The Last Straw Journal

The Last Straw

The Last Straw JournalAuthors: various

Publisher: Green Prairie Foundation for Sustainability

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The Last Straw Journal is a (theoretically) quarterly journal of strawbale and natural building. Issues have been somewhat sporadic over the last several years due to health issues of the publisher, but don’t let that deter you – there are 60+ issues so far, all available as back issues in one form or another, and pretty much all of which contain good useful material on strawbale construction, plaster, foundations, etc, etc.

PDF copies have been available for a number of years, and they’re encouraging all subscribers to purchase PDFs if possible in order to reduce shipping and printing costs.

The first 40 issues are compiled on a single CD.


The Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens

Cover, The Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens

Author(s): Daniel Wing & Alan Scott

ISBN: 1890132055
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The Bread Builders: Hearth Loaves and Masonry Ovens

This book has over 65 pages of complete building and construction detail. The balance of the book is about masonry stove bread baking, with recipes, stories, and more. The Stove building section has many drawings, descriptions, instructions on materials, tools, techniques, problems, fixes and more, on masonry ovens.

Photos show indoor and out door ovens, old style and new, and a masonry oven with or without a bread baking area, can be designed and built using this book. 253 pages, 12 color and 60 b&w photos, illustrations, bread recipes, commercial baking information. #4001…$35.00

This is a new book with the MOST information on how to actually build a masonry stove/oven.

Living Spaces: Ecological Building and Design

Cover, Living Spaces: Ecological Building and DesignAuthor(s): L. Abraham and T. Fisher

ISBN: 3895089257
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Living Spaces: Ecological Building and Design adapted from Germany by L. Abraham. T., Fisher .

This dense, spectacular, full color edition covers everything including stone, clay, cob, timberframe, brick and other natural techniques. Discusses sustainability, the basics of design, materials, solar, thermal, acoustical, moisture, cost effectiveness, repair, energy efficiency, and so much more.

(Natural pigments from plants, water systems, recycling old doors, windows, modern electrical products, materials in bedding, insulation composting, fuel, and facade design. Over 480 pages with unique photos of European and other houses throughout, bibliography, resources, index.

(I especially liked the reed matting and clay daub photos indicating how very old styles can be used today (pgs 93-95). Hardbound, oversize,

Building with Lime

Cover, Building with Lime

Author(s): Stafford Holmes and Michael Wingate

ISBN: 1853393843

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Lime has been used in building for thousands of years and, used well, it continues to be the best and most versatile binder in the world. The special characteristics that make lime particularly appropriate for certain types of building include its porosity and permeability (the ability to “breathe”) and exceptional smoothness of texture. Lime can be used in every building element from the foundation and floor to the walls and roof. Lime can bind sand or other aggregates to form mortar. A similar mix with slightly different aggregate makes plasters to cover interior walls or renders for external applications. Lime can be molded into decorative elements or used as paint. It can be added to soil blocks for greater strength and stability. Before Portland cement, lime was used extensively for building construction and civil engineering. When making repairs or renovating historic structures, it is often more effective to use lime instead of more “modern” materials. Every type of lime has its own particular virtues and limitations and the successful use of lime in construction requires knowledge and skill. The author’s considerable experience with lime in building is brought together into one volume to provide an invaluable source of practical advice. This book is a starting point for those considering lime as a building material, and as a general reference to the broad range of uses for lime in construction. The information will assist manufacturers, investors, suppliers, as well as builders and owners of the buildings themselves to understand its value. Many examples are presented that illustrate the practical and aesthetic advantages of lime along with its commercial potential.

Alternative Housebuilding

Alternative HousebuildingAuthor(s): Mike McClintock

Publisher: Sterling Publishing Company.,Inc. Ney York

ISBN: 0806969954

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Alternative Housebuilding Paperback 367 pages May 1989 Log buildings,Timber Frame, Pole, Cordwood, Stone, Earth Masonary, Earth Shelter

Build a home using logs, adobe, stone, cordwood, rammed earth, or earth-sheltered methods for less money and lower energy costs. “Includes information and diagrams detailed enough to construct seven different homes…an unbiased, unglamorized, nitty-gritty understanding of what goes into constructing the different styles.”—Green Living.

