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GSBN: Digest for 4/27/06



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---------------------------------------------------------------------


-> Re: GSBN:Lime Wash
     by Athena & Bill Steen absteen@...
-> Re: GSBN:Re: fire test -- your opinions?
     by Athena & Bill Steen absteen@...
-> Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?
     by Derek Roff derek@...
-> Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?
     by Marcus marcus1@...
-> RE: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?
     by jswearingen@...
-> GSBN:fire test -- preliminary testing
     by Bruce King ecobruce@...
-> Re: GSBN:fire test -- preliminary testing
     by Derek Roff derek@...
-> Re: GSBN:fire test -- preliminary testing
     by Bruce King ecobruce@...
-> RE: GSBN:Lime Wash
     by "Tim Owen-Kennedy" timok@...
-> RE: GSBN:Re: fire test -- your opinions?
     by "Tim Owen-Kennedy" timok@...


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 27 Apr 2006 07:49:13 -0600
From: Athena & Bill Steen absteen@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Lime Wash

Jeff,
Is the limewash for the outside or inside of the building?  Reason I
ask is that for me it would seem to make sense on the inside of the
structure where the antiseptic benefits would be advantageous.
However, for that to be a factor the limewash would have to be
applied on a frequent (annual?) basis to be effective.  There is a
lime paint, the name of which I can't recall, that Harry Francis has
brought up in the past as being particularly good for a number of
reasons.  Perhaps he can respond with current info.  On the exterior
why not take advantage of the lime of silicate paints offered by the
fellows at Eco-House.  It would provide a similar soft matt look,
resist water absorption while remaining vapor open like the
limewash.  Furthermore, rather than remain a coating on the wall, it
would become part of the surface.
Another idea that hasn't occurred to me in the past is that you could
inquire whether or not lime could be added to the paint  base in
place of the pigments.  It would also provide a binder for the lime
which you very well might need anyway.

Bill

Athena & Bill Steen
The Canelo Project
HC1 Box 324
Canelo/Elgin, AZ 85611
absteen@...
www.caneloproject.com


On Apr 26, 2006, at 4:31 PM, Jeff Ruppert wrote:

> Hello Everyone,
>
> We are presently working on a rather large project (30,000 sf horse
> arena and attached residence, all straw bale) and would like to
> apply a
> lime wash with pigment over the brown coat of plaster, which is
> cement/lime, to roughly 15,000 sf of surface area.
>
> My question is, has anyone ever tried spraying lime wash?  The huge
> amount of surface area is leading me to try and find a faster way of
> applying it other than by brush or roller.  We have access to both
> hydrated and hydraulic lime.
>
> Also, I know there have been discussions on these lists regarding size
> of SB structure so I don't want to ask everyone if there is a
> larger SB
> structure than this one (I am sure there is!), but this one definitely
> is "up there" in terms of size.  Make a mental note if anyone ever
> asks
> how large you can go.  We have 20 ft tall walls included in the 15,000
> sf of wall system on this project.  It is all three-string bales
> stacked
> on-edge.
>
> Here are some pictures for your delight!  Thanks in advance for any
> help.
>
> <a  target="_blank" href="http://photos.odiseanet.com/main/gallery2/main.php";>http://photos.odiseanet.com/main/gallery2/main.php</a>?
> g2_view=core.ShowItem&amp;g2_itemId=105&amp;g2_navId=xba8dd562
>
> Sorry about the use of cement plaster!  A project of this scale
> with six
> feet of snow on the ground in the winter, big winds, and a "real-life"
> time window, nothing compares with the cost, durability, and available
> labor.  Thank goodness we live in a VERY dry climate!
>
>
> Jeff Ruppert, P.E.
> Principal
>
> Odisea LLC
> Ecological Building, Engineering and Consulting
>
> Front Range Office 		West Slope Office
> 1731 15th St. #105		1022 Main St.
> Boulder, CO  80302		Carbondale, CO 81623
> 303.443.4335			970.948.5744
> 303.443.4355 f			1.866.795.6699 f
> jeff@...
> www.odiseanet.com
> ----

>



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 27 Apr 2006 08:55:55 -0600
From: Athena &amp; Bill Steen absteen@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Re: fire test -- your opinions?



On Apr 26, 2006, at 2:41 PM, Rob Tom wrote:
>
> I say if only two walls can be tested, test one with PC/lime
> plaster on
> on-edge bales if you absolutely must test a PC/lime plaster, but
> the other
> one absitively &amp; posolutely should be an earthen mix, preferably a mix
> that is *the* best in the SB World so that the numbers that do result,
> will amaze the pants off of the officials.

