When building a straw bale house, the bales are likely delivered to the site in squeeze blocks: tall 8′ x 8′ blocks of straw bales. Here’s a simple solution for getting bales off the stack and top of the delivered pile to the ground where you can handle them. In most cases, people climb their way to the top of the pile and then throw the bales off to the ground. This will usually damage at least some of the bales and is a good way to squish one or more of your generous helpers! There is a better way.
To safely get your straw bales to the ground, use two long sections of 2×12 framing lumber. Place the leading end of the 2×12’s on the top course of bales far enough apart to fully support the width of the bales. One at a time, slide the bales down to waiting hands on the ground. This will allow you to quickly and safely deliver bales to the bottom of the stack without deforming or destroying any bales or friends!
When you are done with each course of bales, move the 2×12’s down to the next level and continue with the unloading. The lower on the pile you get the closer to the house the end of the 2×12’s will be, which makes the day seem even easier. When you are all done unloading the bales, set the 2×12’s aside as they make excellent scaffold planks for the first story plaster job.
Lay the planks across several bales and you have a long working surface that will allow you to reach the top of any standard wall height. Be sure to support the middle of the span as 2×12’s are not technically strong enough for scaffolding with an unsupported span. Remember that the planks will be longer than your pile of straw was tall.