Was just wondering if a post title like that would generate any extra hits from the search engines…
The inside walls of the Speckled Wood building are going to be of a lath and plaster construction. We started nailing on the laths a while ago and last week we started to do the earth plastering. Its a pretty messy job, but good fun.
Way back when we dug the foundation pits for the building we saved the clay we found in the bottom of these pits. This is now in the process of going back into the house to create the walls, rather neat and circular I think.
Some of our clay was put onto a tarpaulin on a level patch at the back of the building and some water was poured on. We then set to work on puddling, or trampling, the clay.
Its a childs dream, squishing about in mud and getting absolutely covered in the stuff. You just can’t help laughing while you are doing it.
Sand and straw, again recycled from the rest of the build are added to make a mixture that will be more stable as it dries on the walls. This is trampled into the mix and the whole lot is turned over several times by rolling it in the tarp.
Any stones we found were removed from the mix and placed in the hedge and gradually after half an hour or so of slipping, laughing, chucking the odd sod of clay at people, trampling and mixing a texture was arrived at which was deemed to be just right for daubing onto the walls.
This was then barrowed inside for us to start on the actual plastering. There were no trowels being used here, the mix is picked up in your hands squished about to check there are no stones and make it pliable before you slap it onto the wall.
The idea is to try and press it on so it just pokes through the gaps in the laths and hooks over the top of them to hold itself in place. It was really satisfying work, the plaster is smoothed out as you go and gets a wonderful texture from all of the hand prints in it.
I had thought it would be abbrasive on your hands, but nothing could be further from the truth, it was actually really gentle. After you have finished and washed your hands you find they have never been so clean.
Two “slip coats” of fine loose clay will be appled later to create a finer finish, but I think the wall already looks great. Its is gradually changing colour as it dries out, and I can confirm from the mud that dried under my fingernails that when it is dry it will be a sort of fawny light brown colour.