After the baling was done, we shaped the walls using a large weed whacker for rough shaping and the Lancelot for fine detail shaping. Having the bale walls fairly smooth and plumb will make the plastering much easier later on.
It’s possible to achieve beautiful finish plaster on top of undulating bale walls, but it is a lot more work and uses a lot more plaster, which involves extra labour and cost. No one wants that. It’s much better to take the time to even out rough spots on the wall at this stage. Continue reading Exterior Clay Slip
The placement heights of windows can be determined ahead of time in the design of the plans, although the nature of bale building means that the most efficient height placement of windows follows the heights of courses (rows) of bales. This way, fewer labour-intensive custom sized bales need to be made.
If you know ahead of time the size of the straw bales you will be using, this can be factored into the design plans. But if bales are sourced after plans are drawn and end up being a different height, slight adjustments in window heights may be useful to ensure a faster baling process. Continue reading Window Buck Placement
The advantage of this natural building system really comes into focus as we look at the dynamic of thermal mass plus thermal insulation, as compared to rating the R-value alone. Continue reading EcoNest – Clay/Fibre Walls
Once the first two feet of wall has been packed with clay/fibre mixture, the next two feet of interior forms are attached to the wall framing. As each lower level of wall hardens, the interior forms are “leap frogged” up the wall to create the upper form work. Continue reading EcoNest – Leap Frogging the Forms
The clay/fibre mixture is packed into wooden forms made up of plywood attached to the Larsen Truss system. Whether the mixture is packed loosely or tamped firmly depends on the type of fibre (straw or wood chip) used in the mixture. Continue reading EcoNest – Form Work
After the corner trusses and the window bucks are positioned and braced, the rest of the walls are framed with a Larsen Truss every 2 feet on centre. A window buck is also shown lying flat on the subfloor, ready to be lifted into place on another wall. Continue reading EcoNest – Wall Framing
In July, Tim attended a workshop to learn the EcoNest style of clay/fibre building. The thick walls made of clay, straw, and wood chips offer an excellent combination of insulation and thermal mass. Continue reading EcoNest – Larsen Truss
After the large gaps between the corners of the straw bales have been stuffing with dry straw, the walls need to be stuffed with light clay straw and shaped with a lancelot tool to create a relatively flat surface on which to apply the plaster. Continue reading Light Clay Straw Stuffing
Rather than laboriously tossing clay slip with straw by hand to make light clay straw for finishing the stuffing of the bale walls, we used this mixer to speed up the process. We could mix large batches of light clay straw in a short amount of time as well as maintain a consistent amount of clay and moisture on the straw. Continue reading Light Clay Straw Mixer