Saturday, September 12, 2009

Working on a straw/clay bunkhouse

Ryan Horning and I are co-leading the plastering of a lovely little timberframe and straw/clay bunk house at my local CSA. Niagara Escarpment Organics is farmed by Ryan and Laura and a whole pile of hard-working interns. Earlier this summer, the straw/clay portion of the building was completed, and it's now dry enough to plaster.

We started by pulling together a list of possible materials we might need, and then crossing them off as we found them, or their analogue, somewhere around the farm. Note to self: do a walk around the site before sending people to the store, in order to avoid sending them back to return stuff that you already had but didn't know about.

Today we assessed clay and straw and began processing, and we also got some test patches done. Next we'll prepare for door and window detailing, and get the roof on, as well as the stone veneer around the foundation. I'm looking forward to learning more about these aspects of building!


gealbhan said...

hi! love yer blog. I see you do a lot of plasterwork over straw/clay. I'm away to put a straw/clay infill into a sauna/shower/bucket loo building I've just built with timberframe and larch exterior cladding. It will be my first go at straw/clay but am concerned about earthen plastering over the timber frame. Do I need to put up lath to get it to stick to the wood? any tips would be greatly appreciated. thanks.

Georgie Donais said...

What we did was put polypropylene netting (used large onion bags) over any width of wood bigger than four inches. Ironically, we didn't get to plaster those spots, but I'm assuming that the netting would have worked fine. Can't prove it though. I think most people say that anything over four inches needs some help; some folks use glue with sand in it, or flour paste and sand, or burlap. I intend to try burlap with my next project; will tell you how it goes!

gealbhan said...

thanks. Yea, I wondered about dipping hessian in a soupy clayslip. I've got a big roll of it already so, seems a great idea if it will do it. But, Onion bag material is a great idea as well. I've got loads of these that used to hold daffodil bulbs so, I'll gie that a try. I just finished my first straw/clay panel and am quite pleased with it. I'll let you know how the plastering goes!

thanks for the tips.