"Before it was even finished the citizens of Ant Village were gathering and socializing on this new space, which is actually now the largest flat and level outdoor space on the entire lab. This becomes quite a commodity when the only place to sit is on the dirt, rocks, or pine cones of the forest floor."
Brian returned to Wheaton labs towing a load of new straw bales, so I was able to resume work on the straw bale wall. After to talking to Brian, I've decided to go about building the wall in a slightly different way, which should help simplify the process. Instead of custom shaping each bale to fit around the door beam and posts, I fit a few full bales in along with shortened bales with simple straight sides. The areas that are left to be filled in I will cover with metal lath and pack straw tightly into the cavity. The lower wall was pretty straight forward, with just a few short bales with straight sides to tie up and cut. I tied the bottom two courses of bales to the support logs using the wires w had attached to the dead men. The spaces between the window/door bucks and the upper beam just so happened to be barely wide enough to stuff a whole bale into, after a little persuasion. These bales were wire tied to the upper beam, although I don't think they are going anywhere without the ties, just to be sure. The upper triangle section was a little trickier, since I had to cut bales at an angle to fit under the roof. It took a couple tries to get the angle right, but I was able to stuff two nearly whole bales into the space and nearly fill it up. These bales are tied with wire to the upper beam as well, although again, I don't think they would move very easily considering how tightly stuffed in there they are. I got the wall mostly filled up in one day using the simple cuts, and then experimented with using the lath around the door beam. It seems to be working pretty well.
So I see you guys are using a car to mix cob! Does this help? Do you still have to mix it a little bit after the car runs over it a few times? Would you use this process again?
Location: Vancouver Island
posted 4 years ago
allen lumley wrote:- O.K., color me Stupid ! I see its presence, but that part was pretty well secured by the previous '' Buck'', and the installation, So was the Metal Lath
a case of Belt AND Suspenders, or does it have another Function ? Like a frame work to stabilize the Structural Cob and Lime Coat shell ?
I see at least two functions:
A) It allows extending the straw insulation over an area that bales will not fit. I suppose one could make custom bales for this area, but in this case I think they would be less effective as the ties would render some hollow areas that are filled in this case. I expect this will be continued up the post between door and window.
B) It is used for shaping/radiusing the corner.
C) It will help hold the shell and rendering.
Opps, thats three. I better stop now
Function stacking... note that the straw that fills the metal lath serves more than just as insulation as it supports the lath.
Looks like Cassie and Len already answered the questions for me. But yes, the lath is there primarily to hold the straw in place around the beam, and will continue up that beam and around all of the round pole. Conveniently, it also adds support to that rounded edge and will provide a nice stick to the cob layer, I hope. Ernie and Erica showed us how to custom cut the bales to fit around the posts and beams, but after spending a lot of time doing a bunch of complex ties and cutting the bales I ended up with some pretty weak shapes and an uneven edge around the beam. I would have likely needed to wrap it in something for support anyway, so the lath just makes the whole process faster and easier. I know a lot of people are following this but I hope they remember that this is my first time working with straw bales, and I am just learning as I go.
Cassie is right about the car being used to break up the cow patties. It kind of just pulverizes most of it, after which we soak it in water over night and then push it through a screen before going into the cob mix. If we don't break it up first we end up with big chunks that don't want to go through the screen. I found that an electric drill with a paint mixer helps to break it up even more before going through the screen.