Straw bale Workshop Day 3

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.

taking bales upstairs

shortening the bales

cutting the bales


plumb pie

tony putting up a bale

bales up

bales up

8 thoughts on “Straw bale Workshop Day 3”

  1. Hay seems like a great idea except for the issue of mice and other small creatures that like to eat and next in hay.

    I would think that such a house would turn into a Mouse Hotel.

    This is supposed to be a natural house so why on earth are you using OSB “boards” when you could go to you local sawmill and rough-cut, real boards?

    • Fred,
      I think you mean “nest” not “next”… and I’m pretty sure the walls are sealed up and No mice would be able to ‘next’ in there!Ha!
      I love how quiet it is when you stand inside walls of hay. That is a very cool aspect of the bale homes or Barns! It look very fun… kind of like an olden days barn raising. Glad to see the variety of ages of people involved in the project.
      Someday the whole world will be full of handmade houses!

        • Easy, easy. Just a little lighthearted jab, no reason to get overly worked up. We all know it was a typo, the response fits in with the easy going mood it seems everyone is in while they construct something this cool. Sitting on the sideline and watching from home, I feel the same relaxed vibe they must be enjoying.

    • You are right about the problems associated with hay; however, this house is made of straw which is not a good source for anything. Furthermore, the bales are packed so tightly together and then covered completely with 1-1/4″ of lime plaster. Nothing can get through that. Mice and other pests prefer to be in spaces that are easy to occupy like open stud bays full of fluffy, pink insulation.

      The use of OSB and/or plywood is required in certain applications by code in order to meet lateral shear designs. This would not be the case where te straw is used, but in the “bike storage shed” you see associated with the side of the structure, it is.

      • The lateral shear concerns would be better addressed with diagonal bracing…or so I would think. Of course this complicated construction. I hate to depend on OSB for your lateral stability; if OSB gets wet it can turn to mush depending on the grade.

        OK, I am being too picky, it is just that I have a thing about OSB.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing the workshop. I am really enjoying the pictures and the conversation. I hope it will continue until the workshop is finished and perhaps the owners will share their home when it’s complete. Looking forward to seeing the rest.

  3. Hey, these photos are great, but I have no interest in bale houses. When you have a photo-heavy post, can you hide the majority of the photos after the jump? It’s a pain to scroll through to see the other great interests that I am interested in.


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