Straw-Clay Block Test Wall

November 18 and 19 was in Asahikawa, Hokkaido, working on a Straw-Clay Block Test Wall using blocks made a month ago.Jinnouchi-san and Noda-san inspecting the test wall.Kyle testing the strength of the blocks. We now have a blog for the light straw clay project: 自然の家づくり職人ネット.Before returning to Fujisawa on the 19, visited Toby at "Square One".


Robert said...

Hi! Fellow foreigner in Japan here, dreams of going back and building with natural materials. I saw that very interesting Straw-Clay Block Test-picture, how are these blocks manufactured? Do you (as I naively presume) just build wooden forms, pack in the clay coated straw and tamp it down, then a few days later turn the form upside down and then allow for further drying of the block before building?

Also, how would you attach the blocks to become more rigid? I presume you have some sort of clever system as I don't think the blocks are porous enough to just be impaled on poles as with common strawbales?

Last question, can these blocks be used for load bearing walls?

Sorry to take up your time! Let me know if you need plastering help in Tokyo (I'm eager to learn and has read a lot on the subject but no real skills so far).

Kyle Holzhueter said...

Hi Robert. Yes, the blocks are made like adobe bricks in wooden frames. Also like adobe, mud mortar is used between courses. However unlike adobe, the blocks are not strong enough to bear the weight of a roof. What are you up to in Tokyo?

Robert said...

Thanks for the clarification! I was thinking this would make a perfect insulation in a wall system like this (outside and in): plaster, rubblestone and mortar, clay/straw bricks, papercretebrick, plaster). The papercrete and rubblestone would hold up nicely and the whole structure would be able to breathe and (except for the mortar and some plaster/papercrete ingredients) be virtually free.

I work at a huge Japanese conglomerate, very much the typical blond サラリーマン.