Adobe is an ancient and durable building method that uses… basically mud. By molding adobe mud into forms, you can make really good quality bricks and get started on building your house, walls or any structures that you want to create using natural earth building methods.
So, in our pdc (permaculture design course) here at Rak Tamachat, Thailand, we did a morning session on making adobe bricks led by Beau and assisted by Helene.
Feel free to follow the steps, mix up some mud and stomp around
Identify a site for your adobe pit. You may want to make the pit near your building area and decide a use for it later – a pond, compost pit or anything suitable. Also clear a space for your adobe bricks. They need time to dry and to be protected from the rain.
Test your soil to get the approximate sand to clay ratio. Fill a glass jar about 2/3 full with the soil you plan to use.
- Add water until the jar is full and put on the lid.
- Shake the jar for two full minutes.
- Let the jar sit overnight.
- In the morning, the soil will have separated into bands of sand on the bottom and clay on the top. The ratio of sand to clay should be about from 70% sand to 30% clay. As long as the soil is over 50% sand it should work out (loam soil).
- If your soil is pre-dominantly clay or sandy, then you can source additional sand or clay to get a good mix.
Mix up some adobe!
Soil or sand and clay
1 part rice husks/ straw or any dry material
Shovel soil into the pit
Add sand or clay as needed
Mix with water
Add straw or rice husks
Mix thoroughly. Don’t be afraid to get into the pit with your friends and stomp around.
Keep adjusting the amounts until you reach the desired consistency. This should be a firm paste that doesn’t break up when dropped but doesn’t stick either.
Pack the forms or molds evenly with the adobe mixture
Let the bricks dry in the forms for about 30 minutes.
Remove the forms and let the bricks sit flat as they are for about three days.
Place the bricks on their edges and allow them to dry completely. This can take a week or more depending on the weather and your soil.
Lots of love from the Rak Tamachat Team!