Thursday, November 5, 2009

Straw Bale Coop (Part Two), An Essay in Photos

Our progress as of October 24th, 2009:

Hardware cloth serves two purposes: built-in varmint control and a way to tie the concrete block to the straw bales. Here, Granddad actually tucks the hardware cloth between the first and second courses of block.

Strips of roofing paper will act as a barrier between the bales and the foundation.

Pins will be used to hold the hardware cloth tight against the bales. These were made from wire hangers.

The bales in these photos are actually just holding the hardware cloth in place while we apply surface bonding cement to the foundation.

Misting the wall before troweling on cement...

We used QuikWall (from the Quikrete family), which is a surface bonding cement. This is the same type of product we used on the foundation for the duck house at Terra Dei.

Of all the jobs in straw bale construction, troweling is one of my favorites because it has a high payoff value. You can really see your progress!

These photos cover approximately one day's worth of work for two people. My dad tackled the job of retrieving, measuring, cutting, bending and placing the hardware cloth. (I helped a tiny bit holding it in place while he replaced the block.) The placing of the bales and cement troweling was a team effort with Fred.

In my last post regarding the coop I mentioned that we are trying to keep our coop cost as low as possible. Here's where we stand...

Straw bale structural consultation: Free, from my wonderful husband!
Aforementioned brown block: Free, thanks to Lutherlyn
Labor to dig the trench: Free
Hardware cloth: Free, scavenged from my old chicken tractor
Pins: Free, from old hangers
Roofing paper and straw bales: Free, left over from Haven's construction.
Surface bonding cement: Purchased from DuBrook at a cost of approximately $50.

We are currently searching for a pre-hung exterior door, which may prove to be the most costly part of the project. Having checked Craigslist to no avail, I currently have a call in to Construction Junction in Pittsburgh, a supplier of previously used building materials. Here's hoping!

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