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Reference book for building a light straw clay/slip straw home?

 
liam loftus
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Hello folks,

I was wondering if anyone had a recommendation for a book or download with detailed instructions, pros and cons for building a house with light straw clay?

I am trying a to decide if the method fits my needs. I will be building in Ireland, which has Pacific NW type weather.

A recent book or download would be ideal.

Thanks

Liam
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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Hi Liam,

First if you post blueprints and/or CAD models here of your pending project you will get a full spectrum of feedback from a collective that ranges from fantastically minded DIYers to professionals in the traditional/natural building arts...

My advice is to read everything you can on "cobb" and "straw bale" (both good and bad information combined as the comparative information is good to know.) Then move into what is out there (and coming off some Editors desks...that I can't name... )

Here is a book:

The EcoNest Home: Designing and Building a Light Straw Clay House by Paula Baker-Laporte, Robert Laporte

This is "hot off the presses." I find reasonably basic "info" but not the "sell you a franchise" nature of "Eco Nest," as a company. I own that is more about my views of "ethos in business," and "social responsibility" more than anything else. Timber framing and "slip formed" light cobb are ancient concepts and not something to "franchise" and/or claim ownership over...or try to "rebrand" as something proprietary...

Where here if you have more detailed questions...I think the method would work well in your region if designed and facilitated properly...

Regards,

j

 
liam loftus
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Hello Jay,

Thanks a lot for the info. If I do opt for the LSC method and proceed to having plans drawn up, I definately will post blue prints for feedback.

Also, do ping me a message if anything good emerges from some editors desk...........

I read the blurb on the link you sent me for the Econest book. It does have rather a proprietary sound to it! I might well get the book, though, as I prefer to get a "bulk portion" of advice from one source. Reading these forums can make one a bit worried, as there is such a diversity of opinion. For example, if I come across one naysayer on a thread discussing a particular technique, I don't know if they totally incorrect or the one voice of sanity.

I am fairly familiar with cob, there are a few cob houses in this area (Cork, Ireland). I am less familiar with straw bale but will keep reading. I am leaning away from cob due to (a) the labour involved in the building process and (b) it not being that compatible with the interior aesthetic I would like, which is American Craftsman. I lived in the pacific NW and really like those interiors.

Anyway, off to do a lot of reading!

Thanks

Liam
 
Jay C. White Cloud
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...I am leaning away from cob due to (a) the labour involved in the building process and (b) it not being that compatible with the interior aesthetic I would like, which is American Craftsman. I lived in the pacific NW and really like those interiors...


Hell Liam,

If you note, I don't call "Light Straw Clay" (LSC) by the name that folks have "reinvented" for it...."Light Cob" (LC) methods of all types have been around in different formats for a very long time...and LSC is nothing but a "slip formed" method of LC, which has been done before...

One of the "challenges" I find in the "natural building movement" is this driven desire by many folks to "think" they can "reinvent methods" that are better than came before them or the hubris to think what they are doing is "new." I haven't really seen too much "new," in anything but a lot of "reinventing." ...The only time I have seen or experienced "real creativity"...it is usually coming out of projects with folks that fully embrace traditional methods and understand them intememently. All these creative souls have really done is "tweaked" something a little bit or used modern tooling methods to make facilitation easier...They also give great homage to those that came before them...

I don't support or condone "structural cob" architecture unless it is restoration of a heritage form (like Ireland's (et al)), or is being designed and built by a "Master Cobber." Many of the "new age" cob buildings are very wanting in good structural design, and they are more built from "I think" practices than actual linage knowledge and experience from an knowledgeable and trained traditional builder in the given craft...like cob.

You are correct...cob is very labor intensive...yet I would add that when done well...LC isn't that much less labor intensive...just not as much "weight" being thrown around. Which this in my book is a reason to use it alone over denser cob formats in many applications. I would also own my bias here, as having done all of these methods to various degrees...LC is at the top of my list to work in concert with other methods as I don't see LC as strictly as "stand alone method."

I would also note if you really like the architecture of "Greene and Greene" along with other elements of the "Craftsman movement" in architecture...Then both LC and its denser cousin both work wonderfully with this timber framed esthetic if design and facilitated by a builder familiar with the style and the vernacular systems the "Craftsman structure" was developed from. As you can tell, I too love this style and have be told that my work (and those of students ) strongly resemble this style. It is another reason I don't care for "Eco Nest" proprietary push that they "own it" or the folks they teach...Which must do it there way and give them credit ($$$) for it...??...I teach many students and I am very proud of the work "they do" and only "own" that they are my friends and students...If you like "Craftsman" than I would also read a great deal about "timber framing,"along with other "green woodworking" methods...I think you will enjoy it and learn a great deal...

If you have a "LinkedIn" account...reach out to me there and I will bring you into some of the "professional forums" that may be of interest to you....

Warm Regards,

j
 
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