Straw Bale Construction Tricks of the Trade: Bees Wax Application

Written by Andrew Morrison

plaster handsBees wax may not be a standard tool in your tool box, but it really should be. If you have ever plastered a house or poured a concrete slab, you know how those materials can dry out your hands. It often goes beyond dry skin and ends up in painful cracked hands. Most people use gloves to try and avoid the affects of the materials, but that never quite works.

Bees wax, on the other hand, completely covers your hands and protects them from the drying affect of plaster and concrete. Simply rub it all over your hands before you start working and your hands will be protected. You won’t lose any dexterity and your hands will be soft and healthy at the end of the day. A simple way to counteract the drying affects of concrete and plaster.

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6 Responses

  1. Thanks for the tip, Andrew – I hadn’t thought of that, and it’s way better for me than all those lotions with all the additives in them.

    — Smiles, Leslie
    (Ruch, Oregon)

  2. I have 500 rice straw bales (46″ x 23″flats x 15″edge) & want to build walls – inside the property line setbacks. I have OK from B&S Dept of Hesperia, CA 92345 to build “less than 5′ or 4 bales high -no permit required”.
    I drew plans: 6″ deep 3/4″ rubble/rock “grade beam” with 15# roof felt btwn beam & first course. Then I was to pin bales with 1/2″ rebar (2 per bale) into the ground & thru two courses. The top course was to have rebar thru it and two courses below. More 15# felt on top and use my native clay-rich “adobe-caliche”(my term)earth & maybe a bit of lime or cement for binder. Walls are to be large radii sweeps @ 25′ in diameter & where it goes straight I have buttresses (perpendicular bale columns) every 20′ or @ 5 bales for strenght – also bale benches here & there. BUT!
    My “honey” wants them 6 or 7 bales high…Hmmm…for THAT B&S Dept wants “engineer-stamped plans & permits”. I may need a 23 x 12″ cement/rubble footing with rebar & PVC tubes cross-laid for strapping/cinching down the bales or some other approved method that worked elsewhere. HELP! Could you give me drawings, suggestions, leads on HOW? I really didn’t want to build it so costly & bullet-proof – even the rebar seems overkill. I’ve worked with the late, great Nadir Kalili of Cal-Earth on some of his projects here in the High Desert. Thanx for bearing with me.

  3. Hi David. Not to take sides, but I think you should stick with your original plan and tell your honey you love her dearly but no tall wall. 🙂 There is no way to get around the engineering and building permit if the department is requiring it. You will spend a lot on a wall that will be cool, but not that much cooler than the lower wall. Rather than spend extra money on the wall’s height and foundation, spend it in the details that will satisfy your honey! You will be glad in the end when you have the wall PLUS a bunch of cool stuff and a happy honey.

  4. hi, Bag Balm that you can get at any farm store and most pharmacies also works good. I also liked using my Atlas gloves while plastering, it keeps the plaster off your hands, but you still they conform to your hands so you still have your dexterity. You can get Atlas gloves at your local nurseries.

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