Google+ The Last Straw Journal - The International Journal of Straw Bale and Natural Building

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
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
Building with Hempcrete (Part 1)
From field to walls, the multi-use plant is gaining popularty for wall construction
More High-Elevation Light Clay-Straw
Our feature residential project in Issue #64 is a beautiful example of function and form coming together in a thoughtful way

Current Issue (#65), Fall 2014


In this issue:

  • Nicaragua Pueblo Project
  • Brewing a Brewery
  • Adobe Floors
  • Kyomigaki Earth-Clay Finish
  • Why Workshops Work
  • Clay Plasters
  • Book Reviews
  • …and more.

Shelter (Book Review)

FC (Shelter) optimized_ADMIN_Oct-08-115440-2014_Conflict

Shelter is about the journey of building a home yourself, and sharing a dream that brings natural building home

Building With Hempcrete (hemp-lime): Essential Tips For The Beginner (Part 2)

Using a nail float to soften a hempcrete corner 10 days after casting.

Alex Sparrow walks us through a detailed explanation how to build hempcrete walls in part two of this series

Why Workshops Work

Montana 2013 Group Photo

Andrew Morrison shares his wisdom about workshops and why they are such a success for him and the participants

Getting Grounded on an Adobe Floor

The finished floor

The first article in a two-set series about adobe floors. Sigi Koko begins with why we want them and in the next issue will walk us through how to install them

Kyomigaki / Otsumigaki Polished Earth-Lime Finish

Kyomigaki earth-lime finish

Kyle Holzhueter brings us the most detailed explanation we have ever had of a plastering technique. This one is of a fine Japanese finish.

Natural Building in Nicaragua


Liz Johndrow introduces us to her activism through natural building in Nicaragua. This is the beginning of more articles about her work in Central America.

How Clay Plaster Might Save the World

Simple ball of dirt. A simple ball of mud could revolutionize the building world. (Daniel Earle)

Chris Magwood brings us an enlightened view on a simple, abundant material with all of the right qualities

Brewing a Brewery

straw clay brewery

Our featured project in issue #65 is of a brewery in Oregon using straw-clay walls brought to you by Lydia Doleman

Issue #64 (Summer 2014)


Issue #64 Includes: - Hempcrete – Essential Tips for the Beginner (Part 1) - Rediscovering Lime in Costa Rica - Jules Ferry Residence - Benefits of Using Welded Wire Mesh - More Straw Building in Japan - Light Clay-Straw Mountain Home - Bale Orientation Survey Results

Bale Orientation: Survey Results

2-string bale on-edge

We asked how you prefer to orient the bales within the walls on your projects. The results give us some perspective on more than just bale orientation.

Earthen Floors: A Modern Approach to an Ancient Practice [Book Review]


We review the first comprehensive how-to guide covering the topic of earthen floors. Find out why you should have it in your natural building library.

The Benefits of Using Welded Wire Mesh

Welded Wire Mesh

padlock-closed_16x19 Andrew Morrison walks us through his desired way of using mesh on bale walls. His years of experience offer valuable insight at many different levels.

CASBA Rides Again!  Calling All Bicyclists for 2015 and Beyond


CASBA members participate in Climate Ride California 2014 and are calling all participants for next years ride

Jules Ferry Residence – Straw Bale Panels

Jules Ferry Residence Illustration (Courtesy of Le Toit Vosgien)LE TOIT VOSGIEN

padlock-closed_16x19 Jules Ferry Residence is an eight-story sustainable urban dwelling complex in the heart of France incorporating prefabricated bale panels in an efficient and unique way

Light Clay-Straw Mountain Home

South Walls Under Construction

This feature project is of a solar, light clay-straw house in Western Colorado with all the bells and whistles.

MORE Straw Building in Japan


Continuing his series on natural building in Asia, Kyle Holzheuter explores specific and appropriate examples in this latest article.

Building With Hempcrete (Hemp-Lime): Essential Tips For The Beginner (Part 1)

Hand-placed hempcrete cast around a central softwood frame

padlock-closed_16x19 Alex Sparrow begins a two-part series on hemp lime, or hempcrete. Hemp lime is relatively new but is fast becoming part of the natural building lexicon.

Rediscovering Lime Plaster In Costa Rica


padlock-closed_16x19 Ryan Chivers walks us through his recent experience running a lime plaster and tadelakt workshop in Costa Rica. Topics covered include qualities of lime and mixes used for tadelakt.

The Last Straw Issue #1- FREE

Click here for a free copy of TLS Issue #1

This is a gift from us and the founders of TLS. It is the original Issue #1 available for download. Learn what started this publication and the modern roots of straw bale construction.