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Practical Straw Bale Building

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Practical Straw Bale Building

Murray Hollis  

Photographs, Illustrations, Index
104 pages, 248 x 170 mm
Publisher: Landlinks Press

    Paperback - 2005
ISBN: 9780643069770 - AU $ 34.95

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Building with straw bales is being embraced by amateurs and professionals for its versatility, comfort, environmental friendliness and high insulation. New methods should expand its growing worldwide popularity.

In Practical Straw Bale Building, Murray Hollis uses simple, easy to understand language to describe the established techniques of straw bale construction and ways in which they can be improved. He also presents a new straw bale construction system that has substantial benefits over current methods. This system incorporates a new tensioning system that replaces the use of fence strainers for tensioning the hold-down/compression wires and eliminates uneven tensioning on opposite sides of the wall. It also allows for fabricating wall modules on-site as horizontal modules that are then swung into the vertical wall position after fabrication. Aspects of structures other than walls are addressed only to the extent that they are relevant to the use of straw bales, e.g. issues such as types of floors, roof structures and methods of heating or cooling.

The innovative methods in this book will help to progress straw bale building technology and move it into the mainstream of the building industry.


  • Contains new techniques developed by the author
  • Includes 14 detailed technical drawings and 18 photographs

 1. Introduction
2. Basics of straw walls
3. Materials, components and tools
4. Preparing the bales
5. Foundations
6. Stacking, tying and straightening
7. Plastering straw bales
8. A new straw bale wall construction system
9. A wall pre-construction method
10. Waterproofing, plumbing, openings and drywall finishes
11. Building codes
12. Garden walls and creative shapes
13. Handling, transportation and storage

 Owner-builders, professional builders, architects; Planners and others associated with the building industry; Farmers who produce straw bales; Environmentalists. 

 “This book is a ‘must buy’ for anyone with the slightest interest in building with alternative materials. And, in a greenhouse –affected world, that should be everyone interested in building.”
Robert Rich, Author of Earth Garden Building Book (The Owner Builder no.129 June-July 2005)

“This book is all about facts and practical information. … combine it with your creative drive and you might find yourself living in a house of straw.”
Earth Garden no.132 Jun-Aug 2005

“Eying off your bales of hay? Planning on building? Here’s a useful resource.”
Grass Roots no.172 Aug-Sep 2005

 Dr Murray Hollis has extensive experience in physics and engineering, primarily at the Australian National University as a Research Fellow and then as Business and Laboratory Manager of the Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering. In recent years he has developed new techniques for straw bale building and held numerous workshops, as well as providing contract writing services to a wide variety of clients. 

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