We finally hit a point where we could have a training day and have The Guild learn the tile vaulting technique by building a scale prototype of the vault we are going to build for the radio station. It is a saddle vault with different end arches. The guys were absolute naturals and got a hold of the technique right away. It took demonstrating a few times and very quickly they were building on their own, getting a feel for the plaster mix and most importantly the sequence of laying out the tiles.
Within one day we were able to build the biggest vault we have built to date: 5ft x 8ft foot print with end arches at 3.5 ft and 5 ft. The 1inch thick tiles were fabricated at our own brickworks using sub soil from the worksite, cement (about 12%), a little bit of sand and some fibers. The gypsum plaster was brought over with us from Kisumu.
Kelly demonstrating how to "butter up" a tile
Muogah (mason by trade) quickly learning
how to lay the tile with gypsum plaster
first two courses laid - now ready for the guides
guide strings in place, we now can keep going
building up the courses
almost done with the first arch
making fast progress on the second arch
both arches complete!
all hands on deck
enjoying tile vaulting
all smiles as the craftsmen see how quick progress is made
Samuel - master mixer
filling space inside and out
mortar joints getting cleaner
getting really close now
and a complete vault!
proud owner of the first Mfangano Vault - Adam - demonstrating
that the structure can even support a cat
fancy fancy dog house
foreman sitting back and admiring the work
he and his team so successfully completed