Time to get muddy here at PermaPai! Our earth bricks are well under way at a current 300 bricks for the new adobe roundhouse.
We begin by setting up our mix pit in a tarp.
We then dig out our earth.
Sieve it through our wheelbarrow to sift out the rocks. This way we don’t hurt our feet in the mix, have nicer rock-free bricks and have a building material ready for a future rock wall!
Once you have a good mix ready with a nice ratio of sand to clay (60:40, pure clay up 80% to 20% clay), you let it soak for a few hours. After soaking get everyone in there to mix it up with their feet. Add some carbon based material like cut straw or rice husk.
Check if your mix is okay by doing the crunch test. Pick up a handful of your mix and roll it around in your hand next to your ears. If you have a crunchy noise, then you have enough carbon (cut-up straw or rice husk) in your mix. If not, add more. Next, do the ‘stick test’ by rolling up the mix in a ball. Throw it from one hand to the other and flip your hand, palm-side down. Does it stick? If yes, then it has enough clay. If no, add more clay.
If your mix passes the tests, start filling up buckets to carry to your mold.
Get a good team going on buckets!
Fill up your mold. Standard brick size for your mold is 4 x 10 x 14 inches. Lift up the mold by gently wiggling it at first and then pulling it straight up. Let the bricks dry, preferably in the shade to prevent cracking. This may take between 5 days – 2 weeks, depending on local conditions.
Most importantly, have lots of fun!