I think that I would have to agree with RT on this one and not simply
because of the seemingly obvious. True we use earthen plasters for
just about everything with an occasional lime plaster for fun's sake,
but there is something else that comes to mind here.  How straw bale
walls covered with earth plaster would behave in a fire is of
interest to me for several reasons.  First of all clay does
beautifully when fired as evidenced in brick, Saltillo tile, ceramic
pottery etc.  In terms of a plaster I can't help but think of the
clay ovens we build that don't disintegrate under extensive firing.
I'm sitting right next to a fireplace in my kitchen that is built out
of a cob-like mix that has a beautifully worn interior after 8 or so
years of firing.  My first thought was that perhaps the interior
earthen plaster might be something with a higher sand content than
straw etc. but after thinking about it a little sand might not be the
best performer when it comes to exposure with high levels of heat.
On the other hand my fireplace has a very high straw content in the
mix as sometimes do our ovens.  Neither have burned down as of yet.
And on the other hand once again cement plastered adobe/clay ovens
have a notorious reputation in this part of the world for rapid failure.

So perhaps, although it might not have seemed like the most obvious
and sensible choice, testing an earthen plaster might be quite a good
idea.

Bill

> GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and
> representatives of regional straw construction organizations. The
> costs of operating this list are underwritten by The Last Straw
> Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN as an advisory board and
> technical editing arm.
>
> For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN
> list, send email to GSBN@...HELP in the
> SUBJECT line. ----
>



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 27 Apr 2006 09:22:02 -0600
From: Derek Roff derek@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?

- --On Wednesday, April 26, 2006 6:20 PM -0400 strawnet@...:

> We're hoping to soon have all the specifics soon about the ASTM
> Standard Practice E2226 (for the Hose Stream Test).

It seems like there would be a significant difference in the hose stream
test, between spraying the water on the middle of a bale, on a joint
between two bales, and on at the junction of three bales.  I wonder how the
testing will address that question.

> I keep coming around to thinking that maybe we should get a horizontal
> propane heater and build a couple of little test panels somewhere and
> heat them to something like what the temps are for the big test and
> then blast away with a hose approximating the hose stream testing and
> see whether earthen plasters could survive the two hours and the hose
> test. I just hate to gamble on not ending up with at least one
> successful assembly out of this investment.

I like this idea.  These small test assemblies could be a fun weekend
project.  We've got a kerosene heater and a fire truck in Kingston that
might help with David's hypothetical private proto-testing.  What's the
next step?

Derek

Derek Roff
Language Learning Center
Ortega Hall 129, MSC03-2100
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
505/277-7368, fax 505/277-3885
Internet: derek@...



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 27 Apr 2006 10:23:03 -0600
From: Marcus marcus1@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?

Derek Roff wrote:

> I like this idea.  These small test assemblies could be a fun weekend
> project.  We've got a kerosene heater and a fire truck in Kingston that
> might help with David's hypothetical private proto-testing.  What's the
> next step?

I like it too. Seems like one would need to replicate the
formal test conditions as near as possible. Set up to
achieve the heat and duplicate the water stream. Try a few
different plaster recipes to determine what might pass.
While not formally recognized tests - I bet a LOT could be
learned this way.

Marcus


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 27 Apr 2006 10:37:14 -0600
From: jswearingen@...
Subject: RE: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?

At the risk of being asked to DO something, I would agree that it's a good
idea.

John "Flaming Dirt" Swearingen

John Swearingen
 SKILLFUL MEANS
design and construction
 www.skillful-means.com


- -----Original Message-----
From: GSBN [<a  target="_blank" href="mailto:GSBN@...";>mailto:GSBN@...] On Behalf Of Marcus
Sent: Thursday, April 27, 2006 9:10 AM
To: GSBN
Subject: Re: GSBN:fire test -- your opinions?


Derek Roff wrote:

> I like this idea.  These small test assemblies could be a fun weekend 
> project.  We've got a kerosene heater and a fire truck in Kingston 
> that might help with David's hypothetical private proto-testing.  
> What's the next step?

I like it too. Seems like one would need to replicate the formal test
conditions as near as possible. Set up to achieve the heat and duplicate the
water stream. Try a few different plaster recipes to determine what might
pass. While not formally recognized tests - I bet a LOT could be learned
this way.

Marcus
- ----
GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives of
regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating this list
are underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN
as an advisory board and technical editing arm.

