Knowing that we want to build a more permanent structure, we were interested to learn more about traditional adobe construction using the materials that we have on-hand. Ben lead the charge after we watched a variety of how-to videos on YouTube.
The first step was to figure out if the native soil had the correct sand/clay composition. All of our samples from the immediate area turned out to be a reasonable mix. Next, Ben built a traditional 14″x20″ form for two bricks. (Full-scale production would require many more forms with 6-8 bricks in each.) Instead of the traditional straw addition to the wet mix, Ben opted to use the plentiful local pine needles and under-tree ‘duff’. Finally dried in the sun for several days, Ben had one very good brick and one that didn’t hold up so well.
Since this little experiment, we have come to know about these extremely helpful resources:
We will continue to add more as we learn more about this low-cost building technique.