Saturday, August 21, 2010

Ongoing plastering

Right about now I'm very happy I built a small house. Earth plastering
is not for the lazy. It's fun to do but it's an amazing amount of
work. You really have to have friends help you with this part. It's
coming along great though, and I think it's going to look fantastic.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Plaster party day two

We did manage to cover the north wall completely in plaster in two
days. Here's another thing I would do different next time that I would
highly recomend. I would drive bamboo poles down through the bales to
tie them together when stacking the walls. I was told people shouldn't
drive rebar through anymore because metal condensates and could rot
the bales. Also, metal expands and contracts with hot and cold so
chicken wire or 2" welded wire mesh over the straw could move a bit
and crack your plaster. That all makes sense to me. Im all for leaving
the metal out of my house, but the rebar should have been replaced
with wood stakes or bamboo. You have to push hard to mash the plaster
into the bales on the first coat. In some cases we are pushing the
bales in a little while applying plaster. They are showing sone
movement which could have been stopped. Easy to fix, just go around
the other side and push back into place, then smooth the plaster out
again, but I'm definitely wishing I had secured them better for the
plastering. Once the plaster is on both sides and dry, the walls will
not be moving anywhere!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Plaster party

The work party went great. It was extremely hot weather though. The
scary part is that with a group of people working a full day we still
didn't quite finish one wall. There is an amazing amount of work to
do, but I still think plastering is fun, and satisfying. We tried a
cement mixer for making the plaster and that does not work. We rented
a mortar mixer and it does a great job of thoroughly mixing the adobe.
We see that we need to buy a used one and then sell when we are done,
because it's going to take a long time to finish. I will also be
making adobe for the earth floor, and don't forget the inside walls.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Plaster prep

We are back at it after a two week break. We have wraped all exposed
wood that plaster might touch with roofing paper. This is to stop the
moisture in the plaster from soaking into the wood. Here is what I
would do different next time. Wrap your wood before you put the straw
bales in. That would make the job way easier. Then we put burlap over
the tar paper so the plaster will stick to it better.
We made some test patches of adobe with different ratios of materials
to see what worked best with our sorce of clay. We mixed up a batch
and put our first mud on the wall!
We are having a plaster party tomorrow. We've invited several friends
over to help plaster the walls. We rented a mortar mixer for the job.
We tried a cement mixer, but it didn't seem to mix well enough. We'll
see how the mortar mixer does tomorrow.
We have food and drinks lined up and we are ready to get muddy. We
will see how far we get though as the heat index tomorrow is supposed
to feel like 118 degrees. The heat just won't let up this summer.