For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list, send
email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.  
- ----


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----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 27 Apr 2006 11:00:31 -0600
From: Bruce King ecobruce@...
Subject: GSBN:fire test -- preliminary testing


On Apr 27, 2006, at 9:23 AM, John Swearingen wrote:

> Derek Roff wrote:
>
>> I like this idea.  These small test assemblies could be a fun weekend
>> project.  We've got a kerosene heater and a fire truck in Kingston
>> that might help with David's hypothetical private proto-testing.
>> What's the next step?

> At the risk of being asked to DO something, I would agree that it's a
> good idea.


John, Derek, Marcus, and anyone else --

It IS a good idea, but unless someone is willing to donate several days
of work and some materials and I don't know what else, it's just talk,
and let's drop it.

IF, however, someone can and will do some preliminary work -- and very
soon -- then say so (and bless your generous heart), and we can resume
the conversation off of GSBN so as to spare everyone.

More generally, I'm rather stunned at the unprecedented volume of
response my original query generated, and thank each of you who have
taken the time to write.

I'll reply in more detail after this conversation dies down, but, given
the obvious and overwhelming preference of most of this group, I think
we'll probably end up testing 14 inch thick solid concrete walls with
vinyl siding, maybe with some graffiti in mud scrawled on the side, eg
"God Bless Murrica!" or some such thing.

Yo!
Thanks!

Bruce King, PE
Director, Ecological Building Network  ( www.ecobuildnetwork.org )
Publisher, Green Building Press  ( www.greenbuildingpress.com )
209 Caledonia St.
Sausalito, CA 94965  USA
(415) 331-7630
bruce@ ecobuildnetwork.org




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----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 27 Apr 2006 11:21:16 -0600
From: Derek Roff derek@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:fire test -- preliminary testing

- --On Thursday, April 27, 2006 9:46 AM -0700 Bruce King
ecobruce@... wrote:

> It IS a good idea, but unless someone is willing to donate several days
> of work and some materials and I don't know what else, it's just talk,
> and let's drop it.

I am willing to donate the time and materials.  I don't know if I have
access to all of  Bruce's "I don't know what else."  But I have a fire
truck.  That's pretty good, isn't it?

> IF, however, someone can and will do some preliminary work -- and very
> soon -- then say so (and bless your generous heart), and we can resume
> the conversation off of GSBN so as to spare everyone.

I agree with taking the discussion off GSBN.  We would need more discussion
among those interested, to determine just what is needed in time,
expertise, materials and equipment, in order to figure out whether any of
us has all the needed components to pull this off.

And as Bruce says, mud graffiti is the answer to most modern problems.

Derelict

Derek Roff
Language Learning Center
Ortega Hall 129, MSC03-2100
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
505/277-7368, fax 505/277-3885
Internet: derek@...



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 27 Apr 2006 13:12:43 -0600
From: Bruce King ecobruce@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:fire test -- preliminary testing


On Apr 27, 2006, at 10:07 AM, Derek Roff wrote:


> I am willing to donate the time and materials.  I don't know if I have
> access to all of  Bruce's "I don't know what else."  But I have a fire
> truck.  That's pretty good, isn't it?


That's terrific!  Good on ye, Derek!

Mark Piepkorn, conveniently located on the same continent as you, has
volunteered to help, and perhaps others will as well, but from now on
let's take this off of GSBN.

Derek, I'd say stack some bales on edge and flat  into miniwalls about
4' x 4', and get some plaster on them absolutely asap (earth, lime,
whatever) so the plaster can cure a bit.  We have to build walls at the
lab at the end of May, so you would have to complete your preliminary
flaming and hosing by, say, May 25 so that it might be of any use in
designing the actual test walls.

Adios a todos, y gracias!

Bruce



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 27 Apr 2006 20:57:10 -0600
From: "Tim Owen-Kennedy" timok@...
Subject: RE: GSBN:Lime Wash

Hi Jeff,

We have used texture guns and airless sprayers to apply lime wash and found
them to be unsuccessful enough that we hand rolled 15,000 sq feet of it at
Ridge winery. We were using the vertical pulverized quicklime which we slake
and now sell through the few "green resource" stores in California. I
believe that the aeration that occurs in spraying defeats the wet bonding
suction of hand applied lime wash even when it is back rolled. More coats of
a thinner (more water) mix over a hose soaked wall that is back rolled is
something I might try in your scenario but we have found that high and large
walls get done fairly quickly with 18" rollers. We also found the use of
scissor lifts to be invaluable in quality and body control...for another
post.

