Thursday, 27 February 2014

Drying mud bricks in the wettest January in over 200 years!

Well we have managed to make and dry our mud bricks.  It was great fun making them but the drying process was a bit stressful!
The raw material.

Cutting straw to mix with the mud.

Adding the water.
By placing the mud in the middle of a tarp, you can just cover it with the rest of the tarp and then walk on it (and not get covered in mud).  Keep uncovering the tarp and flipping the mud over and covering it with the other side of the tarp.  This quickly and cleanly mixes the mud.
The mixed mud and straw.
The bricks drying.  We left them outside, but undercover; stood them on their narrow sides and let the wind (of which we had plenty off along with rain!) blow through them slowly drying them.  We did have to dry some by an open fire, but were careful not to fire them (they become partially cereamic) as the client didn't want that.
Certainly an interesting job.  Here in North Wales there is a tradition (used into the 20th century) of cob (clay) buildings, but these have to covered in lime mortar or they just weather back into lumps of clay!  Cob walls also don't have to be 'dried out', they are compacted together.  Drying out mud or clay in Wales is a slowwwwwww process :)

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