I am living in Ecuador and will be moving to the jungle soon. I want to build an oven just using natural materials. I have all the plans for this, except for the floor. I will be using river mud,etc for the walls. Can I use the same material to make bricks for the floor? I can not find any info on this. I do not want to bring in any materials from outside the jungle, this is very important to me. Any advise would be greatly appreciated.
Re: need advice
Without knowing how well the river mud in Ecuador responds to heating and cooling, there's no way to answer this, as far as I understand it. I've used earth ovens, but they involved mixing cement in with the dome material in order to get something that would stay intact.
If your only option is river clay, unmixed with cement or other outside materials, you're probably going to have to experiment. Use a sand dome to provide a form for the dome, and try not to be disappointed if your first (several) tries don't work as well as you'd like.
Re: need advice
try to see if the river mud will form a ball in your hand. grab a hand-full of mud, let the excess water drain and roll it in your hand to form a ball. If it falls apart its not clay and won't do well under heat. If it remains in a ball them you have a chance at using it. I might even try making some bricks with it and sun dry them. This is just a test to see how well the clay holds together
If the bricks hold together reasonably well you might be able to build the dome out of them. They will cure in your oven with every firing. However it might be easier to cast the dome over the sand form rather than using bricks.
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