Testing the clay required rolling out a worm and seeing how it stuck together. This clay was on the sandy side, but I didn't have anything else to work with. I got lucky, because the day I really started to build, it rained on the desert so the sand got wet enough to stand and compact and the clay started to get sticky. I buildt a smooth base and leveled it.
I started laying the base of fire brick for the baking surface. And it continued to rain.
With the fire brick in place I turned to mixing the clay.
Mixing the clay means getting into it with both feet and mucking around. All the while it continued to rain.With the rains continuing, I turned to building the sand mold. Unfortunately the clay was beginning to get too wet. Now I turned to building the sand dome. With the dome in place, I could add the 4 inch layer of clay all around. And it continued to rain.
Finally, the next day was bright and sunny. I checked the clay and it turns out it was just a bit too wet for good construction, but I went ahead and started with what I had.
The clay layup is done over a base of sand covered with newspaper. The paper acts as an interface so later when you remove the sand, you don't scrape away the clay. The door is in place as the clay is packed in place. The dome is finally finished and inscribed just for the fun of it. Now we have to let it dry to be firm enough to remove the sand through the door.