Best of luck,

Tim

- -----Original Message-----
From: GSBN [<a  target="_blank" href="mailto:GSBN@...";>mailto:GSBN@...] On Behalf Of Jeff Ruppert
Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2006 4:31 PM
To: GSBN; strawbale@...
Subject: GSBN:Lime Wash

Hello Everyone,

We are presently working on a rather large project (30,000 sf horse
arena and attached residence, all straw bale) and would like to apply a
lime wash with pigment over the brown coat of plaster, which is
cement/lime, to roughly 15,000 sf of surface area.

My question is, has anyone ever tried spraying lime wash?  The huge
amount of surface area is leading me to try and find a faster way of
applying it other than by brush or roller.  We have access to both
hydrated and hydraulic lime.

Also, I know there have been discussions on these lists regarding size
of SB structure so I don't want to ask everyone if there is a larger SB
structure than this one (I am sure there is!), but this one definitely
is "up there" in terms of size.  Make a mental note if anyone ever asks
how large you can go.  We have 20 ft tall walls included in the 15,000
sf of wall system on this project.  It is all three-string bales stacked
on-edge.

Here are some pictures for your delight!  Thanks in advance for any help.

<a  target="_blank" href="http://photos.odiseanet.com/main/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.ShowItem&amp;g2_";>http://photos.odiseanet.com/main/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.ShowItem&amp;g2_</a>
itemId=105&amp;g2_navId=xba8dd562

Sorry about the use of cement plaster!  A project of this scale with six
feet of snow on the ground in the winter, big winds, and a "real-life"
time window, nothing compares with the cost, durability, and available
labor.  Thank goodness we live in a VERY dry climate!


Jeff Ruppert, P.E.
Principal

Odisea LLC
Ecological Building, Engineering and Consulting

Front Range Office 		West Slope Office
1731 15th St. #105		1022 Main St.
Boulder, CO  80302		Carbondale, CO 81623
303.443.4335			970.948.5744
303.443.4355 f			1.866.795.6699 f
jeff@...
www.odiseanet.com
- ----
GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives of
regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating this list
are underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN
as an advisory board and technical editing arm.

For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list, send
email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.
- ----



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----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 27 Apr 2006 20:57:31 -0600
From: "Tim Owen-Kennedy" timok@...
Subject: RE: GSBN:Re: fire test -- your opinions?

OK...

This won't be a surprise to Bruce "BIG HEAD" King, or David "and thorough"
Eisenberg, from my last pain killer fuelled rant, but, FOR GOD SAKES DON=92T
TEST TWO CEMENT and/or LIME WALLS. Surely 1 1/2" thick earth plaster on both
skins will be plenty for both fire and hose tests the key is having the
bales compressed to 100# PLF. If we can only afford two tests make one
Cement-Lime and one Clay. Like our decision to use a moderately weak earth
plaster in the cyclical shear tests. We should focus on the lowest common
denominator to have the farthest reaching effect. If we are afraid of the
clay plaster wall failing add grippled straps, exterior pins or a light
mesh. But please oh please test what most people want to build with...

David...can you send me the ASTM Hose test so I can see if anyone will mock
it up here. We have a volunteer fire connection on our crew.

Now it may come as a surprise that I even want to support one Cement/lime
test...even though it is less than 10% of my work and I always do it
reluctantly. I do see a large future for large commercial spaces out of
straw which will often require and sometimes request stiffer more
conventional and more easily maintained finishes. And as the BIG HEAD SAID
those are the buildings that will make most use of the tested fire rating
"when" we get at least a 2hr wall out of this endeavor...

OK... back to the zoo.

Tim

p.s. anyone that needs to build on flat let them pay for there own test. And
I know I'm contradicting myself re: the LCD. Ta...

- -----Original Message-----
From: GSBN [<a  target="_blank" href="mailto:GSBN@...";>mailto:GSBN@...] On Behalf Of
strawnet@...
Sent: Wednesday, April 26, 2006 4:34 PM
To: GSBN@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Re: fire test -- your opinions?

I have to say that I love having this forum and that it has never
worked any better than it's working right now!

So, here are a few questions that perhaps some of you with more
experience with lime and perhaps with earth might be able to answer...

Given that we are not going to have 12 weeks to cure the finish on
these panels, is there a likely way that we can do a lime render and
have it stand up to the test, including the hose stream test since if
it fails that it fails the test? And do we know anything about how less
than adequately cured lime render will respond to a couple of hours of
intense heat and then the thermal shock and erosion of the hose stream
test?

