A Round House of Straw Bales

It might not be a mansion, but a house of straw is certainly cost-effective provided you're willing to put in the time and effort building it yourself.

| January/February 1973

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    The completed house of straw bales on a winter day, hung with icicles.
    PHOTO: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Closed doorway of the straw house, with decorative horseshoe nearby.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Detail of the notched cuts in the ends of the frame poles and roof poles to facilitate their joining.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    The frame of the house, wired together for stability with scavenged barbed wire.
    ILLUSTRATION: MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    The straw bales can provide a makeshift platform during assembly of the frame.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    The roof support poles fastened with each overlapping the next, leaving a central gap for the stove pipe.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Method of separating a full bale into two half bales.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    The author sits between two windows inside his straw bale house on a straw bale bench.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Method of bending a straw bale so that it follows the curve of the wall.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    View from above looking down of bales arranged around the framing poles.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    View from above looking down on the layers of material used in the roof.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Top: cardboard weatherstrip for the door; Middle: nail bent into U-shape and installed as door stop; Bottom: method of securing the windows.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    The author stands in the doorway of his house of straw.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    A board laid over a window gap provides support for the next layer of straw bales.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Closeup of the ceiling with stovepipe surrounded by asbestos shield.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Wood stove for heat inside a circle of protective rocks.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF
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    Detail of the ceiling with stovepipe inserted through the central hole.
    MOTHER EARTH NEWS STAFF

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Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle.... Our teepees were round like the- nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle... But the Wasichus [Whites] have put us in these square boxes. Our power is gone and we are dying....  

Black Elk Speaks , p. 199-200  

And they shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat: for as the days of a tree are the days of my people, and mine elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands.  -Isaiah , 65:22  

We figure it took two 40-man-hour weeks to build and cost us a total of $25 . . . and the pleasure of living in a round house that we put together with our own hands has verified Black Elk and Isaiah's thoughts beyond words. Still, in words, we can lay out the recipe we followed . . . just in case you want to construct such a residence for yourself.



Our first step was to pick a spot, put in a stake and—with a 10-foot-long string attached to the post—draw a circle on the ground. (That's a 63-foot circumference . . . we wanted some room. Even this beginning step was simpler and quicker than measuring and squaring the normal rectangle.

Next we cut eight poles about four inches in diameter eight feet long and planted them upright (in holes 20 inches deep) at equal intervals around the circle. By tamping solidly as we filled dirt and stones back in around the poles, we managed to make the uprights fairly stable. At that stage, the house made us think of Stonehenge.

www.EasyWoodwork.org 👈 go here
5/28/2018 1:32:16 PM

I use the plans at WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG to build my own DIY projects – I highly recommend you visit that website and check their plans out too. 🔨 They are detailed and super easy to read and understand unlike several others I found online. The amount of plans there is mind-boggling… there’s like 16,000 plans or something like that for tons of different projects. Definitely enough to keep me busy with projects for many more years to come haha. Go to ⭐ WWW.EASYWOODWORK.ORG if you want some additional plans 🤗







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