Complete Book of Cordwood Masonry Housebuilding; The Earthwood Method

Complete Book of Cordwood Masonry Housebuilding; The Earthwood Method

Author(s): Rob Roy

Publisher: Sterling Publishing

ISBN: 0806985909

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Build a low-cost, energy-efficient home! Rob Roy, cordwood’s most famous builder, with the help of nearly 300 photos and how-to illustrations with easy-to-follow directions, shows how and how not to build your very own stunning log-end home. Full-color photos throughout. 264 pages (8 in color), 290 b/w illus., 8 x 10.

The Book of Masonry Stoves: Rediscovering an Old Way of Warming

The Book of Masonry Stoves: Rediscovering an Old Way of Warming

The Book of Masonry Stoves: Rediscovering an Old Way of WarmingAuthor(s): David Lyle

Publisher: Chelsea Green Pub Co (July 1996)

Paperback: 192 pages

ISBN: 0931790573

ISBN-13: 978-0931790577

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Masonry stoves offer good solutions to many of the problems associated with wood burning. They provide clean combustion at a high temperature, good efficiency, a high degree of safety, and little or no pollution. Masonry stoves require little care, needing to be fed only once or twice a day. They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes from simple to elegant and from mad to Gothic. And, fortunately for homeowners, they are easily adapted to a variety of structures including solar designs.

The Book of Masonry Stoves represents the first comprehensive survey ever published of all the major types of masonry heating systems, ancient and modern. Detailed plans and building information are included in the book. As a complete introduction to masonry stoves, it will help many people rediscover the economic and personal pleasure of heating with wood–an old way of warming–using masonry stoves. 192 pages, 1984

Ken Kern's Masonry Stove

Ken Kern’s Masonry Stove

Ken Kern's Masonry StoveAuthor(s): Ken Kern

Publisher: Scribner (March 1983)

Hardcover: 158 pages

ISBN-10: 0684177757

ISBN-13: 978-0684177755

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Ken Kern’s Masonry Stove – Fantastic information on stove building- xerographic. 82 pages. photos and drawings in b&w.

Masonry stoves are difficult to learn about for the owner builder, but they can be hand built with nformation from this book.

With energy concerns and high cost of fuel a problem for most home heating a masonry stove can solve both. Kern’s book details step-by-step how to plan and build

Basic Masonry Techniques

Basic Masonry Techniques

Basic Masonry TechniquesAuthor: Douglas Rossi

Publisher: Ortho Books (July 1997)

Paperback: 96 pages

ISBN-10: 0897213181

ISBN-13: 978-0897213189

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This excellent color guide shows how to build walls, fountations, walkways, patios, steps, and retaining walls with brick, stone (such as flagstone) cement blocks, and fieldstones.

Shows how to build forms for footings, foundations, sidewalks, a basketball court, plus estimating cement amounts needed and how to mix cement mortars for the job, curing concrete properly. Shows how to lay bricks in patterns, a rubblestone wall; tools and materials needed, offers tips and suggestions. Color photos throughout, 96 pages

All About Lime: A Basic Information Guide for Natural Building

All About Lime: A Basic Information Guide for Natural Building

All About Lime: A Basic Information Guide for Natural BuildingAuthor(s): Charmaine R. Taylor

Publisher: Taylor Pub (June 1998)

ISBN-10: 0971558612

ISBN-13: 978-0971558618

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All About Lime: A Basic Information Guide for Natural Building…by Charmaine R. Taylor. Many questions are answered in this booklet on lime and gypsum.

Explained are the differences between Type S and N, when to use each, how to make a natural cement, dry up mud on the worksite, and stabilize soil for earthen bricks (for Cinva Ram block presses and others). Lime is an amazing, very versatile building material which can be used on the ground, foundation, walls; for plasters, mortars, cements, garden and land tilth, and in the waste/septic systems.

Chapters on plaster and mortar give recipes and current recommendations on application and use. An interview with professional straw bale plasterers is included.

A complete history details how lime was used for building, and how it can be used again for an earth friendly alterative to Portland cement. Lists lime resources, bibliography. Illustrated, photographs, Technical articles on lime usage, 52 pages, booklet

Photo shown is representation, book photos are black and white.