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Re: GSBN:Re: Strawbale walling query

In my US travels, I have used and seen this used many times, with and
without bale to post contact. I think you are asking more about the
structural integrity of the wall, but your description of the climate
relates as well. First, I agree with Bill that the benefit in terms of
minimizing air infiltration is good when there is a complete wrap of the
posts and continuous unbroken plaster. If the posts interface with the
plaster, then  the detailing at the back of post obviously needs to be
done well. I have seen unfortunate cases where expansion and contraction
has left a vertical gap between the plaster and wood the height of the
post, both sides. That's alot of air and potential moisture.
In situations with a plaster/post interface, there are two good
techniques I  am aware of. A woman timber framer I know in New York uses
the same technique as Bill suggested, though she has found a lightweight
fibered board, like a pressed recycled paper board that is fuzzy and
accepts plaster directly to place on the back of the post. Alternately,
other timber framers are attaching a narrow 1x wood strip to the back of
post before bale installation. This holds bales back from post so that
plaster keys into the remaining space behind the post to create a good
air seal.
If the concern is wall stability, then perhaps slight manual compression
and/or external pinning could provide any additional support needed.
Best of luck to her.
Laura Bartels

PS- Tom, I have enjoyed your book very much as a resource for students.