Straw Bale Rendering

Fun in the Mud...

Another great day spent at the straw bale house, this time learning all about how straw bale rendering is done.

'Cobbing' is done by hand to fill in gaps before the second coat of render is applied.

A team of people came together to perform a variety of jobs, all involving getting very muddy!

The first render was applied a few weeks ago, so this week we were focusing on:

  • 'Cobbing' over the first coat (see right)- filling in any large gaps with a cob mixture so that the second coat could be applied. This is done by hand with a special cob mix which contains straw to help fill gaps and bind it to the first coat.

  • Second coat of render is applied to the straw bale walls using a pump.

  • Spray render is applied, a much thicker coat than the first one, this gives a much more even surface, and starts to give the impression of what the finished walls will look like.

    Part of the challenge is keeping the pump going, and the mixture continuously being made so that the renderer (Brad) can keep working, showing why it is necessary to have a 'team' of workers!

  • Trowelled wall, ready for the next coat of straw bale render.

  • The 'trowellers' follow behind the renderer, trowelling areas that have just been sprayed- evening out the surface and giving thye lovely effect that finished strawbale walls exhibit.
  • There were also a team working tirelessly at the mixers, making both the 'cob mixture' and that for the 'spray render', as well as keeping the pump going so that the spray render can be applied continuously.

It is a great experience to meet other like minded people, all interested in the process of straw bale building, and all coming together to work as a team. Peter and Natasha (our hosts), complement the process by being very giving with information and their time to answer all of our questions, as well as feeding us!!

TIP! Wear gloves, and eye protection as both of the renders used contain lime which is harsh on both skin and eyes!!

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