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.