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"Corset" straw-bale pattern?

 
Lauren Magnolia
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I know it will be hard without pictures but I have a question about lacing the SB. I assume we stagger our joints like bricks but how do we affix these bales to each other? I was told by one to " corset" them. Is the just though the existing baling twine used to make them a 'bale'? Input? How would you tie your bales together?
 
Andrew Parker
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Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
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The corset technique uses a reinforcing member, like rebar, bamboo, sapling, furring or welded wire reinforcement, on either side of the bale wall and then lacing both sides tightly together through the wall, putting the straw under compression. It is similar to some traditional thatching and straw house techniques. If you need further explanation, a quick internet search should give you several sources.
 
Lauren Magnolia
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Thank you, Andrew! Any specific resources you can think of to point us in the right direction? Having some difficulty finding a straight answer from the research we've been doing...
 
Andrew Parker
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The first mention of corsets seems to have been with Bill and Athena Steen with the Canelo Project about 20 years ago and is found, at least briefly, in their book, The Straw Bale House.

In reviewing their more recent straw bale projects, they seem to have abandoned the corset about 10 years ago and are using post and beam infill now. That may have been as a result of experience or it could be the demands of their clients.


In seismically active areas, sandwiching bales in welded wire reinforcement seems to be very popular with engineers and architects. I found this discussion on the use of welded wire reinforcement:

http://www.strawbale.com/metal-in-wall/

and found this blog in it (Ann Torrence may know these folks) that describes post and beam infill with corsets:

http://maryandscotthouseofstraw.blogspot.com/2011/06/straw.html

I hope that gives you enough to get you started.
 
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