|John places bale at top of wall|
|Riley transfers bales to building site|
|Scott checks the wall to see if it is level and plumb.|
|Using a weed trimmer, Riley smoothes the wall’s surface.|
First we set up our plaster mixing station. This consists of a mortar mixer, a large sorting screen used to sift the earth from our building site into piles of 1/4 minus particles, piles of earth to be sifted, shovels, mason’s sand, a water source, a wood chipper, straw, a wheel barrow, a mixing table, large cement mixing tubs, several white buckets and many pairs of rubber gloves.
|Riley moves earth to the mixing station.|
|Doug and Scott shovel earth through the sorting screen.|
Before we work on other walls, we want to create several different mixes of plaster in order to determine the best “recipe” for the first layer. Some sources call this layer the scratch coat. When we are completely finished, every wall will be covered with approximately two inches of plaster. This first coat will be about one inch thick. The main purpose of the scratch coat is to get a bunch of mud on the wall and fill in the major irregularities in the surfaces of the walls. The success of the last layers of plaster depends on this foundation coat. It must stick to the walls and it mustn’t crack. Once it’’s on the walls, we’ll put scratches in its surface, hence the name “scratch coat.” This scratching will provide a surface that can support and hold the next layers of plaster.
|Scott and Riley add straw to chipper in preparation for mixing a plaster "recipe."|
|The chipper transforms the long straw into small, fairly uniform small pieces.|
Soon we will use this chopped straw, sand and clay slip to create the scratch coat.