Sunday, 28 March 2010

sh*t Kicker and Mud Slinger

That's me. Official title.

Trev keeps saying he's retired from mudding (having gone onto more important and skilled work) but keeps being dragged back into the fold for the high bits. But I've not been alone (all the time). We've had a wonderful group of people helping out. I'll try remember everyone - we've had Luka, Kika, Monika, (three German backpackers) - Hugh & Kari, Tanya and Jamahl, Glyn, Joe, Ehren, Leela, Ginni and Leanne. Between us we've managed to give the outer and inner walls their second skin.

I've done one room in its thick coat/bulk coat/infill coat/brown coat (it goes by many names) but it's all just thick fat layers of mud. If the scratch coat was mud massage, this is mud pack. It's about four centimetres plus thick. It took me five days to do one average size room (two walls). About 2.5 metres a day. I learnt a lot - including;

1. I needed more than just PVA and sand over wooden posts - the array of hairline cracks spreading out from it look almost like tree branches.

2. I learnt to really feather it well between one days mud and the next - big fat mother of all cracks that meant we chipped it back away and remudded the area resulted when I didn't.

3. That going inorganic with orange plastic mesh around windows and corners really reduced the cracking, and was worth the compromise.

4. That the best wall (no cracking) was achieved by making a mix and not getting back to it till a couple of days later and the straw was starting to get a bit stinky.

5. And that minor hairline cracking still happens despite putting orange mesh across one whole wall area.

It's a long, not unrewarding job. I now know what a birds eye sore on the tips of your fingers feels like. It was hell for typing, maybe part of my inexcusable excuse for taking 2 months off blogging. (I wore through plastic gloves and ended up wearing my fingertips off too). I have yet to fall victim to the desire to make butterflies and frogs on the walls, (too hippy dippy for me), but I suspect there will be a small mud lizard somewhere inconspicious at some stage.

The soles of my feet are permanently yellow, all my old work jeans are no longer blue. But sometimes I get a little that way when I look at how much further there is to go.

*photos to come

1 comment:

Chris said...

I admire your family's determination. We know what it's like to lug dirt around, wear through gloves and go to bed with a sore back - only our dirt is dry.

Mud would be that much harder to lug around. But then you get glimpses during the ordeal, of what if might look like when it's done. Then when you do get to enjoy the finished product, it's amazing how quickly you shift onto the next project, LOL.

All in a days work with dirt!

Sounds like you've got a good team to back you up though. It sure does help with just one extra set of hands.

Our front wall project has taken us well over a year - and could even come close to two, before we're finished. But when I think about it, I'm not sure if I'd be quite as satisfied if someone else did it. Sure it's a hard slog, but it's our hard slog, LOL.

Anyway, I look forward to seeing the finished house - and maybe your mud-lizard at a later date. :)