They look awesome.
(i still wish that you would not run those vertical's all the way to
the top - don't look natcheral to me :-) )
The thing that got me going was the "NO DUST" part.
I'm gonna have to take a look at these Fusstools.
You boys are rockin'!
LOL ... Yep, I agree. But, being forced to build cabinets months before
a structure even exists ain't exactly a "natcheral" endeavor, Tom
... and individual boxes, face frames clamped and screwed together side
by side, do tend to look that way.
Not to mention - staring this in the face, with a schedule to meet and
dimensions changing with every coat of plaster:
... and you do what you gotta do. :)
IOW, you ain't done nothing till you've tried your hand at
designing/building/hanging cabinets on the walls of a "straw bale" house!
Don't ask ... it definitely ain't "natcheral". :)
You know...just looking at that makes me start to itch.
Why would anyone want to live in a house made from stuff that god
intended for cows and horses to shit in?
... and costs approximately 30% more to build than traditional construction.
R48 insulation value is not justification enough for me.
That said, damned few people have accomplished this, and with "green
building" coming to the fore around these parts, I'm now more than
eminently qualified to get my share of the business ... if I should
chose to do so. BTDT, literally from the ground up.
You're indeed correct. In fact, many municipalities have straw bale
construction codes in areas of the country where it is feasible to build
them. The house in question, while not yet finished, has passed all
local and IRC foundation, framing, and mechanical inspections and is in
strict compliance with local building codes ... AAMOF, it far exceeds
them. The construction loan was not a problem, and a mortgage has been
There is understandably a good deal of ignorance regarding the method,
much of it seen in the posts right here, and misconceptions regarding
fire, vermin, and mold are common, but just that - misconceptions based
While I would not build one for myself, after building one for a client
my perception of the construction method has changed to one of
provisional acceptance(post and beam, infill, construction, only)
providing the owner is prepared for the additional cost.
AAMOF, if I hadn't let the cat out of the bag, the fact that this
particular kitchen was destined for a house with straw bale walls, it is
doubtful if even the most observant would have guessed from the photos.
As a plus, many of these straw bale homes are downright beautiful
artworks themselves, particularly if you are a fan of Southwestern
architecture (I'm not, but it is growing on me):
<warning - extremely biased response>
WHAT??? You don't like southwestern style architecture????
My wife and I love it. Of course, we spent a weekend together in a
southwestern style house in Carlsbad, CA. Sorta fell in love there and got
married soon after. That was about 27 years ago. Beautiful house, beautiful
<wipe away tear>
I looked into straw bale construction for a garden wall a couple of
years ago. Texas was in the middle of a drought at the time, so bales
were expensive if you could even find them. The client lived next to a
busy street, and she wanted a wall to deaden traffic noise.
Long story short, an eight-foot-tall 90-foot-long straw bale fence
would be more than $20,000 dollars.
* concrete footer with four-foot re-bar sticking up and galvanized
nails sticking down at soil level
* straw bales stacked in running bond to eight feet (speared on re-bar)
* chicken wire covering bales and cinched to nails in footer
* stucco covering all
Trivia for today: Hay and straw bales are the same thing, except hay
includes the seed heads.
Umm, no. Straw bales are typically wheat straw after threshing, that much
is true. Hay, however, is feed that includes green dried plants such as
alfalfa, clover, timothy, bermuda, and other grasses. One can say that
grains with the head intact could technically be included as "hay", but
I've never heard that usage unless the grain was cut green before fully
If you're going to be dumb, you better be tough
Which is sometimes done. When a field is newly seeded with alfalfa, the plants
need some protection from the sun for the first two or three months until
they're well established. It's common to sow oats along with the alfalfa seed;
the oats sprout earlier and grow faster, providing modest shade to the alfalfa
seedlings. By the time the alfalfa is ready to cut and bale, the oats have not
yet matured and so they get mown green, with immature grain heads, and raked
and baled along with the alfalfa. The result is called "oats hay." And if
you're planning to store it in a barn for more than a few months, you'd better
have a *lot* of cats, because you're going to have a lot of mice. DAMHIKT.
Out here in wheat country it's common practice to bale wheat if have had
significant hail damage or a late freeze so it won't make enough grain
to make worth going to harvest. Or, will also pasture past jointing
time with intent of baling for feed to get thru until other feed is
available in spring.
Many alternatives but definitely true that "hay" and "straw" aren't the
same thing at all...
In essence, straw is the stalk of a fully-ripened plant, the residue
left over after threshing as noted above. It has little nutrient value
and is totally unpalatable even if it did (think chewing on a straw or
toothpick to make a meal).
LOL ... a country boy, without doubt! Your experience, unlike some of
the other posts in this thread, obviously did not come solely from the
rural areas of the Internet! :)
Wheat straw, which is the most desired for straw bale construction, has
so little nutritional value that even the critters won't choose it as a
desirable place to be. IME, leave it stacked in a barn for months and
you will see relatively few rodents and crawling critters residing
around the stack compared to a hay.
Where I grew up, and "thrashing" was still common, the straw was piled
outside next to the barn in the pen where the cows were kept at night.
A mental block, can remember the proper name of that stack of straw.
Another thing worth mentioning about oats hay: the bales are *heavy* when you
put them in the barn -- there's probably a peck or so of grain in each square
bale. Six months later, they don't weigh nearly so much: the mice are very
efficient at finding the grain.
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