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GSBN:mesh reinforcing for earth plasters

G'Day  Baleheads -

Here in sunny Califronia, we are very much in the heat of the straw bale
test program, and have encountered a small problem that we hope some of
y'all can help with.

We are determined to devise an earthen-plastered straw bale wall that can be
used even in high seismic/strict building code areas like San Francisco.
Even with plenty of straw or other fibers in the plaster mix, however, we
cannot make it work without some sort of straps or mesh reinforcing tying
the top plate across the wall to the foundation.  We have investigated a
number of lightweight plastic meshes, and a number of coir and hemp meshes,
and pretty much ruled out metal mesh because it will presumably corrode
pretty fast in the earthen plaster.

The coir and hemp meshes didn't work because they were too fuzzy and too
tightly woven to allow the plaster to be applied through them onto the bale
wall.  We cannot just lay them over a base plaster coat and then plaster
again over that, as they need to be anchored at the foundation.

Ideally, someone can help us locate a plastic, hemp, coir or other natural
fiber mesh that is open enough to plaster through, is readily available (or
at least not TOO hard to get), and has some reasonable amount of strength.

Any suggestions will be much appreciated - please hit the old "Reply to all"
button if you do have an idea, and send it asap.


Bruce King, PE
Director, Ecological Building Network
209 Caledonia St.
Sausalito, CA 94965
(415) 331-7630
fax 332-4072
bruce@ ecobuildnetwork.org