Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Studio/Workshop Progress Report - Straw, and More Straw

Based on the lack of recent progress reports you could be forgiven for thinking that I've either lost interest or have decided to hibernate for the duration of our winter months. Neither is true, and although the pace has slowed a little due largely to other work commitments, I've accomplished a lot since my last post.

Installation of the roof in March was certainly a major milestone, and meant I was able at last to order the straw bales which form the walls, safe in the knowledge that they'd be shielded from the the weather.

The tarpaulins I erected around the perimeter of the building provide additional protection and have withstood some fierce thunderstorms that saw me nervously inspecting them for damage once the weather had abated. 

Here's a recent photo of her, decked out in her winter pyjamas.

With the tarps in place, the most noticeable change externally has been the installation of a rainwater tank which will service the needs of the bathroom as well as those of the surrounding trees, shrubs and vegetable plot.

Under the covers, the straw bale walls were erected quite quickly, but I'd definitely underestimated the work involved in constructing the timber framework that fills the gap between the top of the bale walls and the rafters above. As if this wasn't time-consuming enough, the remaining task was to surround this framework with wire mesh and pack it tightly with straw. As the photos below show, there's still some work to do to complete this aspect of the project.

The cost of transporting the straw bales was significant, and I adopted a cautious approach by ordering far more bales than I thought would be necessary for fear of requiring a second delivery. The supplier was very generous and loaded an extra 20 bales onto the semi-trailer free of charge. Needless to say, there's an enormous stack of spare bales occupying the workshop floor space. I'm almost at the point at which I'll know my remaining requirements with some certainty, and it will be a happy day when I can dispose of the surplus bales and my views of the interior spaces are unimpeded by the straw mountain.


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