Sunday, October 25, 2009
POST THANKSGIVING STUFFING
The straw bale crews started preping Chinook in the last week of September. This involved taping up windows, sills and doors and anything that you had to protect from the cement that would be eventually covering the straw. The walls also had to coverd with a plastic type of mesh fabric. This would actually help to hold the straw bales and loose straw in place and would give something for the cement to grab on to.
The open wall spaces had full bales stacked one on top of the other while the openings for the door and windows were curved using a wire mesh. These area were stuffed with straw by hand and then rammed tightly with a board to fill the voids. To finish, the straw in the walls was literally stitched together using a long needle-like rod which pulled twine from one side to the other. The twine was pulled tightly to bind the straw together.
A small chain saw was used some of the time to cut out sections for around electrical boxes or odd shaped corners. The finished straw walls are about 14 inches thick and make Chinook smell just like a barn. It's all natural here! We are really happy with the "feel" of the place and the deep window boxes and maple sills look great.
It was important for the bales to keep dry so each night the entire building was wrapped up with a waterproof paper to keep the weather out.
After about 2 weeks of preping, stuffing and stitching, the walls were ready for plastering. This would require two coats of a mortar mix on both the inside and outside walls of the Chinook.