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					Mbaula Making — Simple Guide          www.rippleafrica.org


                           Mbaula                                 Three stone fire




                •   Less wood                                •   More wood
                •   Less smoke                               •   More smoke
                •   Cooks quickly                            •   Cooks slowly
                •   Moveable                                 •   Cannot be moved
                •   Saves money                              •   Expensive to use
                •   Better for your health                   •   Bad for your health

                Trees used per month                         Trees used per month
                Family of 5 people = 3.5 trees               Family of 5 people = 10 trees
                                   Clay selection and preparation
Mbaula Making — Simple Guide — 1
                                   Stage 1 You need to select the correct clay. This can
                                   be tested by adding water to some clay and rolling it
                                   into a sausage. Wrap this round your finger and – if it
                                   does not crack – this is suitable.
                                   Stage 2 Collect 120 buckets of clay and place it in
                                   your pit, adding water, and cure for 2 weeks.



                                   Preparing the clay for moulding
                                   Stage 3 Place a bucket full of cured clay onto a maize
                                   sack and walk on it. Remove any twigs and stones.
                                   Stage 4 Then knead the clay by hand and remove
                                   any stones and twigs, etc. Carry on until the clay is
                                   smooth and pliable.




                                   Stage 5 Throw the clay into a pile onto some black
                                   plastic paper (this removes the air) and then roll into
                                   a cylinder shape.




                                   Preparing the mbaula mould
                                   Stage 6 Prepare the mould – clean with water and
                                   then apply a thin layer of ash to the inside. This will
                                   stop the clay from sticking to the mould.
                                   Stage 7 Place the mould onto the black plastic paper
                                   and throw the cylinder of clay into the mould.
                                      Creating the mbaula shape
   Mbaula Making — Simple Guide — 2
                                      Stage 8 Build up the bottom and sides of the mould
                                      with clay. It needs to be one piece of clay – do not add
                                      clay as this will form cracks later.
                                      Stage 9 Check the thickness of the clay. It needs to
                                      be 2cm at all points – that is from the tip of your finger
                                      to the middle joint. It is important to check the
                                      thickness of the base at this stage with your finger.

                                      Smoothing the clay
                                      Stage 10 When the clay is roughly shaped, smooth
                                      the sides with a flat piece of wood or bamboo.




                                      Measurements
                                      Stage 11 Measure the diameter of the base. It should
                                      be one hand width – see picture.
                                      Stage 12 Measure the width of the clay around the
                                      sides. It should be 2cm thick – that is from the tip of
                                      your finger to the middle joint.
                                      Stage 13 Measure the thickness of the base again by
                                      making a hole with your finger. It should be 2cm thick
                                      – that is from the tip of your finger to the middle joint.
                                      Afterwards plug the hole with some clay.

                                      Removing the mbaula from the mould
                                      Stage 14 Method 1 – Put the mould on its side and
                                      then tap the outside of the mould whilst rotating.
                                      Method 2 – Carefully bump the mould on the ground
                                      whilst rotating. When the clay is loose, carefully turn
                                      the mould upside down and remove the mould.
Method 1        Method 2
                                   Clean and finish the outside
Mbaula Making — Simple Guide — 3
                                   Stage 15 Apply water and gently scrape off the ash
                                   from the outside of the mbaula, then create a smooth
                                   finish.
                                   Stage 16 At this stage, leave the mbaula overnight
                                   to harden.




                                   Preparing the fire hole
                                   Stage 17 Place the fire hole template as shown 2cm
                                   (tip to middle joint of finger) from base and one hand
                                   width from the top.
                                   Stage 18 Then with a knife mark around the template
                                   as shown to provide the shape to be cut out later.




                                   Prepare three pot rests
                                   Stage 19 Wet the pot rest mould and coat with ash,
                                   then fill with clay and firm it in the mould.




                                   Stage 20 Scrape the top surface with a flat piece of
                                   wood, then attach a lump of clay to one end and care-
                                   fully pull moulded pot rest from the mould.
                                   Preparing and fixing the pot rests
Mbaula Making — Simple Guide — 4
                                   Stage 21 Wash the pot rest and make some cuts in
                                   the bottom of the pot rest.
                                   Stage 22 Locate the position for the first pot rest on
                                   the mbaula with a ruler directly opposite the fire hole.
                                   Mark both sides.




                                   Stage 23 Make some cuts on the mbaula where the
                                   pot rest will be fixed (these cuts will provide a good
                                   fixing between the mbaula and the pot rest).
                                   Stage 24 Attach the first pot rest as shown with the
                                   thickest end at the bottom and fix firmly. Then shape
                                   and seal with extra clay.




                                   Pot rest locations
                                   Stage 25 When the first pot rest is fitted, measure a
                                   distance as shown with your hand and mark. Do the
                                   same in the other direction. Mark another line one
                                   rulers width to indicate the width of the pot rest. Check
                                   to see that the fitted pot rest and the two marked loca-
                                   tions are evenly spaced.


                                   Stage 26 Fix the two remaining pot rests in the same
                                   way as the first one. All of these pot rests must be well
                                   fitted or they will fall off when the mbaula is used!
                                   Preparing and fixing the handles
Mbaula Making — Simple Guide — 5
                                   Stage 27 Make a hole either side of the mbaula as
                                   indicated, making sure that the fire hole is halfway
                                   between these holes. The holes should be one hand
                                   width below the top of the mbaula.




                                   Stage 28 Prepare a piece of clay for the handle as
                                   indicated and roll it between your hands making one
                                   end thinner than the other.
                                   Stage 29 Insert the thin end into the hole so that it
                                   comes out the other side.
                                   Stage 30 Start shaping the handle as indicated.




                                   Stage 31 Continue shaping and smooth to a finished
                                   handle. Smooth the inside surface of the mbaula,
                                   then fix the second handle.

                                   Cutting out and finishing the fire hole
                                   Stage 32 Cut out the previously marked fire hole and
                                   remove the piece of clay.


                                   Stage 33 Shape and smooth the fire hole.
                                   Stage 34 Check the whole mbaula and, when you are
                                   happy with the finish, it can be left to cure for 2 weeks.
                                   It will then be ready for firing in the kiln.

                                   Take care at all stages. Any weakness in the
                                   manufacturing process can lead to cracks after
                                   firing and you will be unable to sell the mbaula.

				
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