Your questions, Barbara, about whether we know enough here to be using
lime plaster well is one that has been on my mind a lot over the last
few years as I listen to people who are really struggling to make these
things work and find themselves redoing jobs and trying to understand
what went wrong. The risk for the use of lime in such a test, if we are
having a hard time getting it right on ordinary walls doesn't reassure
me that it is a good choice here. But maybe I just don't know enough
about it and there are people here who do really know.

And second, I keep thinking about how much clay one would need to have
in the mix to get anything like at least minimal fired-clay
characteristics in earthen plaster?

It would be so much easier to make these decisions if we knew that we
had a back up plan for failure - a way that we could then take what
we've learned and do it again. I've just been at this long enough to
place a very high value on the fact that we now, finally have the
funding to carry out tests that we need, I believe, as much for
convincing the insurance folks and the building officials that this is
a safe and viable building system. We don't need to convince ourselves
of it although I am certain that we still have a great deal to learn...

I suppose some of us have been through the wringer enough times that we
are a bit cautious. One day soon, it's my hope that it is the newly
wide awake insurance and reinsurance sector that funds this sort of
research as they strive to address and survive climate change and peak
oil risks...I'm working on that in a variety of ways but who knows what
will unfold there.

- -----Original Message-----
From: Strawbalefutures info@...
To: GSBN@...
Sent: Wed, 26 Apr 2006 23:48:23 +0100
Subject: GSBN:Re: fire test -- your opinions?

  Hi All
Just catching up with this very 'USA' debate. First, though, Fantastic
you've got the funding for it and are putting so much thought and energy
into getting it right. From my European perspective, I am still a bit
bemused at your insistence on using cement in any shape or form in
buildings
since it is has no positive environmental credentials, is rigid instead
of
flexible, waterproofing instead of weatherproofing, and non-permeable to
vapour instead of permeable. It is a major contributor to the green
house
gas effect and global warming, uses up 50% of the UK annual electricity
production to manufacture, does not have a cycle of use that returns it
back
to a harmless natural form and by all accounts also blocks aura's (for
the
spiritual amongst us!). Finally it is a thoroughly modern, (invented in
1824
and used widely from 1914ish) new and untested material in the sense of
withstanding the test of time compared to lime that has at least 12,000
years of continuous successful use and clay which has far far longer,
probably as old as the human race itself. As well as only specifying
natural
plasters and renders of either lime or clay we have also pioneered
low-impact foundations that use no cement, and solid floors made with
either
lime or clay. All these designs have already been passed by UK Building
Regulations.
I think you need to beware of limiting your vision to testing what you
know
will pass the test (i.e. lime/cement render, which has been thoroughly
tested already) instead of making sure you all have the opportunity to
catch
up with Europe and enshrine the use of cement free renders and plasters
in
your building codes - but you have to believe that our centuries of
tradition are valid, of course.
There is one other point to consider, though, which is that you also
need to
understand the way lime works to use it effectively, because it is not
like
cement, and this in itself may be your own limiting factor - do you know
enough about it to use and specify it?
My vote, in case you hadn't realised by now, would be for a feebly
hydraulic
lime render on one wall and the best clay plaster you have on the other.
Both will pass the 2 hour test I'm sure but the clay may or may not
pass the
hose test, would be interesting to find out. And to use bales flat for
one
and on edge for the other because hey, why not. Even though we pretty
much
know what will happen.
As Chug said, we were involved in a fire test with the Building Research
Establishment that can't be given a BS stamp but never-the-less showed
that
lime rendered strawbale walls with straw laid flat will withstand fire
for
more than 2 hours - the walls failed because of the design of the jig
and
would probably have withstood fire for longer in a real situation. We
used
feebly hydraulic lime, applied 12 weeks before the test, to both sides
of
the wall.
I can't wait to find out what the final decision will be! Over to you,
boys.
Barbara Jones


WARNING: Strawbale building can seriously transform your life!

Amazon Nails
Strawbale Building, Training and Consultancy
Hollinroyd Farm
Todmorden
OL14 8RJ

Tel/fax: 00 44 (0)1706 814696
email: info@...
web: www.strawbalefutures.org.uk



- ----
GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives
of
regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating this
list are
underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN
as an
advisory board and technical editing arm.

For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list,
send
email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.
- ----



- ----
GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives of
regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating this list
are underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN
as an advisory board and technical editing arm.

For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list, send
email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.  
- ----



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----------------------------------------------------------------------

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