Sunday, July 7, 2013

First Tile Vault on Mfangano Island

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

last piece

finishing touches

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

vault profile


foreman sitting back and admiring the work 
he and his team so successfully completed