My friend Kent Griswold is in town attending a straw bale building workshop taught by Andrew Morrison. I stopped by for a look, snapped a few photos, and got the inside scoop from Kent. The seven day long hands-on workshop lets you get down & dirty, and delivers not only the information but the experience of working with straw.
Straw bale construction is exactly what it sounds like, building a house using straw bales like big building blocks. Unlike building with dimensional lumber the tools commonly used are things like string trimmers, chainsaws, car jacks, giant sewing needles, and wire. It’s dusty work, especially on a windy day, but the end result is a super insulated building with wonderfully thick walls.
Here in California, and many other places, straw bale structures need to include a timber frame structure as a frame. The straw bales make up the space between the posts. All the required seismic strengthening bits are also added to make the buildings super strong. I don’t think any big bad wolves are going to knock down this straw building – it’s build like a tank.
The first day of the workshop was mostly lecture but each day since the team has been hard at work. Today they were going to finish trimming the window openings (with chain saws) and preparing the walls for plastering. By Sunday, the last day of the workshop, they should have the lower walls all plastered.
Andrew is well known for his comprehensive how-to videos, workshops, plans and book. Subscribers to his email list get access to a Free 16-day E-Course. This was his last workshop for 2013 but as soon as he announces his 2014 schedule I’ll be sure to mention it here. To learn more about straw bale construction visit StrawBale.com.
To read more about Kent’s first hand experience at this workshop visit Tiny House Blog.