2009 November Lumber Talk.com: Professional-Level information and how-to-build articles for wood, timber, and lumber professionals and users. 2009 November » Lumber Talk
By Chris | November 23, 2009 - 9:44 am - Posted in Alternative Materials

This is a great project – the straw bale house being built by researchers at the University of Bath a hop and a skip west of London. straw bale walls lined with wood or hemp panels

The straw bale house is called the balehaus@bath and has set out to demonstrate the effectiveness of smart design and the use of renewable materials to decrease a home’s carbon footprint.

Straw – Renewable & Insulating
Straw is exceptionally renewable and has excellent insulating properties so it is a very energy-efficient building material when considering both production and the operation of the home. Additionally, hay (straw) can generally be grown locally (in most places) so carbon emissions from transportation are reduced as well.

Panels Resists Fire
Flammability tests of the pre-fabricated panels showed that they resisted fire very well – 4 times as long as required. Read more about that here.

See for yourself. Here’s the image gallery and you will also see a link to the “straw cam” where you can watch some videos of the construction.

The house is about more than just the straw bales. Design and other factors are considered as well. This might be one of many great options researchers find to develop greener homes for a “carbon-neutral” future.

By Chris | November 11, 2009 - 6:55 pm - Posted in Big Timbers, New Products, Structural Components

This is a pretty concise “list” (pdf) with images of timber truss designs you can pick from. It covers the basics – the timber trusses most used. To repeat, these are for TIMBER trusses – not pressed or manufactured trusses – so, please, no emails about all the dainty little truss designs I missed. Oh, and yes, there are TONS of custom designs available, too.

scissor timber truss design from American Pole and TimberIt’s no secret I think American Pole and Timber is one of the coolest companies because of their ability to make just about anything and their willingness to say yes to just about any project thrown at them. There are not many companies that could handle the diversity of products American Pole and Timber handles but they have been doing it for nearly two decades now with steady growth.

Aside from their pdf of timber truss designs, you will be interested in the timber truss options they offer and, especially, how they ship exceptionally large timber trusses – timber trusses that are too large to fit on a truck assembled.

Shipping Large Trusses

Kind of off-topic here… They ship nationwide but some of their trusses are GIANT so they actually build the timber truss in their shop in Houston, TX (fully assembled) to ensure the truss is made properly and meets all the required dimensions and specs once assembled. They then mark each component and disassemble each truss for shipment. Depending on the client and truss, they will send one of their employees with the truss to guide and/or help with the reassembly on the job site.

After 10 years in and around the lumber business, I still think that’s pretty cool.