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Learning how to build the adobe bread oven (or horno as it is called in Spanish-speaking parts of the world) is an ideal introduction to sun-dried mud brick construction, mud mortar and mud plastering. These are the three basic skills needed for any adobe construction. In addition, one also may gain experience in small dome (3'-6' high) construction, which could lead to larger, more skilled adobe projects.
The process of making the adobe bricks defines this method of earthen construction. In contrast to cob construction, where walls are directly hand formed by shaping thick layers of mud; adobe walls, domes and vaults are made of individual sun-dried mud bricks, bonded together with mud mortar.
One of the attractive advantages of building with adobe is that suitable material is most often right under the workers' feet. In New Mexico and other desert states, such a soil is mostly sand (70-90%) with varying amounts of clay and fine silts totaling from 10% to 30%. The individual sand grains (coarse and smooth) provide the "structure" which is bound together by the very fine and sticky clay particles. An ideal proportion for adobe bricks and mortar is 70% sand and 30% clay.
Another advantage of working with adobe is the relative speed in which house walls can be built, seven courses a day for walls 10" or 14" thick, and three courses high each day for walls 20"-28" thick during sunny hot weather.
For strength and durability, as well as aesthetics, the adobe brick and mud plasters ...