For years now I have been using a weedwhacker to smooth the walls of every straw bale house I have built. But no more! From now on, I plan to use this cool invention created at my last workshop here in Jacksonville.
Here’s the history. Several workshops ago, a man name Frank came up with a cool little rasp made out of blood lath and a piece of 2×4. He used it to clean up the straw in the back of the niche he had created in the wall. It worked very well and then when I presented the idea to several workshop participants at the September workshop, a couple guys took the idea and ran. In the picture above you can see the little rasp has turned into a full size tool! By using a long piece of 2×6 and a section of blood lath, Ryan and Will made a full size rasp that cleaned the walls better than any weedwhacker and many times faster!
The coolest thing about the rasp is that it is long enough to create a flat wall using the posts and window framing as a guide. A little shaking and shimmying and the wall is clean! Thanks to Frank, Ryan and Will for their great ideas. It has changed how I clean bale walls for sure.
When you make yours, be sure to fold the edges of the blood lath over so no cut ends are exposed. The cut ends can rip you up. Ryan mentioned using leather around the edges to wrap the lath safely. Handles on the back of the 2×6 were made out of scrap 2×4, but a better, long term design would incorporate more comfortable handles. Have fun!