Joiners' Quarterly

Joiners' Quarterly
PO Box 249
Brownfield, ME 04010
207 935 3720 (fax 207 935 4575)

Natural & Traditional Building Workshops

Clay Building Systems

Clay/fiber Wall Building Systems, June 12-17, 2000
Clay Plastering and Finishing Systems, June 19-24, 2000

Fox Maple Workshops in natural clay building systems are based on traditional methods, coupled with recent modern innovations and applications currently practised by professional clay builders in Europe. This workshop is highly recommended to Architects and Builders who would like to incorporate these proven techniques into their own projects, as well as the owner-builder. Wattle & daub, Straw Clay, Woodchip Clay, Clay Plastering & Cob building will be covered through hands-on instruction. Instructor: Frank Andresen. Brownfield, Maine. Tuition: 2 day $200. 6 day $600.


Thanks! Sounds as if I should figure out how to take in Frank's workshop.

As for an article, I'm always eager to spread the word. I'm currently busy with another round of fireplace emissions and efficiency tests, and I can probably tailor an article about fireplaces to your needs, but maybe the best article for JQ is the one I could write better after I attend Frank's workshop - how a masonry fireplace interfaces with a timberframe structure.


Jim Buckley


Good to hear from you. We still get inquiries about the article you wrote about Real Rumford Fireplaces. If you have any new articles to submit, we'd be happy to receive them.

As for the issue of moisture trapping in infill systems. This is a really good question. One that only a mason might truly understand. Moisture is, or can be, a problem if the material used can wick moisture into itself with little ability to express it, such as fired clay bricks. Bricks can pose problems, however they can be used as explained following. Stone does not wick moisture, and is a better infill, but, both stone or brick must be laid in a clay based mortar. Masonry mortar is the best moisture wick of all, and if it is used as an infill binder, then moisture build-up and rot will definitely result. However, if the bricks or stone were laid in a clay based mortar, then the moisture would be absorbed by the clay and allowed to evaporate into the air. This is due to clays unique ability to absorb moisture from surrounding surface, and then releasing it. No other material has this ability. The traditional timber frames infilled with stone or brick in Europe all used clay based mortar. We have published articles about this in JQ, and books are available, but they are written in German.

As for the appropriate system, stone or brick are acceptable, but they provide little or no insulation, whereas straw clay or woodchip clay do. A workshop with Frank would definately be enlightening.

Hope this helps,
Steve Chappell

Jim Buckley wrote:

> Although I'm a mason, I read with interest Joiners' Quarterly and the
> Newsletter.
> I'm particularly interested in the old English practice of filling in
> the spaces between the timbers with various kinds of masonry or adobe
> and wonder what provisions, if any, I should take to insure that the
> masonry doesn't trap water that would rot the timbers.
> I notice that Frank Andersen is leading a workshop on "Traditional
> Clay Building Systems" in June which might be just what I'm looking
> for.
> In the meantime, can you guide me to an article or book on the
> subject or just briefly answer my question?
> Thanks in advance,
> Jim Buckley
> --
> Jim Buckley
> Buckley Rumford Co.
> 1035 Monroe Street
> Port Townsend, WA 98368
> 800 447 7788 (fax 360 385 1624) (cell 360 531 1081)

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