After the success of the car tyre foundation volunteer day in June, this past weekend saw the construction of the carpentry elements for the straw bale walls. On Saturday and Sunday our talented members Andy Gill and Ben Hughes transformed a pile of timber into the bale tray and top plate for the walls.
The bale tray is basically a sheet of timber cut to the width of the straw bale wall with 4×2 timber rails fixed along either side, creating the tray, and perpendicular noggins fixed from one side of the tray to the other. The tray is then laid out on top of the car tyre foundation along the full perimeter of the building. The purpose of the noggins is to give strength to the tray and to locate the hazel stakes with two noggins per bale. When the walls are built the bottom layer of bales are placed on top of the tray with the hazel going through the bale to prevent movement in the wall.
The top plate is very similar to the bale tray, in fact we used the tray as a template, with the exception that it is more of a box than a tray with the 4×2 timber rails sandwiched between the bale-wide sheets.
Andy and Ben worked tirelessly over the weekend and we really appreciate their efforts.
Now that these two timber elements have been built our next stage is to build the walls. The process is to lay out the bale tray on top of the car tyre foundation, build up the walls with the straw bales (with hazel stakes inserted into each bale to make sure everything stays straight) and then after the seventh and final layer of bales the top plate is placed on top. Straps and ratchets are then used, going under the tray and over the top plate, to compress the bales and create a stiff wall.
In September we will be building the straw bale walls once this year’s bales have been harvested. Once the walls are complete we will be looking to build the roof and lime render the outside as soon as possible to protect the bales from wet weather. September is shaping up to be a very busy month and we will need lots of willing helpers! Please let us know if you are interested in getting involved with the build in the comments section below or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org Everyone welcome