In every structure made of straw bales, the need to resize bales by retying them will always exist. The quicker a builder can retie a bale, the smoother the baling process will flow. Retying is a part of building with bales that can present moments of frustration to even a seasoned builder. Everyone has likely had the experience of retying a bale and crossing the strings, thus creating two bales that are tangled together. This is something you can avoid in the future with the right baling needle and the right techniques.
I have made 2 short videos that show you how to re-tie bales. Please click play below to watch them:
Re-Tying Bales- Part 1
Re-Tying Bales – part 2
The baling needles I designed and use have three different options at the end of the needle for twine. Two grooves pointing in the “push” direction and one groove for the “pull” direction. Now you can have these exact needles built at your local machine shop in days.
You can check out the bale needle design at our online web store: https://www.strawbale.com/store
The pull groove is great for sewing walls. Once the needle is pushed through the wall, the twine can be laid in the groove and the needle pulled back through. I don’t usually use the pull grooves for anything other than sewing. In fact, I think it best to use two needles when sewing instead of the pull notch, but it is possible to use this notch to sew with if it is the only available needle on site.
The two push grooves are vital to retying bales with speed and accuracy. Lay a piece of twine in one of the grooves, long enough to retie one portion of the bale. Use a twine of a different color (red, blue or brown) in the other groove long enough to retie the other portion of the bale. For the short end of the bale, I use the cutoff twine from a previously retied bale. Lay each twine in the direction it will be tied off once pushed through the bale. Plunge the needle all the way through the bale and pull out the needle. The grooves will leave the twine in place. Pull each color in the direction described above and tie off with a Miller’s knot. You will not cross twine this way because there is no way to confuse the two colors of twine and which portion of the bale they relate to. Be sure you don’t twist the needle as you plunge it through the bale or you may still find a way to tangle twine!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Morrison has a passion for straw bale construction that is matched only by his desire to teach his knowledge to others. He has a wealth of experience in designing and building both conventional and straw bale homes. After years of building, he has moved his practice entirely to consulting and teaching. He shares his knowledge with thousands of people via his DVD series and this website and teaches roughly six-eight hands on workshops each year. For more on his workshops, please visit www.strawbale.com/store/category/workshops. Andrew received a BA degree from Hampshire College in 1995 for Glacial Geology. He also has a degree in construction technology.
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