Brick making at Solana, Queretaro, Mexico
The search for a clayey soil to build with took us to Solana, a village of fired brick makers. Good to have the aquiantance of Mario who showed us his three blockyards and his kiln. I enjoyed sharing the blockyard images from Aditya’s site and we had a good long conversation about several aspects of brickamking. The learnings from this visit are really dense.. so I will only skim through the essentials of the brick shaping / making in this blog. The kiln and firing process will come in another one.
Firstly as suspected, we did find cayey soils at the bottom of the hills. The soil here are mixed with a little horse dung and saw dust, woodchips aquired from the city’s wood mills. Enough soil for the day is first mixed and tarped on. The following photos are quite explanatory.
The blockyard is managed by a one man team. Mario’s family, his brother and his uncle work on independent yards to fire their bricks on a common kiln. (the kiln will be covered in another post). One man makes at least 1000 bricks per day alone. Compare that with our masons in Thiruthani, TN, India who make 5000 bricks (a third the size) and in a team of three. An equally backbreaking job, working for peanuts.
The location of the blockyard and the business is the key. The soil is from lands nearby. Horses come handy to move stuff, manure and to mix the soil .The water is from the lakes nearby. The tools are handmade. Aluminum frame for the mould that is light and rigid. Low capital investment and low working capital if you site your blockyard sensibly!