[Strawbale] Planning a home of BigBales 2011 in Estonia

forum at lamaisonenpaille... forum at lamaisonenpaille...
Sun Feb 27 11:26:18 CET 2011

Hello Dave,

Have you read Buce King's book?

It is easy to proove that plaster plays an important structural role in 
plastered bale walls: plaster a bale on 2 sides and (once the plaster is 
dry) push with your hands on the bale. Push with the other hand on a non 
plastered bale. The difference in stiffness of the bale your hands will 
expérience results from the resistance added by the (rigid) plaster. 
Even an important gap between plaster and the roof bearing assembly 
would not take away this phenomena.

So if we agree that plaster plays an important structural role we can 
debate wether one wants to use this strengh for live and/or dead loads. 
If possible, I would like the straw to be able to resist to all the 
normal loads (dead and live) and have the plaster as a safety margin for 
when mother nature throws that amazing storm/snowload/earthquake at your 

After having seen a presentation from a Peter Braun (a Swiss engineer) 
on the Big bale buildings he designs I have come to no longer think of 
loadbearing big bale building as something simple. He often expérienced 
differences in settlement during the build and he came up with different 
ways of counterbalancing them. True, he seems to me to like the 
challange of making complicated buildings...
Me, I prefer simple buildings.
I also think it is great that not all people are like me...

All the best,

Le 26/02/2011 21:32, Dave Howorth a écrit :
> On Sat, 2011-02-26 at 12:16 +0100, Caroline Meyer White wrote:
>> A load bearing strawbale wall is carried by the plaster skins. It can
>> be hard to understand, as they are so thin. But because the plaster is
>> always more stiff then the straw, relatively, the load ends up on the
>> skin, - untill they crack, then it will go to the bales at some point.
>> The density of the bales etc does have some relevance, but less then
>> perhaps expected.
> I'm sorry but I believe this is a canard. An oft-repeated
> misunderstanding. The simplest way to understand is to remember that the
> normal way of building is to build the wall, then apply the load, then
> apply the plaster. So whilst the plaster may take the bulk of live
> loads, the bales frequently take the bulk of the dead load.
> There are documented cases of loadbearing walls with noticeable gaps
> between the top or bottom of the plaster and the wall plates. Check the
> other SB lists for details.
> Of course it all depends on specifics. If the plaster is applied and
> allowed to dry first and dead loads are applied subsequently, then the
> plaster will bear more load. If the bales are precompressed with straps
> or studding, they will bear a greater proportion of the load.
> Cheers, Dave
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