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Tadelakt Lime Finishes
The gorgeous, ancient finishing technique from Morocco is expained by Ryan Chivers of Artesano
Tilt-Up, Prefabricated Straw Bale Panels Down Under
The SITUPS by Huff 'n' Puff are being used on a wide variety of projects across Australia
Hemp Lime Construction
Explore a relatively new wall-building technique that uses a combination of natural materials to creat durable, high-performing structures
Straw Bale Building in the Land of the Rising Sun
Kyle Holzhueter continues his exploration of natural building in Asia with a focus on Japan

How Do You Orient Bales Within The Walls On Your Projects? [Survey]

A bale on-edge

A bale on-edge

Ever since bales were used in walls the question, “how do we place them?” has been around. Many of us have scratched our heads searching for the right answering and some of us believe very passionately in our choice. Not surprisingly, the topic has been hotly debated online and on

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Straw Bale Building in Japan

Exterior...

By Kyle Holzhueter

Editors Note: Continuing his series on natural building in Asia, Kyle explores the current state of bale construction in Japan. Future articles in this series will include a focus on Thailand and more from Japan. There are 50 images in this article, so make sure

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The Growth of Hemp Lime as a Natural Building Method

Hemp Lime wall immediately after shuttering has been removed

by Tom Woolley

Ed Note: More in-depth information on hemp lime will be in Issue #64 due out in July.

Hemp lime wall immediately after shuttering has been removed

When Rachel Bevan and I did the research that led to the publication of Hemp Lime Construction in 2006-7 (IHS BRE Press ISBN 978-1-84806-033-3)

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Framing Bale Walls: How to

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By Andrew Morrison of strawbale.com

There are many different approaches to framing a straw bale house; however, there is one in particular that I have used on the vast majority of my projects over the years. It is a post and beam frame system with roots in conventional framing techniques. Because I came to

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THE SITUPS*: Super Insulated Tilt-Up Panel System.

11 Yass 1 (4)

By Huff ‘n’ Puff Constructions

Editors Note: We plan to have a comprehensive article covering as many of the tilt-up straw panel systems on the global market as we can in Issue #64 due out in July. Please also note that the images associated with the thumbnails on

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Wrap-Up of the Ontario Natural Building Coalition Annual Natural Building Conference

Chris Magwood

By Frank Tettemer, ONBC Director

Chris Magwood, speaking about setting goals and design priorities

This definitely was the most fun to be had all winter.

Timing is everything, and this year’s gathering of the clan at Camp Kawartha, near Lakefield Ontario, warmed my heart during one of the coldest of Canadian winters. With

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Community Rebuilds – Path to Zero Waste

Community Rebuilds

By Stuart Jeffrey Hart

Courtesy of Stuart Jeffrey Hart

Community Rebuilds is a nonprofit organization that builds straw bale homes for low-income families in Moab, Utah. The homes are built by volunteers who exchange their time for an education in natural building and sustainability. Our student intern

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Tadelakt Lime Finishes

Tadelakt Sink

By Ryan Chivers

With the modern development of natural building technologies, there has been a resurgence and rediscovery of ancient and traditional methods of plasterwork. For over 10,000 years, in nearly every culture, humans have used lime as an applied material that serves as both function and decoration. From the frescoes of the Italian

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News and Updates

News

It’s time for an update of things and to let you know what’s next here at TLS.

At the top of our agenda is completing our crowd-funding campaign successfully. We have 7 days remaining and need a final push to get us to our goal. We saw a huge round of support about 10

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Home-Made Hydraulic Lime

Lime Plaster

We like to share this is the type of information because the context of lime plaster is so broad and interesting. It is important to keep in mind your goals when choosing materials. The information below creates a connection between two areas of lime plaster that are very important to understand before choosing a

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Issue #62 Released

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The first TLS issue in three years has made it to press. We are excited to announce our return to regular production. You can now find your copy in our store in either PDF or print format.

Issue #62 is the first full-color issue of The Last Straw. It is also full of the

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Book Review: Making Better Buildings

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Reviewed by Jeff Ruppert

Making Better Buildings: A Comparative Guide to Sustainable Construction for Homeowners and Contractors by Chris Magwood will be released this Spring and promises to be one of the most valuable tools for the designer and builder who wants to understand how their choices of systems rank in terms of environmental

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A Gentler Path to Building Permit Approvals

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By Andrew Morrison

There has been so much talk over the years around the “straw bale building table” about building codes and how they get in the way of our ability to build with natural materials. I have heard people talk about how building officials have ruined their dreams time and again, and stories

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What’s in a Name?

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This is a sidebar as part of the Code approval article in upcoming Issue #61.

The International Code Council (ICC) and its series of International Codes, carry with their name the implication of global applicability, use, and acceptance. The ICC was formed in 1994 as a non-profit entity to replace three regional organizations in

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Healthy Living, Healthy Building (Building an EcoNest)

Finished Walls

By Elaine Brett

Twelve years ago I had never even heard of building with straw. I lived in a four-bedroom colonial house in a subdivision in Maryland. The conventional American Dream – good job, big house, nice cars, the monthly lawn service, the health club membership, 24/7 access to shopping …

Then on my

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Straw House Patent (Feuillette House Follow-Up)

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As an update to this post about the Feuillette House in France, here is a patent in the United States for straw bale construction. It was filed on June 6, 1921 and is a very interesting read for the bale construction history buffs out there. The author was Emile Feuillette himself and approved on

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Red de Construcción con Paja

logoRCP

BIENVENIDOS, we’re the Spanish-speaking straw bale network RCP (Red de Construcción con Paja), or Network of Building with Straw.

The RCP network of straw bale construction is a non profit organization with about 75 active members, but with a lot of fans. Our webpage has more than 7,000 visits a month.

RCP is now

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Book Review: Earth Render

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Reviewed by Jeff Ruppert

Earth Render: The art of clay plaster, render and paints by James Henderson is a refreshing, easy approach to what can become an overwhelming process. As anyone knows who has worked in the natural building trades, earthen materials are highly variable and therefore require a basic understanding of those variables.

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Traditional and Contemporary Natural Building in Korea

East Asian Modual

By Kyle Holzhueter

Editors Note – This article is a feature length pictorial look at the various aspects of natural building in Korea. The full-length article will be in the upcoming issue of The Last Straw and is available in its entirety right here on the website for subscribers. Make sure you

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Light Straw-Clay Appendix in the IRC

An appendix on Light Straw-Clay Construction was also approved for inclusion in the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC). To date only the states of New Mexico and Oregon have a section on Light Straw-Clay Construction in their building code. The proposal received a 6-3 approval vote at Building Committee Hearings in Dallas in April

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