ProVillage


ECO-BUILDING – PART 7: THE BEST BALES FOR THE JOB

Once you have gathered some knowledge of the land and a design which you have found appropriate, the origin of the bales is to be found out.

It would be helpful to know exactly how big the bales are, and which kind you are going to supplied with – and at least their approximate dimensions. This is crucial during the design and engineering of the framing.
There are many farmers with available bales, so there is also a lot to choose from. Do meticulous research on the quality aspects of the bales. The difference in price does not vary that much, and this little extra effort is worth its while it in the end.

Visual inspection

strawbalesThe colour of the bales tell a lot of the history of the bales: If they have seen weather or not? Have they been stored properly? If there is a lot of white powder coming from the bales when they are agitated, it can be considered as interior mold. This can also be judged by smell; in the case of mold, the smell is unmistakably musty.
If the the visual inspection reveals that the bales damaged by water, moldy or otherwise not in good condition, it is advisable not to use the bales in the construction because then the whole construction would be placed into jeopardy.

Bale density

One important factor when choosing the bales is the density of the bales. Most building codes which recognize straw bale construction commonly require a specific density for the bales.
Calculating the density in some regions is usually calculated by the dry density of pounds per cubic foot (1.10 kN/m³).
It is essential to know the density of the bales in order to guarantee the building inspector of the quality of the bales.
A field test can be conducted in order to make sure of the density of the bales.

Moisture content

moistureThis might be most important factor when choosing bales. If the moisture content reaches over 20% , this level is enough to give a habitat for mold and decay. It is difficult to reverse the process of mold and the process produces two things the bales need to rot: moisture and warmth.
When measuring the moisture of the bales, keep in mind that the bales take and lose moisture in relation to the ambient moisture. When reading the moisture content, the reading should come from the bales and not the atmosphere.
It is not recommended to measure the moisture content in the early morning, when the dew may affect the reading.

straw baleQuestions such as what science do the local codes require in making the decision also have to be answered. And furthermore, it is much more desirable to have the straw bales from the local area for the building to have a lower impact towards the environment.

After you have found a suitable supplier concerning the bales you can move on to the next phase of designing and construction.





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ECO-BUILDING – PART 4: DIY and drawings – Artisan & craft-village project

These 3D-drawings are made by Tero Syvänen and are parts of our Artisan & Craft-village project. The band saw is incorporated with the project to manufacture lumber for construction purposes.

log band saw mill drawn by Tero Syvanen

The log bandsaw is a typical project of ours:

  • We make all drawings, through a lot of reading and writing 🙂
  • We build the bandsaw, using mostly recycled materials.
  • We test the bandsaw and make the improvements etc.
  • We re-draw the bandsaw and make all other drawings needed,  including all technical specifications, so that *anyone* can build a same kind of a saw.
  • Then we publish all these mentioned above –  on the Internet. Free for everyone.

The only thing we ask of those who build these, are photos, or videos about how the work  goes, improvements etc.

Log band saw mill Morningwood 2010 with two lasers drawn by Tero Syvänen

Log bandsaw with two lasers.

Artist home south view drawn by Tero Syvanen

The Artisan and Craftpersons village is made in parts as the project itself is relatively big.

The best way to find out about it, is to read/download our three pdf-files.

Artist house south-west view drawn byTero-Syvanen

Plan of the strawbale house

Cats upstairs loves straw-bale houses with soft curves

Cats at the veranda, second floor, at the artist’s straw-bale house

The front of the upper room, where the artisan is actually living.

You find more about our project by downloading our pdf-files. It can take some 10 seconds to download them, as the files contains about 130 pictures and drawings.

Even more drawings can be  found here:

http://henry.blogit.uusisuomi.fi/

Feel free to ask any questions or comment, in our (Finnish) blog, in your own language. Other languages that can be used (which our group understands):  English, Chinese, Russian, Swedish, Norwegian and Arabic.

Our group is interested in international cooperation in these questions.

Henry Björklid

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