Wall Plate (noun): a horizontal member built into or laid along the top of a wall to support and distribute the pressure from joists, rafters, etc.
While Sylvain and Damien, the two wwoofers who built our wall plate, had abandoned us for their native France, the gaping hole in the build team’s expertise and hearts was soon filled as we were joined on site by Peter’s old friends Bruno and Doris and their family: son-in law Hendrik, daughter Angela and grandchildren Elias and Josias. Full of fresh-faced enthusiasm and can-do spirit Bruno and his family has come all the way from Italy for a working holiday; two weeks of wholesome fun with friends helping build a rustic straw house….or so they imagined! They looked strong and healthy so we knew we could get a few weeks of work out of them! With this enthusiastic new cohort of volunteers we set to work with renewed vigor.
Before we could begin lifting the wall plate onto our straw bale walls we first had to attach pieces of wood fiber board to the wall plates sides where it will eventually be covered with render. The rough texture of the fiber boards will give the render a much better surface to adhere to compared to the smooth/slippery sides of the planed treated pine that it is built from. Holes were also drilled through where sharpened wooden stakes will be driven through into the straw bales below to help hold the wall plate in place.
Ben and his son help Peter screw pieces of fiber board to the sides of the wall plate.
Hendrik drills holes in the wall plate. Once in position on top of the wall dowel stakes will be hammered through these holes pinning the wall plate to the straw bales beneath.
Meanwhile Angela and son Elias (4) help Terry mix up more clay for the earth floor and render.
Once the final touches had been added to the wall plate the real fun of lifting the wall plate onto the bale walls began.
Bruno waits for the pallet grab as the first section of wall plate lies ready to be lifted into place…as there were no photos taken of this piece being carried down to site we will have to believe Bruno’s claim that he carried it down by all by himself.
As there were low hanging power lines running along the front side of the house extra care had to be taken lifting this section into place. Here we used the JCB rather than the bigger digger to get the piece into place.
Bruno and Nino guide the pallet grab down onto the wall plate.
Ben and Nino guide the section of wall plate down onto the bales.
Peter comes down to inspect the levels
Upon seeing the first piece of wall plate successfully in place Peter achieves Nirvana and his spirit ascends to the heavens.
After an exciting day Ben and Peter walk off into the sunset never to be seen again.
To see the rest of the wall plate going up along with video of some of the key processes see our next post: Installing the Wall Plate II