Tuesday, 5 January 2010

House Massage

It's what it feels like I'm doing. Not in-house just yet, it's all external. Mixing up big mud packs of sand, clay and straw, stomping around on it till my feet are stained yellow, filling up a bucket climbing various arrangements of ladders, scaffolding and giving the house a deep tissue massage of mud, getting it right into its pores so it stays there, ready for the next coat. There are four layers, the first Trev did when he sprayed light clay slip onto the walls, in and out.
Then it's been packing the 'holes' around doors, windows, between bales with straw (if it's a big hole) or a mix of light clay slip mixed with straw. Once dry the wall is sprayed with water to make the next layer adhere to the first. It's the scratch or discovery coat, the one I'm working on. I started off with bare hands, but soon wore the skin off it. Back to gloves. Over three-quarters of the way there with that coat. Then it's the bulk coat - a much thicker coat that brings the wall, hopefully to level and packs out any hollows etc. Then a final coat or so of lime paint.

Not sure if I'll be able to do it, but we've found lots of natural ochre in shades from pink to red in the clay pile from out of the dam. Maybe it can be used to colour the lime paint - maybe by the time I get to the final coat I'll be happy to buy something off the shelf. Would be nice to know as much as possible came from our block. Having said that I just rushed outside for a 20 ton delivery of sand, our decomposed sandstone from the holes Trev drilled just isn't up to it.

This weekend we're having a strawbale 'thingy' where people can come have a go at rendering too. We won't even charge them for the experience, we'll pay them in beer and pizza. The whole thing is such a big job it's nice to share.

I'm on holiday till the 20th ... my holidays revolve around extended sessions of mud massage.

The image is Trev with his form work corners. He places the formwork, tamps down a mix of clay slip and straw, and works his way up the side of the house. It's incredibly hard when it dries and gives a nice sharp corner to the house.


Kella B said...

your house is really starting to look beuatiful, i have been reading your blog for ages watcing it come along. i hope you feel proud.

Anonymous said...

The house is looking great I have a question regarding the corners, have the timber posts been coated or treated with anything prior to forming them up? eagerly awaiting more house pictures

Linda Cockburn said...

Hi Shane,

Yes, we (Trev) coated them with PVA glue and while it's still wet throw sand on it, it makes a gritty sandpaper texture that the mud sticks to. Other ways people do it is hammer nails in at regular intervals. We're not keen on using chook wire, as we've heard of a few disasters with it.

Hope to have enough progress soon to warrant another batch of pics!