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2896Straw Bale Timber Frame

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  • simonefionamaurice
    Nov 2, 2012
      Hello everyone,

      I'm new to this group and would like to introduce myself by letting you know a little bit about our current project. We are owner / builders (DIY) who are undertaking the construction of a strawbale timber frame home. We have taken courses: 3 month semester course at the Island School of Building Arts in Gabriola B.C. and 3 courses at North House Folk School in Grand Marais, MN. I have also built log homes, traditional stick frame homes, cabinets, four timber frame homes and two stick frame or as most call it modified post and beam (not to be confused with timber frames)strawbale homes. I only mention this to demonstrate that I have some home building experience but I'm no expert, I'm not a contractor, still very green and very much in the learning process and very open to suggestions, tips, and the experience of others. Todate, I have milled my logs into timbers, stacked and covered them. Currently completing my workshop and will be undertaking the layout and joinery of the timbers this upcoming spring. The slab foundation and masonry heater slab will be done this summer as well. We have so many decisions and choices to make that it is overwhelming. We want to keep costs down, stay local as much as possible and realize that we cannot be completely green and have everything we'd like to have. We'd love to incorporate a water collection system, grey water system, composting toilets etc... but the costs is quite high and we have lots of clean drinking water on our property with several springs and have ample access to a clean river with 1800 feet of riverfront. I've decided to build an outside stick frame to hold the doors, windows and have something to attach the rendering mesh. I am considering using hydrated lime plaster on the outside and earthen clay plaster on the inside. Like most timber frames we'll have cathedral ceilings that will be unventilated and either a built up on-site system or sell our souls and go with SIPs on the roof. Timber frames pose some challenges with straw bales and thought I'd route in a 1" groove on each side of the outside post to give the plaster a key to reduce cracking. Also thought of attaching each row of bales to the outside posts with metal blood lath wire to anchor them to avoid the potential of the bales to dislodge over time. I also thought of placing full length pieces of metal lath wire protruding six inches on each side of the post to give the plaster something further to bite into and reduce cracking. I'm very open to suggestions, changing my mind and always looking for volunteers who want to help, learn and or teach us! I reside NW of Thunder Bay, Ontario in a community called Kaministiquia. Please feel free to comment, make suggestions and ask questions. I have all sorts of problems to solve. I'm quite happy to start thinking about them now and work out possible solutions before I'm standing on site starring at the problem and thinking "boy, I'm sure someone else has already seen this challenge and worked it out" etc... Talk to you soon.