Timber frame begins for our straw bale build

 In Blog, Student Post

Last week was the third of the build and we finished the brick wall on which the building will sit on and begun the timber frame.

Bricklaying with lime mortar

Everyone found the bricks to be satisfying when we were shown some mighty speed laying by Joe, but challenging whenever we had to make another plinth ensuring the levels were accurate with a water level. Later we found out that there was barely any discrepancy between them, (rarely seen on any conventional building site). The mortar mixer was getting good use so we could slap on the lime mix, finishing the bricks with a layer of slate providing a damp proof course. Once the walls were done, the next step was to move to timber. A big change in material, tempo, techniques, tools, posture and setting! 

Timber frame for the straw bale walls

We started by building a flat wooden ladder which would sit on the bricks and the inner leaf insulation of foam glass, which is made from recycled old car windscreens. This is to support our beautiful big straw bales and is the first bit of accurate carpentry, having to measure twice or thrice.. so we only cut once.. Ensuring they would slot on to all the bars that are added engineering points to hold down the building. Once these were successfully built we could move on to lay insulation whilst 2 students Mike and Vittorio and the apprentice Jodie, worked out roofing truss dimensions by deciphering the plans.
This frame is quite a lot more conventional than the last build’s roundwood frame, but we will still find a space for some beautiful roundwood!

timber frame begins

Planning permission classroom session.

This week we also had a fantastic classroom session by the birthday boy, Joe taught us a punny introduction to planning permission and building control. Some might say a dull topic, but not this group. It was interesting to see the limitations of any building! Everyone was hooked and after the class was over, we all wanted to quiz him on more details… eventually we let him off duty and we sat down for a birthday tipple of whisky!

Foamglas foundations for timber frame – free draining and insulating.

Friday we finished the foamglass insulation and felt very accomplished, workig with such a powdery fragile material around lots of steel toe boots and tools was certainly anxiety inducing at times but we made it through without a scratch, with constant measuring and careful placement we mortared them in using our trusty brick laying skills learnt over the past weeks.

Weekend fun times!

The best day of the week was Julie’s birthday celebrations on the Saturday when most of the team went to Sutton Hoo to see an Anglo Saxon king ship burial site. We had cake by glorious Esther, jamming around the swedish candle,a delicious roast dinner cooked by Julie herself and lots of spoon carving for dessert.We’re all relieved and excited to start the next step of the build! We’re going up!

Blog post by 2019 Student – Sam

Hartwyn Natural Building Course

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