The Strawdio

A straw bale studio

  • Plans

    I’m not a huge fan of plans. I didn’t really draw any proper any plans until I had to apply for planning permission. At this point a good deal of the building was already in existence so the plans are more descriptive of what was there than of an intention.

  • The Top Roof Boards

    The very top of the roof needed boarding with OSB but it was quite fiddly. The boards were very grippy so I didn’t need scaffolding or ropes.

    This last picture was taken the day before I received a letter from the council advising me that the structure was too tall and would need to be dismantled. I stopped work on the building at this point until the dispute was resolved, so I lost about 4 months from this point.

  • Boarding the base plate

    The base plate and floor was boarded over with 18mm SmartPly OSB. The plans specified that the base plate was boarded, and the the floor done later, but the advantage to doing it this way is that you get a continuous run of boards so a much more airtight floor.

    Thanks to Andy for all the help with this. We did this on probably the hottest day of 2022.

  • Insulating The Floor

    The floor cavities were filled with FoamGlas chunks, and then a layer of sheep’s wool insulation.

  • Boarding The Roof

    The next step was to cover the roof with OSB. This will serve several functions. It keeps the rain off the building, so I can store the straw inside without it getting wet. It also adds racking strength to the roof. It also will enclose the sheep’s wool insulation making it more effective. It also gave us shelter from the sun while we were doing the floor.

  • July 2022 Update

  • Adding Floor Joists

    The floor is also reciprocal but in a different way. Still, every joist rests on his fellow.

    First there was a bit of prep work to do. I had to fix one of the floor boards that had come away, and also add a central tyre to support the middle of the floor. Technically the central support wasn’t needed as the floor would be supported only from the base plate on the edge tyres, but an extra support never hurt anyone:

    I was very fortunate to get a lot of I beams very cheap online. I filled the gaps between them using broken up pallets.

    Some joints

    Side view

    Top view

  • June 2022 Update

  • May 2022 Update

  • The Jack Rafters

    Jack rafters fill in the gaps between the hip rafters. One difficult part of this is getting them all level. I tied paracord from one hip rafter to the next as a rough level.

    Another difficulty is getting the angles correct. These timbers join the hip rafters so they are angled in two dimensions. I used an angle measurer to match the angles on the hip rafters. Every one had to be individually cut to size as nothing is standard. I cut them all using a handsaw. A cut like this that goes in two different angles is hard to cut by hand, but after a while you get the hang of it. The key is to draw the lines on the timber, then hold the timber so that both lines appear straight, and cut down that straight line.

    The other tricky part was holding them in place while I attached them. I used two pieces of 2×4 recovred from pallets, to grip either side of the rafter on the roof plate, while I held the top of the rafter against the hip, and screwed it in. It often took several attempts.

    Step by step: