Home | Adobe Backpacs | NM Passive Solar Home Survey
Adobe Earthbuilders CD | Newsletter Subscription | Newsletter Archives
Solar Adobe Classes | Adobe House Plans
Contact Information
| Español | Site Map

Southwest Solaradobe School
Early April Newsletter 2003

In spite of the unhappy world geopolitical situation, there is always positive news to report from Earthbuilders, especially in the Américas. This newsletter carries a couple of digital color images from the recent Honduras class, and we'd like your feedback on whether you'd like to see a little color on this newsletter. Did it take "too long" to load up on your Email, and was the wait worth it? This bit of technology is courtesy of our wondrous web woman (www), Judy Miller, and it's a tentative try at spicing up the presentation.

Central American News

Mixing cementRodrígo Flores Gómez F. hosted the Honduras class and while his calling card carries that name, a good title for his operation might be " Santa Clara Adobe, S.A. ", as that's the name of his family farm where the class was held. Rodrigo operates a Ceraman pressing machine, which he imported from Belgium. It is a hand-operated presser that makes one adobe at a time, but when his crew goes into operation, it isn't long before a pile of blocks appears and building can begin. While the Ceraman is heavy, it is designed to be mobile and a crew of three can load it into the back of a pickup and travel to distant sites. Rodrigo's operation is pictured in a Spanish/English feature in # 10 of Adobe Builder. This photo shows Rodrigo (left) directing a helper in the mixing of Portland cement into his local "qualified" soil as the class looks on. The Ceraman is on the far left. To reach Rodrígo, call him on his cell number at country code (504)-990-6455, or Email him at santaclara87@globalnet.hn  The writing address is P.O. Box 3845, Teguchigalpa, Honduras. To call Honduras from the States, it's a 011-504-the number. Other countries, please check your international prefix.

Los Tres adoberosThe adjacent photo of Los Tres adoberos (the three adobe makers) is another Honduran earthbuilding group, operating under the name of SERCON, and headed up by Roberto Ochoa, who is the fellow with crossed arms on the left. The middleman with toothy smile is an engineer, Alfredo Zelaya, and this feisty group couldn't do their thing without Julio Batres, on the right. Their phone for calls and fax is (504) 235-6037. Their towable Impact 1000-B pressing machine is motorized, and is an early version of the smaller machines now sold by AECT in San Antonio, Texas.

The class consisted of professional adoberos, architects, engineers and even a few artists, largely from Honduras. They were there to study adobe procedures as they are designing low-cost adobe homes for a Native American tribe in Western Honduras. But in fact, the information was directed as much to the personal aspirations of the professionals attending as to the tribal design needs in the western part of the country.  Several in this professional group expressed their interest in building with earth in Honduras. Rodrígo outlined a successful anti-seismic adobe design that has been developed in El Salvador. It utilizes buttresses at the corners, and split bamboo for in-wall reinforcement, along with other attachment features. A home constructed this way survived the recent Salvadorian quake, while others around it failed. While Honduras does not have the seismic problems of Guatemala or Nicaragua, shakes can occur on longer intervals (perhaps100 years), and the Salvadorian model is low-cost, using local materials that are "green"- not highly processed or expensive.

The bi-lingual class was taught by Rodrígo Flores and Joe Tibbets, with a last presentation by Honduran architect Arturo Suáres, who presented some interesting contemporary design ideas for adobe construction.  Rodrígo's family helped in the hosting, preparing excellent typical hot lunches for the group (rice, beans, steak, tortillas, fried bananas, etc.) and of course, the Honduran coffee is always good.

We'll have some more Central Américan news in Issue 11 of Adobe Builder.  Architect Angela Stassano has come up with a really interesting "tropical House" design that we'd like to show you. There is also a move afoot to produce an all-Spanish version of Adobe Builder that will be printed and distributed from Honduras, in a smaller size.

The Honduran class will be repeated at some point, and the recent one illustrates that Inter-Américan communication of adobe design ideas and trade methods is healthy for all concerned. It is a method of cultural exchange that gets people into a positive common medium that all can understand and it builds friendships from the ground up.

Other Spring Class info

The next newsletter may have a photo from the recent solar/seismic design class (Mar 29/30) held in Albuquerque. Two earthbuilding architects helped Joe Tibbets with the presentation- Mark Chalom of Santa Fe and Steve Stephens of Albuquerque. This two-day class was classroom only, reviewing main points of seismic and passive solar for students trying to get their plan work on the right track for final drawings.  Mark pasted up a bunch of his formative sketches for a recent project on the classroom wall, so that students could appreciate the importance of doing a lot of loose sketches in the design process and see how they evolved towards the final. The students (half from Colorado, half from New Mexico) were loaded down with some hard-to-find technical manuals on thermal/solar aspects. Joe declared that he's thinking of putting these up for sale soon on the website, declaring that "their time has come again and all of the information is as good today as it was in the mid-80's". Mark covered the pros/cons of Adobe design, and Steve, the same for rammed earth.

The late April Tucson class filled up early. The mid-April San Antonio, TX class still has some room, as does the May class at Bosque, NM. Visit www.adobebuilder.com for details! 

Good Deal on Recycled Timbers and Lumber

We can trust our grads to come up with the better deals, and this is one you shouldn't miss out on- that is, if you're in need of some rare, high quality wood for your roofing package and you've got access to a flatbed truck to haul it with.  Mike Hasson of Pleasanton, New Mexico attended our class last fall at Glenwood, NM- located in the Southwest part of the state (NW of Silver City), and has come up with this material. This is recycled timber, removed from an old building in Southeast Arizona. Most pieces are very straight, compared to anything you will find today. Some percentage is almost clear, and some is close to quarter-sawn. It is all Douglas fir. Mike has about 6000 linear feet of nominal 4"x 6" tongue and groove available. Lengths range from 12 to 20 feet.  He'd like to get $1.50 per linear foot for that. There is paint on at least one side of most pieces, but this quality and length of material just isn't available today.

He's also working up prices on some larger Doug Fir timbers from the same source, such as one 5" x 11" x 16.5' timber, and four, 7" x 15" x 20' timbers, and five, 7" x 15" x 25' timbers. He's got about ten other timber sizes, some as hefty as 8" x 16" x 13' (just 3 of those). He says, "call for prices" as well as a more complete list. Best way to reach him is via Email at handlebarmike@gilanet.com (yep, he has a handle bar mustache). He'll also be around if you happen to be attending our Adobe Practice and Mud Plastering class at Glenwood, June 7 & 8.

The Earthbuilders' Guild continues to evolve

Professional Earthbuilders will gather in Albuquerque for their next TEG formation meeting, April 18. This meeting is for the serious-minded, regional earthbuilder who is ready to financially support a lobbying organization, headquartered in the Southwest. Yes, that means digging into one's pocket on a sustaining basis, so TEG will tend to separate the flakes from the serious at its onset. Most of you who have followed this newsletter have a pretty good idea about this Industry's hassles with bureaucrats, politicians and other State/federal entities that have become erosive to the codes and the future of the Earthbuilding Trades. We are not listing the time and place here because we want only the qualified to attend. If you are in Earthbuilding or a related industry and feel that you can be a positive, sustaining asset, please call Suzie Jerome of Mule Creek Adobe with your qualifications. Suzie is the TEG Secretary Pro-tem and her phone is 505-535-2973.

Adobe Builder Newsletter Subscription
You have received this newsletter because you have subscribed to receive it at the adobebuilder.com site. If you choose to not receive any future newsletters, you may unsubscribe by clicking on the above link. Once at the page, enter your email address and select the "unsubscribe" radio button. When you hit "submit" you will automatically be unsubscribed to the list.

Copyright ©2001-2003 Adobebuilder.com All rights reserved.  
Web Design and Web Marketing by Judy Miller