The Real Know How

How-Tos, Videos, Tutorials — Ramping Up for the 21st Century

Archive for the category “adobe”

Adobe Brickmaking 101

Here they are making stabilized adobe bricks including Portland cement.

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Straw Bale, Adobe and Post and Beam House in New Mexico

The following videos feature a small (800 sq ft) “hybrid” house built by designer Ted Owens in Corallis, New Mexico, near Albuquerque. His house uses post and beam construction (he got the lumber from salvage yards and home renos), straw bale and adobe with mud used as plaster. The house draws its electricity from photovoltaic solar panels.

The house also uses sunlight, heavy materials (adobe walls and concrete floors) and shifts in temperature (passive solar concepts) to keep the inside temperatures comfortable. Windows are also carefully placed to maximize comfort in the house.

How to Make A 16-Brick Rocket Stove

Here, “Dr. Larry Winiarski makes a clean burning rocket stove using 16 adobe bricks at the Rotary International-sponsored Integrated Cooking Workshop in Tlautla, Mexico.”

Important points: The advantages of this kind of stove – rocket stoves are easy to construct, burn wood extremely efficiently, so a little wood goes a long way, generate very little smoke, and burn hot.

The stove he demonstrates is made with unfired adobe brick that was made with plant material (straw) as a binder. This makes for light but very well insulating bricks.

solarwindmama who posted this video to YouTube says that she made a similar stove with fired red brick from Home Depot and it worked but that she thinks that the heat would have been more concentrated with unfired adobe brick.

Point 2: Rocket stoves have to be used outside or carefully and properly vented, otherwise you risk carbon monoxide poisoning.

Using ‘Natural’ Clay to Make Pottery

These videos were eye-openers for me, because I hadn’t really thought of clay in the soil as anything other than a nuisance and certainly hadn’t thought of using it for anything.

Here we learn how to find and clean clay found in a river bank. There seem to be two methods of cleaning ‘natural’ clay. One is to dry the clay and then powder it and put it through a sifter screen, the other is to put a slurry of wet clay through a sieve. I haven’t tried either, though the wet method looks easier.

“Is mixing your clay economical. I hear arguments on both sides. But I think it’s important that you know how.”

Here wildmudpottery finds clay in a trench dug for a pipeline and uses the second wet method of cleaning the clay.

Earth Bag Construction

A presentation by Thalia Kazakos-Resh, a student in the UMass Sustainable Living Class on building a home in Mexico using earth bag construction.

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