It's been a while since I last posted as we've allowed the ceb test building to cure a bit. And we certainly learned a lot worth sharing in the process. For one, we produced unstabilized blocks and stacked them in the wall "green" right out of the machine. No worries there EXCEPT that we didn't factor in the small shrinkage that would occur in the drying process. No thinking of that prospect, we moved on to plastering the walls. That led to two lessons: 1. make blocks, allow them to "cure," then set blocks! 2. plaster only after blocks have cured.
The best part of all, however, is the forgiving nature of this building process. Yes, our first plaster coat popped and chipped as everything dried. No problem. Enter Jim Hallock and his crew and 20 years of ceb and natural building experience was at our fingertips!
Jim graciously offered to lead a replastering effort after our team chipped off the first plaster layer.
Robbie, Jesus, "nooner," and Jorge applying the new scratch coat. This batch of plaster was fabulous with some tweaks from Jim and I now pronounce this crew "experts" in natural plaster!
Martin and David hard at work screening sand.
Jim surveying the half-naked building before he jumps up and details the door and windows.
And for the record, we're an "equal opportunity" plaster crew. A pregnant Lucia Blanco on the site, hawk in hand. No one loves natural plaster more than Lucia who is an architect with extensive experience in natural building techniques in France and Africa. Whisper the word plaster, click your heels three times....and basta! Lucia will be there!
We've hung plastic around the building while we "endure" copious amounts of Spring rain. No complaints about that after last Summer's drought. We'll be tackling a new finish coat, inside and out, in the next week or two.
Once again, our experience in ceb construction has shown us the value in the medium and the value in the spirit of community that exists. I have been grateful to have the input and guidance from so many experienced professionals like Jim, Lucia and Stephen Colley (local San Antonio architect.) I hope this is a great start to a new building tradition in our area. Our climate is perfectly suited for it to help manage heat and humidity.