Making Mud Bricks
Mudbricks are part of human history dating back throughout time to the earliest known dwellings.
Much can be said in regards to this form of building, and many have discussed the reasons for this type of dwelling and building style.
Foremost in the minds of most mudbrick practitioners is the simplistic and basic energy required to achieve this wonderful building material.
Requirements for the making of mudbricks.
Soil is the fundamental requirement of any mud brick, it must be stressed that soil will vary in respect to its availability yet the soil of a mud brick should be made up of two major components, a soil of clay content and a soil of top soil quality.
Both these soils when blended together are compatible in the forming of a mudbrick. It is also a wise to have some form of aggregate such as small stones within this mix as well as straw. The process of making a puddled mudbrick can vary either in the fact of it being made from a commercial point of view or from the owner builder point of view. If the latter be the case then one needs firstly a mudbrick mould made from steel or wood.
Depending on the individual size of the mudbrick this can and may vary in size. To begin with an area within distance of the future building is of preference. The next step is to establish some type of pit area for the blending of mud and a minimal amount of straw. There are several ways of blending mud and straw and one of the easiest ways to achieve this is by putting on gumboots if you prefer not to do this barefooted. This is very much like making wine though you wont get drunk on this mixture. The other alternative to manual mixing is to either use a garden rotary hoe or a tractor with a PTO attachment for a rotary hoe.
Molding, drying, stacking
The process of making the bricks after one has fully soaked and mixed the mixture is to lay ones mold or molds on even ground which is clean of debris. Once the molds have been wetted out with water (some people like to use old engine oil every so often to stop the mud from sticking to the sides of the mold.) proceed with the filling of the mold so as to fill every cavity totally to stop the mud brick from being uneven.
The mold once lifted should produce an even shaped mud brick that should then be let to dry. After a period of several days this being dependent on climate and weather conditions the bricks should be turned on to their edges. Once the process of turning and drying is complete the stacking of your mudbricks should follow. The stacking should also be done with either the mud bricks laid on their edges or flats. When transporting they should always be laid on their edges, this prevents breakage.