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The Last Straw

No. 63, Spring 2014

Tribute to Judy Knox

Judy Knox was one of two founders of this publication back in 1993.  She passed away in late 2011.  This article is a tribute to her work and how she helped others realize the power of straw bale construction.
The Last Straw
April 22, 2014
No. 62, Winter 2014

What’s in a Name?

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…
The Last Straw
January 30, 2014
No. 62, Winter 2014

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…
The Last Straw
December 20, 2013
No. 62, Winter 2014

Feuillette House

Update: The Feuillette House has been purchased by the Centre National de la Construction Paille.  They are still in need of support to complete their plans for creating a visitor center at the historic site.   While Nebraska makes the claim for the origins of bale construction, the French have an excellent example…
The Last Straw
October 5, 2013
No. 62, Winter 2014

The Straw Bale Alternative Solutions Resource by ASRI

The Straw Bale Alternative Solutions Resource is a document prepared by the Alternative Solutions Resource Institute (ASRI) addressing, obviously, bale construction.  While the goal of ASRI is to "foster and facilitate the use of natural materials and systems in the construction of buildings..." this document is meant to focus specifically…
The Last Straw
September 20, 2013
Online Articles

Window Sill Details

This is a bonus post showing a couple examples of window sills on bale walls.  Both examples incorporate a drip kerf for shedding water away from the wall.  The first example below is on a Nebraska-Style structure in Colorado and the second example is in Siberia from our 2005 trip.…
The Last Straw
September 5, 2013
No. 59, September 2007

Sustainable Living in California

Turko Semmes is a licensed general contractor from San Luis Obispo County, California, and one of the foremost experts in straw-bale building techniques. A graduate from the Architecture Department of Cal Poly State University in 1978 with a degree in Construction Engineering, he has been self-employed since that time, running…
The Last Straw
August 1, 2013
Online Articles

Lime Mortars DVD Review

This article is original content and has not yet appeared in the printed version of The Last Straw. St. Astier Natural Limes, a producer of hydraulic lime products from France, is offering a set of DVD videos called The Master Stroke DVD Tutorial Series.  The Master Stroke is a 4-disc…
The Last Straw
July 23, 2013
Online Articles

Fire in a House With Straw Bale Walls

This article is original content and has not yet appeared in the printed version of The Last Straw. No, this is not the house. We don't have a picture of a bale house on fire! This story is a reluctant one about a house comprised of both wood-framed and straw…
The Last Straw
August 15, 2009

THE LAST STRAW
The Alternative Journal of Design and Construction for Dirtbags and Dreamers
Since 1992