will then be lime washed.
To be continued