Saturday, October 17, 2009

Work continues, and it's really starting to look like a house!

The bales are now almost entirely in place, but the plastering still has a ways to go.  Here's a few shots of the process and progress...

Ace trims the wall with a weed whacker.

 The bales are trimmed to true up the wall and remove excessive fuzz in preparation for chinking and plastering.

Deva plays in the mud.

Buckets of chopped straw and clay plaster are mixed up to a relatively stiff consistency, then balled up, twisted tight, and crammed into every nook, cranny and gap between the bales.  This fills in all the gaps, and prevents air movement through any spaces between bales, improving the air barrier and insulation of the walls.

Deva chinks East wall.  Twisted clay/straw mix is stuffed into all voids.  The air is full of straw dust from the wall trimming just off to the left of this frame.

Chinking can be seen as gray coloration at bale edges.

Here's the east wall with quite a bit of chinking done.


Dave chops straw for plaster and chinking.


North wall with base coat of clay plaster.


Ace McArleton adjusts tarp to cover and heat north wall plaster.  note the textured surface of the plaster, so subsequent applications bite and adhere well.


Here the north wall is draped with a big tarp so it can be heated at night.  We're getting temperatures in the low 20's and upper teens, so the plaster needs to be protected from ice crystals forming in it until it cures.  A kerosene heater is at left, under sheet metal roofing.


Kero heater monster is under here, and controlled by a thermostat to prevent freezing of the plaster.  Heated air is blown through the tube to inflate the area beneath the tarp.

East wall in AM, before the crew arrives.

House from SE in morning. Expanse of south-facing roof toward the west will be used for the solar thermal collectors - a critical part of the heating system of this house.  Stay tuned -- more on that later...