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  #1  
Old 02-27-2006, 10:44 AM
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Cracking-up at Berry Hill Farm.

Not doing any plumbing quite yet but certainly acting the part.

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  #2  
Old 02-27-2006, 10:50 AM
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The humble little pumphouse structure that we're forming-up will be the first strawbale building in Milam county Texas. I plan to use it as a laboratory for learning plastering and some construction techniques before going on to build my strawbale cabin and then later on, our home.

Here's the first load of straw in the barn just before we started unloading...327 bales. The remaining 100 arrived later sunday afternoon.
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  #3  
Old 02-27-2006, 11:14 AM
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They did something similar on the "Dirty jobs" show.
They built a house with straw, mud and cow manure. Came out pretty nice and sturdy.

They called it a Cob house.

http://www.daycreek.com/dc/HTML/DC_cob.htm

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Last edited by dannym; 02-27-2006 at 11:25 AM.
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  #4  
Old 02-27-2006, 11:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dannym
They built a house with straw, mud and cow manure.
The manure is optional in cob, it functions as a binder. If there's a lot of pricklypear cactus, you can also harvest the pears and make a soup of them and use that as a binder.

I cannot figure why some people get so weird about cow manure...it looks just like money to me.
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  #5  
Old 02-27-2006, 02:30 PM
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Neighbor across the street built a straw bale house on the plains of eastern Colorado and moved into it a few years ago. I've never seen it but she seemed very happy with it.
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  #6  
Old 02-27-2006, 04:23 PM
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There's something really appealing to us about bale structures not to mention that we're pretty stoked about having someplace to live in other than the modified tack room down in the barn....heated water, indoor plumbing and a shower are particularly attractive.

Probably not the perfect home for everyone but the strawbales I've been in have had a wonderful hand-made quality to them.
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  #7  
Old 02-28-2006, 12:55 PM
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How are you going to run your wires and plumbing? conduit?
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Old 02-28-2006, 01:29 PM
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I read a few years ago in a ski magazine (I think it was Powder) where someone in Colorado used straw bales as insulation for a house they were constructing. They commented that due to the density of the bales, it was naturally fire resistant. Kind of surprised me but it made it through inspection. Their plan was to buy as many recycled and or odd lot building items as possible, The chief complaint was that the house had to sacrifice space due to the size of the bales, but for this trade they saved a small fortune on insulation, and got a house which was far, far more immune to noise infiltration even due to internal sounds, than any other house the reviewer had experienced.

The builders also collected a variety of off sized windows, meaning they went to a distributor and bought whatever was cheapest at the time and integrated it into the house design. In a similar way, they collected a lot of materials from other construction sites, antique resellers and even the occasional dumpster diving. They put a new finish on everything that needed restoration.

The house turned out very nice, and they employed a lot of their dumpster diving findings in the interior finishes. The kitchen had a nice mix of stainless and sheet rock, along with an antique gas stove and fridge (both rebuilt), with a sink out of another era. The fire place employed pieces of sheet-brass and chain mail for an exterior finish. The bathrooms were an eclectic mix of modern and antique finishes, and where the massively thick walls met a window made for many fine places to sit and observe the mountainous country around them, keep plants or other decorations. The upper floor had a lot, even a surprising number of windows. They used recycled hardwoods for floors and sills throughout. All of this and they said they cut about 30% off of the construction costs.
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  #9  
Old 02-28-2006, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Doe
How are you going to run your wires and plumbing? conduit?
This is a two room cabin (bathroom and a living-sleeping-eating area) with bale infill perimeter walls and a typical stud and sheetrock wall providing the partition between the bath and remainder of the building. It will be built using a post and beam foundation with a crawlspace. 120V and 240V electrical outlets in the walls will be supplied by UF cable run in the crawlspace and stubbed up through the floor close to each outlet's final location. Duplex boxes will be nailed to 2x4 stakes and pushed flush into the bale walls and the UF cable will snake up to the boxes through notches carved in the bales. It's not a good idea to have plumbing in bale walls so I've designed it to have all interior plumbing (potable and DWV) in that interior partition wall.
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  #10  
Old 02-28-2006, 01:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lebenz
I read a few years ago in a ski magazine ...
For a while, strawbale construction became quite the thing in central Texas. I think it has dwindled in popularity recently because I had a h*lluva time finding bales for this project. A lot of my calls were answered with "Where did you get my name? That was years ago I listed that ad..."

Strawbale is not for everyone but, it's worthy of consideration if you want to live in a unique, hand-crafted and energy-efficient structure.
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  #11  
Old 02-28-2006, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Leo
This is a two room cabin (bathroom and a living-sleeping-eating area) with bale infill perimeter walls and a typical stud and sheetrock wall providing the partition between the bath and remainder of the building. It will be built using a post and beam foundation with a crawlspace. 120V and 240V electrical outlets in the walls will be supplied by UF cable run in the crawlspace and stubbed up through the floor close to each outlet's final location. Duplex boxes will be nailed to 2x4 stakes and pushed flush into the bale walls and the UF cable will snake up to the boxes through notches carved in the bales. It's not a good idea to have plumbing in bale walls so I've designed it to have all interior plumbing (potable and DWV) in that interior partition wall.
Hopefully you will continue to keep us updated with pictures. Sounds like you have your work cut out for you!
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  #12  
Old 02-28-2006, 02:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Doe
Hopefully you will continue to keep us updated with pictures. Sounds like you have your work cut out for you!
Believe me, I'm motivated; here is where we live now while at the farm: bunkroom
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  #13  
Old 02-28-2006, 05:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Leo
Believe me, I'm motivated; here is where we live now while at the farm: bunkroom
Campin' in the tack room, eh? I myself have had some real nice times in a tack room, but I have never spent more than an hour at a clip in one

Don't they have mobiiile trailer houses in that part of Texas for the transition period??
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  #14  
Old 02-28-2006, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Doe
Campin' in the tack room, eh? I myself have had some real nice times in a tack room, but I have never spent more than an hour at a clip in one

Don't they have mobiiile trailer houses in that part of Texas for the transition period??
The sovereign state of BHF isn't zoned for mobile homes.
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  #15  
Old 02-28-2006, 06:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Leo
The sovereign state of BHF isn't zoned for mobile homes.

Yeah, my wife wouldn't go along with it either

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