Wow, another day has flown by here at the straw bale workshop at the Common Kettle Farm. We accomplished a lot even with our fearless leader Andrew Morrison being sick and only being able to check in on us every now and then.
I’m physically tired but it has been a productive day. We had one layer of bales down yesterday and today we have all but the last row. in on the first floor and the 2nd floor has a good start.
We were doing complicated cuts and some of us became experts on the chainsaw and others of us moved lots of bales and other tasks. Straw bale is simple and complicated at the same time. It takes much more time then standard stick built structures but is a lot of fun with a large group like we have.
We worked hard, had fun visiting. Had great food and snacks and got lots accomplished. We probably will all be sore tomorrow but that is part of the challenge of this type of fun.
Day two of the workshop at the Common Kettle Farm started early for me so I took a walk around the farm. We have been having perfect weather though by afternoon it can start feeling quite warm. The bulk of our food that we are eating is grown right here on the farm. We are enjoying a delicious vegan diet this week and it has been very good.
After breakfast we got busy finishing off the preparation for the first row of straw bales. Completing the nailers and adding the gravel. Then Andrew demoed the steps for the bale preparation. Trimming the ends of the bales, how to tie a short bale using a needle. Using a chainsaw to cut the notches for the timber framing.
Our hosts then put in the first cornerstone bale which is a straw bale tradition. We then all got busy by dividing into several groups and doing different functions of the process. We finished the day by completing the first round of bales around the barn structure.
Tomorrow our goal is to complete the rest of the bales at least on the first floor. We are now considered professionals with one day under our belts.
To learn more about Andrew Morrison and his straw bale workshops visit strawbale.com.
This week I am with Andrew Morrison of Strawbale.com in Orangevale, California at a week long straw bale workshop at Common Kettle Farm. I will be giving you daily updates of our progress as we learn and progress on this timber frame straw bale barn.
Though not tiny this “barn” has a 600 square foot footprint. It is officially a barn for zoning and will be used as a workshop on the bottom floor and as a guest house, office on the second floor.
Today, we started the day out introducing ourselves and getting to know each other. Then Andrew spent a few hours explaining the construction process. We actually got done with the discussion part earlier than usual so we spend the rest of the afternoon doing some construction.
As you can see most of the framing has been completed and the roof is almost done. We are preparing the interior for the straw bales. Today we put in the 4 x 4 spacers and nailers that the straw bales will sit on. Andrew also taught us the millers knot that we will use tomorrow to get the bales the correct size to fit into the walls.
Below are a few photos from the day. To learn more about Andrew’s workshops Click Here.
by Robin Hayes
Come to the beautiful Shenandoah Valley and join us as we build two tiny houses.
During the three days participants may choose between at least three workstations.
Station 1 will be taught by Dee Williams of PAD Tiny houses. Dee’s station will be starting with a new trailer, building the subflooring and attaching it to the trailer. Wall framing will follow.
Station 2 will be taught by Tony Gilchriest, builder at Boneyard Studios. Tony’s station will be framing the subfloor for a tiny house that will sit on a foundation. Wall framing and window placement will follow.
Station 3 will be taught by Larry Herbst, master woodworker with over 30 years experience. You may choose to help Larry build the cabinetry for Lee Pera’s tiny house.
Participants may move freely between each of the workstations, choosing what they want to learn. They may also schedule private sessions with Lee Pera, co-founder of Boneyard Studios to discuss planning or zoning questions, or Steve Newbold to work with SketchUp.
Build Tiny is also offering on optional day on Thursday for true beginners. This class will be about tool usage and safety, as well as instruction on basic construction techniques and terminology.
During our lunch breaks and evening hours we will have speakers who will talk on various tiny house topics. Steve Newbold has his tiny house on site and it will be open for tours. There will be a bonfire each evening for relaxing and story telling.
For more info and to sign up please visit www.build-tiny.com