Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Calling All You Retired Masons Out There

And not the Free Masons, but Masons, as in layers of brick, masters of mortar. We need a used mortar mixer for a good deal. Mortar mixers will mix cob (straw, clay, sand, lime etc.) without seizing up. A new one can easily cost $2500. We're looking for a *used* one. I've heard of people getting them for $200 or less. We've posted in the "wanted" section of the Buyer Flyer (for you non-NBers, this is the bible for buying and selling junk that can be found on newstands every Thursday). The great news of the week is that we've found our source for clay-rich soil and mixing sand - and it's right at the foot of our road!

Storage was also on the to-do list: we've been concerned about finding storage for our straw because our construction schedule is off by two or three months for the straw building part and our farmer wants to unload the straw to make room for hay. argh. We considered renting truck trailers, but we have no place to put trailers of that size. We also considered leasing barn space, but haven't researched that very thoroughly. Now, I think we've resolved to collect enough pallets to keep them off the ground and gigantic tarps to cover them on site. If we stack the piles in pyramid shapes, the water should run off the tarps instead of collecting on top.

Back to the subject of tools we need, my brother-in-law, Jozef, is a master welder, so he has agreed to make us some bale needles (click to see a full picture in a previous posting), which we'll need to tie pins to opposing sides of the straw walls to keep them somewhat flush.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kara & Dave - I'm thrilled to see you underway in building your own house. Congratulations! I'll be watching your progress with great interest.

Glen Hunter

9:38 AM  
Blogger StrawBoss said...

Hi Kara,~~I'm always excited to find other strawbale builder blogs!Thanks for posting the site with the easy instructions for staining concrete. We used acid at our previous house and while happy with the results I wasn't looking forward to playing in all that acid.
I look forward to keepin up with your progress.

12:58 PM  
Blogger Kara said...

Judy, thanks for the encouragement. Ferrous sulfate and related products are mildly acidic too, but probably not nearly as much as the acid stains. BTW - So glad you posted b.c I've since found your blog and am enjoying reading about your experiences.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Debra Cripps said...

So excited to find your site! We live on the Kingston Peninsula and would love to see your place.
Our house is 200 years old and we have been talking about a strawbale house for some time.

9:25 PM  
Blogger Kara said...

Hi Debra

We're just breaking ground this week. We'd love to meet with you. We'll be hosting workshops very soon as well, if you're interested. We'll post the dates on this blog in the next couple of days. Likely labour day weekend and the weekend after. We'll also be hosting work parties, which don't require workshop fees, of course. Feel free to drop an email anytime:

9:38 PM  

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