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Workshop Update

The Straw Bale walls so far…

It has been some time since the main wall construction was completed, but I see that the last blog post on it shows it in early stages, so lets have a little update. We were not able to properly render finish the wall last year because of the cold weather –  both clay and lime render, don’t like the frost, but now spring is here we can finally finish them off. That’s what we are doing right now, but I am getting ahead of myself, before we start blogging about the clay plastering process, here’s just a quick review of the workshop walls and doors…

When we had all the bales in place, the walls were pre-compressed with heavy duty (5 tonne) ratchet straps. This is an important step before rendering: without it the weight of the render being applied to the walls compresses the straw a lot. The hard undercoats of clay will then delaminate (crack off) from the straw as it moves. Similarly, without pre-compression the windows and doors could not be fitted in the right place!

The ratchet straps were left in tension for a few weeks, and the top plate movement recorded. Once it had settled, the top plate was fixed in position by anchoring it to the vertical timbers (which are also attached to the bottom plate). With a bit of tidying up, straw trimming and the like, the bales themselves we will be ready to render. Now to fill some of the holes…

Windows and doors

These first windows were beautifully simple to fit (but then that part of the bale wall was designed and dimensioned specially for them). They are reclaimed windows that were carefully removed by their former owner – they are timber framed and have high spec double glazed units. They didn’t even need repainting :) Thanks James!

The next one involved making up the frame for an existing sealed unit we scavenged. The frame was reclaimed timber, believed to be sapele, which needed a fair bit of work. You can just about see some old mortice holes in odd parts of the frame – all adds character ;)

A reclaimed door is tidied up, given a new handle and lock, and a frame made and fitted to the bale wall.

We made the frame with channels to accept some of the left over sealing gasket used on the composite french oak doors. It makes for a reasonably well sealing hole…

Then there was the BIG sliding door. That’s so exciting and big I’m going to leave it for a blog post of its own, but here’s a little sneak peak of some bits involved.

That’s all for now. Next up, muddy clay play time.

Responses to Workshop Update

  1. tom

    Incredible! Living the dream :)

    Can’t wait to see it finished.

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