kyo-kabe (clay walls/mud walls)


Old 02-25-05, 03:28 AM
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kyo-kabe (clay walls/mud walls)

I am trying to find info about fixing my Kyoto-style clay walls. They are fairly old and in need of help (dry, powdering, small cracks).

I know a few things: I need to scrape off some of the surface, then fill with new clay. I know the walls are made of layers of different types of clay with bamboo/grass/w.h.y. mixed in. I know the final layer has to be the most flexible.

What I don't know: (Lots!) How do I scrape down the walls? With what tools? Where do I buy clay? How do I determine if the coating is flexible enough?

I posted this topic before, but I can't find it. I still haven't heard any advice from folks who work with mud/clay walls, either.

I did find a product that may work for my situation; it's a plankton-based powder that you can mix up and apply to clay. Comes in a few colours. However, I'm sure there's a few people working with mud/clay out there... and I'd prefer to use traditional materials as much as possible. Like, mud.

Is this called daub and wattle?
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Old 02-25-05, 05:01 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2003
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Hello and welcome to the forums.

This has been international week. Australia and now Japan heard from within the past couple of days, we truely are becoming a global village.

Sorry I don't have a clue what to tell you about your situation, I did find this page on a google search, you might want to try that as well. Hope it helps a bit.
Good luck!
Old 02-25-05, 05:23 AM
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Here is a link to your old thread:
Old 02-25-05, 07:42 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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Posts: 1,722

I once helped restore "The Oldest Adobe House on its Original Foundation in Kansas" Actually it was what we would call rammed earth but I put on the adobe finish. The mix was by volume: 1 clay: 3 sand and about a gallonn of acrylic binder per batch. A batch was about a five gallon bucket full of clay and the appropriate sand. The clay:sand ratio was established by trial and error. To little sand checked. When dry this mixture was hard enough that one couldn't scratch it with his thumb but could with a steel object. in workabilty it was about like good stucco but didn't set, only dried. The clay was about three feet under ground. I think you might have a similyr situation. The clay is probably from some local source. Find the clay and experiment with consistency, aggregate if there is aggregate in the original and put it on. I read your post about PVA primer in the other thread. That might be a good idea because it would seal and consolidate the existing surface a little so that it didn't crumble away when you put on the new coat.

This is a facinating thread. Please let us know what you learn and what yo do and how it turns out.
Old 02-26-05, 05:14 AM
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Thanks so far, guys. The gardenweb question was from me, too... Maybe I'm the only person in the world trying to deal with this stuff myself? We've checked Japanese forums, too, with little luck. Seems to be a 'secret, pro-only' subject.

Good idea about mixing acrylic with the mud. Our area is too sandy for me to be able to pick up raw materials for free...(again, can't find a place to BUY the stuff) or I'd try it. I wonder what 'plasticizers' were originally used?

I'm going to keep looking for materials for another week or so, then I'm going in with the plankton. I'll figure out the scraping as I go, I guess...

Do you have plankton-based, stucco-like materials in your countries?
Old 02-26-05, 10:09 AM
Join Date: Jul 2003
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If there are plankton materials used in construction i don't know about it? How are they used? Mixed? Applied? Are they durable?

Now about clay. Here in the states there are a couple kinds of clay more or less available. One is Bentonite. It goes by a few different brands. It is sometimes called drillers mud and used in the petroleum and maybe water well drilling industry. When mixed with water it expands several times its volume and is also called gel. I think the problem with useing this is that as it dries it would shrink. There are also fire clays. This is used to lay up firebricks in fireplaces and other applications. I know it can be had but I don't know anything about it. I don't know if it is used neat, with aggregate, with cement or how. There is another kind of clay that is called mortar clay and is used as a libricant/flowability agent when concrete is pumped. Around here that is also called fireclay but I don't know if it's the same as fire clay for hot areas or not. I don't know how it works alone either.

So go to places where different kinds of material are sold. Buy small quantities and experiment. A lot of things are arcane only because people are afraid to try it them selves.

Lime might be an ingredient in the material you want as well.
Please keep us informed.

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