Wall Plate

The wall plate is essentially a wooden box that sits between the top of the bale walls and the roof frame. It serves to distribute the weight of the roof evenly across the width and length of the walls. Without this rigid structure the roof beams would just sink into the straw walls.

Our wall plate was constructed from mostly reclaimed 2x6s (originally used as bracing when pouring the concrete foundations) and plywood sheets. Due to the pentagonal shape of the house constructing it involved some more complex planning than what would normally be encountered. Thankfully Sylvain and Damien, our two French volunteers here on prac for their engineering degrees, were up for the task. They were responsible for constructing most of the wall plate themselves and said they particularly enjoyed the problem solving element of the project.

Wall Plate Barn Wood StoreDamien lowers down some plywood sheets stored out of the way on a pile of bales

Cutting StationCutting station. The circular was a donation to the build from Forrest Row local (name)

received_10203621045002975Clamping the 2×6 beams in place for gluing and drilling

Wall Plate 2Clamps off, surveying the first corner

received_10203621044882972Filling the spaces with recycled glass foam pebbles as insulation

Wall Plate 3The 126 degree angle between the front door and the North facing wall. Some inventive bracing was required to make a strong frame

Wall Plate Heated DiscussionsThe completed piece showing the 126 degree angle where the front door meets the adjacent wall.

Wall Plate

Whilst we originally planned to fill the wall plate cavity with the same recycled glass pebbles used in the foundations, it was found that without the ability to compact it, it left too much space for air. Luckily we had some old wood fiber insulation panels left over from a previous farm project which we decided to use instead.

Wall Plate Insulation WorkingFitting the wood fiber insulation panels into the wall plate  

Wall Plate InsulationDamien putting the finishing touches to the insulation

Wall Plate Proud PeterPeter proudly exhibits the first completed piece demonstrating just how thick the walls will be.

Wall Plate Elegant Dismount 9.5 out of 10Peter scores 8/10 for his graceful dismount although Damien and Sylvain remain unimpressed

Once all the pieces were finished the decision was made to take them down to the sheep barn so they could be laid out flat as a whole. Although constructed in pieces, each section was extremely heavy. Even getting them on and off the JCB was quite a chore. In the end round fencing posts were used as rollers to slide the wall plate on its side across the floor. Unfortunately all hands were required on deck so there are no photos of the process.

JCB Moving Wall Plate 4JCB Moving Wall Plate 3JCB Moving Wall Plate 2JCB Moving Wall PlateSylvian directing the JCB down to the sheep barn

Once at the sheep barn Damien and Sylvain measured out and fitted the final pieces of wood to reinforce the ends where the individual pieces would fit together.

Marking out Wall PlatePeter labels the pieces to make them easier to assemble later down the track

Wall Plate Sylvian and DamienDamien and Sylvain are forced to pose with arms out in front of their completed masterpiece. 

Wall Plate Sylvian and Damien 2

Up next: Baling Time!

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