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How to make a wall

Rebuilding the ruins will start with... rebuilding the walls. And as I want to use as much local products as possible I have started to look around. In our October vacation we took home some dirt that we have found. A bit from the mine and a bit from the hills. I have not asked what kind of rock the mine is mining but I expect it to be some sort of lime (chalk). So it should be possible to use it as a mortar and plaster. 

So, to have some fun I tested out the lime and the dirt from the hills to see how it would hold in the dutch rain. For this I made a small frame and added the lime first. I only added water to it, nothing fancy. I brought less material than I expected so I only used one frame for now. While letting it dry I pressed it several times to make it compact. When it was done I added some of the red dirt to half of the frame I was using so that I could see the difference.



I then put it outside to stand in the rain for some weeks. At first, I put it in an upright position. To keep it that way I added a wooden plank which was the closest thing around. It was a good solution for the beginning of this experiment. Even though it was in the rain it remained fine.


I planned to secure it more to make it stay up when it would get more windy but unfortunately I had forgotten to do it. So the wind came and the board fell down and the red clay ground fell off. I quickly put it on the bench in a backward mode. Like this it got much more rain, which ran down the board and after some days the lime was almost all gone. 

So that was experiment number one. When it was dry I collected as much material as I could and tried again. Now using the last bit of lime I had so I could fill both frames. One with lime only and the other with the clay. And now with a simple rope it was secured much better. 

As it is winter time in Holland that means an endless amount of rain. During the first 10 days there was fine rain or drizzle. The material was getting wet and soft, but it stayed on the board. 

After this endless humidity there was one sunny dryish day which was especially good for our mud. But than the rain came back and this time it was with bigger drops. And now it washed away the lime part but interestingly not the clay part. 

So this is a good basis for more experiments. I'm looking into sealing it so that it will be much more protected. But the downside will be that when it is protected against the rain it will also stop breathing moisture. Which will have a negative impact on the inside of the house. 

Nevertheless, I will try it just to know what happens. I'm looking into using either soap or linseed oil. But that is for a later day.



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